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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

3rd Congressional District candidates speak out on issues

By Katy Sword, Columbian politics reporter
Published: July 24, 2018, 6:00am

With seven candidates seeking office, including incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, the hotly contested race for the 3rd Congressional District seat is approaching its first opportunity to narrow the field. This year, four Democrats and three Republicans filed for their chance to serve Southwest Washington.

In advance of the Aug. 7 primary, we asked the candidates a set of questions with the goal of considering the top issues facing area residents.

Here’s what they had to say on a few of the topics. Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Earl Bowerman declined to participate.


Herrera Beutler (R): Family separation should never have been U.S. policy, and I was relieved to see the president end it via executive order on June 20. While our nation should strive to treat all people with fairness and decency, we are also a nation of laws and I oppose proposals in Congress to eliminate the federal agencies that enforce immigration laws and also combat drug and human trafficking at our borders.

Michael Cortney (R): I believe in what it says at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty. I believe we are the sanctuary country. When I was growing up, the Statue of Liberty was a symbol I was proud of. And when people around the world thought of the United States, they thought of that symbol. There are a great many images of the U.S., and the Statue of Liberty is one of its symbols. It is a part what made this country great. I also believe that in the world as it is today, people that are allowed into the country need to go through some kind of vetting process. One of the primary jobs of government the safety of its citizens, and there are people who mean to do us harm.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

If it had been written today, it would read that all people are created equal, and everyone has an undeniable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When people come to our borders and want to come live in our country, they have every right be heard, and unless they are a threat to our well-being, I believe they should be afforded the same opportunities of our forefathers.

The problems we have today at our border arose out of our love for drugs and the drug war it is turned Central America into a dangerous place to live, especially for the vulnerable like women and children, and the poor. The people are border came here because of their suffering, our policy now is to make them suffer worse, so they don’t come back. This is not the country I grew up in.

As a congressperson, I would work on legislation to give the DACA kids a path to citizenship. I believe there are already good laws in place to deal with immigration. I believe the immigration issue is been hijacked by self-serving politicians who stoke the fears of their constituents.

Dorothy Gasque (D): The inhumane policies of the Trump administration have manufactured this unnecessary crisis and this is an unacceptable transgression against our core American values. In an ill-conceived stunt for short-term political gain they’ve inflicted severe long-term, even generational, trauma on thousands of families.

Right now, we need to do everything we can to reunite families. The U.S. government is responsible for this mess, and we are responsible for fixing it. Going forward we need to go back to treating asylum-seekers as refugees not criminals.

In the long run, we need to fix our broken immigration system, make our boarders secure while making it easier for people to come to this country safely and legally. Proactively, we need to address the global refugee crisis at the source, with a values-based foreign policy strategy focused on improving stability, promoting sustainable development, and raising standards of living throughout the world.

Martin Hash (D): Wall.

Unchecked immigration has destroyed the EU. This is not hyperbola, the far right has seized control of many EU countries and gained significant ground in the rest based on immigration alone. Look what’s happening in this nation. Sanctimonious posturing doesn’t win the House and Senate, border controls do.

Carolyn Long (D): Immigration is a complex issue, but there is bipartisan support in Congress for several measures that can be pursued independently, rather than used as political leverage for funding a border wall. We need to immediately pass a clean DREAM Act. We need legislation that stops the Trump administration’s policy of family separation and which prioritizes family reunification for these political refugees. And, we need to stop the Trump administration’s aggressive deportation policy which has led to the deportations of people who have lived in our community for years, is breaking apart families, and has people living in fear. It is not only a human rights issue, but an economic issue. These deportations are hurting our rural communities. The shellfish and agriculture industries are finding it difficult to find workers and many small businesses are also being negatively affected. And, of course we need comprehensive immigration reform that addresses border security and a path to citizenship. But these broader, more partisan issues cannot be used as an excuse to not act on these other issues that enjoy wide support.

David McDevitt (D): I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform allowing people with a record of living, including DACA, in our country a pathway for citizenship. I would also like to see better enforcement of our visa laws to ensure visitors to our country do not over stay their visas.

Health care

Cortney: The general welfare clause of the Constitution list as one of the basic goals of government is the welfare of its citizens. The safety of its citizens is also a primary function. That is why I believe that we should move to a single-payer health care system. What separates us from animals more than any one thing, is our capacity for love and compassion. If we as human beings allow another human being to suffer and die simply because of economic reasons, then we are in serious trouble of losing our humanity. Capitalism at its core is an animal function that survives in the world of the survival of the fittest, and like the animal kingdom, the most vulnerable are the weak, the elderly, and the sick. One of the biggest problems I have with my party today the fact that we claim to be the party of moral values, the values that come out of our religious tradition. We claim to be the party of traditional family values. We claim to be the party that is pro-life. You are not pro-life all you care about is a child being born. You are not pro-life if you think it’s okay to put profits or for human beings life. As a congressperson, the greatest thing that I could do to reduce the harm to people in my community is to work for legislation to improve the ACA.

