Debra Lekanoff

Press & Media

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Caring For Our Home on Fantastic Friday

October 11, 2019

Dear Friends,

What a beautiful week in the 40th Legislative District!

The fall harvest is keeping our farmer and fishermen busy doing what they love best - putting food on each of our tables.

In the 40th LD we value and honor those rural communities that live so intertwined with our environment and resources.

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

Protecting Our Beautiful San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands are one of the most beautiful places in the world and with our Washington State Legislature I continue working to ensure we protect her attributes.

This week I met with San Juan County Commissioner Jamie Stephens to review and move forward on a number of initiatives to help the San Juan Islands including oil spill response, the San Juan Monument, and supporting our schools.

I am always honored to sit at the kitchen table with San Juan County Commissioners, community groups, and environmental organizations as we continue to find common pathways towards our shared goals.

Together, we are working towards improved policy, programs, regulation, and funding to support the sustainability of this incredible place that is so important to our State.

Skagit Faces Flood Control and Tide Gates

There are over 100 tide gates in Skagit County that need repairs, support for continued operations, and management. This week, Skagit County Drainage and Irrigation Districts Consortium Executive Director Jenna Friegal provided a tour of the tide gate repairs in the Samish watershed. Along with Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki we saw the great work being done on a daily basis by our citizens.

With careful and focused attention, we must work together to find ways to protect our homes and families from floods through investing in our infrastructure. It is vital for us to work together to build infrastructure that ensures the protection of both our communities and our salmon. We have a lot of work to do!

Supporting the Safety of our Refinery Workers

Our refinery workers and contractors head off to one of the most dangerous places to work everyday and it is our job to ensure the best safety measures, policies, and regulations are in place to make sure they return home to their families, loved ones, and to their homes every night.

The 40th LD has two refineries, and hundreds of workers, contractors, and vendors who have generational jobs. They are often the ones who are the coaches of our little league teams, part of the PTA's, volunteers for beach clean up projects, and local trail repairs. They are a vital part of our communities, and the Washington way of life. Doing everything in our power to ensure their safety must be a priority.

I look forward to learning more about the 40th LD Democratic Office's safety resolutions, and will work with the Industry, Labor, and Community to find a common pathway for 2020 and beyond.

A Day Filled With Salmon Protection and Recovery

Many of you know that one of the major priorities in the 40th LD, and Washington State, is to addresses Salmon Recovery.

These past six months there have been numerous meetings with Tribal, Local, Legislative, and Congressional colleagues to discuss shared approaches to salmon recovery.

Washington State and WA Treaty Tribes are the co-managers, and together we have built the capacity through sound science to make those policy decisions for the sustainability of these resources. We are making great strides towards restoring salmon habitats, and ensuring they are able to grow and thrive today, and tomorrow.

Climate Change in Washington State 

Everyday we face the climate change impacts upon our State. From flooding and sea level rise, drought and warming rivers, to oceans and dying resources. In the 40th LD we have taken the lead by creating local and tribal climate change plans that guide our decision making for policies and programs.

I want to share with your a few highlights from home.

The Whatcom County Climate Impact Advisory Committee provided recommendations to the Whatcom County Council and Executive on issues related to the preparation and adaptation for, and the prevention and mitigation of, impacts of climate change.

Skagit County adopted the Skagit Climate Change and Sustainability Initiative. Skagit County is committed to reducing and mitigating our operational and regional greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the effects of changing climate.

San Juan County is working in Climate Change Resilience to their Comprehensive Plan and working with community-based Island Climate Resilience, who have spent time educating the community since 2014.

Samish Nation has conducted their assessment of climate change. In 2017, they began a planning process to identify how the Samish can prepare for extreme weather developments, sea level rise, and other impacts of climate change.

Skagit Climate Science Consortium is the only all-science based organization focused on climate change impacts to an entire River Biome in WA State. The Skagit Climate Science Consortium is a multidisciplinary group of research scientists from universities, federal, municipal, and tribal governments and agencies working in the Skagit basin.

This is a big task, but I am up to the challenges and honored to have the local support what we need to take to Olympia.

The example we set here can be modeled for other districts, and these districts can build the future of climate change for WA State.


Dear Friends,

Last Saturday, the city of Mount Vernon celebrated the completion of their floodwall protection project, a local endeavor that had begun nearly a decade ago. As a result of this floodwall, Mount Vernon has been removed from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 100-year floodplain.

The removal from the 100-year floodplain - river or stream flood hazard areas and areas with a 1% chance or greater of shallow flooding each year - allows for greater economic growth in downtown Mount Vernon, and lowers the cost of flood insurance for residents and businesses alike. Not only does the removal lower the cost of flood insurance, but also opens a door for new opportunities in the community.

Congratulations to Mount Vernon, a tremendous achievement for the city and the entire region!

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

Emphasizing Indian Child Welfare and Native Women

Earlier this week, Washington Tribes hosted a meeting to work with Washington State on actions around the Indian Child Welfare Act. I know that this is a vital part of the relationship between states and tribes, and I am extremely proud of the fact that the Indian Child Welfare Act started right here in Washington State.

We must continue to improve and adjust our child welfare laws to fit ever growing and changing circumstances, always placing the upmost importance on implementing our policies for the sake of our children.

I also had a tremendous and meaningful conversation with 33rd Legislative District Representative Tina Orwell this week.

We discussed our commitment and future collaboration on implementing policies, laws, and programs dedicated to public safety for all Washingtonians. Our priorities are to ensure laws and programs are built for Murdered na dMissing Indigenous Women moving forward, addressing statewide sexual assault issues, and doing everything we can to prevent suicide impacting young Washingtonians.

I look forward to working with Representative Orwell in the future, and making substantial changes in the way we approach public safety in the years to come.

The Future of Our Salmon

It is an honor to be appointed to the Washington State Hatchery Spending & Project Joint Taskforce. We are a Committee built by legislative members in the Senate and House that support the future of salmon. At the end of the day, our goal has to be to help provide Washington salmon with the environment and ecosystems necessary to thrive so that we may sustain our culture and economy that they support.

The Hatchery Spending & Project Task Force has a simple mandate: to manage and oversee implementation of our spending program. With that in mind, we deeply respect the position of our salmon and steelhead fishery co-managers, and have complete confidence in this unique government-to-government relationship we share with Native tribes.

All sides agree, we must ensure that we have salmon both for today, and for generations to come.

Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland

I want to congratulate the Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland on their 30th birthday! From just a handful of families coming together to keep their prime farming land, this group has grown into the wonderful organization that works to ensure economic viability of Skagit County agriculture that we know today.

Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland work for farmland protection through advocacy, research, education, and public awareness.

Once again – happy birthday and keep up the good work!

To learn more about Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, visit their website here.

Honoring Community to Community 15 Year Celebration!

Thank you to Community to Community for their 15 years of dedication. I honor your work.

Together we passed monumental legislation that protected migrant workers in the H2A program. With this relationship we can build a future values relationships that ensure equality for all that are striving to call this place home.

Skagit County Firefighters Awarded FEMA Grant

Firefighters in four Skagit County fire districts, and the city of Burlington, were awarded $700,000by FEMA in grant money for the purchase of new air tanks.

Congratulations on this well deserved honor, and thank you for helping keep all of us safe! For more information on the grant, click here.


Dear Friends,

During the 2019 Legislative Session, I helped secure $1.5 Million in the state budget to construct onshore electric charging infrastructure for the Guemes Electric Ferry.

Together, with the other Ferry Coalition legislators, I worked to educate and build support for transforming the state ferry fleet from their current state to hybrid propulsion systems.

I am honored to have the confidence and support of our Skagit County Commissioners for my legislative work building our new Guemes All-Electric Ferry. It will be the first all-electric ferry in Washington State, and one of the first in the nation.

Converting our vessels to cleaner, quieter operating systems, and planning for fiscally responsible construction and maintenance of our fleet is especially important for the 40th Legislative District. This is yet another step we have taken towards a cleaner, more sustainable future, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done so far.

We have plenty more to come.

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

1,500 Students Strike in Bellingham!

I am honored to stand with youth across this great nation as they address the impacts of climate change upon our Mother Earth.

As a 7th generation decision maker, I am honored to stand with youth across this Nation in bringing awareness to all that we are not moving fast enough in the fight for their future.

From the stairs of Olympia to the streets of Bellingham, thousands of youth shouted out that we are borrowing from their future's future, and they will not allow this behavior to go on any longer. I continue to be committed to building the future together and we can only have a future if we are bold in our actions to combat climate change.

Nooksack Dam Removal!

The Nooksack River will soon join healthy and holistic ecosystems in the fight to recover and restore salmon in the Northwest through the removal of a small diversion dam.

Representative Sharon Shewmake and I joined forces to bring home $10 Million to support the City of Bellingham in restoring the Nooksack River to its original state. The small dam that channels the Nooksack water into Lake Whatcom will be removed next year in an effort to help endangered salmon and, by extension, Southern Resident killer whales.

I want to extend my appreciation for the supportive work of American Rivers, a national advocacy group working for the health of ecosystems across the country, as their continued efforts have helped the 40th LD and neighboring communities fulfill our dream of reestablishing access to critical spawning and rearing habitat for a number of endangered species.

Big Congratulations to Anacortes!

We keep doing great things in Anacortes!

On September 16th, Anacortes Mayor Laurie Gere and her team presented in a workshop that brought together local broadband projects from all over Washington State. These dedicated civil servants shared information and took time to learn about innovative solutions to bring high speed broadband to all Washingtonians.

Once again, this famous town on the Salish Sea shares their ideas with civic and community leaders, businesses, and local governments as we all work towards a bright future, and support development in Washington's rural communities.

This event was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Rural Development, the National Telecommunication and Information Administration, and the State of Washington with support from the Washington State Public Works Board, Community Economic Revitalization Board, Washington State University Extension Services, and the Lincoln County Economic Development Council.

Finding Balance For All Who Call This Home

Keith Wagoner, Washington State Senator from the 39th LD, and I joined Treaty of Point Elliot Tribes and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on an Elk Tour this week. As a member of the Washington State House Natural Resource Committee, it is a priority of my office to find the balance needed to manage natural resources and surrounding communities.

We toured several private properties, listened to local landowners, and Skagit County Commissioners in their concerns. My intent is to bring back to Olympia a strong bill that addresses the critical need for our State agency to have the funding, policies, and regulations that they need to thrive.

Our State agency is working hard with Tribal Leaders to find ways for the elk, our state resources, and communities to co-exist in a rural area they both call home.

Help Support the Skagit Valley Humane Society

Help the Humane Society of Skagit Valley raise funds for its Low-Income Spay and Neuter, and Second Chance Shelter Animal Medical Programs. Walk your pet, or walk alone but come help raise awareness and funds for the Humane Society of Skagit Valley.

We take a 2-mile walk at the Port of Skagit County Walking Trail located at Crosswinds Drive in front of the Heritage Museum of Flight.

Collect pledges from your sponsors prior to the event.


Honoring First Responders on Fantastic Friday

Dear Friends,

I want to take a moment on this Fantastic Friday to speak directly to our first responders, public safety, and emergency workers: you are fantastic, and we so greatly appreciate everything that you do for us!

On September 7th, Washington State was rocked by an incredible thunderstorm - over 200 hits per hour over a two-and-a-half-hour period. Hundreds of citizens were caught in dangerous situations that called on our first responders, public safety, and emergency workers. The dedicated efforts of our workers helped countless people across our great State.

We are immensely thankful for their service.

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

Remembering Lost Loved Ones

As this week comes to a close and we reflect on the tragic events of September 11th, let's take a quiet moment to honor those families and loved ones forever changed 18 years ago.

The shock waves of 9/11 are still felt today. To the memory of those lost, you live on in our hearts as part of the country sewn together through heartache and healing.

Back in Olympia for Committee Days! 

What an exciting few days! I am back in Olympia working hard for our District. The House Environment and Energy Committee discussed two excellent topics in our work session: (1) Air Quality in relation to Wildfires;(2) Water Quality in Washington State. I continue working to ensure both this generation and the next have clean air and water to breathe and drink.

There was a great energy in Olympia this week, I sat down with the Association of Washington Business, Lavle of Anacortes, the Department of Ecology Director Maria Bellon, and the Legislative Director for the Department of Natural Resources, Joanna Eide.

We’re all ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work!

San Juan Islands and Anacortes Education Round Table

The San Juan Islands and Anacortes school districts are facing tough challenges in their school year in 2020-2021. The 2019 State Legislature took action on the state levy that has impacted the Salish Sea island school districts, as well as twenty-five other districts.

Throughout the Legislative session, lead staff and I have had bi-weekly calls with superintendents from the 40th Legislative District. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all students in Washington State have access to the education they deserve, and that our youth are consistently put in positions to succeed.

Check out this article from The Seattle Times for more information on this important issue, and please feel free to reach out to me and my team with any direct concerns.

Valuing the Arts in Washington State, Pilchuck Glass School

I am always honored to support our fantastic arts programs in Washington State. Hundreds of students from around the world travel to the hills of Arlington to attend the Pilchuck Glass School.

The school was built in 1971 as a place for artists to learn the intricacies of glass art while surrounded by the beauty of the trees, resources, and big skies. The Pilchuck Glass School is a reflection of the diversity of people who make up our great State.

Let us continue to support the world of artists, as they make our world a better place.

Guemes Island Share Their Community

As I walked along the shorelines of Guemes Island with representatives of the Washington Association of Land Trusts, San Juan Preservation Trust, and the Skagit Land Trust, I learned more about the relationship these organizations have built with communities on the Island, and I gained a greater appreciation for the work they do every single day.

They are working together to restore and protect the beautiful lands that we all love in our District and State. I have always stated that the 40th LD is the most powerful District in the State, and I say this with pride, as our communities are invested in ensuring this place we call home is protected for generations to come.

ReSources Water Meeting.jpg

Working Together on Fantastic Friday!

Dear Friends,

First and foremost I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

I am honored to serve as the 40th Legislative District’s Representative, and I want to express my appreciation for American workers everywhere.

