OLYMPIA – On August 3, 2019, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) presented Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow, with the annual Rising Environmental Leader Award. The award was announced at NCEL’s sixth annual National Forum, which took place August 2-4 in Nashville, Tennessee. The forum was attended by 152 legislators from 39 states.
“It is an incredible honor to receive this distinction,” said Lekanoff. “We are at a critical time in our history. It’s vital we address the impact of climate change head on for today and for all the generations behind us.”
Each year, NCEL recognizes state lawmakers for their outstanding accomplishments on environmental issues. The Rising Environmental Leader Award goes to members of the Caucus who demonstrates strong leadership on environmental issues early in their legislative careers. Criteria includes bipartisan support for the awardee’s legislation and the impact of policies that they introduced. Lekanoff was selected by the NCEL Board of Directors, which is comprised of a majority of sitting state legislators.
In 2019, Lekanoff successfully sponsored legislation (House Bill 1578) to protect orca populations in Puget Sound and served as the vice chair of the House Committee on Environment and Energy, where she helped lead her colleagues in passing some of the nation’s strongest environmental protection and clean energy policies.
As the only Native American to currently serve in the Washington State House, she lends her voice to legislation to ensure that communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change because of race or socioeconomic status are represented.
“Rep. Lekanoff has displayed a strong dedication and passion for environmental issues,” said Mauk. “Her attention to equity and justice in addressing environmental issues is something that we hope all legislators can learn from. We look forward to watching her continue to grow in the Washington legislature and seeing the lessons she shares with other legislators across the country.”
Lekanoff currently sits on the House Committees on Environment & Energy, Capital Budget, and Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources.