Touches on key issues in race against incumbent Newhouse
By Don Nelson
Democratic candidate Christine Brown, who is challenging incumbent Republican Congressman Dan Newhouse to represent Washington’s huge 4th Congressional District, brought her campaign the Methow Valley last week in an appearance before the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce.
Brown focused on health care, immigration and climate change issues in her Thursday (Sept. 13) appearance, and touched on other topics as well.
Brown called health care “the No. 1 subject in today’s political world.”
“People want health care solved. It’s that simple,” she said.
She said many people she talks to are concerned that coverage they currently have will be taken away or scaled back, or that they won’t be able to afford insurance premiums. She said she has encountered broad support for provisions of the Affordable Care Act in her campaign travels.
Brown said she advocates “health care for all,” pointing out that many other countries have figured out how to make it work. Options are “Medicare for all” or a single-payer system, she said. A “health for all” system would remove the onus of providing health care from employers, she said.
Immigration reform is an urgent issue but has been tainted by what Brown called “a tremendous amount of fear” in the political arena. She said it “is time to create a process of documentation” for workers who are here illegally and a path to citizenship.
“We need a loud, bold spokesperson in D.C. for this issue,” Brown said. “We do not need a quiet, timid voice.”
She also voiced support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (known as DACA or “Dreamers”) program. “If there is any group we want to add to our society, it’s them,” she said of the youth who are part of the program.
“We also need a foreign workers program,” Brown added.
Brown said that she does not support open borders, but “people already here should have a documentation process.”
Brown said it’s nearly too late for meaningful action on climate change. “We all have a role in this, and we have put it off,” she said. “What else are we going to do?”
Speaking to local issues, Brown said it’s vital to support retention of the North Cascades Smokejumper Base in the Methow Valley, and to find ways to pay for necessary updates at the base. Keeping local trails at the forefront of U.S. Forest Service priority list for attention is also important, she said.
Brown also applauded local efforts to promote the Headwaters Campaign to protect the upper valley from future mining. “I commend you. You’re showing how this whole process works,” she said.
Brown also advocated creation of a voluntary service program for young people, who could be incentivized to spend a year or two working on community-based projects.
In answer to a question about how she would approach spanning the current political divide in D.C., Brown said she would meet with newly elected representatives and “look for overlapping views,” with the aim of building coalitions and fostering collaboration.
“People hate the word compromise,” she said. “But we need to be able to accept compromise.”
Brown acknowledged that “parties have tremendous control … if you don’t go along, you’re ostracized. You have to pick your battles. It’s a difficult tightrope but I’m open to it.”
Brown is a former television news reporter, anchor, news director and station general manager with 30 years of broadcast experience at local network affiliates in the Tri-Cities, where she lives. She said her journalism experience taught her to be open to all sides of a story, and to listen well.