Together, each of you makes our home stronger, safer, and healthier for everyone. I am truly honored to serve our unions and workers, as they are the backbone of our communities. Let us all continue to build our future together and make our dreams the reality of today and tomorrows to come.

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

Re-Sources for Sustainable Communities, Bellingham, WA

As your representative, I am continuing to meet and learn from local governments, tribes, organizations, and agencies on the water situations around our 40th LD, and the state.

Our water and air do not adhere to state and local boundaries, as our environment is interconnected across the country and throughout the world. We need to rethink how we approach restoration and protection of our vital ecosystems.

With this in mind, it is important to me to sit down with all parties tied to managing water and resources. My visit with Re-Sources for Sustainable Communities provided an opportunity to discuss how their organization works to promote sustainable communities, and protect the health of northwest Washington’s people and ecosystems. I am honored to have their support to carry their work to Olympia.

Washington State Legislators Gear Up to Support WA Statewide Dental Health Bill

Over 20 Washington State Legislators and staff joined a work session at the Swinomish Tribe to discuss a bill that would provide increased dental health care statewide for vulnerable and underserved populations.

For many years Washington Legislators have worked to pass a bill that would provide a solution to our shortage of oral health providers by authorizing dental therapists to work across the state. For too many Washington families, timely and routine oral health care is out of reach. In 37 out of the state’s 39 counties, there are too few dental professionals to meet local needs.

By providing more levels of dental care, we can tackle the health crisis in our state. Let us be the place where all Washingtonians have and opportunity to access health care. Under a statewide bill, dental therapists would be licensed in Washington and held to the same high-quality standards as dentists, but trained to perform a narrower range of commonly needed procedures.

Friday Meetings in Bellingham!

Atul Deshmane, Whatcom County PUD Commissioner 1

Atul is an outstanding young leader in the Bellingham community, and it was excellent to discuss areas where we can work together. From infrastructure to climate change, Atul's experienced voice raises the level of discourse for our District.

Bill Lyne, President, United Faculty of Washington State and Director of College Promise Coalition and Western Washington University Ethnic Group

I was honored to sit with President Lyne to discuss the need to support higher education funding and programs. His years of experience as a professor came through in his commitment to fund and streamline programs to create a workforce education investment to train Washington students for Washington jobs.

Western Washington University students remarked on the importance of reviving the Ethnic Studies program. Together, we committed to work and raise awareness to conquer racism through education in universities – focusing on equality, diversity, and inclusion. Let us together invest in the future of Washington State by teaching our youth that we are all equal and we all deserve a chance to succeed.Alex Ramel, Executive Director of STAND

Bellingham rises strong in their courageous work to protect the environment for our community, District, and for Washington State. We were honored to have this opportunity to collaborate with STAND, Safe Energy Leadership Alliance, and Washington Environmental Council to help protect the Salish Sea. Not only do these organizations rise to the occasion to provide leadership for the Salish Sea, but they lead the way in international collaboration with fellow organizations.

Candice Wilson, Lummi Nation

It is always an honor to meet with longtime community and tribal leaders in the 40th LD. Candice Wilson, past Vice Chair of Lummi Nation Business Council and current Executive Director of the Lhaq’temish Foundation carries the voices of many community members.

Her leadership shines as she shares pathways to bring local, tribal, state, and federal families together to address many issues that impact all our families. Her strong guidance covers the opioid crisis, affordable housing and homelessness, public safety, and health care for all. She continues to share her voice to ensure all of those who call this wonderful place home will respect and honor it as much as she and her ancestors have done since time immemorial.


Investing In Our Future on Sensational Saturday!

Dear Friends,

First and foremost, let me extend my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to Governor Jay Inslee! In 1989, the United States gained a great leader who has always had Washington first in his heart. Governor, and former Congressman, Inslee never wavered in his decisions to ensure the future of his state would be prosperous and filled with the riches of a clean, healthy environment.

The Governor and I both believe that we need to give back to the communities and the people who have taken care us. In the past twenty years both of us have strived to learn from those around us, build our circles of trusted advisors on science, policy and law, and create a world that would make our ancestors proud.

Thank you, Governor Inslee, for being a leader who has never wavered in his fight against climate change. We are are living in a time when the Amazons lungs are full of smoke, the polar bears are walking through rivers that were once islands, and wild salmon are close to extinction – to say nothing of the other countless instances of the natural world being at risk. We are out of time my friends, and Governor Inslee has pushed open the door to fight for our generations to come, and it is up to us to walk through that door.

Walk with me.

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

WWU Investments and Project Funding

Western Washington University has had a successful year with a rich attendance rate filled with diverse students! The growth comes with great investment from WA State Legislature, and I want to share a few of our investments here.

One critical investment is full funding of the State Need Grant (renamed the Washington College Grant) and a guarantee that all eligible students will receive the award by academic year 2020-21, as well as an expansion of income eligibility. This is a tremendous step in making higher education in Washington accessible and affordable, regardless of family income.

For Western in particular, $3.4 million was appropriated to increase access to STEM degrees. The 2019-21 operating budget also includes funding to support faculty and staff salary increases, including a 3 percent annual compensation increase in both years of the 2019-21 biennium.

The 2019-21 capital budget also included $2 million in design funding for a new electrical engineering and computer science building, with a budget proviso to fully fund the building in the following biennium, with the University raising 10 percent of the construction costs from private philanthropy.

From WWU Website:

The 2019-21 capital budget includes many important infrastructure projects at Western. The legislature fully funded WWU’s top capital budget priority: $60 million for construction of a new interdisciplinary science building. This critical project is an important first step in addressing growing classroom and lab capacity constraints across many science departments. Construction of the building is scheduled to begin January 2020 and be completed by June 2021.

Other notable investments include $3 million for classroom and lab upgrades, funding for minor works and building repair projects across campus, and authority for WWU to self-finance up to $9.95 million for the construction of a new academic support services building, which would potentially free up additional academic space in the campus core.

The funding for these investments was largely provided through passage of House Bill 2158, which creates a dedicated funding source for higher education through a targeted increase in taxes for certain businesses in the state that rely on employees with college degrees. I’m grateful to the members of the Legislature and Governor Inslee for their vision, hard work, and willingness to make tough choices in order to achieve this milestone for Washingtonians.

Anacortes and Oras Island School District Meet with Representative Lekanoff

Our rural school districts in the Washington’s 40th Legislative District have been struggling with the recent legislative decision on the levy cap. The levies, or district approved taxes, were used by schools to supplement state allowances for programs. Most of these programed ranged from extracurricular activities to special education.

The decision on the levies would include tough negotiations for the Governor's Office, 25 members of the Senate and fifty members of the House. The decision made would impact 264 school districts, thousands of our youth, and the future of Washington State.

In the next few weeks I will be holding session with our school districts to learn more of the impacts and to work with our local officials to address this in Olympia in the 2020 Legislative Session.

Representative Lekanoff Meets with Anacortes Mayor Laura Gere

Anacortes continues to invest in today's top technology, bringing their community into new age of fast internet services. In doing so, they provide services to citizens, business, medical and emergency facilities, as well as schools and libraries.

In my visit with Mayor Gere, I shared in her excitement in the opportunities this investment in infrastructure brings to the 40th LD.

The City of Anacortes is improving the reliability and speed of internet services in town by constructing a fiber optic-based internet network for commercial and residential use. High quality affordable fiberoptic technology gives consumers access to top notch internet, and provides our community with new opportunities. Greater accessibility and faster speeds translates into improved business performance, which can lead to the creation of jobs, innovative business solutions, and business expansion as companies grow or relocate in Anacortes.

There’s a Bright Future on #FantasticFriday

Dear Friends,

It has been a busy week filled lots of time with both my daughter Emma, and our extended family across the State. My most treasured moment was watching Washington House Speaker Designee Laura Jinkins laughing and talking with Emma as a next generation Washingtonian.

Speaker Designee Jinkins spent a day visiting the 40th LD, and I was honored to be invited to work with her as she visited with many of our Representatives and I. She is a mother, a leader, a community member, and a Washingtonian through and through. Speaker Designee Jinkins takes great pride in ensuring all our voices are heard at the table, together. I am looking forward to this upcoming session, and I am looking forward to making decisions that reflect the values of the 40th and this place we all call home.

Congratulations to Speaker Designee Jinkins! Thank you for visiting the 40th!

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

Visiting Kelly's Point 

Earlier this week I was honored to host Joe Fitzgibbon, Washington’s 34th Legislative District Representative, and Sergeants Russ Mullins and Ralph Downes from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement in our 49th District.

Representative Fitzgibbon and I both served in leadership roles on the Washington State House Environmental and Energy Committee. We have supported powerful legislation that supports the healing of the Salish Sea and her resources as the Chair and Vice-Chair respectively.

We visited Kelly's Point on Guemes Island, a parcel that was acquired by WDFW enforcement's Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program and the Skagit Land Trust to preserve 26 acres of scarce coastal forest, intertidal wetlands, and nearshore habitat.

Conservation of this high and actively eroding feeder bluff permanently protects natural processes that create and maintain North Puget Sound nearshore ecosystems. Protection will extinguish all development and logging rights, allowing these unarmored bluffs to retain their important ecological and process functions.

After visiting Kelly’s Point, we went out to Seal Rock to visit with the harbor seals and sea lions. Then journeyed out to the west end of San Juan Island alongside Washington's famed whale watching vessels to observe our neighboring whale pod. Although we did not see the Southern Resident Orca pod – they were up in Canada feeding – we did see humpback and minke whales.

We learned that the Southern Residents have been seen just three times in the San Juan Islands this year, while in the past they were sighted thirty days in a row. The staff also informed us that at times the Southern Residents will spread out in a twenty-five mile radius to feed, whereas in the past these whales were able to stay close together while feeding.

The characteristics of this pod are evolving, with a new matriarch, and new feeding patterns. For me, as a Washington resident, I know that we too must adapt and provide policies that protect and honor them and this place they have called home for hundreds of years longer than we have.

American Indian Health Commission

For the past three years I have worked with the American Indian Health Commission (, to provide Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention Summits. In 2015 the Commission partnered with Lummi Nation, and hosted the first Suicide Prevention Summit – over 300 students from grade school to college attended the event.

Each year the Summits have grown, with participation from Alaska to Florida, and each year we share more and more prevention tools, in both culture and western science for our youth.

As a Washington State Representative, I believe it is my responsibility to ensure we provide funding for programs that help all Washingtonians, and as the only Native American Woman to serve in the 2019-2020 Washington Legislature, I bring a unique voice to share with my colleagues. Together we can make the tough decisions on policies, programs, and funding that will ensure we reach all corners of our mighty State.

It is an honor to partner with Upper Skagit Tribe Vice Chair Marilyn Scott, American Indian Health Commission Jan Olmstead, Washington Representative Tina Orwall, Washington House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox, and Swinomish Senator Barbara James to find common pathways to heal our communities.


Events and the Environment on #FantasticFriday

Dear Friends,

I was honored to join my colleague from the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs, Director Craig Bill, to share information with the Washington State Women’s Commission on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

The Commission is an important partner to the WA State Legislature, as their bipartisan support is of the utmost importance to achieve equal opportunity for all citizens, and all women as we all face our own unique problems and needs.

Together, with the Commission and State Legislature, we will continue to work together to improve the lives, and safety of women and children. As your State Representative, I will continue to promote laws, policies, and programs that ensure funding is in place to provide the services to meet the needs of women, and to provide the comfort needed for all who live here to call it a great home.

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

Snake River Dam

The future of the Snake River Dam is one of the most important decisions the Federal Government will make for our Nation. The Oregon, Idaho, and Washington State legislatures will have the responsibility of working together to find implementation solutions for the future, independent of that decision.

My Snake River Dam tour provided a boots on the ground experience that will bolster my support on this issue, which will impact generations of communities, tribes, and states.

I want to extend my deepest respect to the salmon who have had their way of life forever impacted, to the industries needing to adapt in a shifting world, and to the communities and individuals who have had the courage to share their voices and their thoughts.

Frasier River Big Bar Landslide

In early June, the Canadian Government came across a devastating landslide. It is located along a narrow canyon, and has made the area virtually impassable for migrating salmon. Four hours north of the US Border salmon are fighting for their survival. The Frasier River crisis will impact the fish industry today and in the future in the entire Northwest – Alaska, Canada, Washington, even south to Oregon, and California.

Officials with Federal, Provincial, and Indigenous governments are working together to rehabilitate the river and create a natural passageway for the salmon. Washington State and Washington Tribes are collaborating to support the crisis with experts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Climate Change

Climate change recognizes no political party, border or race. Climate change impacts us all, and therefore it will take each and every one of us to make a difference and right the ship.

I was honored to be the opening keynote for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Climate Change Summit, which hosted over 150 attendees from tribal governments, state and local governments, and organizations across North America. The Summit focused on tribal climate change resiliency, protecting and applying Traditional Knowledges in climate change initiatives, and implementing a unified tribal climate change policy agenda.

I was blessed to be the recipient of the Rising Environmental Leader Award from the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and I am proud of what we have accomplished to combat climate change. We have much work left to do, but together I know we will get it done.

Three Killer Whales Announced Deceased

Each day we look to the Salish Sea, we hope to be one of the lucky few who witness the passing of our Southern Resident Killer Whales. The return of the pod is like family coming home, and we can’t wait to see them.

Our heartache is immeasurable upon learning that three of our family members did not return. Our small family of killer whales fell to seventy three after three orcas went missing, and we mourn the pod's loss.

It has been more than a month since two of our three pods were spotted in their summer waters. The final pod has not been seen in the inland Salish Sea at all, according to the Seattle Times. Instead, the whales have stayed on the outer coast all summer.

The Washington State Southern Killer Whale Taskforce has worked hard to turn back the harm of the environment and way of life that has destroyed the Killer Whales and her resources. For the past hundred and fifty years we have lived in a pollution based economy. Today we face the implications – witnessing our Killer Whales starving to death.


