Brown talks voting laws, gun control, abortion rights

State voting laws could aid in crafting federal legislation, democracy



Lisa Brown, congressional candidate for Washington’s 5th District, answers questions from students Monday afternoon in the Foley Speaker Room at Bryan Hall.

CARMEN JARAMILLO, Evergreen reporter

Lisa Brown, Democratic candidate for Washington’s 5th congressional district, met with students and faculty on campus Monday for a question-and-answer session.

Among other things, Brown addressed issues of gun control, reproductive rights and the importance of democratic participation.

The race in the 5th district is crucial to the Democratic Party in the “blue wave,” an effort to gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election.

Brown said she believes this election to be the most important of all time. She said she is running for Congress because she thinks the current legislature is not doing its job to hold the administration accountable.

“We deserve a representative in Congress from Eastern Washington who will truly stand up and advocate for our country’s laws and values rather than defer to the administration,” Brown said.

On gun control, Brown said she supports certain firearm regulations like background checks and restrictions for certain individuals purchasing guns.

“You don’t have to accept this false choice that you have to choose between our constitutionally-protected right to bear arms and the lives of children in a classroom or people in a public setting,” she said.

On reproductive rights, Brown said she said she believes women should be “in control of their own bodies,” and supports women’s right to choose abortion.

Republican incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, on the other hand, has a long history of opposition to abortion. Brown said this is an issue where she and McMorris Rodgers differ widely.

“My opponent and I are both women, we’re both women lead         our views on this issue and our records on them are very different.”

Brown also discussed voting rights and said voter accessibility is essential to a functioning democracy.

She said she believes some of Washington’s laws surrounding elections could be useful nationwide, including pre-paid postage ballots and redistricting processes. She said she would also like to see same-day voter registration implemented.

“Anything you can do, regardless of what side you are on, to get people to participate, that is really important,” Brown said. “Not just to me but to our country and to what we stand for to the rest of the world.”

Brown served in the Washington House of Representatives from 1993 to 1997 and then in the Washington State Senate from 1997 to 2013. She served as the Senate majority leader from 2005 to 2013.

After leaving the Washington legislature Brown served as the chancellor of WSU Spokane, where she oversaw the creation of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. She stepped down as chancellor in 2017 to run for congressional office against McMorris Rodgers, who has represented the district since 2005.

In the primary election held in August, McMorris Rodgers and Brown both advanced, with McMorris Rodgers earning 49.29 percent of the vote and Brown getting 45.36 percent.

This story has been updated to reflect the correct results of the primary election held in August. McMorris Rodgers earned 49.29 percent of the vote while Brown received 45.36 percent.