Libertarian challenges Harris for House seat

Airline pilot has strong opinion on education

By Lauren Dake, Columbian political writer

Published:

 

A Vancouver commercial airline pilot with strong opinions on federal education and health care mandates is running to unseat 17th District state Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver.

Chris Rockhold, 43, who identifies as a Libertarian, said he would like to see the state opt out of Common Core standards, which lay out what students at each grade level should learn in mathematics and language arts. The standards have been adopted by 45 states and are slated to be fully implemented in Washington next school year.

“So many laws come down from the federal government and they all have strings attached,” he said.

If elected, Rockhold also said he would push for food labels on genetically modified organisms.

“It sounds corny when you say you want to change the world, but that’s kind of why I wanted to run,” Rockhold said.

Harris’ voting record, Rockhold said, is too often aligned with that of Democrats.

“I think people go up there (to Olympia) wanting to do good things, then they go up there and get entrenched and say this is how you have to compromise your principles,” Rockhold said. “I’m not concerned about how I’ll look within the system. I’m more concerned with how to improve liberty and how I can improve the state of Washington.”

Rockhold, who is married with one son, is a pilot with Empire Airlines. He attended both South Puget Sound Community College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

He would like to see Obamacare repealed and blasts his opponent for voting for measures that he believes “helped pave the way for the health exchange.”

“I would like to see Washington state assert its right as a state and not do everything the federal government tells it to do,” he said.

Rockhold said he won’t take donations from corporations or unions during his campaign. His contributions now are all from “private donors that are concerned about what is happening in the state,” he said. “Nobody will have influence over me.”

Harris put to rest the rumors he would file for county commissioner in March when he announced he was seeking re-election to the 17th District state House seat. Democrat Richard McCluskey also filed for the position.