Gasque: In the short term, I’ll support congressional oversight to enforce the protections in the law for pre-existing conditions. In the long term, we need to pass Medicare for All, and replace the ACA with a healthcare system that will be less complex, more effective, and cost less public funds.

Hash: I am the only M.D. candidate, and the only one with experience serving in inner-city hospitals where lack of insurance and pre-existing conditions are the bulk of patients. I was also on the National Health Service in England which is fully socialized healthcare. I have talked about this topic extensively on my bi-daily podcast, “PRay TeLL, Dr. Hash,” available on iTunes. The best solution right now is one of my campaign issues: “Medicare for anyone but contain costs through competition,” which will be less than any other insurance option because Medicare actually has cost controls, whereas ACA costs are skyrocketing because it doesn’t.

Long: The Trump administration’s continued efforts to undermine the ACA, and the Republicans complicity, while they offer no alternative to those who lack insurance, is appalling. At every one of my town hall meetings, I’ve heard that people are worried about access to affordable care — and many of them have pre-existing conditions. When I’m elected, I will fight for affordable heath care for all and will combat the efforts of other members of Congress who would rather play politics with people’s health care than do what’s right for the American people. There is already bipartisan support in the Senate to shore up the ACA by stabilizing the marketplaces and increasing subsides. I would lead a similar effort in the House and would also ensure that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied care. This would provide an immediate relief to the crisis, but it is not enough. I would then pursue a public option where individuals and organizations who are unhappy with their private insurers could purchase health care directly from the government, all while working on a plan for health care for all so that when Democrats regain power in DC we can make it a reality.

McDevitt: I will fight to protect all people with regard to healthcare because everyone should be able to receive care when needed. The ACA has been broken and cannot be fixed because every attempt will be accompanied with more approaches to undermine the ACA. I’m fighting for a universal healthcare single payer system (I call is Healthcare Security for All) to care for all Americans.

Herrera Beutler: Every single resident of Southwest Washington — including those with pre-existing conditions, seniors, and folks who have hit hard times economically — deserve access to quality health care they can afford. While this latest development has played out in the courts and not in Congress, I’ve supported and will continue to advocate for multiple solutions to ensure individuals with preexisting conditions can access care: two examples are reinstating our state’s high risk pool specially designed to cover those with preexisting diagnoses, and championing the Pre-Existing Protection Act that made sure people aren’t priced out of or denied care. Fighting to provide affordable health care options for vulnerable populations shouldn’t stop there; I’ll also continue to push for my bill, the ACE Kids Act, that would allow children with medical complexities from low-income families to cross state lines to access life-saving specialty care.

Gun control

Gasque: We need to remove the gun manufacturer’s lobby from this conversation. We need to treat domestic terrorism as significantly as we treat foreign terrorism. As a gun owner, I support sensible gun-safety measures, including background checks, expanded wait times, closing gun-sale loopholes, solid child access prevention, improving reporting of violent crime indicators (especially domestic violence), and ending the Dickey Amendment so that the CDC can research this epidemic.

Hash: A society can’t be maintained through violence because no amount of police can force 100 million people to do what they refuse to do; we know the outcome is civil war. I cannot see how the benefit of further gun laws outweigh the divisiveness they cause; same with abortion. There is nothing new to say and nobody’s minds will change. I will abstain from voting on either, and instead focus on issues that unite the nation.

Long: The first step in addressing this challenge is to deal with the complete lack of funding for the Centers for Disease Control to study gun violence. It was only a few months ago the Dickey Amendment was repealed, allowing the CDC to study this public health crisis. Funding is a crucial first step in formulating gun safety policy based on hard data and science. Basing our decisions on science allows us to debunk bogus claims made by the NRA and will put pressure on legislators to pass effective, lasting legislation. In the interim, we should focus on enforcing — and funding the enforcement of — the laws that are already in place. We can do more to address gun violence. We can enact bipartisan, common sense gun safety measures. Measures that already enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the Americans. These include: improve, expand, and fund universal background checks; close the gun show, Charleston and stalker loopholes; increase the punishment for anyone who sells a weapon to, or purchases a weapon for, any person that is not legally allowed to own one; ban bump stocks and other conversion devices that increase a weapon’s rate of fire beyond manufacturer’s specifications; increase the age to purchase assault weapons to 21, while providing waivers for law and military personnel; and, provide funding for state and municipalities to establish buy-back programs.

McDevitt: Establish reasonable regulations. As an attorney, I am sworn to uphold the Second Amendment, including the Supreme Court decisions making ownership an individual right and allowing for reasonable regulations. It is time for federal standards for reasonable regulation. I favor an assault weapons ban, with perhaps some exceptions, accompanied by a program to buy the weapons from people in possession. The Fifth Amendment would require fair compensation for taking weapons away under a ban.

Herrera Beutler: As long as attacks are happening in schools and public gathering places across our country, nobody should be satisfied with the status quo. Schools, newspaper buildings and churches should be safe environments — not places where people fear for their safety.

