Sarah Smith wants to build on the Ocasio-Cortez wave in Washington
She’s a Washington candidate being compared to 28-year-old socialist candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who stunned the political world after defeating Rep. Joe Crowley for the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District. It’s a comparison 30-year-old Sarah Smith welcomes.
Smith is the progressive challenger to democratic incumbent Rep. Adam Smith’s long-held seat in Washington’s 9th Congressional District. It compasses an area from Tacoma in the south to Bellevue in the north.
“Alex and I have actually known each other since before I launched,” Smith told Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross. “We’re endorsed by the same organizations. Our platforms are really, really close to each other’s.”
“We’re both running on the same ideology that it’s important to put working people first, it’s important to put everyday Americans before corporations, and it’s important to prioritize people over profits.”
Raised in Southern California, Smith moved to Everett after high school and attended college at the University of Arizona. She currently lives in Kent. Smith worked numerous jobs before taking an interest in politics, initially spurred by Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and the ultimate election of Donald Trump. It was then that she started volunteering for the state Democratic Party.
And like her counterparts across the country, Smith sees no reason to run from any association with Socialists.
“If by ‘Socialist’ you mean that everyone has the right to a dignified life, everyone has a right to healthcare, to be educated, to have a roof over their head, to be paid fair wages for their labor,” Smith said. “If that’s the word we want to use, then I’ll take that.”
Smith says she is for a federal jobs guarantee, a massive infrastructure overhaul, single-payer healthcare, and debt-free education. But how would such goals be paid for?
“We’ve managed to find trillions of dollars to keep trapped in this endless cycle of war, and no one blinks an eye,” Smith said. “But everyone talks how do you pay for it when you talk about healthcare, when you talk about education, when you talk about giving people the ability to go school.”
Sarah Smith sees no issue with her experience level
Since she’s facing a longtime candidate whose positions aren’t too different, Smith finds herself having to defend her experience.
“I’ve worked a ton of different jobs, I’ve held management positions, I’ve done a ton of volunteer work,” Smith said. “We have all the legislative experience in the world right now in Congress, and we’re constantly in a gridlock. To say that me — a first time candidate and working person — that my experience doesn’t matter, that’s saying that the entire experience of any working class person doesn’t matter.”
“Just talking to you for a few minutes,” remarked KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “You must have run for something before.”
“I have not,” Smith said, laughing. “I’ve definitely thought about it. This is something I’m passionate about. If we have the ability to change something, we should seize that opportunity.”