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Sutherland kicks-off campaign in Pullman

Challenger outlines healthcare reform, business, education as main points of platform

Sutherland+speaks+about+his+plans+for+office+in+front+of+about+50+supporters+at+the+Elson+S.+Floyd+Center+Thursday.
Sutherland speaks about his plans for office in front of about 50 supporters at the Elson S. Floyd Center Thursday.

Sutherland speaks about his plans for office in front of about 50 supporters at the Elson S. Floyd Center Thursday.

Adam Jackson | The Daily Evergreen

Adam Jackson | The Daily Evergreen

Sutherland speaks about his plans for office in front of about 50 supporters at the Elson S. Floyd Center Thursday.

IAN SMAY, Evergreen news editor

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WSU alumnus Matthew Sutherland met with supporters to mark the beginning of his campaign for Washington State’s Ninth Legislative District and a seat in the state’s House of Representatives on Thursday at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center.

In front of a crowd of about 50, Sutherland, a Democrat, outlined his plans if he beats incumbent Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax.

“I have a vision for the ninth legislative district … where kids get quality education,” he said, “where people can afford their healthcare and where we have jobs and economic growth here.”

Sutherland later said healthcare would be his first priority in office. He wants to implement a universal health care system affordable for people of all levels of income.

“One of the most important things to me is that people don’t have to choose between financial security and the health of a loved one,” he said. “That’s something that really needs to be addressed in Washington.”

Sutherland said his inspiration for healthcare reform comes from his experiences as a child when his mother battled brain cancer for five years. After her passing, he said his father was left with large sums of medical bills from her treatments.

The next issue on Sutherland’s agenda is education. Josh Maasberg, Sutherland’s campaign manager, said teachers have not gotten enough attention for their work.

“A lot of the time educators feel like they’ve sort of been written off,” he said. “Like they aren’t a priority for the legislature, like they aren’t a priority for the state.”

He also said the campaign sees teachers as playing a very important role in society.

“We firmly believe that our educators, our paraprofessionals, our teachers, that they are actually doing one of the most important jobs out there,” Maasberg said.

In addition to addressing wage concerns among educators, Sutherland said access poses a big issue.

“Making sure that the quality of education is there,” he said, “and the access to good quality education for everyone in the ninth and not excluding rural populations, not excluding rural Washington is important.”

The third main point Sutherland addressed was jobs and economic growth. He said he wants to “revitalize Main Street” in an effort to help small businesses in the area, as well as bringing more jobs in clean energy industries.

Sutherland said he would pay for these programs with revenue that doesn’t “burden the working class” through areas such as capital gains and allowing local areas to spend their tax money on themselves instead of in other areas around the district.

Multiple Pullman officials attended the event in support, with Ward 3 council member Brandon Chapman and Ward 2 council member Dan Records endorsing Sutherland.

Chapman said he could tell Sutherland decided to run because he sees the office as a chance to give back to his community.

“It was very evident from the get-go … that he is doing this because it is a service,” Chapman said.

About the Writer
IAN SMAY, Evergreen news editor
Ian Smay is a senior journalism & media production major, with an emphasis in broadcast news, from Dayton, Washington. He is also minoring in criminal justice, and served as the crime & courts beat reporter from Aug. 2017 – May 2018. He can be reached at [email protected]
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Sutherland kicks-off campaign in Pullman