I’ve initiated discussions with local law enforcement, school administrators and educators, behavioral experts and other knowledgeable community leaders about the best way Congress can address violence. These discussions have led to some meaningful steps taken, and have laid out more actions we can take.

In a bipartisan government funding bill recently signed into law, Congress successfully advanced a solution I’ve championed called the Fix NICS Act that would strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Had NICS been adequately maintained over the past decade, multiple mass shootings including those at Virginia Tech and Sutherland Springs could have been prevented.

School resource officers play an invaluable role in keeping our schools safe. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I’ve helped secure millions of dollars that can be accessed by school district to hire school resource officers. Southwest Washington schools would benefit from more flexible criteria to qualify for this funding, and I’m working to make this happen.

Through my discussions on preventing gun violence, it’s been made clear to me that any discussion that doesn’t focus on mental health research and resources is short-changing meaningful reform. I helped write and pass the 21st Century Cures Act that included record funding for school-based mental health crisis intervention and community crisis response systems — but Congress should continue pressing to more quickly get this funding into our communities.

Cortney: See response in Opioid Crisis section

First action

Hash: This is my primary campaign issue: “Fight against Oregon tolls and taxation without representation on Washington residents.”

Long: The first thing I would do is bring together all the newly elected members of Congress and lead an effort to “reset” the tone in Congress. Congress is deeply polarized as an institution, and members are so busy demonizing one another that they are unable to work together to address the policy problems facing this country. Members are also beholden to party leadership, which often exacerbates this problem. The American public wants Congress to do its job. In 2018, we will see many new faces in Congress emphasizing the same thing that I am — putting People Over Politics and working collaboratively to get things done.

McDevitt: Submit legislation to establish a framework between Oregon and Washington for addressing our transportation issues, including the Interstate 5 Bridge. Each state would have equal seats at the table for determining solutions and approaches for solving transportation issues from the Idaho border to Astoria/Ilwaco. We have 17 bridges.

Herrera Beutler: Economic security and job creation have always been my focus, and I’ll continue leading initiatives to grow and protect jobs, as well as produce bigger paychecks and stronger employee benefits. And I’ll continue to lead the fight against Oregon’s scheme to toll Clark County workers without any benefit to those who will pay. I’ve been standing up for our region ever since Oregon first proposed this unfair commuter-tax on Southwest Washington residents — and I won’t let up.

Cortney: On the backside of the dollar are two symbols and they are two sides of the Great Seal. The one I want to talk about here is the one with the pyramid and the all-seeing eye of God at the top. I remember Joseph Campbell talking about how it was a good image for democracy. The words at the bottom referred to a “new order,” and the top refers to “divine providence’s approval.” The new order is one in which people are ruled by compromise and reason. The new order would not be ruled by kings or by the church, but by the people themselves. At the bottom of the pyramid stands all of us, some of us are to the far right of the pyramid, and some of us are to the far left. The hope for the new order was that through true compromise, and reason people could come together, and when they did, we would actually be where divine providence wants us to be as a country. The Supreme Court’s decision Citizens United has totally destroyed the pyramid. Money has pushed our politics to the extreme left and right. Our elections have become a winner takes all, leaving a large part of our country feeling like no one represents them. One of my first priorities would be to do what I can to get money out of politics. I would do my best to use everything at hand, especially social media to interact with people in my district. I would try to find ways to communicate with them in a way that everybody feels like someone’s listening. I would do my best to know how the majority of people in my district would want me to vote on each and every issue. I would like to be a true representative of my district.

Gasque: I will hire a quality and well-rounded staff, as the primary role of a successful Representative is as the manager of an effective staff. Legislatively, I’ll fight for comprehensive anti-corruption and ethics reform, to get money out of politics.

Biggest issue

Long: National issues are local issues, and our nation is facing many of them: the rising cost of education, lack of affordable housing, terrorism, the opioid and meth epidemics, immigration, endless foreign conflicts, campaign finance, threats to our democracy and the integrity of our elections. But the single biggest issue that affects each and every one of us is the lack of affordable healthcare and the rising cost of prescription drugs. Every person will at some point get sick and need to visit the hospital. No one should go bankrupt or become homeless, because they or a loved one became ill. I will fight for healthcare for all to give all Americans more freedom and security.

McDevitt: The biggest issue facing Southwest Washington is related to income inequality; Incomes for low-wage workers and social security beneficiaries are too low. Healthcare and rents are too high for many to afford. Consequently, families and seniors are struggling just to get by and many are being driven into bankruptcy or homelessness.

Herrera Beutler: Folks here deserve economic security; they want good-paying jobs, quality health care they can afford and the ability to save and spend their own money. Most of my opponents have pledged to raise taxes by about $2,300 per year on the average Southwest Washington family, and overturn legislation that is helping create 20,000 jobs in Washington. I worked hard to put these taxpayer savings in place, and will fight to protect them. These tax cuts include doubling the child tax credit and significantly increasing the standard deduction so folks can keep more money in their pockets.

