Election View: DelBene seeks reelection to continue backing families, economy

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 2, 2014 

When I first ran for Congress I knew, like many, that Washington, D.C. was broken.

To achieve results, we needed something different from our elected leaders. We needed representatives who were going to set aside partisanship, cut back on the rhetoric and instead, focus on working together.

Here in our Washington, we have great examples of this.

When the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River collapsed, everyone helped to quickly secure emergency funds to repair and re-open it. When the devastating landslide occurred in Snohomish County, everyone in the state - regardless of political party - went to work to do everything possible to ensure resources were available to help families and the community.

As I travel around the district, I hear every day from voters who want Congress to stop bickering and start working together on policies that create jobs and help working families. In a dysfunctional and hyper-partisan Congress, I've worked across party lines to get things done.

I'm proud to have secured $200 million to expand job-training and education programs for food stamp recipients to learn skills and become self-sufficient.

When student loan interest rates doubled last year, I fought for a bipartisan deal to roll them back.

As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I helped put key provisions into the Farm Bill to help our local farmers such as securing funding for specialty crops and organic farming which support Whatcom County's fruit and vegetable farmers. In the end, the Farm Bill passed with bipartisan support. And it reduces the deficit.

We were able to get these things done by focusing on results, not partisan point scoring.

This is the approach I will continue to take, fighting for policies that will help working families and grow our economy.

I support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and extending unemployment insurance to help those looking for work. We must restore investments in schools and job-creating research. Infrastructure is crucial for our economy. Our roads and bridges are in disrepair. I will fight for a long-term transportation bill that will get our economy moving. You can count on me to always fight to protect Social Security and Medicare.

Working together doesn't mean setting aside your values. In fact, it's important that we have representatives who are willing to stand up for our shared values like equality, personal choice and opportunity for all. I believe a woman's health decisions should be made between her and her doctor, not by politicians.

To protect our digital privacy, I've been a leader on the Judiciary Committee, working to rein in the NSA and end the bulk collection of our private communications data.

We have to fix our broken immigration system. I'm a lead sponsor in the House for comprehensive reform legislation that will create American jobs, strengthen our borders, cut the deficit and provide an earned path to citizenship.

Finally, working together doesn't mean forgetting where you came from.

When I was young my father lost his job and my parents never got back on track financially. We moved all over the country as they looked for work. After college, when I first got a job, my parents had to move in with me for a time because they had no place else to go.

But I had tremendous opportunities as well. My parents had access to unemployment benefits between jobs to help us get by. Because of student loans and financial aid, I was able to get a great education. Thanks to that education, and combined with hard work, I was able to build a career as a businesswoman and entrepreneur.

I'm running for reelection to stand up for working families and make sure that everyone has the same chance that I had. We need to open the door of opportunity for people to work their way into economic success.

Since being sworn in 18 months ago, I'm proud of how much we've accomplished by working together. But there's much more we need to do.

I am asking for your support to continue this fight, to move forward on policies that will build the foundation for long-term economic growth, create jobs and expand opportunity for all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This is one of a series of commentaries from candidates in the Aug. 5 primary election. Suzan DelBene, D., is the incumbent for U.S. Representative for the 1st Congressional District. The top two vote getters in the primary will be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. The 1st District includes nearly all of Whatcom County outside Bellingham, plus portions of King, Snohomish and Skagit counties.

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