State Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, believes she is the only consistently conservative candidate in the running to represent Southwest Washington in Congress.
“I am the only candidate in this race with a consistent, proven, conservative voting record,” she said in an interview with The Columbian.
Kraft said she had been contemplating running for the 3rd District, but her decision wasn’t finalized until incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, voted to impeach President Donald Trump. Kraft has joined other Trump supporters who claim President Joe Biden’s success in the 2020 election is fraudulent and question the integrity of the vote — in turn, calling for the Washington secretary of state to pursue a forensic audit.
Kraft, who represents the 17th Legislative District, also faced the possibility of getting pulled out of the area based on updated political boundary maps following the 2020 census.
The state representative, whose term ends in January 2023, announced her intent to run in late November, joining her Republican counterparts in the race after many of them entered the public eye. Kraft hasn’t been as active as the other challengers because she has been focused on legislative priorities, she said, but is beginning to build momentum as the Aug. 2 primary nears.
Kraft said the Legislature served as a training ground for her to become acquainted with the policy-making process and other political undercurrents that accompany the position. She said that governmental experience sets her apart from the other candidates.
With this skill set and support from her higher authority, Kraft said she feels qualified to represent the 3rd District.
“My answer is with God, all things are possible,” she continued, “if He wants to see me in all of this and be serving people in Southwest Washington, I would say I have a very strong chance.”
Kraft serves on the Legislature’s Capital Budget, College and Workforce Development, and Community and Economic Development committees. During her tenure, she introduced bills ranging from providing disabled veterans with a tax credit for housing needs to limiting the governor’s emergency powers. While in the Legislature, she contested sex education bills and various COVID-19 mandates, claiming that these efforts thwarted what she described as “individual rights.” Her bipartisan engagements include initiating a caucus in 2017 to prevent sex trafficking and help survivors.
“I have the experience in the Legislature and in life to hit the ground running in Washington, D.C.,” Kraft said.
Boosting the economy by limiting government
Kraft said that if she unseats Herrera Beutler, she would begin her term by prioritizing supply chain issues and nurturing a free market with fewer government regulations. There are practical things that can be done, she continued, including adding cargo platforms in the region to increase freight operations.
“My concern is that the federal government wants to stay very involved in supporting everything from people to business to the economy,” she said. “Our economy here in the U.S. was structured as free market government, and it works best when government gets out of the way.”
Expanding Southwest Washington’s infrastructure is pivotal to improving the region’s economy and returning money to constituents, Kraft said, adding that this shouldn’t be confused with the infrastructure proposals outlined in Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
Instead, the state representative is pushing for the construction of a third bridge between Washington and Oregon. She said if the Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 bridges collapsed in a seismic event, the third would be necessary for interstate commerce. She said a bridge trifecta is integral in relieving congestion and repairing freight operations.
Kraft says the power of the government should be limited and its direction course-corrected. She said there is a tendency to look to the government to resolve issues, such as environmental devastation, that she says can be taken care of by other organizational entities. Health care, for example, should be competitive and privatized to sustain the country’s marketplace instead of having the government provide financial assistance, she said.