Cortney: The people here in Washington’s 3rd District have a wide range of interest and needs. One of the most vital parts of my district is the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. Sea lions in the Columbia River are devastating our salmon runs, and that is devastating to our fishing industry. Many of those living in Vancouver Washington travel into Portland Oregon every day to make their living, and Oregon is getting ready to put another burden on an already overtaxed population. A trade war with China could affect the state of Washington more than any other state. A Brookings study found that a trade war could affect as much as 4.8 percent of Washington’s workforce. The most important issue facing people in my district is global warming. By 2050 the oceans are expected to rise 13 inches, and by 2100 it is expected to be as high as three feet. Long Beach will disappear, and it will have devastating effects communities along the river and the ocean. Many of these communities will just simply disappear, and they will be forced to migrate to other communities, and because we are not thinking ahead, our infrastructure is rotting away while we argue over who’s paying for what. If we allow the sea lions to devastate the salmon runs and the salmon go extinct in 10 years. That will put an additional hardship on an already bad situation. Our country’s divide is the reason no one can seem to get along, and nothing gets done, and our children will suffer because of it. Our district needs someone who can bring people together and get something done.

Gasque: Economic instability, many here people can’t count on having health care, affordable housing, or social security.

Hash: Growth, and all that implies. I feel fortunate to live in this area: we have everything, and other people around the country are figuring that out and moving here. Good for them, the more the merrier, and our local government has been doing a good job of keeping up.

Why best suited?

McDevitt: I am empathetic to the totality of our community, from the rural to the urban and from the poorest to the wealthy. I want to make the world and our country better for all people. More importantly, my campaign is almost entirely self-funded which allows me not to be beholden to any special interests.

Herrera Beutler: I’ve spent nearly my entire life in Clark County. I played for the Prairie High School girls’ basketball team, grew up fishing in Battle Ground Lake, and showed my horse at the Clark County Fair. I know what makes this region special. This unique experience has helped me solve problems that face our community. I’ve assisted more than 1,400 veterans who are having problems getting care from the Veterans Administration; have written legislation signed into law that protects tens of thousands of manufacturing, fishing and forestry jobs; and am leading a bipartisan effort in Congress to lethally remove sea lions that are threatening the very existence of Columbia River salmon and steelhead. I will always be an independent-minded public servant who focuses on local needs — and no one will work harder to solve problems facing our community than I will.

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Cortney: I have lived here in Vancouver for the good part of three decades, and I made my living crossing the river into Portland as a commercial and industrial electrician. I, like many in my community, know the value of hard work, and I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside a lot of hard-working people in my lifetime. Many of these people live paycheck to paycheck, and they are the most vulnerable to the unexpected financial cost that arises out of nowhere sometimes. Our financial industries often prey upon individuals who fall victim to these financial struggles, in the courts will be more than happy to remove large portions of people’s paychecks when they are overcome with debt. Everything always seems to benefit the big guy, and that’s because money has a voice in Washington. I am not taking donations because if I’m elected to Congress, the only people I want to feel beholding to is the voters. It is working people like me who never feel like anybody in Washington cares about them, and that’s why they have a 15 percent approval rating, I’m pretty sure most of that comes from the top 15 percent. Finally, as someone who is crossed that river five days a week for 25 years, I know what those tolls are going to do people in my district, and it’s unfair, and I’d like to see them look me in the face and tell me that I haven’t given enough to their state.

Gasque: I do represent this community. I’m a longtime resident who has raised my son here. Like a lot of the people here, I’m a veteran. I’m a working-class American, representing a working-class district

Hash: I’ve lived in the same voting district since 1980, started successful businesses here, and raised my family here. I owned and operated the Columbia Arts Center downtown for a decade, and had my business offices there for two. Competence-wise, I’m the world’s only ever simultaneously licensed doctor, attorney, accountant & engineer. I also have three doctorates and have traveled to more than 100 countries. There is no one more qualified for this position.

Long: I’ve campaigned in the same manner that I would serve as a representative; as someone who is present, accountable and committed to the people of Southwest Washington. I’ve held 27 town hall meetings before a combined audience of more than 2,000 people. I am a Democrat who listens and that is what the people want, because, as a Representative, one needs to hear from her constituents to best represent them. I also have a background in the study of politics and policy, and in 2015 started the Initiative for Public Deliberation, the goal of which is “to strengthen democratic government by replacing rigid partisanship with listening and conversation.” My work with IPD is a reflection of how I would govern, which would emphasize collaboration, problem solving and civility — an approach which puts people over politics. As a constitutional law scholar, I understand the institution of Congress and the Constitution more than the incumbent or any of the other candidates in this race, which will allow me to hit the ground running when I get to DC and take care of business for the people of Southwest Washington. And, unlike the incumbent, who remains silent as President Trump continues to cozy up to foreign enemies and bad actors, I understand the importance and necessity of a congressional check on the Executive Branch.

