Dear Friends, 

It has been an honor serving you in Olympia these past six years, and I am so grateful for the continued trust you place in me as I work alongside my colleagues to help all Washingtonians.

A few weeks ago, I shared my official re-election campaign announcement, alongside fellow 40th LD Legislators Liz Lovelett and Alex Ramel, and I am so excited to see you out on the campaign trail this summer and fall.

Now, I am thrilled to announce my official kickoff next month!

I am so excited to be running for re-election once again, and my campaign will officially kickoff on May 16th! For six years now I have worked on your behalf in Olympia, and I hope I can count on you this campaign cycle. 

Will you support my campaign kickoff? You can donate directly to my campaign here – you can help us reach out goal of 5,000 contributors!

There will be doorbelling events, town halls, and happenstance meetings throughout the 40th where I will hear from you directly, informing my work in Olympia and shaping this place we all call home.

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday. 

Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Protecting Our Communities from Fentanyl

Friends, in recent years we have talked many times about the ongoing opioid epidemic in this country. It’s a centerpiece of my work in Olympia, and a high priority of mine as we see the devastating effects throughout our communities.

Chief among this issue is the rise of fentanyl use, particularly right here in Whatcom County. According to the Whatcom County medical examiner, there were 136 total deaths from overdoses in 2023 – a 43% increase from 2022.

Cheap opioids that are easy to acquire, and often, as in the case of fentanyl, significantly stronger than known drugs like morphine or heroin. It’s a terrible epidemic that impacts our unhoused and low income communities the hardest, and it needs our attention now.

Rep. Lekanoff with Whatcom County Councilmember Kaylee Galloway (Left) and Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu (Right)

Earlier this month, Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu issued an executive order addressing the fentanyl crisis and laying out concrete steps to mitigate the current impacts and protect our communities.

Here is an excerpt from the Bellingham Herald on the order:

“[County Executive Sidhu’s] executive order listed several programs and facilities designed to address the overdose crisis:

  • “Re-entry” specialists at the jail to support people upon release.
  • The Anne Deacon Center has detox and behavioral support.
  • A Co-Responder program and Alternative Response Team answer 911 calls that don’t require police.
  • A Street Medicine team goes into the field.
  • Both the Ground-level Response and Coordinated Engagement and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion programs have been expanded.
  • Mental Health Court has been expanded to include mental health sentencing alternatives.
  • Nearly 12,000 doses of Narcan have been given away.
  • Whatcom County has convened a Multi-Agency Coordination Group and hired an opioid response specialist.”

Read more from the Bellingham Herald here.

County Executive Sidhu has worked as an engineer, project manager, business executive, educator and small business owner before being elected to the Whatcom County Council, and then as Whatcom County Executive.

There will be no simple, overnight fix to this issue, and it will take the continued focus of our elected officials at all levels to right the ship and help our communities recover. This is a tremendous step forward in Whatcom, and it is my hope that this acts as a guide for future work in Washington and across the country.

Thank you, County Executive Sidhu, for all of your work on this vital issue. With your leadership and passion I know we are on the right path.

Supporting Congressman Larsen! 

Next, I am thrilled to let you know that Congressman Rick Larsen is coming to the 40th LD next week, and you’re invited!

Next Thursday, April 25th, Congressman Larsen will be in Bellingham for a campaign fundraiser – I’ll be there, and you can find additional information on the event below. I hope to see you there!

Here is the event information from Congressman Larsen:

“Please join Jovan Johnson Mo West, Craig Allen, Ted Mischaikov, Anne-Marie Faiola, and Kelli Linville, Emily O’Conner, Lisa McShane, Senator Liz Lovelett, and Kirsten Barron for an evening reception in support of Congressman Rick Larsen on Thursday, April 25th. Hear about the latest in politics, what the 2024 cycle will look like, and his work as the Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Thursday, April 25th

5:30 to 7:00pm

Downtown Bellingham

*Address provided upon RSVP*

$100 Guest | $250 Friend | $500 Supporter

$1,000 Co-Host | $3,300 Benefactor

RSVP by contributing or by reaching out to Alex:

(253) 906-2539 or [email protected]

Congressman Rick Larsen has represented the 2nd Congressional District in Washington for years, and has made Washingtonians proud. He has long worked on behalf of workers across our State, and I am proud to have him represent us in Washington, D.C.!

Working Together for Washington 

It was an honor to participate in the recent Fidalgo Democrats event alongside my colleagues, Senator Liz Lovelett, Representative Dave Paul, and Representative Clyde Shavers.

The strong working relationship between the 40th and 10th districts allows us to effectively serve our diverse local needs and represent our communities on important committees. It is always a pleasure working with my good friends from the 10th LD, and I was so glad to see them at the Fidalgo Democrats event!

