Eight candidates are on the Aug. 4 primary ballot for U.S. House of Representatives, District 2: incumbent Rep. Rick Larsen, Democrat, of Everett; high school math teacher Jason Call, Democrat, of Marysville; former state legislator James Dean Golder, Republican, of Oak Harbor; civil engineer Cody Hart, Republican, of Sedro-Woolley; investment adviser Timothy Hazelo, Republican, of Oak Harbor; past U.S. House candidate Kari Ilonummi, Republican, of Arlington; activist and volunteer Carrie R. Kennedy, Republican, of Oak Harbor; and software company founder Tim Uy, Republican, of Bellingham.
The two top finishers in the primary will advance to the Nov. 3 general election. Members of the House are elected to two-year terms.
The Anacortes American asked the candidates to answer the following questions. Call, Golder and Ilonummi did not respond.
Name: Rick Larsen
Party preference: Democrat
Occupation: U.S. Representative for the 2nd Congressional District
Education: I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma and have a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota.
Elected offices held: I began trying to make a difference through public service on the Snohomish County Council, and today, it is my privilege to serve as the Representative for Washington state’s 2nd District.
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: ricklarsen.org
Why are you running for office?: It is an honor to represent the 2nd District. I am inspired by the strength and resilience of workers, families, students and small-business owners across Northwest Washington, whose experiences drive me to fight for an economy that works for everyone.
In our region, that means bringing middle-class families better jobs and higher wages, and addressing the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am focused on putting the middle class and workers first, fighting climate change, protecting our environment, increasing access to health care and protecting the right to vote.
A healthy environment is important to our region’s economy and way of life. It is my priority to address the impacts of climate change, ensure the U.S. transitions to clean renewable energy and environmental sustainability, and protect our lands, water and wildlife.
Fighting for middle-class families and workers also means expanding access to high-quality, affordable health care. I am focused on ensuring veterans get the care they need, lowering prescription drug costs and supporting protections for pre-existing conditions.
What are the five biggest issues facing the candidate who is elected to this position?: The five biggest issues I will face in Congress are building an economy that creates more jobs and opportunities for everyone; addressing the public health and economic crisis of COVID-19; increasing access to high-quality, affordable health care; halting and reversing the devastating effects of climate change; and investing in Washington state’s transportation infrastructure.
How will you address them?: Transportation investment means jobs, and is key to economic recovery. That is why I voted for the Moving Forward Act, which invests nearly $7 billion in Washington state’s transportation network. This bill is part of a long-term plan to put people back to work, jumpstart the economy and make the transportation system safer and greener.
We must invest in education and skills training. I am committed to making it easier and more affordable for workers to go back to school, and for students to get the education they need. It is important to bring science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education into our classrooms.
Our kids and grandkids are depending on us to address climate change. I am a co-sponsor of the Climate Action Now Act to get the U.S. back into the Paris Climate Agreement and the 100% Clean Economy Act, which calls for a net-zero pollution economy by 2050 and works to improve public health and create clean jobs.
I believe health care is a human right, and I am focused on advocating for health care that fits families’ budgets. I support universal health care coverage by creating a public option and allowing Medicare buy-in.
What sets you apart from your opponents? I am honored to have local support. I have been endorsed by 60 local elected officials, including your own state Sen. Liz Lovelett, state Reps. Debra Lekanoff and Alex Ramel, Anacortes Mayor Laurie Gere, Anacortes City Council member Anthony Young, Sedro-Woolley City Council members Germaine Kornegay and Karl de Jong, Skagit County Commissioners Ken Dahlstedt and Lisa Janicki, and Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich.
I am also proud to be endorsed by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, National Education Association, Sierra Club’s National Political Team and Washington State Chapter, League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Alliance for Gun Responsibility Victory Fund, End Citizens United Action Fund, Young Democrats of Skagit County, Young Democrats of Washington, Skagit County Democrats and 40th Legislative District Democrats.
How are you campaigning and engaging with voters during the pandemic?: Our campaign has shifted to entirely virtual operations, though we remain focused on grassroots community organizing. We are continuing to reach out to voters through Zoom conference calls, Facebook Live events, phone banking and text messaging to help elect Democrats up and down the ballot and beat Donald Trump in November. So far, we have made more than 7,500 calls to 2nd District voters and held nine Facebook Live events. I am working hard to earn your vote, and I hope to see you sometime soon on the virtual campaign trail.
How can voters learn more about you?: Voters can learn more about me by visiting my website at ricklarsen.org, or by checking out my Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. Voters can also watch my campaign announcement video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JkvaOFtao4&feature=youtu.be, and my latest Facebook Live video updates at https://www.facebook.com/RickLarsenWA02/live.