Election 2010: It’s anybody’s 3rd District
There are at least two things that make the congressional race in Southwest Washington unique – there is no incumbent running for office in the 3rd District because Brian Baird decided not to seek re-election, and the area has the highest unemployment rate in the state.
Washingtonâ€™s 3rd District voters tend to be independent. They’ve swung from supporting a Republican to a Democrat in the past two presidential elections. George W. Bush won twice in the district – in 2000 winning with 48 percent of the vote and again in 2004 with 50 percent of the vote. In 2008, President Barack Obama won the district with 53 percent of the vote. The parties and interest groups are expected to pour millions of dollars into a district that seems to be the only one in our state that’s balanced between Democratic and Republican voters.
The contenders for the seat are Democrat Denny Heck, a former state lawmaker and founder of TVW, which is our state’s version of C-SPAN.
“I don’t think Congress is placing anywhere near a high enough priority in getting people back to work and getting this economy moving again,” says Heck.
Republican Jamie Herrera, is a state representative in the 18th legislative district, and she didn’t want to run for national office at first.
“Everybody knows how at times intense, and even probably corrupt, Washington D.C. can be,” Herrerra says. “Ultimately I feel like all of what our parents and grandparents fought for is at stake.”
For the past couple of years, Clark County in our state has had the highest unemployment rate at just over 13 percent. The county, in the heart of the 3rd District, lost 1,800 jobs last month, pushing its jobless rate to 13.3 percent. Its rate was as high as 13.7 percent one year ago in July.
Both Heck and Herrera say job creation is the key to turning the economy around in their district and across the country. So, how would they create jobs?
“First of all we gotta get credit flowing again to enable small businesses to expand where legitimate demand exists,” he says. “Second thing we should do is, we have an embarrassing deficit in our public infrastructure of roads and bridges and rail. We need to make an investment in those things which will lay the foundation for economic growth.”
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the ones that are gonna lead us out of the recession,” says Herrera. “We need Congress then to create that level playing field to give them the freedom to do it – not to raise taxes, not to add on more burdensome regulation.
Herrera is also calling for a 10 percent across the board cut to budgets. That includes Congress, the White House and federal agencies.
“Now more than ever do we need government oversight,” she says.
While Heck wants the country to move toward a clean energy economy by reducing our dependence on fossil fuel. He says, “We simply have to get out from under the thumb of people who hate us.”
With the latest vote count released yesterday afternoon, Heck has 31 percent of the vote to Herrera’s 28 percent.