Representative candidate challenges incumbent

From staff reports

The challenger for congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ seat in the House of Representatives, Joe Pakootas, spoke to people of Washington’s 5th Congressional District at Lincoln Middle School Wednesday night.

Pakootas spoke out against one of Rodgers’ most notable projects, the Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act (USA Act).

The USA Act would eliminate any spending on government programs that has not been authorized by the people’s representatives.

Pakootas said there are currently 256 bills unauthorized by Congress. Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, free lunch programs, food stamps, the Affordable Care Act, and bills that help local farmers would all lose funding without authorization, he said.

“If she gets this bill passed, 20 million people will lose their health care,” Pakootas said.

Some of the things included in the USA Act directly affect the 5th District, he said.

Pakootas supports reforming the system when it comes to drug abuse. He wants to stop mass incarceration by treating drug addiction more like an illness and spending less money on unnecessary law enforcement.

“Drug task forces are not working effectively,” Pakootas said. “They can catch the people with drugs but not the people supplying drugs.”

Pakootas highlighted the importance of cooperation between the executive and legislative branches to help younger people succeed.

Pakootas said the current Congress is on pace to set a record as being the most ineffective in history.

“We need a Congress that will work with the president,” he said. “This is our future we are fighting for.”

Pakootas’ campaign will be successful because it branches out across 10 counties and engages young voters, said Susan Brudnicki, campaign manager.

“By November of this year, I am going to have a new job,” Pakootas said. “At that new job, I will be training young people to replace me.”

Reporting by Forrest Holt