Collaboration and Care on #FantasticFriday

Dear Friends,

Everyday we have an opportunity to make a difference, and it is an honor to witness the 40th Legislative District and its surrounding Legislative Districts rise to be better. We work across all governing bodies and parties to make a difference for all. These last few weeks I have heard many voices discussing opportunities that impact jobs, industry, environment, and quality of life.

I have been all over our District this week and engaged in discussions ranging from education funding to infrastructure, and there is one common thread:

We cannot resolve any one issue alone, we must work together across all levels of government to improve our communities.

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

Tribal Canoe Journeys 30th Anniversary

This week we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Tribal Canoe Journeys.

I was so excited to have the House Democratic Communications office capture the story of how the Journey celebrates the First Washingtonians, the Indigenous people of the Salish Sea and her biome, and the Pacific Ocean shores.

Over 100 traditional tribal canoes paddled from British Columbia First Nations and Washington Tribes to the shores of Lummi Nation. The Journey shared the rich history of the Coast Salish and welcomed all to be part of celebrating who we are as Indigenous people. The Journey is a foundation of family bloodlines, and a foundation for how Tribal Nation’s and Washington State can better work together to find common pathways for us all.

The crisis of “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women” was the primary message shared through out the Journey. Our bloodlines, cultures, and relationships are intertwined from Alaska, Canada and the United States. When a Native women goes missing it impacts all of our tribal and urban communities.

Joint Water Supply Taskforce

Friday was full of hope and respect for all at our Skagit Kitchen Table.

I wanted to thank my colleagues, Senators Keith Wagoner, John McCoy, and Judy Warnick, Representatives Strom Peterson, Bruce Chandler, Norma Smith, and many other members of the Joint Legislative Task Force on Water Supply for meeting in the Skagit.

We are continuing to identify living solutions for water supply needs for the salmon, seeds, and homes in this precious and unique watershed. We are committed to solutions for all.

Honoring One Another

Over the last several weeks of Fantastic Fridays, I have wanted to acknowledge all of the unique community members who call the 40th LD home. In today's Fantastic Friday I wanted to reiterate collaboration and care, as we are all part of one story.

That one story we share is a foundation to all of our relationships, and that our strength lies in learning and honoring one another. On this Fantastic Friday, take the time to sit with someone to share your story and to listen to theirs with respect, and understanding as we make decisions that honor the past, and move forward into our future.

July 19, 2019


It’s A Love Filled #FantasticFriday

Dear Friends,

My own experience as a woman of color running in the 40th has many layers. Though there were tough times of racism, of those who said, "you don't belong..." "you don't have the experience..." and "go back to where you came from." I rose from that situation and surrounded myself with those who were forward thinkers. People who could recognize the hardship and gain strength from it. I took on the opportunity to stand for diversity and to ensure every person knows that their voice matters. Their life matters. And I truly respect and honor all.

My story is your story and every step I take as your 40th Representative is a step taken for you. We can no longer allow the ugliness of the Trump Administration to destroy our America, and we must rise to the values passed down from generation to generation. We will fight to protect our rights to our bodies. We will protect our children and raise them with love. We will ensure every person has an opportunity for an education and career that THEY want and deserve. We will respect our neighbors. We will have cool and clean water, healthy habitats, and protect our resources that give so much back to us.

We will rise and remember: we can only do better together.

To my women of color, we belong right here and we are not going anywhere. America is our Home.

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

Debra Visits the 40th

These past few weeks have been filled with different working meeting that grow my agenda for the 2020 Legislative Session.

Luckily, I've had time to spend at home, and gotten a chance to meet many of you. A good visit with constituents is always refreshing and enlightening.

The Love of Bellingham PRIDE

Love who you love. You matter.

I was so happy to join hundreds of wonderful, beautiful people at the Bellingham Pride Parade. Voices of all ages echoed though the streets of Bellingham as we joined the long list of Pride Celebrations. My feet could not keep up with the excitement to say hello and share my love and support for everyone.

I continue to fight to protect our rights to be who we are and to love who we want, as there this is your choice. Thank you Bellingham for a day filled with music, laughter, smiles, happiness, and the love of PRIDE.

Lekanoff Joins Governor Inslee for Ribbon Cutting for Silfab Solar                                                                   

In Bellingham, I was honored to join Governor Jay Inslee on a visit, and joined Silfab Solar CEO Paolo Maccarrio in the ribbon cutting for one of the nation’s largest solar panel manufactures. We talked about his contributions and success in Washington, and his vision for the future of the country.

Silfab Solar is a company that reflects the values of the 40th to protect the environment and fight climate change, and to do so in a manner based on sound science. With just over 100 well paying jobs, the company draws in youth who have been trained by our own local colleges and university. We are building a Washington in the 40th to reflect the quality of life we are striving towards for all.

Lavle is Seeking a Home in the 40th

I am honored to join Representative David Paul, 10th LD, with Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown and Governor's staff, in a tour of the Lavle company located in Burlington, WA. Lavle is a new venture company that combines advanced energy storage technologies, marine engineering, design, and systems integration services.

Their company provides products and services to the defense, renewable energy, and marine transportation industries. In the coming months their company will be seeking to build their venture in the Skagit/Anacortes areas, and we are working hard to ensure our communities are ready for the growth of up to potentially 2000 jobs and new families who are looking to call this beautiful area home.

In my view of working with Lavle, they are a company that invests in places that carry strong values of being part of a community that takes care of one another, builds strong families and education, invests in workforce development, and ensures their company fits into the values of the place they will call home.

July 12, 2019


It's a NATURAL RESOURCES kind of #FantasticFriday

Dear Friends,
This week is all about NATURAL RESOURCES and learning from the best, our WA farmers! I spent the week traveling between Legislative Districts and visited the 7th LD with Representative Joel Kretz alongside my colleagues from the Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Make sure to read all about our visit below along with my meeting with Skagit Farmers on Agriculture Sustainability right here in the 40th!

Before I sign off this week, I wanted to also send an update regarding an error that I made in my excitement supporting our Washington candidates. I want to wish Mike Pellicciotti best wishes in his run for WA State Treasurer and my dear friend Bob Ferguson the best campaign to continue his service as Washington's Attorney General.

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

Protect Our Communities of Color

I am proud to stand alongside our communities of color as they call on our Federal government to close the inhumane detention centers and stop the ICE raids. And we can't stop there!

The situation at the border is unacceptable and brings fear to all of our families, children, and communities. This is history repeating itself. We cannot continue these detention camps as we did with our Japanese Americans and Alaska Natives. As a First American, this behavior and treatment is inhumane and un-American. We cannot allow our families to hide in fear of being taken away for what they look like and for trying to find hope and a home in our country.

Fathers, mothers, children are horrible conditions: filth living conditions, malnutrition with little food, no place to sleep and unhealthy conditions with days of no showers.

My heart is broken for the babies being torn away from their mothers and fathers, and with their cries of hunger, suffering, and loneliness. Can you imagine if this was your child and can you hear their cries in your heart? They came with hope for a new life, and this is how this America treats them.

Enough is Enough. Don't be afraid to share your voice and say: "We will not treat others in this way, not in my America. We Rise Together."

WA State Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meet on Natural Resource Management in the 7th District

Washington State is filled with those monumental places that fill your soul, and the 7th Legislative District is one of those places for me. I was truly honored to be with my colleagues and meet with the community members of the 7th District with Representative Joel Kretz.

Our Rural Development Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee Chairman Brian Blake and staff set up a tour of the 7th LD to hear from local community members about the solutions for the upcoming legislative session. These tours allowed us to be boots on the ground with local citizens, staff from local, state, and federal agencies and organizations. It is highly valuable for us to take back to Olympia the voices from this District who are are giving us real life local situations.

“This valley is unique with the ancestral homelands of WA Tribes and generations of families and livelihoods that are all intertwined with an ecology that sustains their way of life together.” -Rep. Lekanoff

Rep. Lekanoff Meets with Skagit Farmers on Agricultural Sustainability in the 40th

I am honored to coordinate with Skagit Preserve Farmland to host a "Debra's Kitchen Table" listening session on the sustainability of agriculture in the 40th. The voices of generations of family farms shared their story with me, about the the love they have of the Skagit and their way of life that has sustained their families for generations.

The discussion was rich in describing the value of all resources that are intertwined in the Skagit way of life. Their stories of families intertwined by the holistic circle of life of agricultural, salmon, tourism, and industry were laid out at the Debra's Kitchen Table discussion. The Skagit is one of many areas in Washington State that is striving to develop one of the most prestigious water management plans in the Nation. The value of the conversation for Debra was to learn more about the 40th's farmers efforts to manage water in an efficient way that respects the laws, coordinates with the governing bodies, and honors the quality of life who all call the beautiful Skagit home.

Skagit Preserve Farmlands - An organization that helps set Debra's Kitchen Table

Farming roots run generations deep in the rich, fertile Skagit Valley. In the late 1800s early settlers discovered a valuable resource beneath the harvest of the valley’s towering fir and cedar trees and along its marshy shores—soil built up over thousands of years that would grow just about anything. A complex system of dikes and drainage infrastructure was developed to make the lower Skagit River Delta lands suitable for farming.

Over the years, the Skagit Valley has been recognized as having some of the most agriculturally productive and valuable farmland in the world—ranked in the top 2 percent of soils. More than 80 different crops plus livestock and dairy products are produced here. More flower bulbs are grown here than any U.S. county. It’s a major producer of vegetable seeds shipped throughout the world. However, poised between the major metropolitan areas of Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., Skagit County has faced, and continues to face, growing population, development and regulatory pressures. Farmers confront additional economic pressures from unpredictable crop prices, competition from corporate agriculture and climatic uncertainties.

July 5, 2019

An Independence Day Fantastic Friday

Dear Friends,

This week we are celebrating the endless opportunities Independence Day 2019 have brought to our attention as a district and as citizens of this nation.

As we head into the weekend, let us honor those who have ensured we have a beautiful 40th Legislative District and Washington State! We give thanks to our past and to our present who have risen to protect a shared way of life and our seven generations of decision making.

The 40th LD holds many treasures - the San Juan Islands and our mighty orcas and the future San Juan Monument, the Blanchard Mountain and her beautiful forests and trail systems, rich farm fields of the Whatcom, San Juan, Samish and Skagit that are full of raspberries, flowers, potatoes, wheat and spinach, and the mighty Skagit River being the only river in the lower 48 to produce all five species of Wild Salmon, and the Treaty Resources of WA Tribes.

We must remember that we are all in this together. We, the tax payers of the 40th - the doctors, fisherman, entrepreneurs, artists, kayaking guides, refinery operators, caregivers, and co-op grocers - have a responsibility to carefully hold salmon eggs in one hand and seeds in the other to come together as one voice and move the story of the Skagit, Whatcom, Samish, and San Juan families forward when we come to the table to address critical historical issues as a community.

Let us gather around our collective kitchen table to bring the best of our values to an open dialogue with one another and find real constructive solutions. I am opening my arms as wide as they could possibly grow and will be the first one at that table to help us heal and create new history, together.

We have it all in the 40th and tonight we can stop and appreciate those who we call friends, colleagues, and family. Before I sign off tonight, I want to acknowledge the challenges that we are facing on the national level and want to reiterate my commitment to leading by example from our local government by standing for human rights on our boarders and in our workforce, protecting and investing in our children, supporting labor and unions, and continuously advocating for the health and safety of our first responders.

“We are the awesome 40th. We are the mighty Washington State. We are the United States of America. We Rise.”

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

P.S. Thank you all for enjoying my Fantastic Friday's, as it is important to share with you my experiences as your elected official. Check out this week's details below!

Washington State Academy of Sciences

As many of you have seen, I serve on many difference task forces that reflect the goals of the 40th. With this work comes a great deal of learning on hot topics that require sound science. You all might recall my motto in policy, and that is: "Debra loves Science, and Science loves Debra!"

I wanted to introduce you to the Washington State Academy of Sciences. WSAS provides expert scientists to provide third party reviews and recommendation to the Legislature, Governor's Office, and Agencies. I have a few studies that I am working on with them and hope to share who they are and a bit of the work we are doing together. 

First and foremost, thank you Governor Gregorian who shares the vision of providing sound science to policy makers.

WSAS President: Ronald Thom, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Staff Scientist Emeritus, Coastal Sciences Division

WSAS Executive Director: Donna Riorden, Donna Gerardi Riordan joined the Academy in 2017 with three decades of experience in science policy. With degrees from Georgetown University and George Washington University, she served for 14 years as a staff member at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., where she founded and directed its Office of Public Understanding of Science.

Background: Establishment of a Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS) was first recommended by Governor Gregoire in 2005 to improve public policies and programs through the integration of informed, independent scientific analysis and communication with policy makers. Although Washington State has always had highly qualified persons in a wide range of scientific disciplines, WSAS was created to provide an organizational structure where the scientific community could effectively respond to requests for unbiased assessments of complex public policy questions. On April 16, 2005, Engrossed Senate Bill 5381, requested by Governor Gregoire, was unanimously passed authorizing the creation of WSAS. WSAS’s principle mission, established by legislation, is the “provision of scientific analysis and recommendations on questions referred to the academy by the governor, the governor’s designee, or the legislature.”



Law Seminars International

I was honored to be invited to speak at the 28th Annual Conference on Critical Developments in Water Law and Resource Management in Washington. The Seminar covered the major legislative changes, final Yakima adjudication decision, drought and flood adaptation, instream flows, water supplies, as well as other vital water issues for Washington State. Let me be honest, many of you know I can carry a good message, but standing infront of a room full of WA State's incredible attorneys, environmental and land use professionals, local government and Tribal representatives, planners, landowners, water users, and other stakeholders is quite an experience.

Here is a bit of background on the seminar as I hope to share with you a bit of the value of attending these information sharing sessions and networking with folks that impact the development and implementation of state policy.

Background: May 9, 2019 represents a historic moment for water resource management in Washington because it is the date of Judge James J. Gavin's final order in the 40-year Acquavella Yakima River Basin Adjudication. We'll start this year's program with a detailed update on the decision, substantive and procedural lessons learned, and the implications for water rights transfers and other adjudications.

