The race for representative from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District has been marked by much sound and fury. In a crowded field, incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez rise above the noise. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends a vote for Herrera Beutler or Perez in the Aug. 2 primary election.
As always, this is merely a recommendation. A high-profile congressional race provides many opportunities for voters to hear from, hear about and read about the candidates. The monthslong contest has illuminated the candidates’ positions and personalities, leaving few secrets about who could effectively represent Southwest Washington. That effectiveness can cross party lines; voters may support members of either party in Washington’s top-two primary.
Herrera Beutler is a six-term incumbent who focuses her legislative efforts on issues specific to Southwest Washington. As a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, she helped secure funding for the Vancouver Police Department to implement a body-camera program, and she has championed efforts to protect fisheries, enhance broadband access in rural areas and boost rural health care.
On issues of a more national scope, Herrera Beutler has supported efforts she believes will enhance border security and has spent much time on maternal health and mortality. In 2018, she introduced the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, which was signed by President Donald Trump.
Notably, Herrera Beutler often is a target of criticism from both the left and the right. Progressives find fault with her support of Republican ideology; those on the far right complain that she is not Republican enough.
In an age when severe partisanship is a threat to our democracy, Herrera Beutler’s thoughtful moderation is not only a positive trait, it is an essential one.
Herrera Beutler was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump’s second impeachment, a clear and moral decision after the then-president fueled an insurrection and refused to stop it. This came months after she said she would vote for Trump in the election, indicating her willingness to cling to facts rather than ideology.
Three other Republicans in the 3rd District race believe there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election — a claim that is bereft of evidence. Another candidate, Heidi St. John, hesitantly agrees that Joe Biden’s victory was legitimate, according to The Columbian.
While Herrera Beutler warrants a spot in the general election, Perez stands out among the political newcomers. The Skamania County resident co-owns an auto repair shop with her husband and brings a working-class sensibility to her candidacy.
As her website says: “While they pay $500 a month for health insurance for their infant son, like so many Washingtonians, they simply can’t afford an additional $1,200 to cover themselves. And like so many families today, they struggle with finding quality affordable child care — so their son goes to the auto shop with them every day.”
Perez supports abortion rights and disagrees with a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Regarding gun control, The Columbian reported: “The candidate, who said she owns guns, said there needs to be a change in how people see firearms — as a tool, not as a shortcut to power.”
Engaged voters by now are familiar with the candidates. We hope they agree that Jaime Herrera Beutler and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez are the best choices to represent us in Congress.