Three candidates are vying to represent Washington’s 2nd Congressional District this election season.

Incumbent Rick Larsen, who is currently serving his seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives, faces competition from two political newcomers, B.J. Guillot and Michael Lapointe.

Voters will narrow the race down to two candidates in the Aug. 5 primary election, and the top two finishers move forward to the general election, regardless of political party affiliation.

Name: B.J. Guillot

Age: 39

Residence: Marysville

Occupation: Vice president of product management at multinational firm providing public safety solutions (EMS, fire, 9-1-1) to municipalities.

Party preference: Republican

How long have you lived in the district? 3 years

Previous elected offices held: None. Appointed to city of Marysville Library Board in 2013. Board members voted me in as chair in 2014.

Community involvement: Manage website to inform residents about the status of Paine Field commercial flights. Advocate for electric cars and solar energy.

Campaign website:

Why are you running for office?

People are hurting. The middle class is shrinking. Too many jobs have been lost or moved out of state. College graduates frequently find few or no jobs in their industry. They often face having to take two part-time jobs without benefits, just to make ends meet.

I will fight hard to bring jobs and businesses into our communities, starting by working together to reduce the burden of government regulations to make our district more desirable.

I will stand for reducing the debt, ending and keeping our country out of unnecessary wars, bringing our troops home, and restoring our civil liberties. The Patriot Act and domestic spying on our phone calls, emails and web usage must stop.

Why should voters choose you?

I will listen to you, as well as let you know how legislation will impact you and your family. One approach will be to use electronic innovations to enhance contact with your congressman, resulting in a more responsive representative. This keeps us neighbor to neighbor, and you can provide input on the issues you care about from home, work or the public library. You will have the tools to express constructive views on creating jobs and opportunities. You are the best source of new ideas. I will bring listening, reason, and innovation to our community.

What is the single biggest issue facing the winning candidate?

The “Do-Nothing Congress” is deadlocked. It’s very rare to see bipartisan agreements due to the “us versus them” mentality. These squabbles are preventing the government from performing its prime duties. We the People are not being served by the current set of incumbent representatives. It’s time to reboot Congress. The most pressing issue facing America, in the long term, is the growing national debt. The debt currently stands at $17.5 trillion! If nothing is done about this, the nation will be on a path toward bankruptcy. In the short term, the lack of jobs is a major challenge for our people.

How will you address it?

I will do what’s right for America. It’s not “us versus them.” It’s just US, all of us. Compromise is a necessary ingredient for solving our problems.

To address the growing national debt, we need to take a very hard look at both spending and revenue. It’s not popular for politicians to tell you bad news, and I know I’ll get beat up about this by my opponents, but we have to take off the rose-colored glasses and talk turkey. Cutting wasteful spending only gets you so far. Because people are healthier and living longer now than ever before, you have to serious consider modestly raising the retirement age for Social Security. Medicare premiums might need to be raised. The entire tax system needs to be overhauled into a simpler system with no loopholes, exceptions or deductions. And yes, even military spending needs to be cut so that spending is proportionally consistent with today’s actual threats. I know many of you are going to disagree with these ideas, but I hope you at least respect the fact that laying out the truth and not trying to tap dance around what needs to be done.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Name: Michael Lapointe

Age: 59

Residence: Everett

Occupation: Owner of Firewheel Community Coffeehouse

Party preference: Independent

How long have you lived in the district? 15 years

Previous elected offices held: none

Community involvement: Political, community and environmental activist

Campaign website:

Why are you running for office?

The widening gap in wealth inequality, the lack of job opportunity or jobs that pay a living wage, and the destruction of our environment continues unabated. The unfettered influence of money in our political system guarantees there will be no adequate or viable legislation coming from the majority of our Democrat or Republican elected representatives. I feel that citizens running as independents, forming coalitions with third party and other groups, can and indeed already have won elections.

I run because the majority of those we elect have lost touch with the people they are supposed to represent and are themselves comfortably above the fray. You cannot adequately serve disconnected from the constituency. Those that legislate from such a position can, at best, only feel for the people when they should feel like the people they serve. I will continue to feel like the people I serve.

Why should voters choose you?

I have no aspirations for a far too lengthy career, only the desire to serve, concern for the dysfunction of our two-party system and the divisiveness they foster in our political discourse. There is no accountability for actions detrimental to the majority of people. I will keep people informed of my positions and actions. And I will accept accountability for those actions. Corporate money has taken control of our democracy and I vow never to accept corporate donations. I will not be a politician that creates gridlock. I am willing to compromise but will not concede anything that that takes away the gains and rights of the majority. My focus is on sustainable solutions which benefits communities, families, local businesses and our long-term future.

