guest

Lekanoff updates her constituency on social issues | Guest column

The following was originally published in State Rep. Debra Lekanoff’s Friday newsletter on Aug. 28.

Economic recovery

As we have seen over the last year and a half, the pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges and disparities our communities face including access to affordable healthcare, childcare, housing, broadband, economic security, and equity. As we work towards pandemic recovery, my office will continue to convene roundtables bringing together our local, state, federal, and tribal governments and community leaders to find solutions that work for all. We have a lot to do in preparation for the 2022 legislative session, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves.

Infrastructure

We are excited to see the Senate passed a $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes historic investment in transportation and water infrastructure, salmon recovery, ecosystem restoration, combatting wildfires and climate change, and modernization of our energy grid. These investments will create jobs and spur economic prosperity for years to come.

“We’re authorizing federal funding for megaprojects so that we can complete those crucial multimodal projects that are too expensive for states to handle on their own. We’re authorizing at-grade rail crossing replacement because they are safety and congestion hazards in the northwest. And we’re authorizing funding for the removal and replacement of culverts so we can work to restore the salmon runs that are so important to the Pacific Northwest. This bill is going to create thousands of jobs all across the State of Washington, and it will allow us to better compete in the global economy while also improving people’s quality of life.”-Senator Maria Cantwell

To learn more about the federal infrastructure package, and some of the major wins for Washington State, visit Senator Cantwell’s website, www.cantwell.senate.gov/news/press-releases/cantwell-outlines-big-wins-for-washington-states-infrastructure-salmon-economy-.

The childcare crisis

Last week, we convened a roundtable with local government and community leaders to discuss the dire childcare crisis in San Juan County and its impacts to rural economic recovery and equity in the workplace. With limited staff, facilities, and resources, families find themselves unable to access childcare and are forced to make difficult decisions. While San Juan County as an island community is unique, the lack of affordable and quality childcare is an issue felt throughout our 40th district and across the state. Addressing the childcare crisis will be critical to our rural and economic recovery.