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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Editorials

In Our View: Elect Long to Congress

Herrera Beutler has served admirably, but challenger is superior candidate

The Columbian
Published: September 30, 2018, 6:03am

Democrat Carolyn Long is an insightful, engaged and energetic candidate. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends that voters elect Long as congressional representative from Washington’s 3rd District.

This is not said lightly. Incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, has served admirably during four terms in Congress. And while The Columbian has recommended Herrera Beutler to voters in the past, Long is the superior candidate this time.

As always, this is merely a recommendation designed to foster discussion. But as voters examine the choices and study the issues, we believe they, too, will find Long to be an exceptional candidate who has an uncommon understanding of complex issues. Her 23 years as a political science professor at Washington State University Vancouver have given her insight into the machinations of Washington, D.C.; her three dozen or so in-person town halls have connected her with voters throughout the district; and her depth of knowledge has provided her with the ability to see solutions where others see only problems.

One example can be found in the tax cuts and spending bills Herrera Beutler helped her party pass in the past year. While those efforts have helped extend the economic boom that was underway, they also have ballooned the federal debt to more than $21 trillion. During the Obama administration, Herrera Beutler said, “Our current national debt is crippling businesses, hurting families and stifling the growth of new jobs.” Now, she demonstrates little concern about the debt under a Republican administration. Meanwhile, Long correctly says, “I think the great travesty is this really is borrowing on future generations.”

Herrera Beutler’s change of heart regarding economic policy reflects a disappointing partisanship that has resulted in an ineffective Congress. It also reflects the thinking that led Republicans, including Herrera Beutler, to vote dozens of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act but then offer no viable alternative once they came into power. Complaining is easy; governing is harder. And Herrera Beutler has been too quick to go along with misguided policies designed solely to undermine previous decisions.

Herrera Beutler has spent most of her life in the 3rd District while Long moved to the area a year ago, a point the incumbent has turned into a campaign issue. It is a valid issue, one that voters will have to weigh for themselves. But we believe Long’s extensive work history in the 3rd District and her admirable efforts to meet with voters outweigh her short residency. The question is how effectively residents will be represented for the next two years and beyond. If one of Herrera Beutler’s primary talking points is her length of residency, that does not speak well of the record she has accumulated during eight years in Congress.

Some voters will view choosing a representative as a referendum on President Donald Trump. Some will be seeking change for the sake of change. While such thinking always plays a role in elections, the most important measure should be between Long and Herrera Beutler. We encourage voters to watch the candidates’ debate in front of The Columbian’s Editorial Board, and we encourage those voters to judge with an open mind rather than cling to party affiliation. In so doing, residents will find that Long is a forward thinker who can examine an issue from multiple angles and consider a variety of solutions.

Because of that, The Columbian recommends Carolyn Long for representative from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.