Longtime U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen is facing five challengers for his seat representing Washington’s 2nd Congressional District.

The 2nd District encompasses parts of Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties, and all of Island and San Juan counties.

Most of the challengers are political newcomers, including a 26-year-old student and a former attorney with a history in Skagit County.

Larsen, a Democrat, was first elected to the seat in 2000.

In response to a questionnaire from the Skagit Valley Herald, he said he is running again to continue to work to be a champion for the middle class.

“A strong and vibrant middle class is the foundation of the American dream,” he wrote. “I am committed not just to making that dream more accessible to anyone who’s willing to work hard and play by the rules, but to protecting it from the forces in Washington, D.C. that are trying to pull it apart.”

To address that, he said he is looking to bring well-paying jobs to Skagit County by investing in infrastructure and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education opportunities to make students more competitive in the global marketplace.

He also listed securing resources for law enforcement officers to address the opioid addiction and veterans care among his priorities.

Candidate Stonewall (Stoney) Jackson Bird, 73, is running as a Green Party candidate.

Bird said the biggest issue facing the winning candidate is governing on behalf of the people, not just the “one percent.”

“The Republicans and Democrats that we elect simply ignore what the voters expressly want and need,” he wrote. “They can get away with this dereliction of responsibility because of gerrymandering and the two-party system.”

In 2003, he said he helped found the Skagit County peace group “People for a Peaceable Planet,” which started the Skagit Human Rights Film Festival.

If elected, he said he would insist on the elimination of gerrymandering and strive for a proportional representation system instead.

At 26, Collin Richard Carlson is the youngest candidate in the race.

Carlson, a Democrat, said he is progressive and is running to make a “drastic change” in politics and address issues including the drug and opioid epidemic, homelessness and health care and education costs.

“Voters should chose me and send a message to the country, and our political establishment, that we want leaders who are going to see the real issues faced by average Americans, and we want discussion about the real solutions,” he wrote. “We need to send a message to the political establishment, take care of our people, or find another job.”

He said the biggest issue facing the winner is health care, which he would address through legislation for a universal single-payer health care system.

Gary Franco, who is running as an Independent, cited the economy, fiscal management, health care and homelessness as some of his top issues.

According to an emailed statement, if elected he would not seek more than three terms in office, nor would he accept donations of more than $1,000.

“You will be my boss, I your public servant,” he wrote. “I promise to represent you in Washington D.C. with hard work, honesty and overall integrity.”

Brian Luke, a 45-year-old Libertarian, cited his education in Middle Eastern studies as being an asset for him.

“My educational background includes the study of the Middle East and nuclear non-proliferation issues, which is important with America’s current foreign policy challenges,” he wrote.

The biggest issue facing the winner, he said, is addressing the national debt, which he said he would look to rein in through responsible budget cuts.

“I will exhibit discretion in deciding whether to reduce taxes without any serious intent to cut spending,” he wrote. “Our government must collect sufficient revenue to pay for the federal government and not overspend.”

Uncle Mover, who identified himself as a moderate Republican, has sought 20 elected positions in 30 years, including three campaigns for governor and mayoral races in both Edmonds and Seattle.

The primary election will be held Aug. 7. The top two vote-getters will then advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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