What is the single biggest issue facing the winning candidate?

There are so many issues, sorting out where to begin is complex enough by itself. My biggest concern is convincing constituents and my new colleagues that the environment need not be sacrificed for living wage jobs. Our economic engine, the working class, has sputtered to a halt and is not going anywhere soon given the way our politics continues to address the wants of the richest among us as paramount. American jobs must take the forefront and the corporate bottom line needs to be redefined with the emphasis on restarting our economic engine.

How will you address it?

Free trade agreements only hurt our economy. When there is no increase in living wage jobs, no one benefits but the top 1 percent of the 1 percent. We need to reassess and restructure these agreements and concentrate on self-sustainability by bringing manufacturing home and stop subsidizing cost that should be borne as a cost of doing business. The tax system is rigged for the rich and must be changed. How that ends up looking must reflect our economic reality and be based on one’s income progressing from the bottom up. It must be fair and equitable, not a tax system like that which we have now, one that taxes those on the bottom the most and allows the wealthy to dodge their share of responsibility.

We are a country that can operate without fossil fuels. Every day green energy technology improves. Subsidies should be reallocated to foster green energy solution that will bring many living-wage jobs to our communities. It is painfully clear that fossil fuel is done. It is even clearer that if we do not take steps to replace the last century energy sources with a high-tech green grid, disaster lay ahead. Our legislation must reflect that urgency.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Name: Rick Larsen (incumbent)

Age: 49


Occupation: U.S. Representative

Party preference: Democrat

How long have you lived in the district? I was born and raised here in northwest Washington. My family has called this region home for over 100 years.

Previous elected offices held: Current U.S. Representative for Washington’s 2nd Congressional District, Snohomish County Council

Community involvement: My parents were an important influence on me, encouraging me to be involved in my local community. Their encouragement continues to be a motivation for my service to our communities.

Campaign website:

Why are you running for office?

Growing up in Arlington, I learned the values of community, service and commitment.

These same values guide my work today. That’s why I’m fighting to raise the national minimum wage, combat income inequality, create jobs in our community and fix our broken immigration system.

Income inequality has been called the “defining challenge of our time.” We need to rise to this challenge and help those seeking to break into the middle class. I’ll work hard in Congress to increase the national minimum wage and tie future increases to inflation.

I’m also working to put people back to work. The best way to create jobs is to invest in our transportation systems. Building and repairing our roads, bridges and highways will immediately create jobs and grow our economy.

And I’m committed to expanding opportunities for everyone to participate in our democracy and society. We must reform America’s broken immigration laws by establishing a clear pathway to citizenship, destroy any barrier that prevents people who are registered to vote from exercising that right, extend unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed, and support efforts that ensure marriage equality exists in every state.

It won’t be easy, but I’m up for the challenge.

Why should voters choose you?

I’m working hard for Skagit County to make a real difference in our community.

I worked to pass a transportation bill that included Emergency Relief funds for highway repair after natural disasters or catastrophic failures like the Skagit River Bridge collapse. And I helped cut through the red tape in D.C. to make sure we had the fastest federal response possible to this crisis.

I’m working to revitalize manufacturing and knock down trade barriers so Skagit manufacturers can ship their products — not their jobs — overseas.

And I’m committed to completing the Skagit GI, a critical study that sets us on the path to constructing vital flood control projects for all communities along the Skagit River. This project has been a top priority since my first term in Congress. The people that provide our communities’ flood response need comprehensive flood solutions and the best way to deliver these needed solutions is the Skagit GI.

I was born and raised in the 2nd District. Your priorities are my priorities. I’m fighting hard for solutions to our problems every single day.

What is the single biggest issue facing the winning candidate?

My number one priority is getting the economy moving and creating jobs in the Pacific Northwest. We need a jobs plan that will grow our workforce, rebuild our infrastructure and help our manufacturers export their products overseas.

How will you address it?

The best way to create jobs in Skagit County is through robust transportation investments that put local people back to work building and repairing our roads, bridges, highways and transit systems. Transportation investments create jobs.

You and I know this investment is about safety as well. We saw up close what happens when our infrastructure fails when the I-5 bridge collapsed into the Skagit River. We can’t keep waiting until they crumble into the water below. We need investment for jobs and safety now.

The aerospace and aviation industry in the Pacific Northwest contributes to our job growth. My office has a program to help connect our small- and medium-sized aerospace suppliers with the global market. And I’ve pushed legislation forward to help these companies have access to critical financing to sell their goods overseas.

If re-elected, I will do everything I can to create jobs, help our businesses export their products, and continue my strong support for transportation investments spur economic growth.

I ask for your vote for U.S. Representative in Washington’s 2nd District. Together we can make a difference.

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