Dear Friends, 

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Washington State COPE event that was filled with hundreds of union representatives. COPE, the Committee on Political Education within the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), concentrates on legislative advocacy, political action, communications, and media relations. They provide assistance to political campaigns and reflect the Washington State Labor Council’s “voice of labor.” 

This gathering of union representatives from throughout Washington demonstrated their ongoing commitment to ensuring every voice is heard. The energy in the room was filled with an overwhelming sense of purpose and determination. 

Union warriors Erin Frasier and Brenda Weist, and my friend the marvelous Rep. Mary Fosse from the 38th LD!

They stand in unwavering solidarity, fighting passionately for livable wages, safe and healthy workplaces, and secure retirements. Their efforts are driven by the commitment to ensure that every worker can lead a fulfilling life, free from financial insecurity and workplace hazards, and with the promise of a dignified retirement. Each conversation, each handshake, reinforced the idea that together, they can overcome any challenge and achieve lasting change. 

I was honored to be asked to join union members from across the state to rally with the Washington State Firefighters on the frontlines of the Boeing lockout. Since earlier this month, Boeing has been managing its operations without on-site private firefighters, who have been barred from their duties due to ongoing wage disputes. 

Karl De Jong, Union Member of International Painters and Allied Trades

This situation has sparked a profound demonstration of unity among workers and their supporters, as they have come together to demand fair compensation and better working conditions. Amidst the uncertainty and challenges, their resilience shines through collective action and social justice. 

Their values resonate deeply with my Native heritage, where we also ensure no one is left behind. We honor our past and build our future, knowing we are stronger together. Just as we honor our ancestors and the wisdom they imparted, we also recognize the importance of solidarity and unity in shaping our collective future. 

Mark Riker, Union Member of Sheet Metal Workers since 1991!

In our culture, strength lies in our interconnectedness, in the understanding that by lifting each other up, we all thrive. This guides our actions, instilling a sense of responsibility to care for one another and to steward our resources wisely for the well-being of our communities and future generations. 

For more information on how you can support the Boeing Firefighters Union, click here.

Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday. 

Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Supporting Washington’s Unions and Workers’ Rights

I have long been a supporter of Washington’s unions, working in Olympia to ensure that workers rights are protected. These are two essential parts of our economy here in Washington, and their importance has recently been on display.

Watching students at Western Washington University utilize those rights to advocate for change was inspiring. Beginning on May 21st at 5 am, students joined together at picket lines, and participated in organized marches across campus throughout the day. 

These students were advocating for items including higher wages, and increased work protections and they did not let the pouring rain stop them. Joining students at the picket line, as well as in marches I was able to hear students speak to their personal experiences, sharing that many of them have had to work three jobs, just to barely get by.

These students’ passion makes me even more energized to address the issue of college affordability and other issues that are intertwined such as housing affordability. After only two days of striking, Western’s administration and the union were able to come to a tentative agreement, demonstrating a commendable negotiation from all parties. 

“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the student employees who played pivotal roles in representing WAWU or actively participating in the bargaining process,” said WWU President Sabah Randhawa. “Their active participation in such matters is a reminder not only of the dedication of WWU students but also reinforces the reputation of WWU students as engaged and compassionate citizens.  I am hopeful that we can embrace this moment as an opportunity to strengthen our ties and to continue towards our shared vision of excellence and equity.”

The tentative agreement will now advance through the ratification process, which will require approval from the Western Academic Workers United (WAWU) members, and Western’s Board of Trustees. 

While this is the first step of many, I look forward to supporting both parties going forward, as students and Western administration continue to collaborate to ensure that Western Washington University is serving their students the best they can. 

$75 Million Coming to Support Tribal Housing 

As we have discussed in recent weeks, creating access to affordable housing is a serious priority of mine. We all share a love for this place we call home, and it is my hope that we can work to ensure that there are affordable places to live throughout Washington.

With that in mind, I am thrilled to let you know that Senator Patty Murray has recently announced $75 million in grants for 29 Tribes throughout Washington. These funds are provided through the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), which is a large source of federal resources for housing in tribal communities.

“Finding a safe and affordable place to live continues to be a serious challenge for families across Washington state, especially for folks in Tribal communities who face higher rates of poverty and are more likely to live in overcrowded and unsafe conditions,” said Senator Murray. “The Indian Housing Block Grant program is the most important tool we have to support housing for Tribal communities, and as Appropriations Chair, I fought hard to deliver record funding despite tough budget caps. This money will help build new affordable housing in Tribal communities and improve existing housing—it will make a difference for Native American families all across our state.”

Thank you, Senator Murray!

