Candidates for this office

Candidate Questionairres

Below are responses for the candidates running in this election.
Questions Debra Lekanoff
Age No answer given Anacortes
Residence Bow Did not answer
Occupation Governmental Affairs Director, Swinomish Tribe University of Zagrab| Fine Arts | Military Intelligence Journeyman Carpenter through Apprenticeship
Education BA, Business Administration/Finance, Central Washington University. MA (Candidate), Public Administration, Evergreen College. Trustee in Local Union 70 |Elected to Executive Board of Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, representing six western States: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
Elected offices held None No public offices previously sought
Elected offices sought None Volunteer Coach for the Anacortes Parks Department for boys and girls soccer & basketball | Anacortes Little League Baseball | Knights of Columbus & Lector at St. Mary Catholic Church in Anacortes.
Community involvement EPA National and Regional Tribal Operations Committee, Washington State and Tribal Water Quality Standards Roundtable Participant, Coast Salish Gathering Coordinator, Community Action of Skagit, Northwest Indian College Foundation, Skagit Democratic Delegate, Salish Sea Ecosystem Board and Billy Frank Jr. Salmon Summit Board.
Campaign website The fundamental truths of this nation, its history and the basic understanding about our republic are no longer taught in most schools and universities; and sadly, are no longer are a requirement for graduation. The absolute contemptuous disregard for authority and the rule of the law at multiple levels by our civic leaders and many elected officials is threatening the Constitution and our Nation’s sovereignty. This must stop! We should be a country of law and order, we need to abide by our laws and enforce them. If they are bad laws we should change them as provided in the Constitution, not arbitrarily write new laws or pick and choose which laws we will follow; otherwise problems like lawlessness and anarchy will prevail. I simply could no longer stand idly by and watch these attacks happen, especially against energy and construction industries of which I am employed and against the working families I represent. I plan to be  working in Olympia to fix this debacle for the 40th District and our State.
Why are you running for office? First and foremost, I’m a Mom and have the honor being a community member of this beautiful place we all call home. I have served my entire 21 years of employment as a government servant to citizens. I chose to run because I want to re-build Community. I have witnessed political decisions that destroy the relationships between governments at the local, state, federal and international levels and have left citizens in critical situations. I am committed to rebuilding relationships and removing the barriers so we may unify our voices in the 40th district. We are the people of the Salish Sea, whether we call ourselves environmentalists, business and industry leaders, farmers, fishermen, grandmothers or advocates. I believe we live in the most beautiful district in Washington, from the lakes and mountains of Whatcom County to the powerful rivers of the Skagit, to the islands of the Salish Sea. The taking of water rights on private property of Skagitonians created by the disastrous Hirst "Fix" legislation which exempted Skagit County. In 2001 WA State established a Skagit Instream Flow Rule (Washington Administrative Code 173-503) that allocated no water for the EXEMPT WELLS in the Skagit River Basin. Not only was this ruling scientifically unfounded, it was also a direct violation of the 1996 Memorandum of Agreement that contained a specific clause to protect permit exempt water well rights. The WA State Dept of Ecology recognized this error and the omission of the clause in the 2001 ruling. In 2006 the Department reached an agreement with Skagit County to correct this error and omission. The Swinomish Tribe then sued Ecology for violation of the 2001 Rule and in 2013 the WA State Supreme Court decided in their favor.
What is the single biggest issue facing the candidate who is elected to this position? Access to education at all levels poses a significant challenge in the 40th LD. Education of our children (preK-12), young adults (18-24), and community members at all stages of life is an issue near and dear to my heart. As a working, single mom, I want to make sure that every person in the community has access to affordable, quality education. I believe that Kindergarten should be the next step in a child’s education not the first step. Children need access to early learning prior to beginning Kindergarten to ensure they are set up for success throughout their education. I also recognize the need for growth in technical skills education, and that not every high school graduate wants to pursue a traditional four-year college degree. Everyone in our communities should have access to affordable, high quality post-secondary education from technical and vocational training, to associates programs at community colleges, to higher education. These investments in education are an important step in strengthening our communities and growing our economy. Refer to the law that has addressed this issue which was passed in 1945, RCW 90.44.050 “Permit Exempt Well” which states a domestic well for personal use of up to 5000 gallons a day does not require a PERMIT and implement it. I read the article in SVH edition, dated January 24, 2017 where you reported the statement made by Ecology spokeswoman Kristin Johnson-Waggoner, that the research done by the Department of Ecology and the U.S. Geological Survey using groundwater models show that the Skagit River had little in common with well levels in the area. This scientific research conclusion should remove the Skagit River Basin from the protected list. We are instead dealing with a legislature that is ignoring true science upheld by hydrogeologists and basic physics. Water flows downhill and will always seek the lowest point, whether it is on the surface or underground. Aquifers in Skagit County are much deeper than the river bottom and have no connection to the river nor adversely influence its instream flow. River water comes from saturated surface water originating from rainfall and snowpack, neither of which we are lacking here in the State of Washington. True science should explain the way things are and not promote conjectures.
