Cantwell drives home a need to vote

Senator stops in Vancouver to rally for herself and other Democratic candidates, and to discuss issues

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: October 27, 2012, 12:12 AM

 
photoU.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell greets supporters at the Vancouver Firefighters Union Hall, Friday.

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photoU.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., makes a campaign stop at the Vancouver Firefighters Union Hall on Friday evening as former state Rep. Val Ogden and former Clark County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ogden follow behind. On her bus tour, Cantwell plans to stop at 26 locations across Washington.

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With just 11 days left until the Nov. 6 general election, Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell made a final push for Clark County votes during a rally Friday evening at Vancouver Firefighters Hall.

"I'm here to ask for your support for my re-election campaign because I want to win Clark County this election," Cantwell said, prompting applause from a room full of about 150 people. "I want to make sure that we improve our ports and our rail lines, and our Amtrak system, and our infrastructure so we can continue to grow more jobs here in Clark County."

Cantwell is on a 26-stop bus tour across the state in an effort to get out the vote for Democratic candidates and discuss key issues, such as workforce training, jobs for veterans, and affordable college education. Cantwell's bus tour stopped in Auburn and Kelso on Friday before arriving in Vancouver.

During her speech, Cantwell drummed up support for state Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, who is running in the most competitive legislative race in Clark County. Rather than run for re-election to the state House, Probst decided to run against state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver.

"I am really asking you to help one of our representatives step up to the next level," she said. "Send Tim Probst back to the Legislature."

Cantwell also threw her support behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee, state secretary candidate Kathleen Drew, and other Democratic legislative candidates in Clark County. She asked members of the audience to volunteer during the final days of the campaign and to encourage people to vote.

"I know when you have tough economic times, sure, you tighten your belt," Cantwell said. "But you also have to keep your eye about how you're going to invest for the future. And that's what this election is about. It is about investing in the right strategies to grow jobs for the future. So I'm asking you to go out and tell your friends and neighbors to make sure that they understand what these choices are about."

Prior to Cantwell's speech, State Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, told a story to demonstrate the importance of volunteers, and the importance of campaigning up until the very end.

"During my second race in Oregon, I was way behind, and there were three hit pieces that came out the week before the election," said Wylie, a former Oregon legislator. "My volunteers, we printed up 8,000 fliers and hand-delivered them, and 12 people went 24 hours around the clock and delivered 8,000 pieces. And I won by 300 votes."

This year, the final days of election season will be critical, she emphasized.

"There's going to be a number of really, really tight races," Wylie said, "And I don't think there's ever been a time when every little thing you can do is so critically important. Everything matters right now."

Drew, the Democratic secretary of state candidate, also stumped at the event, promising to eliminate voter registration deadlines, pre-register 16- and 17-year-olds to vote, and fight laws that make it harder for people to vote.

"This is going to be a great Democratic year for the state of Washington -- and we're going to make sure it is, aren't we?" Drew said, inspiring cheers from the crowd. "We'll lead the nation in voting rights, and efforts to increase voter participation."

Monday is the last day people can register to vote in-person by visiting their elections office. The Clark County Elections Department is at 1408 Franklin St. in Vancouver. Ballots in the vote-by-mail election must be postmarked by Nov. 6 or returned to one of the county's drop-off boxes by 8 p.m. Election Day.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics