Know Your Candidates: (D) Carolyn Long, running for Congress in Washington's 3rd district

Carolyn Long, candidate for Washington's 3rd congressional district, visits the KATU News studios on Sept. 13 - Photo from Carolyn Long

Carolyn Long, Democratic Party candidate for Washington’s 3rd congressional district, sat down with KATU's Deb Knapp to talk one-on-one about some of the big issues facing the state.

You can learn more about Long on her campaign’s website.

We're asking candidates to complete a questionnaire with the same questions as the on-camera interview, plus some additional questions about themselves and their positions. Here are Ms Long's answers:

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING?

As an educator at Washington State University, I’ve been studying political polarization and the growing incivility in our civic discourse for years and I’ve just been noticing how charged politics has become. People are not getting along and aren’t being able to reach across the aisle to solve policy problems. Of course, it became worse in the 2016 election and seems to be getting worse since then. Both of those reasons sort of motivated me to look at what we can do from within Congress, and what we can do is elect the right people -- people who are interested in reaching across the aisle.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN YOUR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT VOTE FOR YOU?

Because I think they should look at how I am going to govern which is reflective of how I have campaigned. I have been out in the district for the last 9 months holding 36 town halls in front of over 3,000 people. So I am out there present, accountable, and committed to serving the people of Southwest Washington and I'm going to govern that way. I'm going to be fighting for the people of the district.

WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE JOB?

Well, I think I bring a nice set of qualifications. I taught for 23 years at WSU Vancouver focusing on Political science. I know the institutions of government, I study public policy, and my recent academic work has been focused on bringing people together.

I started something called the Initiative for Public Deliberation, where I train my students to facilitate policy conversations to find common ground. I have actually been living this at the local level for years and I will bring that approach to the national level.

WHAT'S THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE FACING YOUR DISTRICT RIGHT NOW, AND HOW WOULD YOU SOLVE IT?

The number one issue facing everybody but also in the 3rd district is healthcare. The rising cost of healthcare, inadequate access to health care, and the incredibly rising cost of prescription drugs are all healthcare challenges we must address in the next Congress. For prescription drugs, I think we can immediately solve that problem by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which is currently prohibited by law. We have to change that.

For healthcare, it takes a little bit longer, but immediately we can fix the Affordable Care Act which will help stabilize the individual market. We should increase subsidies to people who need them, so that will stop the bleeding because the law has been undermined by the Trump administration and the Republicans in Congress for the last 8 years. Beyond that, we can move towards offering a public option where individuals and organizations can buy into health care and that will help bring cost down.

I want to emulate Patty Murray’s approach to solving healthcare challenges in the House. She’s sponsoring several bipartisan pieces of legislation to fix the ACA, I would like to bring that to the House of Representatives.

PLANS FOR A NEW I-5 BRIDGE BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND OREGON FELL APART IN 2013. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN THE TWO STATES?

First thing we need is leadership in southwest Washington, we didn’t have it last time. In fact, in Southwest Washington it was stopped by just a handful of people after years of work. So I am going to bring an approach where I can bring the Washington delegation along in order to get federal funding but also reach across the river to “bridge the gap” as you said, to make sure we have Oregon legislators in Congress on board and then work with our legislative delegation to secure funding to help get that bridge.

YOUR THOUGHTS ON A PROPOSED PLAN TO TOLL WASHINGTON DRIVERS AS THEY ENTER OREGON.

It's first important to look at the Congestion Value Pricing which is the tolling on the highways as separate from the tolling on the bridges. So those are separate issues, it is important not to confuse the voters. I am very much opposed to the tolls on the I-5 and the 205, for purposes of Oregon infrastructure. It doesn’t help. It also targets Washingtonians. It has complicated relations between the two states and that's problematic. So I think that is an issue. In terms of the I-5 bridge I think we have to come from a place of let's see what we have to do in order to get this major infrastructure project done to help people cross the bridge and help commerce cross the bridge.

WE WANT TO GET YOUR POSITIONS ON SOME MEASURES ON THE 2018 BALLOT:

-INITIATIVE 1639 - IMPLEMENTS RESTRICTIONS ON BUYING AND OWNING GUNS..AND RAISES THE AGE FROM 18 TO 21 OF WHEN A PERSON CAN BUY A SEMI-AUTOMATIC WEAPON.

I think that Washington State has been a leader in terms of gun safety measures. We’ve had 2 measures in the past about Extreme Risk Protection Orders and also people being adjudicated mentally ill being restricted from purchasing firearms that should pass with wide bipartisan support. I do think gun safety measures which don’t take away guns from people is really the route to go.

-INITIATIVE 1631 - CHARGES A DIRECT FEE ON CARBON POLLUTION TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE.

Right, A big issue and one that actually split the union members I hope to represent in terms of how it disproportionally affect jobs in southwest Washington. We have a team working on that right now to find out whether or not it is something that will help Southwest Washington in particular. I want to be confident in terms of how it will affect the labor market and so what we are trying to do is get an answer to that before we take a formal position.

DO YOU THINK MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ARE LIVING UP TO THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES RIGHT NOW?

No, I don’t. I think that we have had the most ineffective Congress in decades. Republicans are not engaging with Democrats on the issues. The only major legislative accomplishment this term was the tax bill which was passed by a party-line vote which didn’t include Democratic input and I think that's a travesty. They are not doing their jobs and leadership has actually created a situation where they are stalling progress which could be bipartisan and lead to results. You can see this clearly on immigration issues, the DREAM Act and the crisis on the border with the political refugees. So no, I give them a failing grade.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE IN CONGRESS?

I think that the demonization of each other is at an all-time high. Certainly, the research illustrates that party-line votes are at an all-time high. So it really is a broken institution, and it's not just about you winning -- it's about having the other side lose. It is name calling and it is really unfortunate because you're not seeing the collaboration we need on the national level. Sometimes we can collaborate on local issues which are important, but on the issues which hit Americans every single day, healthcare, prescription drugs, education, and infrastructure, we're not having those bipartisan conversations that we need to have.

WHO DO YOU ADMIRE THE MOST IN POLITICS?

I really admire Patty Murray. As I mentioned, healthcare is very much an issue that's on my mind, and I applaud her for taking a leadership role in not only representing her party but reaching across the aisle to Susan Collins and Lamar Alexander to find a fix for the ACA. Historically in Washington, you’ve got Republican Dan Evans and Democrat Scoop Jackson. They’re all leaders who really provided a perspective of how to be a leader who will reach across the aisle and not just do things that have them beholden to their own political party.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN WASHINGTON?

My favorite place would be anywhere on the Columbia Gorge. There's great hiking trails and my family and I -- my husband Kevin and my 13 year old daughter Tennyson -- fish on the Columbia River. That's always a joy because its a relaxing time and it’s one of the most beautiful places in the country.

IN THE APPLE CUP, WHICH FOOTBALL TEAM DO YOU ROOT FOR?

It’s gotta be WSU. You know I am a football fan. I have to say that when WSU and UW are not playing each other, I will support the Huskies.


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