Gov. Jay Inslee and political newcomer Daniel Smith held a Facebook live event Saturday morning touting Smith’s campaign for senator in the 17th Legislative District.
“I think he’s got a personal story that fits this district to a T,” Inslee said. “His race could be the pivotal seat in the state of Washington to tip the scales to support an effort that will not allow Donald Trump to continue his policies in the state of Washington.”
With 17 days left to go until Election Day, the pair spoke about Smith’s decades working in health care and the public option program, as well as his experience being married to an educator in a disparate education system. Much of the conversation, which lasted about a half hour, centered on the need for bipartisanship, collaboration and civility.
Though Inslee previously endorsed Smith, who looks to unseat Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, the video was particularly timely. It came about a week after Smith’s wife, Bethany Rivard, was approached by a man who called her a “Nazi,” a “hate-filled little (expletive)” and a “Christian-hating bigot” while she was canvassing in the Salmon Creek area for Tanisha Harris, a Democrat running for the state House of Representatives in the 17th Legislative District. A video of the interaction was recorded by Rivard and posted to Facebook. In the video, the man says that he approached because he saw a sign on her car showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Elected leaders, including Inslee, condemned the conduct.
Smith said many people have asked him how Rivard is doing.
“She’s strong,” he said. “She is just a shining light to my kids, an example of how we go about our community to engage politically, to be advocates for the issues that matter to us and to be just a source of strength and inspiration.”
Smith said the incident was traumatic, difficult to watch and an unfortunate example of what’s happening in Southwest Washington and other pockets around the state. Despite what occurred, the couple and others went back out in the community this weekend to drop off campaign literature.
Smith said he wonders why “the other side” has remained silent. He pointed to examples of elected officials denying systemic racism is real and comparing Inslee to Hitler.
“Why is it so hard to push back and say, ‘We do not condone this?'” he said. “We cannot continue to solve problems when we have these kinds of approaches toward politics, whether it be complacency and silence or even worse — making it as part of your political platform to divide people.”
He believes many voters are fed up regardless of party affiliation. Smith encouraged voters to use their voice at the ballot box: “This is a time for us to say enough is enough. Our community it better than this. We all know that.”