Yes, it may be earlier than we want to begin thinking about mid-term politics, but the Parkland students have gotten us off to a booming start on election season. This past weekend “March for Our Lives” took place in Washington, D.C., and in hundreds of other towns both large and small all across the world from Paris, France to Astoria, Oregon.
At Place de Trocadero within sight of the Eiffel Tower, the demonstration “Paris Stands With Parkland” took place (www.facebook.com/marchforourlivesparis/) with signs like “Flowers Not Firearms,” “Arm Teachers with Pencils Not Guns,” the “NRA kills!” And like the U.S.-led marches, one of the main features was registering young people to vote. (In France, organizers were signing up students in a “Vote from Abroad” movement.)
Meanwhile back in the Pacific Northwest at the Seattle march, 15-year-old Sammamish sophomore Nabrath Sheriff told Seattle Times reporters, “Every time I walk in a classroom I’m looking for a place I could hide. I deserve to go to school and feel safe.” It’s appalling that our students need to enter class with survival on their minds.
Those of us of a certain age weren’t totally immune to the possibility of violence at school: we had air raid drills and told to crawl under our desks and cover our heads. But still, walking into a classroom did not involve the immediate dilemma, “Now, where would I hide if….”
As we’ve seen, Parkland’s survivors and now teen leaders have quickly emerged to carry the political fight against gun violence that our many governmental representatives have dropped and stomped on with feet dirtied by NRA-money.
Enough is more than enough
Which brings me to our current Congressional Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. According to MyNorthwest (tinyurl.com/y8uuklcu), “Among our state’s Republicans, southwest Washington’s Jaime Herrera Beutler has received the most money from the NRA, more than $95,000.”
On the website VoteSmart which analyzes voting data and compiles scores from a wide variety of organizations, we find that Herrera Beutler has a rating from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence of 0 percent. It’s no surprise then that the NRA loves Jaime; she has a rating of 93 percent for support their policies and a lifetime grade from the NRA of “A.” (See VoteSmart here: tinyurl.com/yb82we4g.) I give her an “F” for “failing” to keep our kids safe.
But it’s not just Herrera Beutler’s lack of support for gun control that’s an issue. A review of her voting record shows her to be on the opposite side of almost everything I value.
Her rating from Planned Parenthood regarding the right of women to get abortions is 0 percent. Her rating from the Defenders of Wildlife is 0 percent. From the Sierra Club on her positions in support of clean water: 0 percent. Americans for the Arts: 0 percent. National Farmer’s Union: 0 percent. American Civil Liberties Union: 5 percent. Alliance for Retired Americans, lifetime score: 0 percent. Human Rights Campaign, in support of sexual orientation and gender politics: 0 percent. National Hispanic Leadership Agenda on positions of economic empowerment: 0 percent.
Should I go on?
The VoteSmart I-spy site provides a public service; its data cuts through the fog of media bluster to deliver real information on politicians’ positions. They also pose a series of questions for all government representatives, though the site states, “Jaime Herrera Beutler has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests. Historically candidates have failed to complete our test due to the advice they receive from their parties and advisors out of fear of negative attack ads.”
Though Herrera Beutler generally represented herself during her initial campaigning as a moderate, she is strictly a super-conservative in terms of social justice, economic, and environmental issues. (Though on the economy we must quibble with many in the GOP who complained about the deficit under Obama. Herrera Beutler voted “yea” on the GOP tax cut, bill RC#699, H.R. 1, which has added roughly three trillion to our deficit.) You may have also noticed that after she got elected she’s rarely shown her face in our county; a few town hall type phone calls do not substitute for face-to-face interaction.
Who can beat her? Carolyn Long
I have a modest proposal based on listening and talking to the current candidates hoping to unseat Jaime. Last month at a Democratic candidates’ forum in Raymond on the stage sat David McDevitt, Dorothy Gasque, Peter Harrison and Carolyn Long. They all spoke and answered questions.
My second favorite candidate, Peter Harrison, has since bowed out and is now endorsing Long, who is my first choice. Before deciding to run for office, Long was the Sam Reed distinguished professor of civic education, public civility and an associate professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at Washington State University in Vancouver. That’s a academic mouthful but Long is as down-to-earth as they come. She helped with her dad’s fresh produce stand in Brookings, Oregon and knows about the struggles of rural life.
She’s approachable, smart, articulate, attractive, lively, and educated on constitutional and governmental policies and procedures. She has rural roots and urban sophistication — both are required for the crazy demographic mix of our gerrymandered 3rd district that runs from our little country corner of the world through to Vancouver.
As our own former congressman Brian Baird says, “Carolyn Long is just the kind of person we need to fight the special interests and bring common sense and real solutions to Congress. She will show up every day to work for all the people of Southwest Washington and she won’t be afraid to challenge party power or the administration. It’s time for us to have a real representative in Congress.”
Another person familiar to many of us, Bob Dingethal, says, “Carolyn Long is brilliant, articulate and personable, JHB would be crazy to debate Carolyn because JHB would end up looking like a buffoon — of course she won’t debate so we’ll never have the pleasure. It will be wonderful to have one of the great political minds in the nation representing Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.” Long has already come to Pacific County twice to talk to folks and has impressed me both times. The other candidates are earnest but don’t have the qualifications that Long brings to the party. McDevitt, who’s run before, is well-informed but not quick enough on his feet in debates or as personable as a candidate needs to be. (McDevitt’s homepage here: mcdevittforcongress.com.) Gasque is a grassroots candidate with a military background but someone with little political experience. (Gasque’s site here: dorothyforcongress.com/newsletter/).
These Democratic challengers agree on the issues: there’s too much corporate money in politics; healthcare needs reform; some reasonable gun control measures should be put into place; increasing employment in Pacific County is a top priority; the Medicaid/Medicare safety-net needs to be retained; and we do not want off-shore drilling in Washington.
For me, the question is who can beat Jaime. I think Long has the right stuff. See what you think: www.electlong.com .