How will you address this issue? To carry on the work of the Honorable Representative Kris Lytton, I plan to create new opportunities for educational resources at every level by implementing the most recent initiatives passed by the legislature and developing planned paths of success for each community member looking to learn. This will include providing more consistent and sustainable levels of funding for public education in Washington to ensure our school districts, post-secondary educational institutions, and financial aid programs have adequate and stable funding. I am the individual that most Americans would prefer to have in public service with whom they can relate with: one who respects the rule-of-law; one who is not a career politician but one who comes from a background built on the foundation of hard work, family life, faith and tradition. As the “Citizen Legislator” I promise to be the voice of the people: to uphold law and order; to defend property rights, reduce taxes and eliminate needless government regulations on individuals and businesses.
Why should voters choose you? With my 20 years of governmental service, I understand the value of collective action and negotiating to get work done. My experience in government affairs has provided me with the ability to bring folks to the table, be respectful and open to discussion, and ensure we move towards solutions that achieve our goals. In the past 20 years my career has been focused on helping those around us build healthy, safe, and prosperous communities. I am a strategic leader who gets it done with hard work and commitment, working to ensure that you have a representative in Olympia who will effectively serve you and your family. I am a community builder who has the unique ability to work effectively with different levels of government. This allows me to bring voices together to address a challenge, determine a solution and implement a realistic plan that benefits all parties. I am committed to the strength of our communities and believe we all have a role to help this place be sustainable. Coming from a family of Croatian immigrants and refugees, with a strong American law enforcement family background, I am cognizant of what it takes for such families to become legal citizens of the United States. I am well suited to help the State of Washington participate in the enforcement of our federal immigration laws. My early experience in commercial fishing instilled in me the importance of self-reliance, team work, and being a good steward of our natural resources. I will support sound solutions for current environmental challenges without impeding economic growth and / or raising taxes. Rural Americans make better stewards of their environments than career politicians do. The water crisis in Skagit County is one example of the numerous bureaucratic nonsense that only serve to provide employment security for elected and unelected public officials. From 1995 to 2001 I was a civilian contractor to NATO & US Military in Bosnia. Working with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), I helped investigate and capture war criminals. Facilitated in meetings which brought about the much-desired Dayton Peace Accords amongst the warring nations (Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia) ending the war in the region. I also assisted the C.I.A. mission there to successfully remove Jihadi fighters from the former Yugoslavia. This intense firsthand experience will prove invaluable in addressing the security issues we face today in our nation, state, and schools while protecting the rights guaranteed under the US and Washington State Constitutions. I am also endorsed by a former primary opponent and life long Democrat Tom Pasma.  He has taken a tremendous amount of ridicule, insults and personal attacks for simply stating the facts about my qualification and commitment to the the citizens of the 40th Legislative district of the State of Washington.  He has simply stated that I am the best candidate in this race.  I will work on behalf of all who live in,  work in and pay taxes here our district.
What sets you apart from your opponent? As someone with more than 20 years of service to our communities working to bring all parties to the table and address a wide array of issues, I will come to Olympia with the experience needed to be an effective legislator. Whether it is working to protect our environment and natural resources, invest in public education, address the housing affordability and homelessness crisis, or provide holistic solutions to mental health and substance abuse in our communities, I have been working hard to strengthen our communities. My direct experience has been developing, engaging, and implementing policy, laws and regulations in Olympia and in Washington DC. I am not only the person on the ground, but I am the person at the keyboard and on the phone. The best part of my job is the ability to work with the community and value each role everyone has and what they bring to the table. I am a strong believer in leaving egos at the door and coming together to find a way to achieve a goal and, for you all, it is to respect and honor you by doing what is right.

Here you will find a number of helpful resources for the upcoming election.

Latest E-Edition

  • Read the latest edition of the Skagit Valley Herald in our e-edition format, which combines the familiarity of the printed-paper format with the convenience of reading on your phone, tablet or desktop computer from anywhere.