Photo by Marcy Stamper
Democrat Christine Brown, who is challenging incumbent Dan Newhouse for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, told a town hall in Twisp last week that her main issues are universal health care, comprehensive immigration reform and environmental protection.

Two-term incumbent Dan Newhouse will seek re-election

By Marcy Stamper

Christine Brown, a Democrat challenging Rep. Dan Newhouse to be the representative for the 4th Congressional District, launched her “Big Table Tour” in Okanogan County last week, with stops in Mazama and in Twisp, where she spoke to potential voters at a town hall meeting.

Brown said she held the Big Table Tour to invite people in the huge district to have a seat at the table. “People feel they’re not part of the process, and that only rich, big corporations have seats,” she told people at the Twisp town hall on Tuesday (May 8).

Brown retired from a 30-year career as news director at the NBC station in the Tri-Cities, where she learned two important principles that she promised to use in Washington, D.C.: there are always multiple sides to a story, so you have to step back and get the bigger picture; you have to listen or you’ll never hear the full story.

Brown found she wasn’t ready to retire. “I wanted to do more to address the divisive, polarized atmosphere in the country,” she said. If elected, she vowed to talk to all colleagues in the House of Representatives to build collaborations and coalitions.

“I want to be a representative who will listen to all voters. The measure of public service is to make people’s lives better — at all levels,” she said.

Major issues

Brown listed three main issues in her campaign: health care, comprehensive immigration reform and environmental protection.

The No. 1 concern Brown has heard as she talks to voters is about health care and people’s fear of not having it or of losing it. She supports a simple plan for universal health care such as Medicare for All, which people have experienced and understand. “I really do believe that health care is a right and not a privilege,” she said.

Immigration reform is vital to this region’s agriculture economy, where farmers and orchardists say half the workforce they rely on is undocumented, said Brown. Without these workers, the economy would collapse, she said. These people need a path to documentation and to becoming tax-paying citizens, she said.

Brown stressed the need to protect clean air and water for future generations. “Climate change is real and affected by human decisions. People have the ability to alter it and to reduce the burning of fossil fuels,” she said.

Brown criticized the recent changes to the tax code as “a $1.7-trillion tax giveaway to the very rich.” The tax cuts have added to the country’s long-term debt, which Brown fears will be used to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. “Older people tell me they’re terrified,” she said.

Brown started her tour in Okanogan County and spent a week traveling back to the southern end of the district to file for candidacy on a public-library computer in the Tri-Cities.

Newhouse seeks third term

Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) filed for re-election for a third two-year term this week.

“Over the past year and a half, with a unified Republican government, we have made tremendous progress for conservatism in the House of Representatives. We still have much more work ahead of us, and I would be honored to continue working for Central Washington for another two years,” said Newhouse after filing his candidacy.

Newhouse previously served eight years in the Washington State House of Representatives and four years as director of the state Department of Agriculture. He calls himself “a conservative problem-solver and an advocate for Hanford cleanup, enhancing water-storage solutions, lowering taxes and eliminating burdensome regulations.”