This year also sees renewed interest in addressing climate change, due to extreme weather events and the resulting droughts, fires, and flooding. You'll have a chance to hear from an expert on new developments in climate science, emerging Artificial Intelligence tools for improving our predictive abilities, and operational strategies for addressing the impacts. One of the potential solutions is water storage, and we'll have a presentation on Ecology's dam safety study and how safety risks should factor into water resource planning.

Another key recent development was the Agua Caliente Supreme Court decision on Tribal reserved water rights. We'll have the lead Tribal trial counsel from that case to discuss the ruling and implications for Tribes wanting to use reserved rights to develop water supplies.

SB 6091 and the Foster decision have led to a number of pilot projects and task force investigations relating to instream flows. We also have new developments to discuss with regard to Columbia River resource management. 

I was joined by three esteemed panel members and together we presented on the Instream Flow Restoration Under SB 6091 and the Foster Decision. Together, we gave an overview and perspectives on the pending issues and most problematic basins: Foster pilot projects; Skagit Basin Task Force; prospects for extending the joint legislative task force, funding changes, and changes to Ecology's rules. I was thankful to share the mic with Dave Christensen , Program Development Manager, Water Resources Program Washington State Department of Ecology, Jason Van Gilder, PE , Associate Engineer - Public Works, City of Sumner / Sumner, WA, and Joseph E. Becker, LHG, PG, RPG , Principal Hydrogeologist, President & General Manager.


Supporting Candidates! 

I want to ensure we GET THE VOTE OUT for the upcoming August Primaries and November General Election. Please remember the 2019 Elections is vital to all of us. Many do not have the right to vote or they have traveled hundreds of miles and suffered to have the right to vote in our America. 

It was extremely exciting to be invited to attend events for Mike Pelliccoitti for State Secretary, Drew Hanson exploratory run for Attorney General, Hilary Franz for Department of Natural Resources Lands Commissioner, Carrie Blackwood for State Senate for the 40th, and share best wishes with Bob Ferguson in his exploratory race for Governor. My most exciting time was watching our Washington State Governor Inslee share the most quotable moment in the debate, "the biggest threat to the security of the United States is Donald Trump" At the end of the day our Governor rose to the top and reminded us all that we have one strategy, and for me that is to ensure we win in 2020 so we can together be One American.


Another Fantastic Friday!

June 14, 2019

Dear Friends,

As one of the 75 members of the Governor's Executive Order Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force, I am putting our communities first on land and under the sea. This week, with sadness in my heart I looked into the tear filled eyes of our community's matriarchs as we honored Tokitae,  the daughter of the southern Killer Whale Pod's matriarch. Tokitae was captured by net in the 1970s with the intent to be sold. For over 49 years this brave girl has lived in a small pool as part of an entertainment show swimming around in circles in the blazing sun. She has been alone, singing the songs taught by her mother, but never knowing her mother, the love of her pod, or being part of her family.

Additionally, we welcomed home the Totem that shared the story of Tokitae with our Country. The Lummi Nation were joined by tribes and citizens to stand together and build a home in the Salish Sea to bring her home.

As the state legislator for the 40th, as a Mom, and as a Native American whose spirit is intertwined with the Killer Whale, it is my inherit responsibility to care for all. Together may we bring her home to a healthy Salish Sea that is filled with an abundance of salmon, cool and clean water, and a place she can feel is home. 

We are all family and I spent this week reflecting on what that means and investing time into our community with a new perspective lent to me by Tokitae. See my update from the community this week below.

Have a Fantastic Friday,
Rep. Lekanoff

Killer Whales & Our Community

In 2018 my heart cried along with thousands across the nation and world as we witnessed the grief of a Mother Killer Whale as she carrying her baby over 1000 miles in the Salish Sea for 17 days. We can no longer allow business as usual in the Salish Sea and allow this pollution based economy continue to destroy Musqstem -  "the water and all that is in it."  It will take all of the Salish Sea's governing bodies, organizations, and citizens to have the will to make those hard decisions, to make a change, so the future may have a chance to survive. 

The southern resident orcas have declined to a 30-year low of just 74 animals, following the death of seven individuals in 2017 and, more recently, the death of Scarlet (J50) in September 2018. This alarming decline signals that the southern resident population is in severe jeopardy and at risk of extinction if no action is taken. (Source: Puget Sound Partnership)

The primary factors threatening orcas in Puget Sound are:

  1. Lack of Prey (Specifically Chinook Salmon);

  2. Toxic contaminants in the water and their food; and

  3. Noise pollution and Vessel Traffic.

We will work together to make those next hard recommendations to the Governor and State legislature to take bold steps forward. I have brought the British Columbia First Nations to the table to share that this is an international crisis and it will take us all.

The Task Force agrees in the importance of this issue. Ray Harris, co-chair of the First Nation Summit and Coast Salish Gathering, said for area tribes the Taskforce is a ray of hope for saving the whales they consider family.

“We still remember the time that us and the whale, the wolves and others were equal,” he said. “The care and concern we have for the whale is beyond deep. We have no choice but to turn to each of you to ask you to help save the whale.”

It has been 10 months since the initial Task Force meeting in August 2018, and the messages are still as strong then as they are today.

"For over 150 years the Salish Sea has been filled with pollution that fills the foods and bodies of my people, the Coast Salish. These waters are filled with poison that have destroy millions of salmon and resources, and today kills and starves Killer Whale. Let me be clear with you all, we have been in a crisis for a long time. It is time for all of us to have the courage to make a change," said a Task Force member.

Skagit Preserves Farmland

From the sea to the land, I joined 200 farmers at the SPF's 5th Annual “Our Valley, Our Future” Breakfast. The gathering provided an opportunity to honor innovative farming that builds the future of an industry that has been part of the valley for over five generations. It was an honor to witness the SPF awards given to those farmers who are the past, present, and future of the Skagit Valley and together celebrating the innovation and technology utilized in Skagit agriculture.

I look forward to learning more from keynote speaker Diane Szukovathy who co-owns and operates Jello Mold Farm with her husband, Dennis Westphall. Their seven-acre farm is located in Washington State’s Skagit Valley, where they grow a diverse range of floral cuts, focusing especially on woody, perennial, and foliage crops. Diane is a founding member of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market Cooperative (SWGMC) and has served as board chair since the co-op’s beginning in 2011. She is known in the Pacific Northwest for her dedication to elevating the business of small scale flower farming through numerous speaking gigs, an on-farm internship program and shared marketing efforts through the co-op.

Graduation 2019

Families and friends gather to celebrate the graduation of thousands of young ones who are starting their next chapter in life. These youngsters are building their Table of Life and making choices of who to have at the table and how to manage the decisions on the choices evolving from the Table. Our young people's Tables will be built on their courage and their choices. May they be open to diversity and acknowledge that each person has a voice and in their life time will learn to "hear" all. We have an opportunity as communities to invest in our education from early childhood to college and technical school to the workforce, and by investing now, we can build the economies of Washington State.

LAVLE Corporation

The LAVLE Corporation and I continue to work together as part of our investment in the 40th LD. LAVLE Corporation, headquartered in Anacortes, WA, is a joint venture company that combines advanced energy storage technologies from the Japanese battery technology company 3DOM with the best-in-class marine engineering, design, and systems integration services of Ockerman Automation to provide products and services to the defense, renewable energy, and marine transportation markets.

LAVLE looks forward to expanding its operations in throughout the 40th LD. The company's made an investment in the Port of Skagit with 50 new jobs and is now looking to invest and grow its company with a projected 2000 jobs. I am working closely with this dynamic company that reflects the future of Washington with business opportunities that stretch from forest products to maritime, innovations in technology that will support new business opportunities with all of our key industry sectors. We can build our economies with environmental integrity, and LAVLE's one those industries that reflect a future of clean energy.

Skagit County Commissioners and Puget Sound Partnership Hold a Workshop in the Valley

Over 50 Skagitian leaders participated in a Skagit County Commissioner work session with Puget Sound Partnership to learn more about the salmon recovery and habitat restoration in the Skagit. County Public Works, under the leadership of Dan Berentson shared programs from Skagit County Water Quality and Habitat Programs from the Evolution of Skagit County’s Agriculture Critical Areas Ordinance; Skagit County Monitoring Plan; Voluntary Stewardship Program; Habitat restoration; Clean Samish Initiative; Drainage Consortium Partnership; Skagit Conservation District; Questions and discussion. The second half of the meeting covered: overview and orientation to the Skagit Watershed ;Status of salmon populations; Water quality status and trends; Skagit Watershed Council 2017 riparian assessment; Effectiveness of restoration projects; Agricultural lands and production. We wrapped up the day with a round table on improving water quality in the lower Skagit River; Overview of Leadership Council Resolution #2019-02; Overview of the Lower Skagit Temperature TMDL; Partner perspectives: improving water quality in the lower Skagit River; and, Discussion and Synthesis.  

We had full day of discussion on the years of work done by the County. The day also shared the collaboration of salmon restoration projects that was done by Skagit County, Skagit Watershed Council and Skagit River System Cooperative, co owned by Swinomish Tribe and Sauk Suaitle Tribe. 

The PSP shared the importance of farm and fish to the Skagit, but also to the State of Washington. Their commitment to the Skagit came two fold: from political funding to support for both industries.

May 31, 2019

Fantastic Fridays are Back! A Special Message from Rep. Lekanoff

This week I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the Earthjustice annual meeting in Union, Washington with an inspirational message that supported the work that Earthjustice and many environmental organizations do for the state of Washington and for the Nation.
Earlier this week I attended the Lummi Nation Family Services event, learning with others how we can better improve early childhood education and investing in our future leaders.
It was a privilege to meet with Representative Mia Gregerson, Senator McCoy, and Senator Sam Hunt this week to discuss how we can continue to build tribal and state relationships through collaboration and finding the best decisions on important matters for all of Washington State.
On Tuesday, I was honored to host Governor Jay Inslee and First Lady Trudy Inslee and Senator Lisa Wellman right here in the Skagit to talk about broadband in rural Washington. I was so proud to introduce our guests to our 40th LD local officials, tribes, businesses, and citizens to talk about the amazing work by the City of Anacortes – our FIRST city in North America to build a fiber optic backbone in active water lines – and commend the Ports of Skagit, Anacortes, and Bellingham for investing in the future and collaborating to bring fiber optics and infrastructure right to the 40th LD’s front door!

Our District is leading in rural economic development for the entire state of Washington and proving what we can do when we all come to the table!

Keep an eye out for another special message from me early next week.

As always, have a Fantastic Friday!

Rep. Lekanoff

May 24, 2019


Dear Friends,

On behalf of Rep. Debra Lekanoff and the Vote Debra Lekanoff Team, we are excited to announce our reprisal of our Fantastic Friday emails! Catch up on current events, happenings, and updates. Without further delay, check out what we've been up to lately.

Happy Fantastic Friday!
Rep. Debra Lekanoff

Port of Bellingham

As your Rep., it is important to explore all opportunities and build relationships across all parties through collaboration within the 40th. Recently, I headed up to the Port of Bellingham to meet with over 50 industry, commercial, and tribal fisherman at Bellingham Cold Storage to learn more about the potential investment of Hatcheries in the North Puget Sound. The Port of Bellingham and City of Bellingham have an opportunity to continue to work together and invest in potential opportunities that reflect the values of the 40th LD for generations with a strong work force, a prosperous water front, and a healthy Salish Sea with a rich abundance of marine life and salmon.

Working Together for All Citizens

It is an honor to be engage with over 57 Regional Northwest Tribes at the Affiliated Northwest Tribes of Indians (ATNI) Convention. The Convention is a place where all federally recognized tribes from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and northern California gather to build a better future for all communities. For over 60 years, ATNI Conventions are where members convene for discussion, presentations and the work of the committees in regard to policy, legislation, and the future of Indian Country in the Northwest. We can do better for all citizens when we can work together.

Water, Washingtonians, Co-Chairs, & Task Forces

Water is vital to all Washingtonians, and it is an honor to be appointed as Co-Chair alongside Co-Chair Senator Keith Wagner to the Washington State Joint Water Supply Task Force. Senator Wagner and I are joined by Senator John McCoy, Senator Marko Liias, Representative Brian Blake, and Representative Strom Peterson. The purpose of the Task Force is to learn and review the needs and allocation of both ground and surface water. The Skagit Basin, like many basins around this nation, face the reality of many demands from laws such as the instream flow to protect the treaty rights of salmon, the rich industry of great economic value of agricultural uses, the demands of growth of families and needs of household uses and and the deviation of climate change impacts from floods to droughts.  Only together with all parties at table who bring science, policy, and legal with a willingness to collaborate at a table, can we help respect the needs and work towards common goals, as we all need water.

Council of State Governments

This month, I also received the honor of being appointed to the Council of State Governments (CSG West) Water & Environmental Committee. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization serving Western State legislatures, CSG West strives to support those legislators who seek to foster the exchange of ideas, cultivate relationships, and promote regional vision based on common interests that transcend state and international Boards.

 "Your perspective, experience and involvement are extremely valuable." - CSG West

Chosen for leadership in the Alaska, Oregon, and Washington Joint Memorial on International Year of the Salmon and the Joint Memorial with Senator John McCoy on protecting the Upper Skagit Headwaters was a stand out to CSG West and the work on culverts with fellow legislators and local governments can only help us grow the relationship needed too support all industries in Washington State, build workforces for every Washingtonian, and better understand and promote collaboration for all who call this great state home.

December 17, 2018

Representative-Elect Debra Lekanoff Receives House Committee Assignments

Olympia, WA | On Thursday, December 13, 2018, Committee assignments for the upcoming Washington State legislative session were announced by the House Democratic Caucus. Representative Elect Debra Lekanoff was appointed Vice Chair of the Environmental and Energy Committee.

