An already crowded race for Democrats looking to unseat U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, has grown with a strong kickoff for Carolyn Long, a WSU Vancouver professor who officially announced her run Nov. 30.
The reception at the announcement was similarly crowded, as supporters packed into a space at Warehouse ‘23 for the event. Her campaign slogan of “people over politics” was central to her introduction, stressing “let’s focus on those values that unite us as Americans.”
As far as a place to start, Long said it began with jobs — living wage jobs specifically — and the structures in place to educate and certify people for those jobs. She said she knew first-hand how difficult running a small business was, as she recounted how she would help out at a store owned by a family member every summer in her youth to help it through its struggles.
Infrastructure was another policy point she addressed, which she highlighted would be an economic boon among other elements.
“We need to look at infrastructure projects for what they are — job-creators, an investment into the community and a way to provide a better quality of life for Washingtonians,” Long said.
In order to maintain a strong workforce, Long said that a need for affordable health care was paramount.
“Rather than using the Affordable Care Act as a partisan football, we must fix it immediately to make sure people have access to care,” Long said, adding that tackling prescription drug prices was another important step.
She also said it was important to stand up for veterans and their families, and for the public image of America as a whole which has taken a negative turn in her eyes with the Trump Administration. She stressed the need for “stopping this president when he insults our allies, cozies up to dictators, isolates America and destroys our standing in the world.”
Long briefly mentioned a host of other issues — campaign finance reform, net neutrality, equal pay, civil rights, climate change — highlighting the size and scope of the job at hand.
“We have so much work to do,” Long said, “and it’s time for a representative who will actually do that work.”
Noteworthy among the packed event space was Craig Pridemore, former Washington state legislator, Clark County Commissioner and one-time House candidate for the Third District in 2010, losing to current incumbent Herrera Beutler in the latter’s first Congressional race.
Pridemore said that those who knew him for some time had probably noticed in recent years he has drifted away from politics. For him endorsing Long was a return to the political sphere and one he was going all-in.
“She said this decision was a year in the making. She was wrong; for me, it’s been 20 years in the making,” Pridemore said, alluding to how long they have known each other. “When I heard she was considering this race, I dropped everything.”
“Quite frankly, I believe she is the best candidate to ever run in the Washington Third, present company included,” Pridemore remarked, acknowledging his own attempt at the seat.
He stressed for supporters to contribute and do so early, estimating that the campaign would cost a minimum of $3 million.
Long is a professor at WSU Vancouver in their school of politics, philosophy and public affairs and holds a doctorate degree in political science from Rutgers University. Her research has focused on American institutions, public law and policy.
Long joins three other candidates on the Democrat side vying for Herrera Beutler’s seat even 11 months from the general election. Combat veteran Dorothy Gasque and scientist Peter Harrison have also started their campaigns, joining past House candidate David McDevitt who is once again in the running.