Herrera Beutler talks business

Congresswoman hears concerns about energy, health costs, taxes, rules

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler shared her take on business issues with an eastside business group during its Friday morning meeting at the Camas Meadows Golf Club.

"This is my hometown," the Camas Republican told the group of about 50 members of the 150-member East Vancouver Business Association. "If you succeed, I succeed. Everybody deserves the same chance."

Herrera Beutler is running for re-election in the 3rd District this year against other congressional candidates Jon Haugen, a Vancouver Democrat, and Norma Jean Stevens, who prefers no party.

Herrera Beutler said she has heard about numerous threats to the economic climate from business leaders during her first 17 months in office. Businesses tell her those hurdles include government regulations, taxes and the rising cost of energy and health care, she said.

"Everything gets back to the question, 'Are we creating an environment where jobs can grow?'" Herrera Beutler said.

Herrera Beutler took note of worries from technology businesses in Camas and east Vancouver about their increased energy costs as utilities invest in new forms of renewable energy. She embraced the argument made by industry leaders that the region's abundant hydropower should be considered a renewable power source to ease pressure for development of solar and wind energy.

"One of its biggest issues for the (technology) sector is energy costs," she said. "We have a clean, renewable source of energy right here, our hydro system."

The congresswoman serves on the House Small Business Committee and was recently appointed to the 47-member House-Senate Transportation Conference Committee, which is tasked with hammering out a new federal transportation bill.

Herrera Beutler offered her thoughts on numerous topics, some of which were prompted by audience questions, including:

• "I don't think light rail is a bad thing. However, the (highway) fees you're paying should go to what you're paying for."

• "Why aren't our roads and bridges fixed? Because the money gets diverted to other projects."

• "Every time our financial aid increases, so does tuition. I think we need to find out what's driving the cost of tuition."