“I am honored to represent the values of the 40th LD in our state legislature. If we stay true to our values we can achieve both economic prosperity and protect the environment throughout our state,” said Lekanoff. “My portfolio of committees weave together opportunities that reflect the voices that called for action in the area of taking care this place we all call home.”

Representative-Elect Lekanoff will also serve on two additional committees, Agriculture & Natural Resources and Captial Budget.

"We need to make bold incremental changes to our way of life here in the 40th. Regardless of individual beliefs about climate change, we are seeing indicators that our surrounding ecosystems are changing. Our most recent indicator being the health of the Orca Whales in our waters and passed history of the disappearance of salmon in our streams," said Lekanoff. " We are all facing the impact of environmental degradation upon our infrastructures, human health, and resources and only together will we adapt, change, and find solutions to the challenges we face as a community."

Representative-Elect Lekanoff takes office in January 2019. She fills a seat previously held by Representative Kris Lytton. Elected in 2010, Lytton was a champion for education and fought to expand opportunities for students and teachers, advocated for children, and worked diligently on tax reform. After eight years in the legislature, Representative Lytton announced her retirement in Spring 2018 and did not seek re-election.

“To serve the 40th LD has been a privilege and I am very excited to pass the torch to Representative-Elect Lekanoff,” said Representative Lytton. “There is no doubt that our choice to select Debra as our voice in Olympia is the best the 40th could make. She is a testament to our commitment to our collective values and principles here in the 40th and I believe that she will represent us well and include all perspectives when making decisions impacting our state and our district."

Representative-Elect Lekanoff will be the first Native American woman to hold a seat in the Washington State House of Representatives.

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Washington’s 40th Legislative District Elects Debra Lekanoff as the Next 40th Washington State House Representative

November 6, 2018

BELLINGHAM, WA | The voters of Washington’s 40th Legislative District elected Debra Lekanoff tonight as the next 40th LD Representative, Position 1.
The Vote Debra Lekanoff Campaign has been on full court press since Lekanoff announced her candidacy on April 10, 2018. During the campaign, Lekanoff and the Vote Debra Lekanoff Campaign have knocked on 16,240 doors, made over 9,000 phone calls, have hosted or participated in over 40 Neighborhood Table Talks and Candidate Forums, received hundreds of endorsements, drove hundreds of miles on Washington's highways and ferried on our waterways, and connected with the community directly at the table.
“Tonight, is for you—the voters in the 40th District,” said Lekanoff. “Congratulations to all of you who have invested in this campaign, invested in me and given me the voice to take to Olympia. Our road doesn’t end here, let’s take this energy and get to work!”
Lekanoff will join Representative Jeff Morris in Olympia representing the 40th District in the Washington State House of Representatives.
To learn more about the key issues Lekanoff will be tackling in Olympia, visit

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You’re Invited to Debra's Door-to-Door Tour!

Debra is coming to your door on a two day tour! The entire Vote Debra Lekanoff campaign team is loading up with Debra and heading out to every corner of the 40th we can reach on our two day tour.

The agendas are still being firmed up and we can't wait to see you all! Please see the confirmed events below.

Mount Vernon, Bow, and Bellingham Day 1 - November 1, 2018

Mount Vernon with Senator Maria Cantwell!
11:30am to 1:00pm
47 Alder Lane, Mt Vernon, WA 98273-2424

3:30pm to 4:30pm
The Corner Pub
14565 Allen West Road, Bow, WA

Bellingham with Special Guest, Lt. Gov Cyrus Habib!
5:30pm to 7:00pm
Old World Deli
1228 N State Street, Bellingham, WA
With Special Guest, Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib
Co-hosts: Anne-Marie Faiola, Mo West, Steve Brinn, Kirsten Barron, Lisa and Dan McShane

Anacortes, EASTSOUND, San Juan ISLAND Day 2 - November 2, 2018

Anacortes with Special Guest Tina Podlodowski!
7:30am - 8:30am
Johnny Picasso’s
501 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, WA

10:15am - 12:15pm
Mia’s Cafe
123 N Beach Road, Eastsound, WA

San Juan Island!
2:15pm -3:45pm
The Bean Cafe
150 First Street N, Friday Harbor, WA


Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson Endorses Debra Lekanoff for State House Seat in Olympia

October 13, 2018

OLYMPIA, WA – Today, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson endorsed Debra Lekanoff for the 40th Legislative District’s Position 1 House of Representative’s seat in Olympia.

“Washington State needs leadership in the current political climate that honors the values of all Washingtonians,” said Ferguson. “Debra is that leader. She has dedicated her career to elevating the needs and voices of our underserved communities and bridging the gaps that are growing in this country. She will bring that energy and vision to the State capitol. Join me in supporting this leader for our Washington State Legislature and shaking up Olympia. Vote Debra Lekanoff by November 6th.”

Bob Ferguson is Washington State’s 18th Attorney General. As the state’s chief legal officer, Bob is committed to protecting the people of Washington against powerful interests that don’t play by the rules.

“The goal of this campaign for me was to be inclusive – it is about “WE” and not “I” – breaking through the ceiling and bringing everyone who looks like me, sounds like me, who shares my values with me to make an impact in Olympia,” said Lekanoff. “I look forward to working alongside Bob to find solutions to our most pressing challenges. I believe together we can achieve real, positive outcomes for our local community and across our great state.”

In April 2018, Lekanoff announced her candidacy to run as the progressive Democratic candidate for the 40th District legislative seat being vacated by Representative Kris Lytton. Lekanoff has been endorsed by a number of elected officials including Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Washington Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, Representative Kris Lytton, Bellingham City Council Member Gene Knutson, Anacortes City Council Member Anthony Young, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, San Juan County Council Members Jamie Stephens and Rick Hughes. 

To learn more about the Debra and the Vote Debra Lekanoff campaign visit

Debra Makes Waves this Fantastic Friday! | September 28, 2018

We are making waves this week around the 40th District as the daily countdown continues. (We're only 39 days away to the General Election!).

What have we been up too? Glad you asked. Last week was a blast as I met with the Opportunity Council, held two Neighborhood Table Talks at Friday Harbor's The Bean Cafe and in Burlington's Railroad Pub & Pizza, spoke at the San Juan County Democrats meeting and the Whatcom Democrats meeting, both of which endorsed the Vote Debra Lekanoff campaign! I am proud to say that I have officially joined the #WhatcomWave!

40th District Representative Jeff Morris (Position 2) also endorsed the Vote Debra Lekanoff Campaign.

"Debra will bring a fresh perspective and background to the House Democratic Caucus. I look forward to working with her in for the greatest Legislative District in Washington!" - Representative Jeff Morris

Over the weekend I was excited to be a part of the Indivisible Whatcom 'Your Vote Counts!' Block Party. It was inspiring to see so many of my long time supporters and new faces mingling together to #GetOuttheVote.

Later in the week, I was honored to have a number of our community leaders here in the 40th host special events to support me and the Vote Debra Lekanoff campaign. Thank you to all of my hosts an co-hosts who held House Parties and events at Taylor Shellfish!

Standing on the edge of the Salish Sea at Taylor Shellfish, surrounded by the people who empower our community members, making waves of change to work together, and rising up with me over these months is a remarkable gift.

You inspire me to be a better leader everyday. Like the Salish, we are wave makers. I am ready to bring the surge of the 40th to Olympia and make our voices heard.

At the end of the week, it was a honor to receive endorsements from the Washington Education Association Political Action Committee (WEAPAC) AND the United Steelworkers Local 12-591. Education, job creation, and responsible economic development in our district is paramount to building a healthy, happy community. I am proud to be entrusted with the responsibility to carry that message forward.

What’s Next?
Yes, we are having fantastic weeks, but I still need your help to reach our goals! Please consider donating, volunteering, and attending events to support our campaign. Every vote counts and I want to be sure to reach each and every one of you.

On Saturday, October 6 and Saturday, October 13, we will be gathering around the 40th for the Vote Debra Lekanoff #WeRise Rallies in a neighborhood in near you! Want to be a part of the rally? Send my team an email at

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Senator Maria Cantwell Endorses Debra for State House of Representatives

September 21, 2018

Democratic Women, Supporting Democratic Women in Washington

Today, Senator Maria Cantwell announced her support for Debra Lenkanoff in an endorsement calling the candidate 'the right person for the 40th.'

"Debra and I have fought shoulder to shoulder on the front lines to protect our environment, advocate for better health care, and ensuring that our communities continue to be leaders in our economy," said Senator Cantwell. "Her integrity and her drive to bridge gaps and find the best solutions for all is a clear indication that she is the right person to join this state legislature and the right person for the 40th."

Senator Cantwell was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, 2006 and again in 2012, pledging to honor the hard work, aspirations and faith of the people of Washington state. She is working to create affordable opportunities for consumers, businesses and families, to make our nation more secure today, to foster innovation for tomorrow, and to stand with parents as they educate and care for their children.

"We are women supporting women in this election cycle," said Lekanoff. "Working together with Senator Cantwell over the years has been a training ground for this next step in public service for me. I am grateful to stand alongside her this year as we both run to represent our great state of Washington. I am honored to accept this endorsement."

Lekanoff has served 20 years as a public servant working for a better future for the communities she loves. During her career, Lekanoff has worked to pass dental health care legislation for better care and access for tribal communites, fought invasive Alantic Salmon, and worked together with national environmental leaders to find solutions to stop climate change.

To learn more about Debra, join the Neighborhood Table Talks with Debra held weekly in Washington's 40th District. Visit for more information.


Governor Jay Inslee Endorses Debra Lekanoff

September 14, 2018

Governor Jay Inslee Announces Support For Debra Lekanoff in 40th Legislative District

Debra Lekanoff is the Only Native Woman Candidate Running for Election in Washington State
Today, Washington's Governor Jay Inslee endorsed Debra Lekanoff for the Washington House of Representatives 40th Legislative District seat.
“Debra and I have worked together for decades, and I know Debra is a remarkable leader who takes on the hard issues facing our state with grace and fortitude,” said Governor Inslee. “Whether it is fighting for dental health in our communities, protection of our precious resources and our Orcas, or promoting economic growth through responsible and sustainable practices, she brings people together from all walks of life to find solutions. I know that she will continue to be an incredible advocate in Olympia.”
A public servant for over 30 years, Governor Inslee is a fifth-generation Washingtonian who has been an advocate for education since starting his public service career fighting funding cuts to rural schools in Washington alongside his wife Trudi. Serving in the state legislature and being elected to U.S. Congress in 2012 and re-elected 2016, Governor Inslee has been a tireless advocate for clean energy and the environment.
“Working alongside Governor Inslee over the years is a true honor,” said Lenkanoff. “We are two branches of the same tree as we work together to best serve the communities in Washington. His mentorship and leadership throughout my career have led me to where I am today, and I am proud to accept this endorsement.”
With more than two decades of experience as a public servant, Debra is the progressive candidate that the 40th District can depend on. Her life’s work is building healthy communities by protecting the Salish Sea, investing in education, protecting jobs, and growing the economy. Debra is a strategic leader working to ensure that you have a representative in Olympia working hard for you and your family. Learn more about Debra and key campaign issues here:

Happy Fantastic Friday | September 7, 2018

Dear Friends,

This week has been one of the busiest yet as we head into the month of September. Can you believe we are only eight weeks away from the General Election!? 

A quick reminder to make sure to reach out to your family and friends to make sure that they are registered to vote! Remind them that matter where you are in the world, your vote counts. The mail-in and online voter registration deadline for the General Election in Washington State is October 8. Learn more about updating your Washington State voter profile here.

Since our last Fantastic Friday, my team and I have been hard at work learning about the amazing things that are going on around the 40th District. I had the opportunity to visit the York Community Farm in Bellingham and toured the 3/4 acres of state land. Once a self-proclaimed "community eye-sore," the York Community Farm transformed the once vacant space into a working farm that feeds the neighborhood while providing jobs. I had the opportunity to help do some planting alongside the York Community Farm interns and leadership, and learned about the advantages of the responsible transformation of public lands and the momentum and action it brings to a neighborhood. Click here to learn more about York Community Farm. Check out the full album from our visit on our press page!

On Saturday I was honored to be invited to the Festival of Steh-Chass alongside incredible warriors for the protection of the Salish Sea, Peggen Frank and Senator John McCoy. Thank you for the opportunity to step on stage alongside Representative Beth Doglio and speak to the crowd about the Debra Lekanoff campaign and the movement we are creating as the only Native woman running for office in the Washington State legislature or Congressional campaigns. And thank you to Gyasi Ross for the awesome introduction! Make sure to watch today's Fantastic Friday video with clips from the Festival.

Monday we celebrated Labor Day by sharing a meal with the hard working men and women of the 40th District to at the Washington State Labor Council Picnic! Thank you for having me!

On Wednesday, Washington State's Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz endorsed our campaign.

"We need environmental champions like Debra Lekanoff in Olympia to protect our waters and forests. I know and trust Debra, and look forward to working with her to build strong, healthy communities, restore fish and wildlife habitats, and tackle our wildfire crisis." - Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands

Hilary Franz is a leader by example. Her commitment to community engagement and investment in those communities especially underserved is a hallmark that both of us share. Whether it is cleaning up our coast lines or reinvesting in our education system through creating pipelines from our schools to technical careers, I look forward to working with the Commissioner in our goal to create healthy, sustainable communities in the 40th District and across the state.

We rounded out the week with the first ever Neighborhood Table Talks with Debra at Johnny Picasso's in Anacortes. We had a great conversation surrounding vessel traffic and the need to communicate with all parties to ensure we have safe, and environmentally friendly transportation. We also discussed protecting the Salish Sea that we love, health care and building educated communities from early learning to technical civics training. Thank you to all of you who came to the table to discuss the issues that matter the most to you and your families.

Join us at Piazz'zza in Fairhaven next Wednesday, September 12 from 6:00-7:00pm for the next Neighborhood Table Talk with Debra. Have a question? Want to discuss a certain topic? Let us know by commenting here.

Lots more to come in the coming weeks, check back on our social media channels and our website for updates!

Have a great weekend!