Clean energy

Herrera Beutler: Southwest Washington is well-situated to take advantage of the most reliable form of clean energy available — the hydro-electric power produced by the Columbia River system. It would take 20 coal-fired power plants to replace the energy generated on the Columbia River system from carbon-free hydroelectric dams. Unfortunately, there are efforts to undermine Northwest hydropower through a court-ordered dam “spill” that will likely add millions of dollars to ratepayers’ bills. I’ve helped champion bipartisan legislation in Congress to restore the science-based, Obama Administration-approved agreement for managing this carbon-free energy system. I’ll also actively oppose any Portland or Seattle-based extremist effort to tear out our hydropower infrastructure.

Cortney: As a Republican, I am completely baffled at how my party treats science. Science is at the core of what made this country great. Had we not gone to the moon much of what we have, like the computer, would likely not exist. A lot of things we have today we have because those things had to be created in order for us to go to the moon. All the evidence we have points to the fact that global warming is real and man is a major contributor to it. We can take a robot, put it in a rocket, and send it to Mars, and let it run around for months. We spend millions, and we trust our scientists to do this. That’s because the laws of the universe are the same here as they are on Mars. The laws of the universe and 97 percent of any type of scientific analysis shows the globe is warming at an accelerated rate, and human beings are contributing to it. But for some reason bunch of people think they’re smarter than our scientists. My party likes to argue that we’ve always gone through global temperature changes, but this planet has never seen temperatures change at the rate they are changing now. Those in my party will tell me about volcanoes, but the thing that’s different about also fuel emissions as they have a high concentration of carbon 12 atoms, and we know also fuel is contributing to it because of the high carbon 12 atoms in the atmosphere. Congressman Jim Bridenstine spent years as a vocal climate change denier. It took him less than a month leading NASA to change his mind. At a town hall meeting in Washington D.C., Bridenstine stated that “I fully believe and know that the climate is changing. I also know that we humans beings are contributing to it in a major way. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. We’re putting it into the atmosphere in volumes that we haven’t seen, and that greenhouse gas is warming the planet. That is absolutely happening, and we are responsible for it.”

When land starts to disappear, there are going to be great migrations to cities unable to support populations increases in those areas. I think a lot of Americans are like me, and we like to put off till tomorrow what we don’t feel we need to do today, but tomorrow is already here, and parts of Florida are already starting to sink into the ocean. Electric vehicles and lowering greenhouse emissions is a good start, but we need to do so much more. We are falling behind a lot of countries in the world when it comes to renewable energy, and we’re falling behind because big oil and its money have a voice in Congress, and the average person does not. We need to start repairing our infrastructure, and we need to look at where people are going when places like Long Beach start to sink into the water. If we don’t start preparing for the inevitable, our children will suffer.

Gasque: My main goal is to reduce the effect of the energy lobby, which has spent $85 million this year on influencing these decisions. I will sign on to Tulsi Gabbard’s Off Fossil Fuel Act. We need an energy plan that gradually shifts away from fossil fuels to renewable resources as part of a 21st century New Deal in infrastructure investment.

Hash: This is another one of my campaign issues: “Electric Driverless Vehicles are the future for both congestion & clean air.” Specifically, let’s help Portland and ourselves set up a driverless vehicle infrastructure that reduces congestion on existing roads. Imagine a decade from now when your phone App brings a driverless vehicle to your door that quickly drops you off where you want to go. This is a solution that lets us be partners with Oregon rather than them simply using Washington residents as a tax base.

Long: We must continue and expedite our transition off fossil fuels and encourage investment in clean energy projects here is Southwest Washington. Washington State has done a good job and is a model for the rest of the country, but Washington cannot do it alone. We need the rest of the country and the world to reduce and end its reliance on fossil fuels if we are going to stop climate change. The people of Southwest Washington need clean water to drink, clean soil to farm and clean air to breathe. We have been blessed with a pristine corner of this state and we must work hard to be good stewards of it. We must defend common sense regulations that protect our environment and support the restoration of sound policies ended by the current administration. Climate Change is real, and it is a human-caused crisis that requires immediate action. We must work for a just transition to renewable energy sources so future generations will benefit from energy independence and a robust clean energy industry. We can protect the natural resources and industries of Southwest Washington by working hard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the board.

McDevitt: My goal is to transition away from Fossil Fuel by 2050. I would discontinue subsidizing fossil fuel exploration and use tax incentives to encourage investment in renewable energy.

