July 5, 2019
An Independence Day Fantastic Friday
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,
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.
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.