Endorsement Announcement | September 5, 2018

Washington State's Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz Endorses Debra Lekanoff

Today, Hilary Franz, Washington State's Commissioner of Public Lands, endorsed Debra Lekanoff for the 40th Legislative District seat.

Franz, a long-time colleague of Lekanoff’s in the fight for environmental protections throughout the state, highlighted Debra’s ability to champion issues such as water, forestry, fish, and healthy communities.

"We need environmental champions like Debra Lekanoff in Olympia to protect our waters and forests,” said Franz. “I know and trust Debra, and look forward to working with her to build strong, healthy communities, restore fish and wildlife habitats, and tackle our wildfire crisis."

Earlier this year, Franz launched the Rural Communities Partnership Initiative (RCPI). The $3.5 million initiative is a collaboration with investments from DNR, the State Legislature, and the Department of Agriculture. RCPI focuses on projects proposed by rural communities throughout Washington.

“Hilary Franz is a leader by example,” said Lekanoff. “Her commitment to community engagement and investment in those communities especially underserved is a hallmark that both of us share. Whether it is cleaning up our coast lines or reinvesting in our education system through creating pipelines from our schools to technical careers, I look forward to working with the Commissioner in our goal to create healthy, sustainable communities in the 40th District and across the state.”

Don’t miss out on Neighborhood Table Talks with Debra held weekly around the 40th District to learn more about Debra’s priorities and her investment in the 40th District, visit to request a Table Talk in near you!

August 25, 2018

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Senator John McCain

Today our nation lost a patriot and a champion for democracy. A true servant to our country, a veteran and a statesman, he showed us what strength and resilience can do in the face of adversity. We salute you Senator McCain. My deepest condolences to the McCain family at this time. -Debra

Another Fantastic Friday | August 24, 2018

Dear Friends,

We have yet another great Fantastic Friday to end out this busy week! As a single mom, who works full-time, and is running for office, it is definitely a challenge, but a challenge that I have never been so excited to take on especially with the support of the amazing people who are surrounding me during this campaign. Your endorsements, donations, and volunteer hours inspire me to work even harder for you!

Last weekend I had a great time visiting with the Orcas Women's Coalition (OWC) to chat about priorities for Orcas Island and how I can best serve their community. Thank you to OWC for your support and for hosting me and my team last Sunday! (If you missed the photos check them out here.)

After a great Sunday, the week only got better with the endorsements by WA State Representative Reeves, WA State Representative Doglio, WA Senator Kevin Ranker, and Washington State Democratic Central Committee Member Learner Limbach.

"We need more leaders in Olympia focused on putting real people and working families first! Debra will bring a lived experience and new perspectives that will ensure we can build an economy that works for all families!" said Reeves.

"As a first-time legislator, I am recently familiar with the hard work it takes to be a candidate, and I am super excited that Debra has joined the ranks in her campaign for the 40th District. Debra is a great environmental protections partner, standing up to combat climate change and irreversible impacts to our air, lands, and waterways. I am looking forward to her becoming an integral part of the Washington House Democratic Caucus as she brings a wealth of experience that we need on these key issues in Olympia," said Doglio.

"Having worked with Debra for years on numerous issues has been inspiring. She listens and is always willing to sit down and truly understand all sides of an issue and she is a tireless advocate for the communities she represents. She is exactly the sort of solutions-oriented, thoughtful leader we need representing us in Olympia. Together with Jeff, we will do amazing work together in Olympia! Please join me in voting for Debra Lekanoff in November!" said Senator Ranker. 

"As we head toward the general election in November, I am honored and excited to support Debra Lekanoff in her bid to represent our 40th district in Olympia. As a society we are living in unprecedented times. I believe that in the 40th, not only can we come up with creative solutions to address the great challenges of our day, but we can also be an example and a source of inspiration for our state and nation. The problems we are facing cannot be fixed with more of the same old approach. We need leaders who are committed to real change and who will not stop at half-measures. We need leaders who understand that it is not about one person and what they can do in their position of power, but its about all of us and what we can do as a community when we see and honor each other. We need leaders whose policies are guided by a foundation of compassion and deep listening. I see these leadership qualities in Debra and that’s why I will not only be voting for her but working to help elect her this fall. I hope you will as well," said Limbach.

We also received endorsements by the Sierra ClubPlanned Parenthood Votes Northwest and HawaiiWhatcom DemocratsWashington Conservation Voters, and AFSCME Council 28 Washington Federation of State Employees who said via email, "Our endorsement was voted on by our locals who have significant numbers of members right there in the 40 LD. Our members understand that no other workforce has as much at stake in the decisions that elected officials make. They fund our contracts, our healthcare and our pension. They have impact on our working conditions, caseload size, workplace safety and agency policy. So we care about electing legislators who understand and respect the work that State Employees do every day for the people of WA. Thank you for your support of our members."

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Thank you to all of you for your support and the several individual endorsements that have been submitted through the website since the Primary Election including: Clara Jean Carmean, Mary Passmore, Galen Herz, Michael Chiavario, Janice Claussen, Linda Winter Pace, Jane Lowrey, Donna Davis, John Chadwick, Kathryn Alexandra, Frank James, Scott Sanderson, Lisa Byers, Greg Winter, Janet H. Simpson, and Mary Rivkin.

Before I sign off on this Fantastic Friday, I want to recognize the first responders fighting to save lives, our forests, and our homes. Our team have been tracking and monitoring the conditions of the forest fires across Washington, and we know that this is only going to get worse with conditions brought on by climate change. According to this morning's Northwest Fire Science Consortium briefing report, there are 5 fires for 9 acres in Washington, with air quality that varies from good to hazardous in just the Puget Sound alone. I am steadfast in my commitment to protecting the environment and the health of our citizens by creating actionable plans to proactively combat future natural disasters like this one. Stay safe out there and make sure to monitor conditions daily to stay healthy!


P.s. Please let us know how we can best help those in the 40th affected by the fires, send me an email at

We are 10 weeks away from the General Election and every hour, door knocked, and dollar counts. Help the Vote Debra Lekanoff team reach each and every voter in the 40th! Please consider donating today OR sign up to be a volunteer with the Vote Debra Lekanoff team!

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A Bittersweet

Fantastic Friday

August 17, 2018

Dear Friends,

It has been a little over a week since the Primary, and I am still in awe of the amazing people who came out to support me. If you haven't seen it yet, make sure to check out my thank you video to you all featuring some of you that I have met along the way.

As we like to say on our Vote Debra Lekanoff Team it is Fantastic Friday, but this Friday is bittersweet with so many things going on around our beautiful district.

The Bitter...
Over the past few weeks we have experienced some devastating environmental impacts. From forests fires causing air pollution alerts and the sewage from Kitsap spilling into our waters where our families swim and our Orcas live.

This is unacceptable and is something we will not stand for in the 40th District. I am committed to an action plan that holds people accountable, a plan that finds solutions quickly to make our home here on the Salish Sea safe and healthy.

The Sweet...
On the truly fantastic side of Fantastic Friday, we have received some amazing endorsements leading with my colleague Alex Ramel, the Sierra Club, and the Whatcom Democrats.

Thank you to all of you for your support and I can't wait to see what the next week brings!

There are a few upcoming events for the Vote Debra Lekanoff campaign. Check out our calendar in the next few days as we confirm event locations and times!

- Debra

PRESS RELEASE | August 17, 2018

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Alex Ramel and Debra Lekanoff Join Forces in the Race for the 40th District

On Thursday evening, Alex Ramel and Debra Lekanoff stood together at the Whatcom Democrats Endorsement Meeting and committed to joining forces in the race to the November General Election.

Ramel’s endorsement and support comes after the Primary Election in which Lekanoff prevailed as the front runner for the 40th District’s State House of Representatives seat, recently vacated by Representative Kris Lytton. A hard fought Primary race, Ramel and Lekanoff were two of six candidates vying for the seat.

“I’m so grateful to everyone who believed in this campaign with me, who supported me, encouraged me and voted for me,” said Ramel. “Now more than ever, I believe that it is our duty to continue on the shared vision of a progressive, inclusive and just society, and the next step in our work to realize our collective vision is to support Debra all the way to Olympia. During this campaign I have watched Debra in the community, building on strengths, and addressing challenges with grace and fortitude. It is my honor to support a wonderful candidate who shares my values and I encourage all of you to do the same and vote Debra Lekanoff by November 8.”

Ramel and Lekanoff share similar backgrounds in community organizing, environmental protections, and coalition building for a better future.

“This endorsement tonight is an example of the true values of the progressive Democratic party,” said Lekanoff. “We are two former opponents shaking hands to commit to working together in strengthening the values that mean the most to the both of us! Alex thank you for reaching across the table and joining the Vote Debra Lekanoff team. I know that we can do great things when we work together, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Lekanoff hit the ground running following the Primary and plans to work even harder in the coming weeks as she faces off with the Republican party candidate Michael Petrish in November. To learn more about Debra Lekanoff and the Vote Debra Lekanoff Campaign visit

Press Release | August 8, 2018

Debra Lekanoff Ensures Every Vote Counts in Primary Election Acceptance, Lytton Calls Debra "Best Choice for 40th"

Today is a landmark day for Democratic candidates making historic moves in races of all shapes and sizes across the country including at home in the 40th District.
"Since the first day of this campaign, we have focused on listening to the community of the 40th District. Our platform is community, and community is we, not I," said Lekanoff. "It is important to me that every voter in this community is valued and that every ballot cast counts before we called this race. Thank you to the volunteers and staff working tirelessly to complete these voter returns. My team and I excited to accept the primary win tonight. Thank you!!!"
The Vote Debra Lekanoff team is looking forward to next steps heading into the General Election in the same fashion in which we have run this campaign since the beginning, with inclusion.

“All of the candidates in this race have worked earnestly to represent the citizens of the 40th District," said Representative Kris Lytton. "While I want to thank the other candidates for their willingness to serve our community, I believe that our choice to allow Debra to be our voice is the best the 40th could make. Debra’s victory tonight is a testament to our commitment to our collective values and principles. I look forward to all of us supporting her in the General Election come November.”

Press Release | August 7, 2018

Lekanoff Shows Strong Lead in Washington 40th District's August 7th Primary

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Bellingham, WA | The ballots are still rolling in and numbers are being tallied for Washington's 40th District House of Representatives Position 1 seat, recently vacated by Representative Kris Lytton.

At 8:30 pm PT, initial numbers had Debra Lekanoff (D) leading with 6,796 votes (28.31%) over five candidates from both Democratic and Republican parties.

Debra reflected on the campaign experience and thanked the 40th District voters during the Vote Debra Lekanoff Primary Election Party this evening at Aslan Brewing Company in Bellingham, WA.

"Since the ballot numbers are still being tallied and we won’t know more until morning, I wanted to say that this entire experience has been fantastic and all of you have risen me up, you have challenged me, supported me, and driven me to be the best version of myself. Today I have received more emails, phone calls, and messages than I can count. We came out of this primary together and we will move forward together as a united voice," said Lekanoff.

"Thank you to all of the wonderful organizations, unions, and individuals who have endorsed me. Thank you to my family and friends here at home and across the country. Thank you to the Native peoples and tribal communities for your teachings, your strength, and support of our strong Native women candidates!" continued Lekanoff. "Thank you to my awesome team for being there with me day in and day out, through the highs and the lows. And lastly, I want to thank my daughter Emma. Not only is she one of my most trusted campaign advisors, she is my motivation and my inspiration every day. I love you baby girl."

Lekanoff takes more than an eight point lead over Republican candidate Michael Petrish in the initial ballot count. The Lekanoff team will continue to monitor the results of the election and will send updates accordingly.

To learn more about Debra, visit For press inquiries, please email the Vote Debra Lekanoff Team at

You're Invited to the Vote Debra Lekanoff Primary Election Night Party!

It's Primary Day! Taking a moment this morning to thank each and every one of you who have supported me in this campaign. Make sure to drop your ballot into a dropbox by 8:00pm tonight. #GetOuttheVote #VoteDebraLekanoff #Debrafor40 #ThatsHer

The primary election is today, and why not end today with a celebration!? I hope you can join me and my team so I can thank each and every one of you for your support and celebrate all of the hard work that has gone into the campaign so far! 

We will be gathering starting at 7:00 pm at Aslan Brewing Company in Bellingham (1330 N Forest St, Bellingham, Washington 98225). Primary results will be posted online around 8:30pm.

Please remind all your friends, family, and colleagues to return their ballots to a dropbox by 8:00pm tonight.

Not sure about your dropbox location? Check out the links below for your county.
San Juan County Drop Box Locations
Whatcom County Drop Box Locations
Skagit County Drop Box Locations


Press Relase | August 6, 2018

Darrell Hillare, Jewell James, and IBEW Local 77 Endorse Debra on Primary Eve

On the eve of the Primary election, community leaders have come together to endorse Debra Lekanoff as their candidate of choice in the race to tomorrow’s finish line.
Former Lummi Indian Business Council Treasurer Darrell Hillare impressed the importance of Debra’s record as a hard-working professional who understands governance and her willingness to bridge the gap between development and environmental protections.
“Debra brings forth and emerges with this energy that unites us in all things that we're facing today, especially with this tension that comes between development and the environment. Debra has proven throughout her work that although this is a tension is always going to be present, there is a way to unite us in these issues that cause divisiveness. As Native people, we are so proud that Debra has taken on this work, because we need to face the future together,” said Hillare.
“We can't be fighting amongst ourselves, we don't need that. We need to get behind Debra’s energy, she has so much energy that feeds all of us. We want to join that energy. The ideas that she has and the energy that she brings, she intends on uniting us to get through these issues together,” Hillare continued. “Debra’s got a background in government, local, state, regional, and national issues - that’s really important. It gives her a real thorough understanding what’s happening on the ground and taking those in our neighborhoods who feel disconnected and raising them up along with her as we move forward.”
Debra also received the endorsement by international artist and master carver Jewell Praying Wolf James, long-time leader of Lummi Nation, and the head of House of Tears Carvers.
“Debra and I have worked side-by-side as strategic partners for many years protecting the Salish Sea and I’m looking forward to continuing that journey with her in Olympia,” said James.
“Being endorse by leadership in the Native community is an honor beyond words,” said Lekanoff. “Darrell has been my mentor for many years, teaching me the ropes at all levels of government and has helped me see the healing in Bellingham and the surrounding communities that I can help carry forward in my candidacy. Jewell has also taken me under his wing and we have fought hard for our environment and the beautiful Salish Sea that surrounds our home. I am again beyond words thankful for their belief in me and the positive future we are all going to create as part of the wonderful community of the 40th District.”
Last but not least, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 77 also endorsed Debra, stating in a letter: “This endorsement acknowledges your interests in the issues affecting workers and your commitment to addressing the needs of all hard-working men and women.”
“Supporting the incredible men and women in trades is an extremely important part of my campaign and the investment I am committing to not only in economic development for the 40th District, but also expanding our education system into technical training,” said Lekanoff. “I am Union Strong!”

