Debra Lekanoff
Debra Lekanoff, candidate for the Washington State House of Representatives

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.

Adjacent posts