Voting is the best medicine you can prescribe to the wounds you see in our society. Congress is the hospital, our congressperson is our doctor and we are the patients.
Let’s diagnose the symptoms affecting Washington’s 5th Congressional District.
Our education system, without a state income tax, is chronically dependent upon property taxes to finance itself. This is great news for students in some areas of Washington like Bellevue or Issaquah, which enjoys its schools being more than just properly funded. But here in Eastern Washington, and for most of the 5th Congressional District, this luck is not the case.
We rely heavily on state-wide and federal assistance to satisfy the educational spending requirements decreed in the recent McCleary decision so our kids can achieve the equal opportunity they deserve.
So then why is it the case that we’ve witnessed federal spending on education decrease by 20 percent in these last five years under our current congresswoman’s watch?
I understand that Cathy McMorris Rodgers is an adherent to grinding away the federal budget – but this is about five times more than the overall spending cuts over a subject of funding Washington desperately needs.
The Department of Health asserts over 1 in 8 Washingtonians suffer food insecurity, making us the 14th highest in the U.S. – meaning we substantially require food stamps as a means for families living paycheck to paycheck.
Yet again, our current Congresswoman voted for billions in dollars in SNAP cuts over this next decade – a program that not only feeds the starving, but is crucial to the countless number of farms within the 5th Congressional District.
USDA’s Economic Research Service notes that for every rough 1.5% of the SNAP program’s budget, the retail demand that SNAP generates in return creates $340 million in farm production and $110 million in farm value-added, along with 3,300 farm jobs. Is this not the plowing Palouse, host of the Lentil Festival and Washington’s farming hub?
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers has no problem in collecting well over a hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions from Big Oil and Big Natural Gas.
Our state’s Department of Natural Resource affirms there’s presently no oil or natural gas production in the entire state. Perhaps this dark money has something to do with McMorris Rodgers’s denial of climate change while her district burns ablaze in wildfires.
The 5th Congressional District is full of college students drowning in debt. Sorry Cougars, sorry Eagles, McMorris Rodgers voted against the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act.
College debt is certainly something we must alleviate if we’re going to foster an economically prosperous Eastern Washington.
We need plans that cap payments towards student loans at a tenth of monthly income so graduates can make ends meet at the very least. We need a plan that allows students to temporarily defer student loans for three years with no interest so graduates can start their own businesses and get it off the ground. We need a representative that doesn’t ignore the $1.3 trillion and growing college debt crisis.
We need Joe Pakootas.
If you want to allot our veterans to for-profit corporations like our current Congresswoman Cathy does, then keep her. If you want to continue American dependence upon polluting finite resources such as foreign oil like our current Congresswoman Cathy does, then keep her. If you want to continue politicians representing merely the biggest pocket financing their re-election campaigns like our current Congresswoman Cathy does, then keep her.
But if you want your interests to actually be represented, fresh ideas in D.C., and an end to Congress’ calamitous partisan obstructionism, vote for Joe Pakootas to be your next Congressman.