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TV ad pits Herrera Beutler against voters

Conservation group says constituents want public lands protected

By , Columbian politics reporter
Published: December 14, 2017, 6:41pm

A Montana-based conservation group launched a statewide ad campaign Thursday targeting U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground. The ad about Herrera Beutler, produced by Western Values Project, is one of three calling on congressional representatives to protect public lands. Fellow Republican Reps. Greg Walden of Oregon and Martha McSally of Arizona also were targeted.

The 30-second television ad alleges that Washington’s public lands, such as the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, could be next on the chopping block and encourages constituents to contact Herrera Beutler.

“Public lands are a cornerstone of the way of life in communities across the West. Whether you live in Washington, Arizona or Oregon, the administration’s plan to gut protections for public lands is wildly unpopular,” Chris Saeger, executive director of Western Values, said in a press release. “We’re putting Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler on notice: if she goes against public lands and sides with the administration by carving up the West in favor of special interests, she’ll have to answer to her constituents.”

Western Values also conducted a poll of 401 3rd District residents. The poll found 92 percent of residents feel strongly about protecting Washington’s public lands and 53 percent oppose legislation to reduce Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

The poll also found that 53 percent of respondents would vote to replace Herrera Beutler if she voted to roll back public land protections, and 45 percent would vote to replace her with a Democrat, specifically.

Saeger told The Columbian that Western Values targeted areas and local representatives it thought would be most responsive to their polling data.

“The polling showed constituents expect Congresswoman Herrera Beutler to side with protection of public lands and not with the Trump administration,” he said.

Herrera Beutler said she’s always worked to protect Southwest Washington’s public lands.

“I would oppose in the strongest terms any attempt to, as the ad campaign states, ‘gut protections for monuments and parks’ here in Washington,” Herrera Beutler said in an email. “In fact, every action I’ve taken is to better manage and increase the public’s access to their land, whether that’s fighting for funding for public trails, standing with sportsmen when precious hunting areas were threatened, or helping broker a deal to improve the Pacific Crest Trail that would also leave Skamania County’s beleaguered taxable land base whole.”

The television ad runs through Dec. 22.

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