Road to Taking Back Congress Starts in WA-08

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Blue America’s last endorsement of the 2014 cycle was Jason Ritchie, the candidate running for the Blue-leaning seat currently held by conservative Republican, Dave Reichert in a district that stretches from the suburbs south and east of Seattle all the way out to Wenatchee and Ellensburg. At the time, Ritchie vowed he would make a concerted effort to win the seat over at least 2 cycles. "I'll be back in 2016 and we're building the infrastructure, identifying the voters, and organizing to win now and in the future." This year, Jason was Blue America's first endorsement.

We’re asking you, again, to consider chipping in whatever you can to help Jason, a stalwart progressive.

Reichert remains a GOP hack, continuing to vote like a zombie-- backing the Tea Party in their demands to shut down funding for the Department of Homeland Security to obstruct immigration reform, shutting down the government in 2013, suing President Obama and nearly 60 votes cast to gut the Affordable Care Act. Reichert, who may declare his candidacy for governor this year, has a clear record as a cog in the Republican Party obstructionist machine.

Jason’s platform continues to be advocacy of behalf of students in his support of America’s College Promise and reforming the student loan debt machine. Jason is speaking out on the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and urging his supporters to pay attention to the details of the proposal. Jason says “The challenges of climate change, wage stagnation, income inequality and social injustice will not simply resolve themselves. It’s up to us as progressives to demand change and fight for a more fair future for our country. We must stand up against those who would seek to allow corporate control over our economy and our political system to drive us further into oligarchy. 

Jason told us that "the first duty of a progressive is to counter corporate influence and Big Businesses' corrosive impact on our communities and middle class. This is the fight that I am committed to in 8th Congressional District of Washington State... I believe in fighting for middle class, family wage jobs. I strongly support the Affordable Care Act, I believe earned benefits like Social Security and disability must be protected and I strongly support women's health care choices. Our social safety net must not be weakened, it must be reinforced.

The 8th Congressional District is one of 17 districts nationwide that was won by President Obama in 2012 but has a Republican representative. This district is a winnable, progressive district that we must turn blue if we are going to turn the House back to our side. Inexplicably, the DCCC has abandoned the district entirely, although they have indicated that if Reichert declares he's running for governor, they will have one of their conservatives to primary Jason. So far though, Jason has an open shot for this race. 

His campaign is already underway: "We have phone banks set up across the 8th Congressional District. We are identifying voters, growing our volunteer base and registering new voters every day.” He was a leader of the movement against the TPP in Washington, a state very divided over the trade bill, and he was willing to stand up against corporate Dems. Almost all Dems in Washington, though-- as well as plenty of Republicans and independents-- agree on one issue: the need for environmental protections.

"The 8th Congressional District," he wrote, "is home to some of the most beautiful land in the world. From Snoqualmie Pass to Mount Rainier, we have an obligation to nurture and protect our environment especially from the dangers of global climate change. The Mountains to Sound Greenway run through the heart of the 8th Congressional District and is our responsibility to maintain and preserve. It is an essential part of our commitment to the environment and our promise to future generations. Maintaining this treasure to the region must be our shared goal.” 

"Protecting local wilderness areas is just one part of defending our environment. As many members of the Republican Party continue to deny the existence of climate change, our planet comes closer and closer to the brink of ecological disaster. According to the EPA, rising temperatures are already affecting our local snowpack, stream flows, and forest cover, and we can expect worsening conditions if current trends are allowed to continue. The snowpack that our Cascades store every winter is expected to dwindle, threatening our agriculture, wildlife, and drinking water supply. Increased drought brings increasingly severe summer wildfires, and our already struggling salmon populations wouldn’t be able to survive in their remaining habitats. Pest and weed control are forecasted to become huge problems as well, which spells trouble for our local farmers. Climate change has far-reaching global consequences, and the potential damage to be inflicted on our own communities in particular motivates me to take action."

This flies right in the face of the virulent anti-environmental approach Reichert, a Climate Change denier, has taken. Please consider helping Jason replace Dave Reichert and bring another strong progressive voice to the House of Representatives.



Steve Israel's Ignored WA-08, so Jason Richie Will Use Own Strategy to Beat Loathsome Dave Reichert

Blue America’s last endorsement of the 2014 cycle is Jason Ritchie, the candidate running for the seat currently held by conservative Republican Dave Reichert in a swing district that stretches from the suburbs south and east of Seattle all the way out to Wenatchee and Ellensburg.

Obama won the district both times, by almost 15,000 against McCain and by close to 5,000 against Romney. Both of Washington’s Democratic senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, also won WA-08.

It’s one of the likeliest districts for a Democratic take-over in the country, but Steve Israel has taken it off the table and the DCCC is not contesting it or helping Jason in any way. There hasn’t been a single poll other than the one above, Reichert refuses to debate and he’s raised $906,389 to Jason’s $133,323.

We’re asking you to consider chipping in whatever you can to help Jason, a stalwart progressive, with his field operation and Get Out The Vote efforts.

Reichert is a GOP hack and votes like a zombie— backing the Tea Party in their demands to shut down the government, suing President Obama and 54 votes cast for wiping out the Affordable Care Act. Reichert, who wants to eventually run for governor, has a clear record as a cog in the Republican Party obstructionist machine. We feel that once Steve Israel is gone from the DCCC, WA-08 will be a natural battleground for the Democrats and we are impressed that Jason has talked about the need to mount a two-cycle strategy for taking back the district.

“We're running a strong field operation with over 260,000 voter contacts to date,” he told us this week. “Win or lose, I'll be back in 2016 and we're building the infrastructure, identifying the voters, and organizing to win now and in the future. This is a purple district. This is a winnable district— but I need your help in order to make that potential a reality.”

One of the most important planks in his platform has been his advocacy on behalf of students and their families who have become mired in debt while seeking an education. While Germany has just passed legislation to guarantee free university education for all qualified students, in America college is becoming more and more out of reach for the children of the working class.

“40 million U.S. citizens currently owe more than $1.2 trillion in student debt,” says Jason. “7 out of 10 college students graduate with a student loan debt that averages $29,000. These debts often prohibit young people from buying their own homes or investing back into our economy.” He wants to go to Congress to do something about it.

If we are serious about generating an economic stimulus, we can get money back into the hands of millions of Americans by simply allowing them to refinance their student loans. I would support the House version of Elizabeth Warren’s Bank on Student Loan Refinancing Act (Senate Bill 2292), which would have allowed people with student loans taken out prior to 2010 to refinance at 3.86%. This is dramatically lower than the 7.5% that most student loan recipients currently pay.
 
Partisan Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked this legislation from a vote in the Senate. When it does pass, I'll co-sponsor the House version and I'll fight for its passage into law.

People shouldn't have to go bankrupt to afford a college education. Republicans refuse to stand up for the millions of people with student loans paying outrageous interest rates. I'll make fighting for student debt relief a priority.

There will be no more new Blue America candidates this cycle. Let’s give Jason a strong welcome on our ActBlue list.




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