Local View: Herrera ready for new role as congresswoman

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The most powerful words in a democracy are “the people have spoken.” On Election Day the people of Southwest Washington spoke loud and clear. Your message? Change the direction of the federal government.

I am humbled to become your next U.S. representative. At 32 years old, I have much to learn. I was raised in Clark County, make it my home, and have represented this community in the state Legislature. This experience taught me about the legislative process and the importance of listening to the people I serve, but definitely did not give me all of the answers. I will continue to listen, and take concerns of people from Camas to La Center, from Vancouver, Battle Ground and Ridgefield and our towns and cities across this region to Washington, D.C.

My office will be a “no arrogance zone.” I was not elected to be a master; my duty is to be your public servant. My door will be open to every citizen. If I can help solve a problem for you, it won’t matter if you are a Republican, Democrat or neither. And when I’m in the other Washington, I’ll reach across the aisle to anyone willing to work in good faith to solve problems.

My campaign promise was and is to be an independent voice for families and communities. Meanwhile, I promise to work to reduce federal spending and the debt because over-spending is killing jobs, contributing to Clark County’s 12 percent unemployment rate, and the debt threatens the future of every American.

This debt is not a partisan issue. Both Republicans and Democrats have dangerously overspent America’s credit card. Today, the federal government is printing money at higher levels than tax revenues. We are borrowing money from the Chinese to pay for today’s spending. We have to change course because we are heading toward high inflation, more unemployment and a destruction of the American dream by making America a debtor nation.

Priorities set

In addition to reducing overspending, when I take office Jan. 5 I’ll focus on these priorities to help change direction:

■ Helping small businesses. Small businesses have created 65 percent of new private-sector jobs in the past two decades. Everywhere I go, small-business owners say they are afraid to hire or make other new investments because they don’t know what new regulation or new tax the federal government will impose on them. My priority will be predictability with low taxes and modest regulation.

■ Reforming health care. Health care costs are spiraling out of control, and Americans were not satisfied with the last attempt at reform. We can pursue market-oriented solutions that allow low-income families to get access to health care without growing government.

■ Listening to Southwest Washington — fixing problems. I will listen and respond, and the people who work on my staff will be servants for Clark County and the rest of this region. When federal agencies overstep their bounds, I will be on your side. When they refuse to help individuals where help is warranted, I will be on the side of the individual. I’m not anti-government. We need to reduce the size and role of the government and focus on where it can be useful. For example, since the beginning of our republic the federal government has built roads and bridges, and it should continue to do so.

Work starts now

The hard work starts now. I will give all my energy to working for the best interests of your family and our community. Please be patient as I learn, listen and work.

The problems that accumulated over years will not disappear overnight. But this is still America and we are still Americans. Generations before us overcame adversity to give the next generation more opportunity. Now it’s time again to put our great country back on the right course. I’m ready to do my part. I would appreciate your prayers and support.

Jaime Herrerais representative for the 3rd Congressional District. On Nov. 2 she received 52.9 percent of the votes district-wide and 55.1 percent of the votes in Clark County.