Redistricting undermines 40th – Representative Lekanoff Statement

October 6, 2021 by stephenshubert

You may have gotten the idea that I think redistricting is a major concern, and today I have the most powerful statement yet for you to read.  It comes directly from Rep. Lekanoff.  After you read it, please take action.  And if you have already sent an email, send another.

Dear Friends,

Democratic appointees to Washington State’s Redistricting Commission recently released two proposals for state-level Legislative Redistricting. Both proposals include significant changes to our 40th LD.

I am deeply grateful for the work of Commissioners Sims and Walkinshaw. They have balanced many competing interests. Their jobs were made harder by the late delivery of necessary census data, but they have for the most part produced thoughtful proposals grounded in Democratic values. Commissioner April Sims, who was appointed by my House Democratic Caucus, summarized the values that guided her proposal this way:

  • Protecting fair and effective representation
  • Maintaining and creating communities of interest
  • Respecting Tribal sovereignty and the government-to-government relationship with Tribal partners
  • Centering and engaging communities that have been historically underrepresented

I fully support these values and am proud that our Commissioners have built their approach on this solid foundation. However, I have heard strong concerns from many of our community members that the changes to the 40th do not reflect these values. Here are a few of the concerns I have heard:

  • Fair and effective representation is undermined when the proposed district reduces from six to three the legislators who will focus on improving the ferry service to and from San Juan County that our small businesses and citizens rely on for critical supplies and access to medical care.
  • Communities of interest are not maintained when the refineries that have supported generations of Washingtonians and have long been the strong heart of our school districts and our community are moved out of the 40th.  Further, combining the San Juan Islands in with the growler base on Whidbey Island, pits the two communities against each other instead of providing a strong voice in negotiations over noise impacts.
  • Tribal sovereignty is not respected when there has been a lack of consultation by the Commission with the treaty tribes that call the 40th LD home. Our tribes have fishing and hunting and gathering rights in the 40th LD, specifically in the San Juan Islands, and under the proposed plan many of them would be split between districts.
  • The voices of historically underrepresented Hispanic communities, including farmworkers, in Skagit and Whatcom counties are diminished, rather than strengthened, by being separated into two different districts.

The 40th LD is a unique district – we are a rural district yet we elect environmental champions who work for water quality, salmon recovery, Orcas, and the health of our Salish Sea. Those are your values and we work every day to take your voice to Olympia.

We have had incredible legislative success in the past few years, and under the proposed redistricting maps it would be truly difficult to get the same bills passed.  

What the proposed changes mean for your elected legislators:

The proposed maps would require both Senator Liz Lovelett and myself to run against incumbent Democrats in a different district, the 10th, to remain in office and continue working on your behalf. It would require Rep. Alex Ramel to run against an incumbent Democrat in the 42nd.

In other words, this will be the only district in Washington to lose all three representatives to Olympia resulting in elected officials who don’t know our communities, who aren’t grounded in our issues, values, and beliefs and who will not have the knowledge or experience to represent us or pass much-needed legislation for the 40th.

Go to this web site to submit your comments about the detremental effects on the San Juan Islands and the 40th District, renamed, district 10 on April Simms map and Brady Piñero Walkinshaw map. Click on the map and make your comments. Thank you.

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