Youth in manufacturing

Cortney: Learning didn’t come easy for me in high school, and I was kind of a late bloomer. Fortunately for me and a lot of people like me, there are a lot of jobs where they only need you from the neck down, I started out digging ditches and overtime I was able to learn a trade. I was fortunate to belong to a good union, and I had a good boss, and the electrical trade provided me and my wife with a better than average living. What worked for me is going to be more and more difficult in our children’s future as robots will begin to take more and more of the unskilled jobs in this country. As we move into the future, education is going to become more important, and the jobs of the future will require putting money into research and development, and being at the forefront of a changing world. The jobs of the future or require a working class that is much more creative and forward thinking. Our education system will have to be able to adapt to individual learning rates, and we need to create learning systems that are geared more to the individual, instead of the group. When I was growing up, we taxed the rich, and we use that money to build an interstate system, and improved communication system, put that money into research and development, and that created the jobs of the future. We need to be doing that for our children, and many of those jobs in the future will be in renewable energies, as we change how we power things and build a more sustainable future for our children. Right now the greatest threat to our children is the money in politics, and it is what divides us, and if we don’t get Congress to start finding some middle ground, we will be leaving a world far less than we found it. I think it’s sad when you think about the sacrifices that the Greatest Generation made so that my generation could be successful, but instead of thinking about our children’s future, we set around bickering about what’s owed us.

Gasque: This is vital, skilled labor is, and will continue to be a key part of the economy. We need to move away from the myth that a college degree is the only path to success, and value the significant contribution of highly trained workers. We need to ensure the funding of CTE programs in K-12, fund trade schools by ensuring educational benefits cover tuition just like academic programs, allowing vocational schools to recruit on high school campuses just like colleges and the armed forces, and maintaining apprenticeship requirements on public projects.

Hash: This involves the rest of my campaign issues: “Subsidize entry-level jobs, and remove the social burden of employees from Small Business,” “Give students a choice of how to be educated, including self-paced online schooling at home,” “Make being married a tax and legal advantage, and promote having children by providing Daycare,” and “Increase the size of the Middle Class through tax policy and by encouraging Small Business.” I have discussed all of these in my books, on my podcast, at public debates, and in local Facebook forums. They generate lots of suggestions from both supporters and opponents, such that I’m confident that I can provide knowledgeable leadership to promote them. In fact, I’m probably unique in the capacity to do so.

Long: Most manufacturing jobs have been lost due to automation — not to China — and many more service jobs, repetitive jobs and driving jobs will continue to be lost to automation as technology improves and becomes cheaper. Millions of jobs will be lost in the next 30 years, and as a society we need to develop a plan now to prepare for this. Currently, our government has no plan for this looming crisis. I will work in Washington D.C. to address this problem before it becomes a catastrophe. Ignoring it like our current Representative is not a solution. There are many different pathways to family wage jobs. I strongly encourage youth to investigate registered apprentice programs offered by many building trades, jobs that will not be automated for many, many years. Working in the trades allows people to “earn while they learn” and establish a pathway to a family wage job, and a successful, satisfying career. We should also increase federal funding for community colleges and technical schools to expand their training programs and pursue federal funding that could be allocated to schools to establish or expand apprenticeship and internship opportunities to youth so those not interested in college or university have a path to success.

McDevitt: I will fight to have bold restoration of our education system to include academic, vocational, and trade components, along with less reliance on tests. Every child should be able to finish their educational pursuits with skills, allowing them to earn a living and be self reliant. Also, both our energy and transportation policies can be leveraged to create family and living wage jobs.

Herrera Beutler: Southwest Washington is home to some of the finest manufacturing in the country, and we need to make sure that young men and women who live here have the skills and training to fill those jobs. As a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee that sets federal spending levels, I’ve worked very hard to boost local training programs that emphasize skills like welding, machining and diesel equipment technology. Local colleges throughout Southwest Washington including Clark College, Lower Columbia College and Centralia College have utilized the federal program I’ve championed, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, to help individuals obtain critical job skills. Additionally, more and more of our economy will operate in the technology sphere in the coming decades, which is why I’ve also introduced the bipartisan Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology Act to make sure folks here have the skills to fill those jobs.

It’s equally important that we protect the jobs and industries we have in Southwest Washington, and create an atmosphere where more employers will locate and hire. Time and again, I’ve stood up to protect the low-cost renewable hydropower system that has attracted so much manufacturing here in the first place. While we all recognize the potential benefits of other forms of clean energy, it would be an economically catastrophic mistake to abandon or further weaken our current reliable hydropower system at the direction of extreme environmental interest groups. These powerful special interests believe that we should remove our Columbia River system dams and that still-unproven alternative energy sources will replace the hydropower that provides 70 percent of the electricity we use in Washington state. I’m the only person running for this position who’s demonstrated the willingness to stand up to these interests and protect one of the biggest economic anchors for manufacturing jobs in our region.

Opioid crisis and needed legislation

Gasque: Additional legislation should improve national data-sharing between providers, support more substantial treatment programs, provide more research on pain-management outcomes, help increase the number of providers, and improve access to care alternatives.

Hash: None. Remember, I’m the only doctor running.

Attacking the symptom does not cure the disease, which is hopelessness and lack of self-worth. Give people a purpose in life and pride in their achievements. A “sharing economy” mentoring app would be my first experiment; it would be cheap, and simple to do, especially when compared to welfare payments and high medical expenses.

