Next week, I’m excited to celebrate the Fourth of July!
I’ve said it many times, but as we celebrate America’s Independence Day, we need to take a step back and ask the important question – what kind of America do we want to see?
This all has to start in our communities – neighbor-to-neighbor, sitting down at kitchen tables and coming together to share ideas and goals.
This Fourth of July, there are a lot of opportunities to celebrate throughout the 40th! If you want to join the parade in Blaine, according to the Whatcom Democrats you should meet near the corner of 3rd and G Streets at 11:30 A.M. on Tuesday!
For more information about the great celebratory events going on in Bellingham and Whatcom County, click here.
In Anacortes, the parade starts at 11:00 A.M. on Commercial from 4th to 10th Streets, and the San Juan Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Fourth of July Parade in Friday Harbor at 10:30 A.M.
This Fourth of July the stage is set for us to create the America that we want to see. I’m proud to represent the 40th in Olympia, and I’m honored to work with so many amazing people on building a better 40th, a better Washington, and a better world.
Happy Fourth of July! I look forward to seeing more of you soon.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
Celebrating Choice as Americans
This Fourth of July, we celebrate the freedom that we have as Americans. That freedom takes so many forms, and I want to take a moment to highlight some of the steps we have taken this year to address freedoms to choose here in Washington.
Every childbearing person has had the right to choose since 1970, and that is no different today. This year we took steps to solidify that right – through ensuring that Washingtonians will continue to have access to a safe abortion pill and shielding patients and providers who receive reproductive and gender-affirming care from retribution by other states.
We also took steps to protect privacy, passing the My Health, My Data Act which blocks website from collecting and sharing sensitive health data.
And we made sure that providers of abortion, reproductive, and gender-affirming care are protected under Washington’s law, no matter where their patients live.
Washington has long been a leader on this pivotal issue, and it is my honor to continue the great work that so many incredible and dedicated individuals started years and years ago. This is an ongoing battle, one that we must always prioritize.
Together we will continue to move forward, and I will always work to protect your freedoms in all of my work.
Billy Frank Jr. National Statutory Hall Selection Committee
Those of you who have been with me on this journey know that I have been working diligently over the years to update Washington’s statues in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
During the most recent Legislative Session, we officially passed a bill out of the Peoples’ House that would bring a statue of Billy Frank Jr. to our nation’s capital. This was an incredible moment, and a great step forward towards memorializing this incredible man to whom we owe a deep debt of thanks.
Now, I am please to let you know that I have officially been appointed to the Billy Frank Jr. National Statutory Hall Selection Committee!
I have worked closely with a number of my colleagues from the legislature and tribes on legislation that would replace Washington State’s statue of Marcus Whitman at the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. with a statue of Billy Frank Jr.
Billy Frank Jr. embodied the spirit of Washington State in so many ways, working his entire life for the causes of equality, justice, and protecting the environment. Through his fight to protect tribal treaty rights, he also worked to protect the natural resources that so many cultures are based upon.
It is an honor to continue this important work, and I will be sure to keep you all updated as we continue down the path towards making Billy Frank Jr.’s statue a reality.
The Importance of Clean Water Access
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled against the Navajo Nation, who made claims that the federal government had failed to meet their treaty obligations to provide water access.
The court ruled that the 1868 treaty with the Navajo Nation did not require the federal government to take active steps to secure water access.
Read more about the ruling here.
The Colorado River
As we look to the future, we know that climate change is and will be a major factor in all that we do. Water will be worth its weight in gold, and we here in Washington have been addressing climate change from the view of carbon reduction – but we also must look at carbon sequestration, investing in habitat, more forests, and taking care of the entire ecosystem.
This, at its core, means taking care of the water.
We need clean water for habitats to support healthy ecosystems, and we need clean water to support our communities and our cultures.
It’s so important that we look at the entire issue, understanding that addressing access to water is addressing climate change, and its addressing inequity, and its supporting tribal sovereignty.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of joining Indivisible Bellingham for their Legislators’ Forum.
I was excited to join Senator Liz Lovelett from our 40th LD, Senator Sharon Shewmake from the 42nd LD, Representative Alex Ramel from our 40th LD, Representative Alicia Rule from the 42nd LD, and Representative Joe Timmons from the 42nd LD for this incredible event.
It was a wonderful and candid conversation, and I’m grateful to everyone who joined us to talk through important issues and the process of making change here in Washington.
Thank you in particular to Michael Berres for organizing the event – I look forward to keeping in touch and working together in the future!
According to their website:
“Indivisible is a network of independent grassroots groups under a national umbrella founded by former Congressional staffers, who in the Obama administration had watched how the Tea Party had blocked president’s agenda and how it had effectively taken over the government of many states. Each Indivisible group has developed its own organization and policies. Go to the national website for general information and a national directory: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/”
For more information about Indivisible Bellingham specifically, check out their website here.
Barry Buchanan for Whatcom County Executive!
The 2024 campaign season is fast approaching, and there are so many important candidates that need your support!
While our eyes are always drawn to the top of the ticket – the Presidential election – local elections right here in the 40th can have incredible impacts on our communities, and it’s so important that we choose the right people to lead us.
With that in mind, I’m happy to officially endorse Barry Buchanan as he runs for Whatcom County Executive!
Barry is a Navy Veteran, a musician, a fourth-generation resident of Whatcom County, and the current Chair of the Whatcom County Council.
Barry was first elected to public office as the President of his neighborhood association. Inspired by his neighbors, he then turned his energies toward the Bellingham City Council, where he served one term, and then the County Council, where he served for ten years.
To learn more about Barry and to give him your support, check out his website here.
ATNI Clean Energy Summit Presentations
As we continue our work in 2023 and beyond, there are a number of important issues that need our attention. One that you all know is near and dear to my heart is protecting our environment and promoting clean energy sources.
Earlier this month, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) hosted their NW Tribal Clean Energy Summit, bringing together tribal leaders and officials to discuss the next steps down the path of energy sovereignty in the northwest.
Now, I am happy to share with you that most of the presentations for the summit have been made available online!
To access the presentations and learn more about this important discussion, click here.
According to the summit website:
“The Summit will engage Tribal leaders, citizens, staff, youth and collaborators in conversation about navigating the cultural, economic, and social challenges of implementing clean energy projects. Our goals include:
- Ensure that Tribes have the information, support, capacity and resources necessary to plan for and implement Tribal Energy Projects;
- Increase Tribal awareness of opportunities and challenges faced by other Tribes in developing energy projects and when partnering with outside partners for planning, policy development and project implementation;
- Improving project success by appropriately engaging and consulting with Tribes;
- Assess Tribal needs interests, and priorities related to Energy sovereignty, while providing listening opportunities for intertribal collaboration to move those priorities forward”
This is an issue that will have rippling impacts throughout Washington, and the more we are able to promote energy sovereignty, and clean energy sources, the better off our communities will be.
It warms my heart to see these conversations happening, and I am excited to continue working with Washingtons tribal nations to ensure that we are able to turn discussion into action that will benefit Washingtonians and our sovereign nations.