Dear Friends, 

It seems to me that the time between our campaign cycles keeps getting shorter and shorter. It is already time to start looking ahead, and we’ve talked previously about my support for Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s gubernatorial campaign.

Today, I would like to endorse and support my friend Bonnie Bowers as she runs for re-election to the Anacortes Port Commission!



Bonnie was raised in the Skagit Valley, attended the FBI National Academy, and worked for 33 years in law enforcement – including as the Anacortes Police Chief!

She was elected to the Port Commission in 2019, and has worked to support our communities through sustainable industry and commerce. She has had an incredible impact here in the 40th LD, and I am proud to support her as she runs for re-election!



If you are interested in supporting Bonnie as well, campaign signs are available by emailing [email protected].

For more information on her and her campaign, check out her website here.

 Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday. 

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy” 
Rep. Debra Lekanoff


ICWA Upheld!

As we discussed last week, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act by a vote of 7-2, with Justices Thomas and Alito dissenting.

 The Indian Child Welfare Act, known as ICWA, which established minimum federal standards for removing Native children from their homes, requiring preference to be given to a Native child’s extended family, and other members of their tribe, when they are removed from their family.

 More than 40 years ago, Congress enacted the legislation after finding that public and private agencies had removed a third of all Native children from their homes, placing them in institutions or homes with no ties to tribal nations.



While I am working closely with our tribes, and with Representatives Drew Hansen and Chris Stearns, to draft legislation that will protect the core tenets of ICWA here in Washington, we should all celebrate this momentous decision and the continued positive impact that ICWA will have for our Native communities across the country.

 The court found that ICWA does not violate the Constitution in imposing a federal mandate on the adoption process – a traditionally state-regulated area of power.

This is an incredible moment, and we should feel joyous that ICWA has been upheld! There are still questions to be answered and the fight is not over. The Court did not address the question of whether ICWA unconstitutionally discriminates based on race, and so we must continue our work to protect this pivotal legislation.

Thank you to all of the dedicated workers who have spent years fighting for ICWA. We have won a fantastic victory! It is because of your work that our children will stay with our communities, and you should be proud of what we have accomplished.



Student Loan Freeze Ending

In just a few months, at the end of August, the three-year pause on student loan payments will end. The pause was put into place during the pandemic in order to relieve economic stress and increase spending.

By all accounts, it had a positive impact on our people, and our economy.

Now, as part of the debt ceiling deal that Congress approved, payments will resume in late August.

This will happen regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling on the White House plan to forgive billions of dollars in student loan debt.

That decision is expected by the end of the month, and regardless of the outcome more than 40 million borrowers will have to resume payments on their student loans.

For more information, click here.

This is an important issue, and one without an easy answer. We must always work to make education affordable and accessible to all, creating programs and supporting those who need our help.

It is my hope that we can find solutions that create sustainable, affordable pathways for all who want to further their education – here in Washington, and across the country.



Local Businesses Get Support 

Over the past few years, we have experienced a number of natural disasters, impacting communities throughout Washington and necessitating collective support to help stand up those who were most heavily impacted.

Now, I am happy to let you know that 31 Skagit County businesses have received a total of $1.8 million in relief funding!


The funding came from the State Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County, awarding between $10,000 and $150,000 to help businesses that had been impacted by flooding and freezing events over the last two years.

Thank you to everyone at the Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County! It is because of your work and support that local businesses are able to stay open, and we all owe you a debt of gratitude for helping our community.



New Commission and Task Force Appointment 

This week, I am also excited to let you know I have been appointed to the Pacific Fisheries Legislative Task Force, and the Joint Legislative Committee on Water Supply During Drought!

The Pacific Fisheries Legislative Task Force consists of two representatives and two senators from each member state, and serves as a clearinghouse for information regarding fishing in the Pacific Ocean. It also asks delegates to report their findings to their state legislators and congressional members.

The Joint Legislative Committee on Water Supply During Drought consists of four senators and four representatives, convening when drought conditions exist, or are expected to come within the next year, in order to ensure that Washington’s water supply is used and sustained correctly.

It is my honor to join these two important groups, and I am grateful for the appointments to both!

There are so many great things we will be able to accomplish with our work moving forward, and I am thrilled to stand side by side with such dedicated individuals as we work for the next seven generations to come.



Transitioning Away From the Snake River Dams 

As many of you know, there is an ongoing important discussion around the Snake River Dams and their potential removal. Recently Governor Inslee and Senator Murray expressed that breaching the dams will require extensive preparation and bipartisan support U.S. Democrats don’t yet have.

Federal agencies have poured more than $17 billion into salmon recovery over the last 20 years, hoping to revive populations using fish ladders, diversion screens, and hatcheries. But conditions for Snake River sockeye and spring-summer chinook are still dire and, limited on ideas, some federal and regional political actors are starting to look more closely at the possibility of breaching four eastern Washington dams — Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite.



Recently, it was my pleasure to work with my colleagues in Olympia to begin the process of transitioning the services provided by the four aging dams to more practical and sustainable sources.

In the final 2023-2025 Washington State Budget, we have allocated over $7 million dollars for transitioning the energy, transportation, and irrigation services that are currently supported by the four aging dams – an important step towards retiring the dams and restoring the Snake River to its natural splendor.

This will not be an immediate process, no overnight fix is possible. It will take a lot of difficult, coordinated work across all levels of government, ensuring that as these dams are removed we are able to replace the services they provided and set ourselves up for the future.  



Transportation Commission Meeting in Friday Harbor

This week, I had the pleasure of attending the Washington State Transportation Meeting in Friday Harbor, San Juan!

It was so wonderful to hear from Roy Jennings, the Chair of the Washington State Transportation Commission, members of the San Juan County Council and the Mayor of Friday Harbor, and other members of the Transportation Commission.


Friday Harbor

It was a unique time to both hear updates on Washington’s transportation infrastructure broadly, as well as focus in on what is happening in the San Juans and what the future will hold.

I want to thank Mike Thomas, the San Juan County Manager, Colin Huntemer, the San Juan Public Works Director, Kendra Smith, the Director of Environmental Stewardship for San Juan County, and Denice Kulseth, Friday Harbor’s Town Administrator, for their moving discussion on the implications of climate change for the San Juan Islands.

Climate change and sea-level rise are already having profound impacts around the world, and we are not immune here in the 40th LD. I am glad we have such incredible individuals working on this issue, and I am confident we will find ways to build sustainable and resilient infrastructure that will serve our communities for generations to come.


According to their website, the Washington State Transportation Commission is a seven-member body of citizens appointed by the Governor for six-year terms. The Commission provides an open public forum for transportation policy development.

It reviews and assesses how the entire transportation system works across the state and issues the state’s 20-year Transportation Plan.