Long: One of the largest roles the federal government can play to address the meth and opioid epidemics is to supply funding to states so that they can implement their own treatment programs. Further, the government should promote sound economic policies to keep the economy going to give people the opportunity to succeed and hope for the future so that they do not turn to these powerful narcotics. According to the CDC, an average of seven people died from drug overdose every hour in 2016. Twenty thousand people alone died last year from Fentanyl overdose (a powerful synthetic opioid), and the problem is only getting worse. Every one of us likely knows at least one person affected by this epidemic. We need to start treating addiction like the disease it is, and not a moral failing. Favoring treatment and diversion strategies instead of prison for offenders saves taxpayers money and decreases relapse and recidivism. Criminalizing and stigmatizing people’s suffering only further separates them from society and deprives them of a chance to recover and be a contributing member of society.

In particular, opiate and meth abuse are tearing rural communities apart and contributing to the struggle of small town economies everywhere. We must provide adequate resources for these communities to address and treat addiction. And, we need to make sure our first responders receive the training and resources they need to reverse an overdose and save a life.

McDevitt: I will seek legislation to manage the process of doctors over prescribing, as well as treating patients medically for their addictions. In addition, I will seek legislation to remove some substances, like marijuana, from the criminal schedule and seek criminal justice reform.

Herrera Beutler: More than 1,100 Washingtonians died from opioid overdose in 2016. Beyond that eye-popping statistic, all of us have had our lives touched personally by the opioid crisis via a friend, neighbor or family member who is struggling. In recent weeks the U.S. House passed 57 separate bipartisan bills that I supported to tackle the opioid crisis — from better empowering pharmacists to detect fraudulent prescriptions and better equipping our first responders, to boosting resources for recovery. But our work isn’t close to being done. We can and must continue to urgently address treatment and prevention in communities throughout Southwest Washington.

Cortney: I wanted to answer these two questions together because I believe that both problems are rooted in the same cause. Many of the social problems we deal with can be traced to some form of mental illness. Issues of mental illness are difficult to talk about because there is such a wide range of symptoms of mental illness. You have mental problems that come out of chemical imbalances in the brain, and you have mental illnesses that come from damages to the brain, but I believe the mental illness that most of these two issues are dealing with our the fact that we don’t do a very good job of raising children who can make the transformation of dependency to one of responsibility.

I joined the Navy for four years and spent most of my time on a ship overseas. The Navy would replace my parents. After the Navy, my cousin informed me that there were lots of opportunities for work in Las Vegas. He taught me a trade that would sustain me for the rest of my life. Eventually, I was able to get set up on my own, but because I had never finished the process of growing up, and being in full control of my life I was a perfect candidate for drug abuse. I reluctantly got up every morning and went to work, because as much as I hated digging ditches, the thought of starving and living on the streets proved enough to get my butt out of bed. The thought of losing my job and living on the streets was a constant fear, and alcohol and drugs were how I dealt with that fear.

I found myself one day standing on a street corner, nothing but a suitcase in my hand. I had hit bottom. I started walking down the street not knowing what to do, and I came across a treatment center, and I was lucky because a bed had opened that morning. I would not touch another drink of alcohol for over 25 years. When I left the treatment center, I was on the path to recovery, but I had a long way to go.

I was listening to Bill Moyer one night on public television, and he was doing a show called “The Power of Myth” which was a six-part interview with Joseph Campbell. He would reintroduce me to the mythology and the symbols that I grew up with. He showed me that the mythologies that we grow up with are designed to take us from childhood to adulthood than to middle life, old-age, and death. He taught me that these mythologies were not about history, they were about us. Have you died to your animal nature and been resurrected as a human being? Have you gone from being dependent on mommy and daddy being a self-functioning adult?

As a child growing up if you would’ve asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would’ve told you a priest. Campbell would reawaken my interest in religion and, I would begin reading his work. I believe one of the great factors in alcoholism is that many of us when we are born, are born with a very compulsive nature. Those people who put their compulsiveness into something positive often go on to great accomplishments, but unfortunately, those living in a world of fear and along with their compulsiveness often die of tragic circumstance. Instead of just learning to deny my compulsiveness as some kind of birth defect, I would put that compulsiveness into learning the history of the world’s religions and its symbols.

I began reading everything that Campbell wrote, and shortly after that I would discover audiobooks on cassette, and I was lucky that a lot of Campbell’s work was available on cassette. I would still have to read because people, like Heinrich Zimmer, didn’t have audiobooks, but I began to listen to audiobooks while I worked as an electrician. I have many an apprentice that will tell you they have suffered through more than one of my audiobooks. Not everyone finds it as fascinating as I do. I would listen to my books and do my work for more than 25 years. When it comes to religions, I have always been a big picture guy, and I concentrate more on what they have in common than I do dwelling on how they’re different. There are plenty of people who will tell you how they’re different. The following is a brief synopsis of what all that has taught me.