According to Senator Murray:

“The 29 Washington state Tribes awarded funding include:

  1. $1,739,605 for the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation in Oakville
  2. $10,345,179 for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Nespelem
  3. $3,821,189 for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe in Longview
  4. $246,141 for the Hoh Indian Tribe in Forks
  5. $627,646 for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Sequim
  6. $556,414 for the Kalispel Indian Community in Usk
  7. $1,068,102 for the Lower Elwha Tribal Community in Port Angeles
  8. $6,254,448 for the Lummi Tribe in Bellingham
  9. $1,183,114 for the Makah Indian Tribe in Neah Bay
  10. $2,214,030 for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe in Auburn
  11. $1,050,399 for the Nisqually Indian Tribe in Olympia
  12. $1,493,135 for the Nooksack Indian Tribe in Deming
  13. $1,803,250 for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Kingston
  14. $6,363,722 for the Puyallup Tribe in Tacoma
  15. $649,322 for the Quileute Tribe in La Push
  16. $3,737,183 for the Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah
  17. $2,339,588 for the Samish Indian Nation in Anacortes
  18. $711,138 for the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe in Darrington
  19. $402,260 for the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe in Tokeland
  20. $1,015,634 for the Skokomish Indian Tribe in Skokomish Nation
  21. $565,474 for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe in Snoqualmie
  22. $4,353,440 for the Spokane Tribe in Wellpinit
  23. $1,493,837 for the Squaxin Island Tribe in Shelton
  24. $355,114 for the Stillaguamish Tribe in Arlington
  25. $1,580,259 for the Suquamish Indian Tribe in Suquamish
  26. $1,737,511 for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in La Conner
  27. $5,405,201 for the Tulalip Tribes in Tulalip
  28. $1,808,011 for the Upper Skagit Tribe in Sedro Woolley
  29. $10,059,999 for the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation in Toppenish”

This is an incredible new pool of resources for Washington’s tribal communities, and I am so grateful for Senator Murray’s leadership on this front. Thank you, Senator Murray!

While this is a great step forward, there is still much work to be done. I will continue working with my colleagues in Olympia to find commonsense solutions to the issue of affordable housing.

Manka Dhingra for Attorny General Event 

Next, I want to let you know about an upcoming event that I will be cohosting next weekend in Eastsound in support of Manka Dhingra’s campaign for Attorney General!

Manka is currently a State Senator from the 45th LD and serves as the Deputy Majority Leader in the State Senate. It is my pleasure to cohost an event for her alongside Senator Liz Lovelett, Senator Sharon Shewmake, Indranil Chosh, and Rick Hughes.

The event will take place next Saturday, June 1 from 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. at Ladybug Pizza in Eastsound – check out the image below for more information!

According to her campaign website:

“She has been a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with King County since January 2000, and is the former Chair of the Therapeutic Alternative Unit. As Chair, she supervised the Regional Mental Health court, Veterans Court and the Community Assessment and Referral for Diversion program. She helped create the 40 hour crisis intervention training for law enforcement and was a trainer at the Criminal Justice Training Commission.

In her professional capacity, she has also served as a member of Shoreline Police Department’s Advisory Group for Response Awareness De-escalation and Referral (RADAR) and participated in the Seattle Police Department’s Muslim, Sikh, and Arab Advisory Council. She led the Coordinated Crisis Intervention Response meetings where she collaborated with all King County law enforcement officers to find creative solutions and coordinate responses to help individuals with mental illness.”

Senator Dhingra will make an incredible Attorney General, and I would be proud to see her serving the people of Washington from that position. I hope you will be able to join us for her event next weekend, and I hope she can count on your support!

For more information on Senator Dhingra, her campaign for Attorney General, and how you can support her, check out her website here.

Bellingham Teacher Nominated for Prestigious Awards 

Next, I want to take a moment on this Fantastic Friday it shout out an incredible educator working right here in the 40th LD!

I am pleased to let you know that Bellingham teacher Jenna Samora is among the state finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching!

The award is the highest honor that primary and secondary school teachers can receive, specifically those who educate in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science.

According to the Bellingham Herald:

“Jenna Samora, who teaches sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade math and science at Fairhaven Middle School, is one of four teachers in Washington state who are finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. It is the nation’s highest honor for primary and secondary school teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science…

National winners will be announced by the National Science Foundation and the White House. They will travel to Washington, D.C., for recognition events and professional learning. In addition, they will receive a certificate signed by the president of the United States, and $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.”

Congratulations, Jenna! I know I speak for all of us when I say we’re pulling for you. I hope that soon I will be able to share the good news that Jenna is a winner!


Finally, I would like to round out this Fantastic Friday but thanking a few incredible groups that have endorsed my re-election campaign!

Thank you to the Teamsters Joint Council 28, the Lummi Indian Business Council, UFCW 3000, and Machinists Districts 751 for your continued support of my work on behalf of the 40th LD, and all Washingtonians!

Everything we do, we do together. It is only through the continued support of incredible groups and organizations like these that I am able to stand up and do the difficult work of making our lives better.

Thank you once again for your support!