Dear Friends, 

We once again find ourselves in the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s so important that as the days grow shorter and our calendars near their end, we take a moment before looking ahead to 2024. I hope you will all find the time over the next week to take a big deep breath and reflect on the year that has passed.

We have worked so hard to accomplish so much, and we must always make space to step back and celebrate. It is a time to spend with family and loved ones, feeling all the joy that comes with being alive, and with living in this beautiful place we all call home!

This is the time of year that we gather together with those we care for the most, and I cannot wait to see my loved ones for Christmas Eve, and for Christmas Day! From the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful to have each and every one of you in my corner, and I wish you nothing but the best as we move forward into 2024 and beyond.

From my family to yours, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy Hannukah!

Next week we’ll take a look back at 2023, highlighting some of the important stories that we discussed throughout the year. There are so many things I am excited to accomplish together in 2024, and I can’t wait to bring you along for the ride.

For now though, take this time to enjoy the company of those you love, and let them know how much you care for them!

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday weekend.

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday. 

“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy” 
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Olympic Pipeline Update 

On the last Fantastic Friday, we spoke about the Olympic Pipeline spill that occurred early last week in Mount Vernon.

This week, I want to share another update from the Washington Department of Ecology:

  • Teams have evaluated 7,170 meters (4.4 miles) of shoreline for potential spill impacts, and trace impacts from the spill have been found on 504 meters (1/3 of a mile) of shoreline.
  • Approximately 2,300 feet of boom are currently deployed in the response. 
  • Approximately 7,000 gallons of gasoline have been recovered to date. This number will be updated when the oily/water mixture being collected has sufficient time to settle and be measured. Approximately 25,000 gallons were released in the incident. 
  • Landowners identified as having a well along Hill Ditch are being asked if they want to have their wells tested.  At this time nine such wells have been identified.
  • Water quality sampling plans are in place and being implemented.  As results becomes available, we will share it.

A claims center has been established by the Olympic Pipeline. Please call 1-866-616-1558 to report any personal or property damages resulting from the spill. 

This is a terrible event, and I am so sorry to those who have been impacted in the Mount Vernon region.

As a reminder, members of the public are asked not to touch or relocate affected wildlife and to call the wildlife hotline (1-800-22BIRDS).

Thank you to all of the incredible and dedicated individuals who are working to make this right. We must prioritize ensuring that they have the necessary resources both to address issues like this as they arise, and to prevent further incidents moving forward.

Legislative Agenda for Whatcom & Skagit County 

Now right here in the 40th LD we are looking ahead to 2024, setting ourselves up for success as we continue the important work of creating a Washington that uplifts all those who call this place home.

We have an incredible team of representatives, working on your behalf in Washington, D.C., in Olympia, and right here in our local governments. I want to quickly run through some of the priorities that are being discussed in Whatcom County and Skagit County.

The joint legislative agenda that the City of Bellingham, Port of Bellingham, and Whatcom County are drafting is split up in two parts – Budget Requests and Policy Position Statements.

Under the Budget Requests, priorities include additional funding for environmental cleanup and redevelopment, protections for the Puget Sound, a Superior Court Judge to support water rights adjudication, and other actions to improve local infrastructure and habitats.

For Policy Position Statements, priorities include opioid response and behavioral health support, addressing access to broadband and digital equity, supporting affordable housing and strengthening eviction protections, protecting our environment, increasing access to childcare, and emphasizing fiscal sustainability.

Next, in Skagit County your local elected officials are hard at work laying the path forward in 2024 and beyond. 

Legislative requests in the Skagit include additional capital for behavioral health treatment, increasing available housing for working families, an supporting drug taskforces doing important work on teh ground.

You all have done a fantastic job electing strong leaders who are ready to work for Washington, and together we will accomplish so much for Whatcom County, Skagit County, and beyond.

Keep an eye out for updates on these priorities moving forward!

Holiday Ferries Update 

Now, as we look ahead to the holidays ahead of us, I want to provide an update on our ferry schedules moving forward.

We have talked several times in the past about the importance of our ferries, and ensuring that they run efficiently and effectively continues to be a strong priority of mine. Looking into 2024, I know that we will take strong action to improve our ferry service up and down our coast.

Here is an update from the Washington Department of Transportation:

“Hundreds of thousands of people will go sailing in a winter wonderland through the end of 2023. Ridership aboard Washington State Ferries is expected to top half a million from Wednesday, Dec. 20, through Saturday, Dec. 31.

To keep spirits bright while navigating the busy vessels and terminals this holiday season, customers are encouraged to:

  • Download the WSDOT mobile app for up-to-the-minute service information, including rider alerts and a real-time map to track the boats.
  • Leave their cars at home, if possible. There is plenty of walk-on capacity with minimal to no wait on all sailings. People who ride bicycles or motorcycles can also skip the vehicle line.
  • Check terminal conditions before heading to a terminal if boarding in a vehicle. Anacortes/San Juan Islands and Port Townsend/Coupeville routes also offer vehicle reservations.”


“On Christmas, Dec. 25, and New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, there will be a few schedule changes for the Anacortes/San Juan Islands, Edmonds/Kingston, Mukilteo/Clinton and Point Defiance/Tahlequah routes. The Seattle/Bainbridge Island run will operate on a Saturday timetable and the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route will run on two-boat weekend timetables on both days. The Anacortes/San Juan Islands run will switch to its winter season schedule starting Sunday, Dec. 31. Holiday sailings are marked on the schedules for each route.”

Thank you to all of the hard workers that help make our ferry system possible. You help so many throughout every year, and we are so grateful for your service!

Saying Thank You to a Trailblazer 

Now, to round out this Fantastic Friday, I want to send a special thank you to an incredible civil servant who is stepping away from public life.

Following more than three decades of public service on behalf of Washington State, King County, Seattle, and Coast Salish County, Debora Juarez, a Blackfeet citizen, and Seattle City Council President, will not seek reelection.

Debora was the first Indigenous person to serve on the Seattle City Council, and was selected as the Council President last year. She has long worked to help uplift those who need our support, and has been an incredible voice for those who are not always heard.

It is an honor to have followed in her footsteps, and I am so grateful for all of the incredible work she did to blaze trails that so many follow today.

Thank you, Debora, for all of your incredible work! I know I am not alone in saying we are so excited to see what comes next on your journey.