Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Aug. 16, 2022

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Hundreds turn out for Dems’ 3rd District forum in Vancouver

By , Columbian politics reporter
7 Photos
From left, candidates Dorothy Gasque, Carolyn Long and David McDevitt considered immigration, climate change and the economy during a 3rd Congressional District Candidate forum hosted by Clark County Democrats at Thomas Jefferson Middle School on Tuesday.
From left, candidates Dorothy Gasque, Carolyn Long and David McDevitt considered immigration, climate change and the economy during a 3rd Congressional District Candidate forum hosted by Clark County Democrats at Thomas Jefferson Middle School on Tuesday. Photo Gallery

Several hundred voters turned out Tuesday night for a Democratic forum of 3rd Congressional District candidates hosted by the Clark County Democrats. In fact, so many showed up that several rows of chairs were added to the room at Thomas Jefferson Middle School before launching into the two-hour forum that covered immigration, health care and the economy.

Clark County Democratic Party Chair Rich Rogers said Democrats don’t always agree on everything, but they agree the current representative needs to be replaced. The forum, he said, gave constituents an opportunity to compare candidates side by side and decide who they most align with.

The forum featured Dorothy Gasque, Carolyn Long and David McDevitt. The fourth Democratic candidate seeking to unseat Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, Martin Hash, declined to attend the forum.

Rogers prefaced the discussion with an ask of the crowd.

“It’s time to make America, America again,” Rogers said. “It’s time for each one of us to get involved and be that change.”

Rogers also asked attendees to think about what Herrera Beutler has done for them in the last six years she’s held office. Herrera Beutler’s actions, or lack thereof, were brought up time and time again by candidates as the discussion continued.

Here’s a look at where the candidates stand on a few of the issues considered.

First three legislative priorities

Gasque: Ban Congress members from fundraising during working hours, ban lobbyists from being able to donate to legislators and provide Medicare for all.

Long: Fix the Affordable Care Act, secure infrastructure funding for the Interstate 5 Bridge and broadband internet in rural parts of the state, and take back the power over trade from the president.

McDevitt: Transportation solutions, not just funding for the bridge, revamp the health care system and increase the minimum wage.

Tariffs and trade

Long: “A trade war is not good for anyone. The last time we had tariffs on steel and aluminum, the trade war, which occurred, only lasted a year. Why did it only last a year? Because we lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. It has to stop now.”

McDevitt: “Our port right here in Vancouver will lose business because the Chinese are no longer willing to buy agriculture products through our port … because of the tariffs we’re imposing.”

Gasque: “We’ll probably see it first because we are the fastest-growing metropolitan area. If we lose 300,000 jobs, it’s going to start to crash, and we are going to get hit first and hardest. Soybean, corn, grain, all three things are going to have tariffs on them that’s going to affect our ability to make money.”

Separating immigrant families

McDevitt: “This action that’s going on today with respect to immigration is completely wrong. It’s damn morally wrong. It doesn’t take a lot of rocket science to figure that out.”

Gasque: “We (need to) fight. We fight back, and we fight back hard. We have to stand up and do something about it. Protests … we need to join them.”

Long: “There are two parts to the issue. One is separation, the other is reunification of the families. You may have noticed the Trump administration has not really mentioned reunification. I believe (President) Donald Trump did this intentionally so he would have leverage in a conversation about immigration reform. He wanted to be able to use this to get his wall. This is abhorrent.”

The Patriot Act and national security

Gasque: “This is a great overstepping of the federal government. This is just more racist policy that is definitely overstepping its bounds. Our greatest national security threat is climate change, it’s not terrorism.”

Long: “It’s definitely an area where we have to ask Congress to amend the act and require warrants. There’s a history here where the U.S. government has overstepped its authority to spy on us.”

McDevitt: “When we’re talking about national security over the last 45 to 50 years, the world has really changed. Today what it seems like we have access to is a greater amount of fake news and misinformation. We’ve got to bring it in.”

Energy goals

Long: “We all have the same goal, which is to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, but we have to be realistic about how long that’s going to take.”

McDevitt: “We can’t talk about energy without talking about our climate. We’ve got to address our energy needs with that in mind.”

Gasque: “Our energy goal should be to eliminate the use of fossil fuels. We have to have an energy plan that works toward that goal. We can do it, but we have to invest into research and development.”

Columbian politics reporter

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