Debra A Personal Thank You...

A personal thank you...

August 5, 2018

Dear Friends,

We are less than 24-hours away from the final ballot being cast and I find myself reflecting on the past few months.

This campaign has been one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences of my professional career and my personal life. There are so many to thank, especially Kris Lytton, who inspired me to throw my hat into the ring and be a part of this process.

To the wonderful people of the 40th District, it means a lot to me that you all support me, and continue to challenge me and bring out the very best in me. It's been a unique opportunity for me to get to know those who have built me, given me strength, given me hope, and inspired me to work harder for you over the past three months.

Thank you 40th District for being THE most beautiful people in Washington!

Now, let's get those ballots in - and let's win this thing. We've got work to do in Olympia!


Press Release | July 31, 2018

Skagit Valley Community Leaders Joe and Lindsey Bowen Endorse Debra Lekanoff

Long-time community leaders in the Skagit Valley, Joe and Lindsey Bowen, made a formal endorsement today of the Vote Debra Lekanoff campaign.

“Joe and I are in support of Debra for the 40th District State Representative,” said Lindsey. “We have gotten to know her and respect her values and strategies to promote growth in the right areas of our communities while protecting our precious environment. Debra is an excellent communicator and leader, we believe she will thrive as our representative.”

The Bowens are local community and business leaders who work to serve their community through a number of avenues including volunteering and local public service the Skagit Valley.

“The Bowens are an incredible example of what it means to be a leader in the 40th,” said Lekanoff. “To have your respect and support is a gift, and in getting to know you, I really got to know the Skagit Valley and Mount Vernon community. Thank you!”


Debra is the progressive candidate running for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District seat. Debra is a working mom and strategic leader who’s spent 20 years serving the 40th District, Washington State, and tribal communities both local and nationally by breaking down barriers and building a foundation of collaboration. She is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with you on progressive ideas to build opportunities in education, workforce and economic development, environmental and natural resource protections, affordable housing, and healthcare. Taking a practical approach to current issues, she will continue to build partnerships, and protect the environment. She is asking to be your peer and your voice in Olympia to get the work done. Learn more:

Press Release | July 30, 2018

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San Juan County Council Member Jamie Stephens Turns to Debra Lekanoff's Experience and Character in Formal Endorsement

On Monday, July 30, 2018, San Juan County Council Member Jamie Stephens formally endorsed Debra Lekanoff for the 40th District.

“I support Debra because she has the experience to hit the ground running," said Stephens. "San Juan County and the 40th need a representative who is both strong and compassionate to address environmental, transportation, mental health, and educational issues that affect us all.”

Stephens along with his wife Lauren have worked closely together with Lekanoff during the campaign as supportive voices and teachers in the leading issues impacting San Juan County. As long time community leaders and small business owners on Lopez Island, the Stephens' have been involved in public service since moving to the community 14 years ago and share the same tactical approach to creating sustainable change in their community as Lekanoff.

"Jamie and Lauren are grounded in the community that they love and serve," said Lekanoff. "Their guidance and support over the last few months is irreplaceable, and I believe I am a better candidate because of their willingness to discuss the hard issues. We all have common needs in this District, and for me to learn that San Juan County has the largest affordability gap in Washington State, with the highest housing costs and the lowest wages raised the importance of fair wages, housing shortages and community approaches to resolving this issues as a community with my role to get to work for us all. I am committed to be engaged with the San Juan Islands and ensure, as Representative Kris Lytton has done in her tenure, to address these important matters. Thank you to both of you for your investment in me!"

Stephens joins fellow San Juan County Council Member Rick Hughes to endorse the Vote Debra Lekanoff campaign in recent weeks alongside Washington Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, Anacortes Council Member Anthony Young, and Anacortes Local Non-Profit CEO Brian Carroll.


Debra is the progressive candidate running for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District seat. Debra is a working mom and strategic leader who’s spent 20 years serving the 40th District, Washington State, and tribal communities both local and nationally by breaking down barriers and building a foundation of collaboration. She is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with you on progressive ideas to build opportunities in education, workforce and economic development, environmental and natural resource protections, affordable housing, and healthcare. Taking a practical approach to current issues, she will continue to build partnerships, and protect the environment. She is asking to be your peer and your voice in Olympia to get the work done. Learn more:

Press Release | July 25, 2018

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Washington Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib Backs Debra Lekanoff for the 40th District with Endorsement

July 25, 2018

Cyrus Habib, Washington Lt. Governor, announced today his support for Debra Lekanoff and her campaign for the Honorable Representative Kris Lytton's seat vacancy in the 40th District.

"I am pleased to formally announce my support for Debra Lekanoff," said Habib. "Debra is a remarkable leader who fiercely advocates to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. Debra and I share a passion for education and economic development, as well as a commitment to finding solutions that balance the interests of dynamic and diverse communities. I fully endorse her as the best candidate to serve the people in the 40th District."

Lt. Governor Habib is a long-time legislator who represented King County in the Washington State House of Representatives and State Senate and served as the Democratic Whip. In his current role, the Lt. Governor became the youngest presiding officer in the United States and has a focused portfolio of issues including economic development, trade, and higher education.

"It is a great honor to have the support of Lt. Governor Habib," said Lekanoff. "Washington is a community of uplifting public servants working to make this state a better place for all. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with Mr. Habib and developing the next steps in economic development and education for the 40th District and Washington State."


Debra is the progressive candidate running for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District seat. Debra is a working mom and strategic leader who’s spent 20 years serving the 40th District, Washington State, and tribal communities both local and nationally by breaking down barriers and building a foundation of collaboration. She is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with you on progressive ideas to build opportunities in education, workforce and economic development, environmental and natural resource protections, affordable housing, and healthcare. Taking a practical approach to current issues, she will continue to build partnerships, and protect the environment. She is asking to be your peer and your voice in Olympia to get the work done. Learn more:

Press Release | July 22, 2018

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San Juan County Council Rick Hughes Calls Debra Lekanoff the Right Person at the Right Time for the 40th District

San Juan County Council Rick Hughes announced today his endorsement of Debra Lekanoff for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District.

“I support Debra and feel she will continue the amazing leadership and support for San Juan County and the 40th that has been Kris Lytton’s legacy on issues ranging from improved ferry service, support of local government, agriculture, economic development, and environmental stewardship. Debra is the right person at the right time for the 40th District.”

Hughes is grounded in the San Juan community with Orcas Island roots dating back nearly 70 years. Serving as part of the San Juan County Council since 2017, Hughes comes from a diverse professional and personal background and utilizes his experience in both strategic vision and tactical implementation to best serve San Juan County community members.

“The San Juan Islands are each a dynamic in their own way and project their sovereignty by governing in a manner that reflects their way of life and values,” said Lekanoff. “I respect the leadership of all the Islands and will work hard to be that progressive leader who rises for the 40th. I am honored to announce the endorsement of County Council Rick Hughes.”

Debra Lekanoff spent the last week on the San Juan Islands, visiting local businesses, talking to voters, and meeting with the wonderful elected leaders currently serving San Juan County. Didn’t get a chance to meet with Debra? Send us an email at to ask questions, submit comments, and more!


Debra is the progressive candidate running for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District seat. Debra is a working mom and strategic leader who’s spent 20 years serving the 40th District, Washington State, and tribal communities both local and nationally by breaking down barriers and building a foundation of collaboration. She is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with you on progressive ideas to build opportunities in education, workforce and economic development, environmental and natural resource protections, affordable housing, and healthcare. Taking a practical approach to current issues, she will continue to build partnerships, and protect the environment. She is asking to be your peer and your voice in Olympia to get the work done. Learn more:

Press Release | July 19, 2018

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Bellingham’s Dan Pike Endorses Debra Lekanoff for Washington’s 40th District

Press Release | July 19, 2018

Dan Pike officially endorsed Debra Lekanoff today as his pick for the Washington State House of Representatives candidate for the 40th District.
“Debra Lekanoff is the right candidate for the times and the District. She is collaborative, gathering all perspectives to understand and more equitably and effectively address confounding issues,” said Pike. “She understands the issues and the area. She also has deep local, regional and national connections which will enhance her service. In a field of strong candidates, she nonetheless stands out as THE compelling choice.”
The Bellingham former mayor is no stranger to the grassroots campaign trail after winning his first mayoral election back in 2007 with a door-to-door campaign. Serving as the mayor of Bellingham until 2011, Pike emphasized partnerships as he led Bellingham through the Great Recession, working collaboratively on issues ranging from economic development to addressing intractable water issues. His management resulted in a strengthening of Bellingham’s environmental protections while achieving a firmer financial footing, including a bond ratings upgrade, despite the economic downturn. Pike worked to create economic development and attract new business owners to the Georgia-Pacific waterfront site through sustainability initiatives, and also worked to protect watersheds like Lake Whatcom and advocating for natural resources and environmental protections.
“Bellingham is a wonderful place with wonderful people,” said Lekanoff. “I am standing on the shoulders of giants as I accept this endorsement by an individual whose roots in this community have shown great strength and grace. I want to thank Dan for his support and setting an example for me as a strategic grassroots leader.”
Pike is part of a growing number of public servants who have endorsed Lekanoff in recent weeks including former EPA Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran and former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. For more information on Vote Debra Lekanoff endorsements visit   


Debra is the progressive candidate running for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District seat. Debra is a working mom and strategic leader who’s spent 20 years serving the 40th District, Washington State, and tribal communities both local and nationally by breaking down barriers and building a foundation of collaboration. She is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with you on progressive ideas to build opportunities in education, workforce and economic development, environmental and natural resource protections, affordable housing, and healthcare. Taking a practical approach to current issues, she will continue to build partnerships, and protect the environment. She is asking to be your peer and your voice in Olympia to get the work done. Learn more:

Video & Press Release | July 18, 2018

Lummi Indian Business Council Announces Sole Endorsement of Debra Lekanoff for Washington State’s 40th District Representative

In a consensus vote, the Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC) solely endorsed Debra Lekanoff as their candidate for the Washington State 40th District.

The motion, brought to the floor by Tribal Councilman Henry Cagey and seconded by Vice Chairman Travis Brockie, is the only formal endorsement made by Lummi Nation in the current race for Representative Kris Lytton’s seat vacancy in the Washington State Legislature House of Representatives.

“Lummi Nation is proud today to officially endorse Debra. She has proven, through her track record and through her history, that she is a great leader. It is with great honor that the Lummi Indian Business Council officially and solely endorsed her by unanimous vote. We look forward to working with Debra; we look forward to the citizens of Washington State witnessing the great leadership that she provides for education and environmental issues; looking seven generations behind and seven generations ahead, in a holistic approach for everyone, and for all citizens,” said Lummi Nation Chairman Jeremiah “Jay” Julius.

The Lummi Nation and the Lummi People are the original inhabitants of Washington's northernmost coast and southern British Columbia. They have been stewards of the shores and waters of Puget Sound for thousands of years fishing, hunting, gathering, and harvesting from the resources provided by their home.

“There are no words to express my gratitude to the Lummi Nation,” said Lekanoff. “I accept this endorsement with humility and with an immense responsibility to represent a nation of people who have put their trust in me.”

Lummi Nation joins six tribal nations who have endorsed Lekanoff in recent months alongside a number of local, state, and national endorsements from elected leadership, organizations, unions, and individuals. Visit for more information.

Press Release | July 17, 2018

Former EPA Region 10 Administrator and Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Dennis McLerran Endorses Debra Lekanoff

On Tuesday, July 17, 2018, Dennis McLerran endorsed Debra Lekanoff and remarked on her commitment to the community and achieving goals through passion and determined leadership.
“During my work with advocates across the state, Debra always showed passion, determination and leadership in achieving community goals. Her commitment to balanced and thoughtful approaches made our work together successful,” said Dennis McLerran, former EPA Region 10 Administrator and Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
In 2010, President Obama appointed McLerran as the EPA Region 10 Administrator until January 2017. During his tenure, McLerran served the states of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska and focused on a wide-range of environmental issues impacting the unique ecosystems of each state including harbor cleanup in both Seattle and Portland. McLerran was also appointed by Washington State elected officials as the Executive Director at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency where he developed the award-winning international Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy and the regional Diesel Solutions program.
“This endorsement means the world to me,” said Lekanoff. “We have worked side-by-side for nearly a decade protecting the precious resources of Washington State, Dennis is such an inspiration. I can’t imagine a better partner to have in the fight for impactful environmental solutions for our communities and in this campaign.”

Debra is the progressive candidate running for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District seat. Debra is a working mom and strategic leader who’s spent 20 years serving the 40th District, Washington State, and tribal communities both local and nationally by breaking down barriers and building a foundation of collaboration. She is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with you on progressive ideas to build opportunities in education, workforce and economic development, environmental and natural resource protections, affordable housing, and healthcare. Taking a practical approach to current issues, she will continue to build partnerships, and protect the environment. She is asking to be your peer and your voice in Olympia to get the work done. Learn more:

News | July 13, 2018

Meet the candidates vying to succeed Kris Lytton in the 40th LD: Debra Lekanoff

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a series about the candidates vying to succeed Representative Kris Lytton in Washington’s 40th Legislative District.

