During a lengthy telephone interview last week, Suzan DelBene kept circling back to jobs and the economy as the centerpiece of her message as she seeks the open 1st District seat in the U.S. Congress.
DelBene was in Whatcom County over the weekend to court 1st District voters here.
Asked how she plans to differentiate herself from other candidates in the Democratic field, DelBene contended she has more private-sector experience.
“We really want someone in office who knows how policy can affect the real world,” DelBene said.
Asked for her views on SSA Marine’s real-world proposal to build a coal export terminal at Cherry Point, DelBene noted that the site has jobs potential as an undeveloped deep water port. But she said she’s still talking to people about the issue and has not yet formulated a position.
On a broader note, DelBene called for investment in infrastructure and education to improve the economy and the job prospects of citizens.
She is also a believer in keeping education affordable so that less fortunate students can overcome economic hardships to improve their lot in life. She said her own father lost his job as an airline pilot when she was in fourth grade.
“My parents never got back on their feet,” she said.
DelBene relied on loans and grants to pay for her college education, but she said state and federal spending cuts are making it harder for today’s students to do that.
She also favors taking a critical look at tax breaks for industry. She said those breaks are justified if they can be shown to create a return for society, in the form of jobs and economic growth that help to generate public revenue for education and other public needs.
DelBene, Ruderman and Burner are probably better-known figures in King and Snohomish counties. Ruderman served in the state legislature, while Burner and DelBene ran tough but unsuccessful races against Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert before redistricting.
I have scheduled an interview with a fourth candidate, Darshan Rauniyar, later this week. I’m still looking forward to hearing from a fifth Congressional candidate, State Sen. Steve Hobbs, who is no doubt busy with state issues as I write this.