The race for the Representative seat of Washington’s 8th congressional district, which Bellevue College is a part of, is coming to a close as this year’s midterm election approaches. Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Kim Schrier, the candidates, are both running for this office for the first time.
Dino Rossi is a career politician and served as the Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Rossi’s campaign site claims that, “Dino crafted a bipartisan balanced budget that erased a massive deficit without raising taxes while still protecting seniors, people with developmental disabilities and our state’s most vulnerable citizens.” Outside of public office, he served as the Chair of the Board of Special Olympics Washington, which resulted in the hosting of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games being awarded to Seattle.
Dr. Kim Schrier is a newcomer to politics, and her reason for entering into politics stem directly from her frustrations with current political cronyism and her desire to enact positive change. Dr. Schrier had complaints about a healthcare bill, and in an interview with ABC News about her run for office, said that the question that led her to run for office was, “What did we do when we saw divisiveness in our country, when we saw attacks on women’s reproductive health care, when we saw attacks on our health in general? Were we on the correct side of history?” Dr. Kim Schrier’s own campaign site gives an answer to these questions, calling her the “vital missing voice as Congress debates women’s healthcare, reproductive rights, and children’s health.”
Both of the candidates’ platforms also promise environmental protections and clean energy initiatives. Dr. Schrier pushes for 100% clean energy usage and Mr. Rossi claiming to support an “All-of-the-above” approach to energy alternatives. Rossi and Dr. Schrier also support healthcare and more job access for veterans.
On October 17, they had the only public debate of the race. Of note were their positions on healthcare, the local economy, the national debt, and international trade.
When Dr. Schrier was asked about her plan to reduce the cost of healthcare and make it better, she responded, “I believe we should have Medicare as a public option, so that anybody at any age, even small business owners, could buy into Medicare just like they could buy into private insurance.” Rossi’s claim regarding healthcare to the members of the 8th district was, “What we need to do is make sure we bring competition into the system.”
During the debate, when asked about challenges to the economy, Rossi claimed that lack of public knowledge about the economy was the largest barrier to economic growth. He called for “modest taxation” and “predictable regulation” to allow for new businesses to enter the market. When asked about the growing national debt, he cited his bipartisan work to balance the budget in 2003 as proof that he will be able to find a solution for managing the nation’s debt moving forward. He also made it clear that he has no intentions of raising taxes, calling to “make sure that the tax cuts for individuals are permanent.”
Dr. Schrier’s wants to grow the middle class first and believes that, “We need to build our economy from the middle out, and really invest in our economy right here in the 8th district.” Her solution involved investing in education, agriculture, technology, and infrastructure for the 8th district to encourage more job creation. She rallied against the recent tax cuts as well, saying, “If everyone pays their fair share, then we don’t have to talk about making draconian cuts to services that help the vast majority of people in this country.” This, combined with comments about further tax cuts for the middle class, predict that Dr. Schrier will push for larger taxation of companies that have been accused of dodging their taxes in the past.
When Rossi was asked to respond to current trade deals and tariffs in place, he said, “I don’t think anyone wants a trade war.” He also, however, said that it was important to use America’s current strong economic position to encourage China to crack down on rampant intellectual property theft through further trade negotiations. He also recognized that a large portion of the agricultural output of the district does go to Canada and Mexico, and expressed the importance of an advantageous deal with the two countries to farmers within the 8th district.
When Dr. Schrier was asked about her approval of the trade deal, her initial response was that she “had not read the entire deal.” However, she did briefly voice her general approval of trade with Canada and Mexico, and did not believe that NAFTA needed to be thrown out in order to force new negotiations in the first place.
This midterm election has presented voters with different solutions for issues important to both sides. Voting ends for this contested race on Tuesday, November 6.