Watch the full meeting here.

The upcoming 2024 campaign presents an opportunity to continue our work on policies related to sustainability, economic development, environmental protection, public safety, health care, housing affordability, education, and more.

During the event, the Anacortes Fidalgo Democrats raised important inquiries about unified forest management, forest fire planning, Growth Management Act reform, and protecting rural communities from urban growth pressures.

I look forward to addressing these critical issues together, and know that we have an incredible roster of elected officials ready to roll up their sleeves and do the difficult, and necessary, work to help all Washingtonians.

Thank you again to the Fidalgo Democrats for hosting us!

Celebrating Councilmeber Cindy Wolf

This week, I would also like to take a moment to highlight my good friend Cindy Wolf, a member of the San Juan County Council!

Cindy is an incredible leader, and she brings with her the power of a mother and the strength of a community leader with years of experience. She represents the best values for the San Juan Islands and has the integrity to be the leader we all want steering us in the right direction.

We have been blessed with her leadership on the San Juan County Council, and it is with a heavy heart that I let you know she will not be running for re-election this November.

Cindy will be stepping back to focus on her family, but I know her days of supporting her community will never end! She will continue to accomplish great things, and will always be a part of Washington’s progress.

Here is a little background on her from the San Juan County website:

“Council Member Cindy Wolf started public life on Orcas Island with a stint on the Board of Directors at Children’s House.  She has had careers in sales management, technical theater, and customer service. She thinks the best thing about Council work is distilling public needs and visions into policies, then working with the talented professional County staff to translate those policies into plans and achievable goals. “The real sweet treat for me is seeing a good idea all the way through to a public benefit, but guiding long-term shifts in thinking about how everyday business gets done is, in many ways, the more important part of building a better world.” 

Cindy has been a tremendous community leader for years, always listening with a keen ear to the issues and needs around her and taking strong action to address them head on. She will be missed in our local leadership.

Thank you for all of your work, Councilmember Wolf!

Skagit County Legislative Update 

I had the pleasure of joining Senator Liz Lovelett and Representative Alex Ramel in a legislative update to Skagit County commissioners. In December 2023, we had our initial meeting that provided us the priority areas that our local government was seeking to address in the 2024 legislative session.

It was a pleasure sharing our accomplishments, and I would like to take a minute on this Fantastic Friday to let you know about a few of them too.

We were able to invest in the North Star Facilities located in Sedro, Woolley, support Congresswoman Carolyn Eslick as the lead for funding for additional services, and we collaborated with the Washington State Department of Transportation to protect the funding that is needed to deliver two new ferries by 2028.

We were able to collaborate on renewable energy, research science and geothermal located up in the Mount Baker Hot Springs, located in Nooksack and the Lummi Nation traditional land, and support tribal lead leadership in the development of new energy resources.

We welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with fellow legislators across the state to heal Washington and fight the fentanyl crisis through prevention, recovery, and aftercare. We were able to provide $80 million in recovery and after care facilities and invest in K through 12 education on the harm of drugs, such as fentanyl.

I am so proud of this team of legislators working with our fellow districts, the executive branch, and tribal governments to find solutions coming from local communities. We the support and input from people on the ground, and I am so grateful to all those who have worked alongside us these past few years.


Finally, this week I am thrilled to share the first round of endorsements for my re-election campaign! It is an honor to be endorsed alongside my fellow 40th LD Legislators, and I look forward to continuing the good work on your behalf in Olympia.

Earlier this month the Skagit Democrats unanimously voted to endorse myself and my colleagues, Senator Lovelett and Representative Alex Ramel, as well as many dedicated democrats to the people of our incredible communities.

The Skagit Democrats have long been a part of the local community, working for generations to elect leaders who reflect the values of Skagit County, and Washington as a whole.

I feel blessed to have had their support during my time in Olympia, and I do not take this endorsement lightly. Thank you, Skagit Democrats!

Thank you to the San Juan Democrats for your endorsement of myself, and supporting Senator Liz Lovelett and Representative Alex Ramel!

I am continually inspired by the wealth of expertise within the Islands. The insights provided by local residents helps inform statewide policies on critical issues such as housing affordability, economic sustainability, infrastructure development, resource management, climate change resilience, education funding, and youth support services.

The unique characteristics of the Islands make it essential for all Washingtonians to prioritize preserving the beauty and importance of this region located in the heart of the Salish Sea. As a champion for these efforts, I will continue to advocate for the needs and well-being of our community.

Thank you, San Juan Democrats!

Keep an eye out for more endorsements – and my endorsements of other campaigns! – in future newsletters.