As human beings, we are not born fully developed, and a fully developed human being varies from person to person and society to society. In a simple society, full maturity can be reached in as little as 12 years, and in a complex society, it can be 18 years and up. Religion in its fundamental form is designed to take a person from being dependent to being responsible for themselves. It teaches a child the norms that it needs to live in a civilized society. What is a self-responsible human being? We are human beings, but we are also tigers. Our human nature is always in conflict with our animal nature. I think that there is a consensus in the religious world that the seat of our animal nature is in the brain.

The brain is only concerned with itself, and it’s survival. It is the seat of our hunger, our need to procreate, our need for personal contact and our need for pleasure. It is the seat of our fears and our desires. The seat of our humanity is at the level of the heart. It is the seat of love and compassion. I believe because of our brain capacity we have a unique connection to a consciousness that animals don’t have. I believe that love and compassion are fundamental to human survival, without it we would not be atop the food chain, and we would not have survived as a species. Being a human being requires together living, for us it requires our love and our compassion in order to live with each other. It is the seat of our individual self. When we are born, we are born with the tiger in full control, and one of our responsibilities as an adult is to teach that child how to control the tiger.

Many of my friends on the right will tell you that when it comes to gun violence, that part of the problem is discipline, that we are not disciplining our children. I agree with them, but it needs to be a specific type of discipline. In almost all the religions that I’ve studied most have austerities that they practice. These austerities include periods of celibacy, fasting, and various forms of meditation. These austerities are designed to help a person control their animal nature. Celibacy and fasting put an individual face-to-face with his animal nature. The practice helps an individual, over time, to have dominion over the tiger. Meditation provides methods that are designed to put the individual in control of his mental faculty.

Our religions foster our love and compassion through our holidays and are rituals, many of which are centered around giving. Religion teaches us that when we have domination over the tiger that the voice left in our head is our true self, and as long as we listen to that, we are our own unique individual human being; an individual whose center is at the level of the heart. Those unfortunate human beings who are consumed by their fears and their desires live in the land of the hungry ghosts, and they seek one pleasure after another always hoping to find happiness but only finding emptiness, and they begin to suffer the symptoms of various types of mental illness. People are bombarded 24-7 with commercials playing upon their desires, and the news playing on their fears. Many become angry and begin to feel like they’re outside the fray and many turn to violence, drugs, and crime.

Many a late show host laugh at the idea of a war on Christmas, and I agree, but they also laugh at what they call the war on religion, that there is no such thing and they are wrong. Like our politics, our religion has been pushed to the extremes. On the right we have the evangelicals, theirs is the only one correct religion, and everybody else is wrong. Theirs is the only interpretation of the Bible, and it’s theirs. On the left, we have those who call themselves atheists, and they are zealots for their science. Both are full of their own self-righteousness and looking down on those who don’t believe like them. In my view, they are both lost in the same metaphor. You don’t have to believe in God to understand that we are human beings and that as human beings we go through a process of growing up.

Our religions and our communities have always been a part of that growth. You go to any small town in America, and you can see the backbone of those communities has always been a local church. You see it all the time on the Internet when someone is showing pride in their Christianity, and atheist will come along and tell them that the thing that brings them joy is a fairy tale, and remind them of all the evil done in the church’s name. They’ve themselves forget all the good the church has done throughout the existence of mankind to alleviate suffering. There are many Christians who don’t do themselves and my party any favors when they speak poorly of people who are different than them, especially when referring to the LBGTQ community and minorities in Iraq.

There is a great divide in this country between the South, rural America and the rest of the country. I believe the people in the city that grew up in the city could learn a lot from the church and its relationship within the small communities and the overall sense of well-being that this relationship brings and how it develops young men in their community. Unfortunately, it brings with it a certain rigidness and at times a lack of tolerance for those different than those living in their community. Those of us living in the cities interact every day with people of different races, different creeds, different lifestyles. It is through working with these people every day, that we in the city have a special tolerance for other people. Through interacting with these people, we learn that they are not any different than we are, and they struggle with the same everyday problems that we struggle with. I believe rural America could learn a little about tolerance from city folk.

I believe we should have a three-day waiting period for guns and so does most of America. I believe we would be better served when it comes to gun violence and drug abuse by making access to mental health care needs a priority in this country. I believe that any type of program involving drug abuse needs to include some type of mental discipline designed to help the individual to be better in control of his tiger nature. I think when it comes to the gun issue, America would be better served by having part of a school curriculum be the practice of some type of austerity, alongside their academic disciplines. When I was in the Navy, I had the opportunity to meet a man who taught me a discipline that involves learning to shut off my mind. After years of practicing the discipline, I would eventually learn to be able to shut off my mind for long periods of time. That means periods of time where I have absolutely no thoughts. The world around me is completely blank. The idea being, if you control your mind, you control your fears and your desire. The biggest problem that would come out of us teaching our children to control their fears and desires is they wouldn’t have much value to businessmen.

Columbian politics reporter