The August Top Two election is just around the corner, with dozens of new candidates vying for open positions in the Washington State Legislature.

In Washington’s 40th Legislative District, where widely respected House Finance Chair Kris Lytton is retiring after many years of service, four Democrats and two Republicans are vying to be elected to the State House, one of whom we have already profiled in our previous installment in this series. The district includes San Juan County, as well as portions of Whatcom and Skagit Counties.

Another contender competing for the position is Debra Lekanoff.

Lekanoff grew up in Yakutat, Alaska. She is Alaska Native, part Tlingit and Aleut and of the Seal and Salmon tribes, respectfully. After attending Mt. Edgecumbe High School, she moved to Washington to attend Central Washington University. She served as the Swinomish Governmental Affairs Director for the past sixteen years, as well as serving for six years as Chair of an Alaska Native Village Corporation. She is also halfway to earning her MPA from Evergreen State College.

Lekanoff noted that she is grateful to the 40th Legislative District, as it fostered the success of her daughter; she is not only a 4.0 high school student, but also an award-winning archer and competes in golf at the state level. It’s this “breadth of opportunity” in the Skagit that Lekanoff hopes to nurture as Representative.

“Diversity is something we embrace [in the 40th Legislative District],” Lekanoff explained. “It encompasses everything from the white caps of the mountains to the white caps of the Salish Sea.”

She believes that it is the people’s government’s intrinsic responsibility to care for the environment. With a district so vitally connected to the Salish Sea, it comes as no surprise that she stressed the importance of having a candidate in the 40th who is dedicated to protecting this important resource.

She’s seeking to nurture the existing jobs related to work with the Salish, as well as promote a breadth of new environmental jobs. As she put it, there needs to be “economic decisions made with environmental integrity” guiding state policy.

Lekanoff points out that the 40th Legislative District is large.

She hopes to “take care of its uniqueness” when it comes to its fundamental infrastructure, which includes ferries, roads, bridges, and more.

She would also work for better access to higher education. (Western Washington University is located in the 40th; so are several community colleges.)

Should Lekanoff secure the position currently held by Lytton, she looks forward to bringing her skill of weaving between governmental bodies to architect and pass bills, as well as advocate on the issues most important to her district.

She explained: “If you pause and look around our district, there’s a new group of people of color and values and they want to make this district home.”

She wants to “rebuild a sense of community between districts, and bring us together.”

Lekanoff hopes to bring to Olympia her Alaska-Native teachings to always give back. “My wingspan is wide, and it stretches far,” she told NPI, “all the way to the issues.” Lekanoff believes that these Native teachings, her rural upbringing, and proven dedication to public service at the local, state, national and international level will make her a competitive candidate in this race.

Washington State’s Top Two election ends on August 7th, 2018, when ballots are due back. All ninety-eight positions in the State House of Representatives are being contested along with half of the State Senate’s forty-nine positions.

Originally published on the Northwest Progressive Institute's The Cascadia Advocate on Friday, July 13, 2018. See original published article here:


July 11, 2018

Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy Endorses Debra Lekanoff as the Best Environmental Advocate for the 40th District

On Wednesday, July 11, 2018, Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy endorsed Debra Lekanoff as the best environmental advocate candidate for Washington’s 40th District.

“I had the great pleasure of working with Debra during my time as U.S. EPA Administrator. She proved time and again her commitment to investing in and protecting the Salish Sea. When faced with balancing good stewardship of our natural resources with community needs, Debra's mission is always to find solutions that recognizes all sides of the equation. I am confident that she is the best environmental advocate that the 40th could elect,” said Gina McCarthy, Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator.

McCarthy has served both Democratic and Republican administrations, joining the EPA in 2009 as the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. In 2013, President Obama chose McCarthy to head up climate initiatives as the EPA Administrator.

“What an honor it is to have the support of a great environmental champion,” said Lekanoff. “Gina’s experience and leadership serves as an example to all of us in Washington State, most importantly her common sense approach and her work linking public health and environmental protections. I am excited to have worked with Gina on a national scale, and am looking forward to bringing those skills I’ve learned back to our community on the Salish Sea.”

Debra is the progressive candidate running for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District seat. Debra is a working mom and strategic leader who’s spent 20 years serving the 40th District, Washington State, and tribal communities both local and nationally by breaking down barriers and building a foundation of collaboration. She is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with you on progressive ideas to build opportunities in education, workforce and economic development, environmental and natural resource protections, affordable housing, and healthcare. Taking a practical approach to current issues, she will continue to build partnerships, and protect the environment. She is asking to be your peer and your voice in Olympia to get the work done. Learn more:

PRESS RELEASE | July 10, 2018

Emily’s List Endorses Debra Lekanoff and Puts Support Behind Washington Women Leaders

Today, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics – EMILY’s List – announced the endorsement of Debra Lekanoff as their candidate choice for Washington’s 40th District.

“From working as Swinomish Governmental Affairs Director to serving as chair of Alaska Native Village Corporation, Debra Lekanoff has dedicated her career to public service. She has been a leader on local, tribal, and federal issues affecting diverse communities and inspires others to engage and fight to protect Washington’s environment,” said Geri Prado, senior director of state and local campaigns at EMILY's List. “We are excited to support Debra’s candidacy for the Washington House of Representatives.”
EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $500 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making them one of the most successful political organizations ever. Since its founding in 1985, EMILY’s List has helped elect 116 women to the House, 23 to the Senate, 12 governors, and over 800 to state and local office. Forty percent of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color.
“I have tears of gratitude from knowing millions of women today believe I am worthy to invest in and trust me to build the future for their children today and the children yet to come,” said Lekanoff. “I am honored and will carry this endorsement with pride!”
Debra is joined by seven women candidates endorsed by Emily’s List from across Washington currently running for seats in the Legislature including Lauren Davis (HD-32), Senator Manka Dhingra (SD-45), Representative Christine Kilduff (HD-28), Senator Patty Kuderer (SD-48), Emily Randall (SD-26), Representative, Kristine Reeves (HD-30), and Claire Wilson (SD-30).
“One thing is absolutely clear; Washington State women are not content to sit on the sidelines this election. They’re filing to run for office in record numbers we haven’t seen for generations, if ever. EMILY’s List is proud to endorse these eight pro-choice Democratic women leaders whose voices belong in Olympia shaping public policy to improve the lives of every Washington family.”
To learn more about EMILY’s List endorsement, read more here:

Debra is the progressive candidate running for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District seat. Debra is a working mom and strategic leader who’s spent 20 years serving the 40th District, Washington State, and tribal communities both local and nationally by breaking down barriers and building a foundation of collaboration. She is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with you on progressive ideas to build opportunities in education, workforce and economic development, environmental and natural resource protections, affordable housing, and healthcare. Taking a practical approach to current issues, she will continue to build partnerships, and protect the environment. She is asking to be your peer and your voice in Olympia to get the work done. Learn more:

Press Release | July 6, 2018

Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior Sally Jewell Endorses Debra Lekanoff for Washington State's 40th District

On July 4, 2018, Sally Jewell, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) endorsed Washington State 40th District Representative candidate Debra Lekanoff.
“Debra's deep ties to the Salish Sea, and her commitment to ensuring that our future is shaped by supporting the needs of all people and our shared environment, will serve the citizens of the 40th district and our state well,” said Jewell.

Secretary Jewell served as the 51st DOI Secretary under the Obama Administration from 2013-2017. After her tenure with the Obama Administration, Secretary Jewell returned home to Washington State and continues to be an advocate for the environment, natural resources, and building a sustainable future.
“Working alongside leaders like Sally Jewell during my career in public service is a both a privilege and an honor,” said Lekanoff. “During our time together, Secretary Jewell and I worked on a number of projects to protect our environment and create solutions together that both benefited our communities and safeguarded our natural resources.”
This announcement comes on the heels of recent endorsements by elected leadership from across Washington State including the Honorable Representative Kris Lytton, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Senator John McCoy, 38th District Tulalip, Representative Sherry Appleton, 23rd LD, Representative Laurie Jinkins, 27th LD, Representative Cindy Ryu, Washington 32nd LD, Representative Ruth Kagi, 32nd LD, Representative June Robinson, 38th LD, Representative Tana Senn, 41st LD, Representative Hans Dunshee, 44th LD, Representative Monica Stonier, 49th LD, Representative Sharon Wylie, 49th LD, and Representative Joan McBride, 48th LD.

Debra is the progressive candidate running for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District seat. Debra is a working mom and strategic leader who’s spent 20 years serving the 40th District, Washington State, and tribal communities both local and nationally by breaking down barriers and building a foundation of collaboration. She is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with you on progressive ideas to build opportunities in education, workforce and economic development, environmental and natural resource protections, affordable housing, and healthcare. Taking a practical approach to current issues, she will continue to build partnerships, and protect the environment. She is asking to be your peer and your voice in Olympia to get the work done. Learn more:

Press Contact:


Donate tonight before the clock strikes 12 to support THE progressive partner, protector, and peer for Washington State's 40th District! Vote Debra Lekanoff needs your help to reach our goal of $5,000 tonight. Visit to donate today!

Dear Friends -

The support shown over the last two weeks is incredible! Yesterday, we received the sole endorsement from One America Votes. I am honored by One America's commitment to justice for all and I can’t wait to face the hard issues head on. The One America endorsement is a gift and together I believe that we can change the world if we stand united as one America.

Yesterday was also an important day for our unions as the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on the Janus v AFSCME. To the men and women of the 40th District who are educators, protectors, healers, and caretakers. I support you and stand by you #UnionStrong. Thank you to SEIU Local 925Washington State Patrol, and UFCW 21 for your endorsement of #VoteDebraLekanoff!

The Vote Debra Lekanoff campaign also gained the endorsement of The Honorable Representative Kris Lytton, current representative of the 40th LD.

It is with great pride for me to share that Representative Lytton was joined by fellow Washington Democratic House Representatives including:

Representative Cindy Ryu, Washington 32nd LD
Representative Monica Stonier, 49th LD  
Representative Laurie Jinkins, 27th LD
Representative Ruth Kagi, 32nd LD
Representative Tana Senn, 41st LD
Representative Sharon Wylie, 49th LD  
Representative Sherry Appleton, 23rd LD
Representative June Robinson, 38th LD
Representative Joan McBride, 48th LD

Thank you for the support from these strong Democratic Representatives and voters who put their faith in me as the candidate who will deliver for the 40th District.

Today marks our last big fundraising deadline before ballots are sent in mailboxes – just weeks away! I need YOUR help to make sure we reach our goals and raise $5,000 before midnight tonight!
In a Primary, it is so crucial that I am able to get my message out to voters and your dollars help me do just that. I am so honored for your continued support and for all of you who are considering joining our journey to Olympia. Our campaign has steadily gained momentum, and as you might have seen, we continue to rise to top with just over 30 days from the election on August 7th.

Please help me meet my goal tonight with a donation of $50, $100, $250, or any amount you can share.


Every dollar allows my team to reach more voters and get the message out!

Thank you for being on my team and for your support!

VIDEO | JUNE 29, 2018

To the men and women of the 40th District who are educators, protectors, healers, and caretakers. To the parents working to put your kids through college and for those who are looking forward to a well-deserved retirement after your years of public service. I support you and stand by you today #UnionStrong. Thank you to SEIU Local 925, Washington State Patrol, and UFCW 21 for your endorsement of #VoteDebraLekanoff campaign. Let’s roll up our sleeves together!

VIDEO | June 28, 2018

Debra needs your help! Help us reach our fundraising goal of $5,000 by midnight on Saturday!

Video | June 26, 2018

Did you miss the Vote Debra Lekanoff Bellingham Kickoff Event remarks? Check them out below!

The Vote Debra Lekanoff Bellingham Kickoff was held on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. We were joined by special guest Representative Kris Lytton who endorsed Debra's campaign. Read about the official endorsement here:


State Representative Kris Lytton Endorses Debra Lekanoff for Washington’s 40th District Seat

Bellingham, WA | Today, State Representative Kristine Lytton announced her official endorsement of Debra Lekanoff (D) as her choice for the 40th District Democratic Candidate.

“My endorsement of Debra comes after careful consideration of the democratic candidates running for my seat in Olympia,” said Lytton. “Debra’s commitment to public service, her fight for environmental justice, progressive and strategic leadership, passion for education, and the ability to find solutions by not shying away from the hard issues gives me the confidence that she is the best candidate for this office. Please join me in voting for Debra Lekanoff by August 7th. I would be proud to have her take my seat representing the 40th District in Olympia.”

Representative Lytton (D-Anacortes) announced her retirement earlier this year to spend more time with her family. Spending nearly a decade as the 40th District State Representative, Representative Lytton has been a champion for children, education, tax reform, and transportation.

Representative Lytton will be providing remarks tonight regarding her endorsement of Ms. Lekanoff  at the Vote Debra Lekanoff Bellingham Kickoff from 5:30 - 7:00 pm at Aslan Brewing Company 1330 N Forest Street (East Magnolia Street), Bellingham WA 98225.

“I am so honored to have such a friend and colleague in Kris. Her commitment to the 40th District over the last eight years set an example and inspired me in my own public service to the community we both love,” said Lekanoff. “Running for her seat is a privilege, and I am approaching this campaign as an opportunity to continue to build on her work through being a progressive partner, protector, and peer to each and every community member in the 40th District. This endorsement is an incredible gift, and I look forward to working with you as we approach the August 7th primary.”

Press Contact:

About Debra

Debra is the progressive candidate running for the Washington State House of Representatives 40th District seat. Debra is a working mom and strategic leader who’s spent 20 years serving the 40th District, Washington State, and tribal communities both local and nationally by breaking down barriers and building a foundation of collaboration. She is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with you on progressive ideas to build opportunities in education, workforce and economic development, environmental and natural resource protections, affordable housing, and healthcare. Taking a practical approach to current issues, she will continue to build partnerships, and protect the environment. She is asking to be your peer and your voice in Olympia to get the work done. Learn more: