Tag: Darcy Burner
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.
The race for the open Congressional seat in the 1st District, which includes most of Whatcom County outside Bellingham, is heating up fast.
Earlier this week, Democrat Darcy Burner released poll results showing her with a commanding lead among voters in her party.
On Tuesday, Jan. 31, rival Democrat Suzan DelBene issued a press release saying she has raised more than $122,000 in campaign contributions since she announced her candidacy Jan. 12. The press release suggests that this compares favorably with the slightly larger $127,875 sum that Burner has raised in the two months she has been campaigning.
At this point, I am aware of only two visits to Whatcom County by 1st District Democratic hopefuls: Burner and Laura Ruderman, who is also a former Microsoft executive.
If anyone else slipped across the county line without checking in with the Bellingham Herald politics blog, let me know.
The Darcy Burner campaign has issued polling data that shows the Carnation Democrat with a big lead over her Democratic rivals in the newly-redrawn 1st Congressional District that includes most of Whatcom County outside Bellingham.
A survey conducted by Lake Research Partners shows Burner with 45 percent of the Democratic vote in the district.
Laura Ruderman is second, with 15 percent.
Burner, who ran close races in the old 8th District in 2006 and 2008 before the political maps got redrawn based on 2010 census data. That gave her a name-recognition edge over other candidates in the race. Can any of those candidates overcome that edge with an advertising blitz in the next few months? We will see.
Darcy Burner has run two unsuccessful races for Congress, but her stances on health care, peace and open government have won her rave reviews from progressives. Now she’s running for the open 1st District Congressional seat that includes most of Whatcom County outside Bellingham.
The influential Daily Kos blog provided a flattering view of Burner in November 2011, when it appeared that the First District would be a safe seat for Democrats. But when the actual map-making was done, the 1st came out looking more like a tossup, with Republican-leaning areas of Whatcom County added to the mix.
But Burner isn’t deterred.
She’ll be visiting Whatcom County voters this weekend. Among other things, she said she’ll talk about agricultural issues. She thinks farmers who find ways to add value to their products should get federal encouragement. (Example: turning local milk into artisan cheese.) She also wants to support manure-to-methane power generation, which already has a small foothold here.
She’ll likely be asked about the Gateway Pacific Terminal project, proposed for the deep-water port site at Cherry Point. As of now, the primary cargo would likely be coal, and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, who represents all of Whatcom County under the old district map, endorsed that plan as a jobs creator almost as soon as it was announced.
Burner is taking a more cautious approach. She says she has talked with advocates on both sides of the issue. She said the prospect of generating more jobs from an underused deep-water port site is “intriguing,” but she isn’t willing to accept environmental degradation in return.
She would also prefer an export terminal that handles multiple cargoes.
“It would be great if we were transporting grain from eastern Washington,” Burner said. “I don’t know how real that is.”
Burner is convincingly passionate and animated when she discusses the need for more openness in Congress.
As legislation moves through the review process, every change in that legislation should be tracked, Burner said. As things stand now, key wording can be altered in a bill at the last minute, and there is no guarantee that those responsible can be identified or held responsible.
She also wants committee hearings to be live-streamed and available for public review, so that interested citizens can watch lobbyists slipping suggested questions to committee members during hearings. Burner says the hardware to record every hearing is already in place, but committee chairs are not required to use it.
“The process needs to be opened up,” Burner said. “We need a Congress that can’t be bought and sold … A tremendous amount of what’s wrong with our government can be fixed with more transparency and accountability.”
Burner already knows a great deal about the workings of Congress through her job as executive director of ProgressiveCongress.org. She left that post in November 2011 to start her Congressional campaign.
“Virtually everyone I’m talking to on both sides of the political spectrum believes that Congress is broken,” Burner said. “The rules are rigged against the American people.”