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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.

In Our View: Perez clear choice for 3rd Congressional District

The Columbian
Published: October 20, 2022, 6:03am

Because of her thoughtfulness, transparency, demeanor and long history in Southwest Washington, Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is the best candidate to represent the region in Congress. The Columbian’s Editorial Board strongly recommends a vote for Perez as representative from the 3rd Congressional District.

As always, this is merely a recommendation. The Columbian trusts that voters will look beyond the rhetoric to study the candidates and before casting an informed vote.

In Perez, they will find a candidate who lives in rural Skamania County, owns a six-bay auto repair shop with her husband and supports gun rights. In other words, she is not the kind of big-city liberal that often draws scorn from conservatives. When Perez talks about the struggles of providing health care for employees or finding adequate day care for her son or the need for broadband internet in rural areas, she knows of what she speaks.

“I believe normal people need to start running in these races,” she told The Columbian’s Editorial Board. “I really believe we’ve got to bring back the middle ground.”

Third Congressional District candidate Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez met with The Columbian's Editorial Board on Oct. 11 in Vancouver. Republican candidate Joe Kent was invited but did not participate. Video

Similarly, Perez understands the 3rd Congressional District. She consciously rejects the extremism that infects both political parties, recognizing that bluster does not equal effectiveness. “There is data on who passes bills in Congress, and it’s not extremists,” she said. “These are people who want to build bridges, not burn them down.”

Perez’s long history in Skamania County gives her insight into local issues such as forest management, growth management and the tension between rural and urban areas. It also gives her an edge over Republican Joe Kent, the other candidate in the race. Kent has lived in Southwest Washington since 2020 and, as one longtime local Republican leader told The Columbian, “I don’t think he knows our district very well. I like that she has lived in this community for a long time.”

Kent’s campaign has focused on national issues such as immigration and re-litigating the 2020 presidential election. He has echoed Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud, has said Dr. Anthony Fauci should be tried for murder and writes that his goal is to impeach President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. He also has claimed that those arrested for attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are “political prisoners.”

Kent said during a debate Saturday that he supports Biden as the lawfully elected president of the United States. Kent has either been lying for the past year, or he was lying Saturday. Either way, we cannot trust a candidate who so willfully speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

In contrast, Perez spends her time thinking about issues that matter to Southwest Washington.

On immigration, she says, “I do not support open borders.” She advocates increased spending on border patrols and electronic monitoring. On a proposed Interstate 5 Bridge, she says the federal government must be involved: “My role in Congress is to bring home those federal tax dollars.” On abortion, she writes, “I’ll stand up to politicians who try to tell women what they can and cannot do with their own body.” Kent has called for a national ban on abortion.

Perez has focused on issues that matter here while Kent has spent time trying to build his national profile. One candidate will work for Southwest Washington; the other will seek celebrity status.

The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends Marie Gluesenkamp Perez as the clear choice in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.