In what could be a battle of former Microsoft big wigs, Redmond Republican Pedro Celis has emerged as a frontrunner to challenge Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene for the 1st District congressional seat this fall.
Celis, who retired 2012 after a distinguished career at Microsoft, is an immigrant from Mexico who he says has lived the American dream. But he says today too many people are discouraged, and that's why he's running for Congress.
KIRO Radio's Jason Rantz wanted to get a better idea of where Celis stands on key issues so welcomed him onto his show for a conversation.
The first topic discussed was one that he has a very clear stance on being an immigrant himself: immigration. He thinks there needs to be a three-pronged approach to dealing with it.
"Number one is we need to have good mechanisms for people to come here legally that will help this country and we don't have good mechanisms. We need to fix that. Number two, we have to follow the rule of law. You cannot be supporting something where it's not going to be enforced. […] Number three, you need to find a way for the people who are making this country successful, the people who are good for this country to stay here."
Celis thinks not a lot of progress has been made on the issue because a lot of people in congress are scared of it. "I can tell you I'm not afraid of this. I am an immigrant. I know what it means and I know why this is important for our country."
Another issue he doesn't shy away from is Obamacare. While he says it's not necessarily the main focus of his campaign, he says it's top of mind for many.
"Even if I don't mention it, whenever I talk to anybody, it comes up," he says. "It is one of the topics that is affecting the economy and life of many, many people, and their families. It's not oh it's a theoretical problem, it's affecting them personally. So it's here and it's a big problem."
The two also touched on abortion, an issue where The Seattle Times said Celis has downplayed his personal views.
"My personal views, I'm pro life, but I'm not running for Congress for this. That is the point that I was trying to make to them," says Celis. "This race is not about that. What we need in this country, things that need to be fixed are not related to that because that is an issue that was settled many years ago. It's not going to be changed by whoever is in congress."
Rantz and Celis also discussed gay marriage, the Hobby Lobby decision, and marijuana.
Listen to the full interview: