Fantastic Friday | Representation reflected in policy

Dear friends and neighbors, 

Happy Fantastic Friday!

As we head into the weekend, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for all the hard work and dedication you put into making our community a better place to live, work, and play. 

Thank you for coming to our town hall!

Thank you so much to all those who attended the recent 40th legislative district town hall. Your engagement and participation were truly appreciated, and it was great to see so many engaged and involved community members in attendance.

Our representation depends on the active participation of our constituents, and your feedback, questions, and suggestions will inform our work and help us to better serve our district.

Once again, thank you for attending the town hall and for your continued involvement in our community.


Police Chief Tavier Wasser from Langley PD and Police Chief Sherman Pruitt from Edmonds PD

An education to reflect the diversity and complexity of our society

I am excited to share with you the latest development in our efforts to recognize and promote tribal history and culture in Washington state.

Tribal sovereignty, culture, language, and government are essential to Washington’s past, present, and future – yet they have been largely absent from K-12 education in our state.

I sponsored House Bill 1332 to require that all school districts incorporate a tribal sovereignty curriculum into their social studies curricula, including materials about the history, culture, and government of their nearest federally recognized tribes. I am proud to say that this bill has received a lot of attention and positive feedback.

One of the most important aspects of this policy is its impact on the tribes themselves. I have been in close communication with tribal leaders throughout the state, and I am thrilled to report that they are very supportive of this effort. For too long, the history and culture of indigenous peoples have been overlooked and marginalized in our education system. By incorporating a tribal sovereignty curriculum, we can help to rectify this injustice and promote greater understanding and respect for Native American culture and history.

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has also expressed support for this policy. They understand the importance of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our schools and recognize that incorporating a tribal sovereignty curriculum is a crucial step in this direction.

Representation matters, and it is essential to ensure that all students have access to an education that reflects the diversity and complexity of our society. By requiring all school districts to include a tribal sovereignty curriculum in their social studies curricula, we are taking an important step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable education system in Washington state.

Thank you for your ongoing support of this critical effort. Together, we can help to promote greater understanding and respect for tribal history, culture, language, and government in our state.

Watch my speech on the House floor here.


Balancing our environmental commitments with cultural respect

House Bill 1216 was introduced to improve the siting and permitting of clean energy projects in the US and provide assistance to project proponents in obtaining permits and approvals for their projects. This bill aims to improve the siting and permitting of clean energy projects in the state, which can have a positive impact on the environment in several ways:

  1. Encouraging the development of more clean energy projects will reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and their associated environmental impacts.
  2. The creation of a Clean Energy Projects of Statewide Significance (CEPSS) designation process will expedite projects that will help us meet our state’s emission goals.
  3. The Coordinated Permit Process Available to CEPSS allows for a streamlined permit process for important clean energy projects, which can reduce the time and cost of project development while ensuring environmental protection measures are in place.

Overall, the bill seeks to promote the development of more clean energy projects in the state while ensuring that environmental concerns are taken into account during the siting and permitting process.

As your representative, I have been working hard to ensure that this bill is the best possible version that can be passed to protect our environment and the sacred sites of our indigenous communities.

This bill prioritizes the environment at all costs: one of the concerns that has been raised is the potential impact on sacred sites, particularly Native American grave sites. I understand that we need to balance the need for development with the preservation of our cultural heritage, and I am committed to finding a solution that works for everyone.

Currently, not all 29 tribes have given their approval for this bill due to their concerns about the impact on sacred sites. We need to listen to their voices and work collaboratively to come up with a solution address their concerns and ensure that their sacred sites are protected.

On the House floor, I was the only Democrat to vote against this bill.

My vote was not a reflection of my lack of support for environmental protection, rather, a reflection of my perspective: we need to take more time to address the concerns of our Indigenous communities and ensure that they are fully involved in the process.

I want to assure you that conversations are ongoing to find a solution that works for everyone, and I will continue to advocate for the interests of our Indigenous communities.  I have partnered with colleagues to support capacity funding and direction for the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs to collaborate with Dept of Ecology, Dept of Commerce and Office of Archeological and Historical Archives to engage with our tribes. The State of Washington and the House Environment and Energy Committee are committed to protecting sacred sites, and we will continue to work together to find a solution that honors our cultural heritage while still allowing for responsible development. I remain committed to working on your behalf and finding solutions that work for all of us.

Members of Color Caucus


Our House Democratic Caucus Members of Color Caucus is the hub of our shared efforts to implement equity and diversity in to our legislative work. We are the largest caucus that brings all of those voices that have been under represented in the state legislature.  The strength of the communities have brought bills that address legislative tools for all governmental services.

Statement from Rep. Timm Ormsby on March 20 state revenue forecast

“Today’s forecast shows that our guarded approach was the correct one and now we must take deliberate and careful steps to ensure that our budget decisions protect the most vulnerable. The operating budget should be responsible and sustainable, but we cannot forget about those most affected, especially low-income communities that suffer disproportionate impacts when budgets fail to invest in the people who need it most.

“Through the pandemic and over the past year, many Washington families have struggled. House Democrats have prioritized those families and communities hurting, investing holistically and intentionally to ensure that children have food, families have a roof over their head, and communities have the supports to move on from the pandemic. Now, with less revenue than we had hoped, we must hold on to those important investments and build where we can so Washington families can continue to recover.

“We will release our budget next week with a focus on equitable access to resources that address our most urgent needs.”

Statement on the WSF restoration update

The 40th legislative district is largely a thriving maritime community, and my colleagues and I have served in steadfast and unwavering support for Washington State Ferries (WSF) and the critical role it plays in our state. I was disappointed to learn of the updated Washington State Ferries Service Restoration Plan, which effectively ends the Anacortes to Sidney international ferry run. However, I remain optimistic that through collaboration and creative thinking, we can find ways to overcome the obstacles and restore this vital connection. I believe that inviting back experienced ferry workers, reassessing SOLAS regulations, exploring SLEP for retired ferries, and contracting with private ferry services are just a few of the solutions that can be pursued to restore this important service. My colleagues and I are working creatively and collaboratively to find ways to revitalize the ferry system and best support its role in our communities.

Visits this week!



San Juan Environmental Student Group; I was so honored to have a brief visit with the San Juan County Environmental Student Group.  These young leaders of today were committed to climate change, orcas and salmon, as well recycling programs for the Island Schools.


Quinault Nation visited with my office and shared their insights on state and tribal relationships in addressing climate change.  The Tribe is in the planning and implementation of moving their entire community above sea level rise.  Since time immemorial the Tribe has lived along the shorelines of the Pacific Ocean. This is the place where their culture, traditional values and laws, foods, first names, songs and prayers are intertwined in their way of life.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback on the issues that matter most to you. If you haven’t had a chance to reach out to my office yet, I encourage you to do so – we’re here to serve you!

Thank you again for all that you do to make our district a fantastic place to live. Have a wonderful weekend!

All best wishes,

Lekanoff sig

Rep. Debra Lekanoff