The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

WSU alum running for Congress

When running in the election, Spokane County Treasurer keeps WSU close to his heart
Michael Baumgartner, the current Spokane County Treasurer, running for Congress. Courtesy of Micheal Baumgartner

A WSU alum is running for Congress for the Republican Party. 

Michael Baumgartner, the current Spokane County Treasurer was born and raised in Pullman, Washington. Baumgartner attended WSU and is a Republican running for the United States Congress.

Baumgartner graduated from WSU in 1999, earning an economics degree with a minor in French and mathematics, while being a columnist for the WSU student newspaper, The Daily Evergreen. 

Baumgartner then earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University. 

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Previously, Baumgartner served as a Washington State Senate member who represented the 6th legislative district from 2011–2019. 

Baumgartner said one of the most important issues for his campaign for Congress is securing the southern border, in an effort to prevent the fentanyl crisis. 

Baumgartner said he also prioritizes improving the lives of college students. 

“I am a huge advocate for college students and will dedicate my time to helping them as much as possible,” Baumgartner said.

He advocates for rural colleges to have a voice when discussing college athletics, Baumgartner said. 

While serving the Washington State Senate, he introduced legislation that overturned a bill that said the University of Washington was the only university able to have a medical school in the state, Baumgartner said. 

Baumgarter said after the bill passed, the legislation then allowed WSU to open a medical school, growing the regional healthcare system and medical careers in the region. 

Baumgartner said he is a strong advocate for striving to make college more affordable and accessible. 

According to a Spokesman-Review article, during his time serving the Washington State Senate, Baumgartner supported passing legislation that cut tuition rates as much as 30% over two years. 

Senate Bill 5954 put a cap on how much public colleges and universities could charge based on percentage of the state’s average wage. The bill also required the legislature to give colleges more funding from the state’s general fund.

Baumgartner said WSU is close to his heart. 

“My dad was a professor of forestry and natural resource sciences at WSU and I grew up in Pullman. I love the school and will fight for Cougs”. 

Baumgartner said another important issue for his campaign is the United States foreign policy stance. 

“It is crucial that the United States remain smart and strong overseas,” Baumgartner said. 

During the Iraq War, Baumgartner said he served as the economics officer in the Office of Joint Strategic Planning & Assessment at the United States Embassy in Baghdad, working to assist the Iraqi government. 

In 2008, Baumgartner said he spent 7 months working as a civilian contractor in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. 

Baumgartner won the WSU Student Legacy of the Year award and the Stephenson Scholar Award.

 Jack Thompson, friend of Baumgartner and former WSU quarterback said he met Baumgartner in 2016 after they both worked together to reinstate Robert Barber, a former WSU football player who was suspended from playing after a fight off campus. 

Thompson said he admired Baumgartner’s drive to advocate for students and that he was sure that Baumgartner would fight for what’s right if elected to Congress. 

“He has an incredibly strong character and moral compass,” Thompson said. 

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