Editor’s Note: The Independent has reached out to Congresswoman Herrera-Beutler and Jim Moeller for a face-to-face interview. We are still waiting for a time to sit down with the Congresswoman and the candidate, and will publish our interviews once we have conducted them.
Democrat David McDevitt filed to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District on May 16.
McDevitt will compete in the Washington primary on Aug. 8 against Democrat State Rep. Jim Moeller from the 49th Legislative District, as well as the incumbent Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. Herrera has held the position since 2011 and will be running for her fourth term in Congress.
The top two candidates will appear on the general election ballot in November, which will decide the seat.
McDevitt, a licensed attorney, is running for his first elected office. He sat down with us to answer some questions of potential interest to Clark students.
Q: What do you think about free community college?
A: The cost of community college was not imposed on students as much when I was in college. It was a reasonable amount. But back then, big businesses were paying higher portions of federal and state taxes that were used as an investment into the future of our society by making it possible for young people to get an education. I think it’s important to go back to that.
Students that are taking big loans today should be able to refinance them. I wouldn’t support free college, but I am in favor of making the cost of college significantly more reasonable.
Our economic system relies on people to buy goods and services. If a student today is so busy paying off loans so far into the future that they can’t afford a car or house or to participate in society, then we are creating a bigger problem in the overall scheme of things.
Q: So you think we should raise minimum wage?
A: Yes, absolutely. I am committed to the “Fight for $15.” I believe everyone should sign the Washington Initiative for $13.50 per hour. The downside to that is that we’re going to have to come back and fight again, unless the federal government enacts its own minimum wage legislation, in which case I will fight for that.
Q: What do you think needs to be done about Vancouver’s housing crisis?
A: Some of it is federal and some of it is state. It’s a divided responsibility. It’s a broader problem than just the housing crisis in Vancouver.
We have a lack of affordable housing, and the problem also involves income. The Washington minimum wage is $9.47. We need to raise the minimum wage, and we need to enhance and improve social security.
Washington and Oregon don’t allow for rent control. I am pro-business, but that doesn’t mean that landlords should be able to raise rents to significant prices, forcing people out of their homes. When it’s so large of an increase that it will shock the conscience of a person on the street, then there is something wrong.
Washington needs to have laws that allow counties to regulate rent. There should be some exceptions that allow for variations, but there are benchmark cities that do this already. The landlord needs to be able to still profit long-term, but not completely overpower their tenants.
Q: What legislation do you support for women’s rights?
A: I believe that women need to be able to choose to get an abortion. It is a woman’s reproductive right that was decided in Roe v. Wade, and as an attorney I stand up for that. It doesn’t make it any more or less distasteful. It’s a sad thing when a pregnancy is terminated, but I support a woman’s right to choose.
We need to fight for equal pay for equal work. It’s extremely long overdue. With regards to women’s health care, I would not vote to get rid of Planned Parenthood.
Q: What environmental issues are most important to you? What legislation do you support to protect the environment?
A: I oppose all fossil fuels along the Columbia River. My biggest concerns have to do with the health and welfare of the people, the river and the environment.
I have been endorsed by the Green Party of Southwest Washington and have been added to the list of political candidates on Greenpeace, pledging to not accept money from anyone in the fossil fuel industry. With respect to the river, the fish population has declined, and if we keep polluting the river we’re going to have a bigger challenge producing the fish which we rely on to eat.
Q: What legislation will you push to assist veterans?
A: I am a veteran myself. I served from the mid-1970’s until 1981, and I had a fairly good service. It was great because I was part of the buffer zone in Germany during the Cold War.
The “Veteran’s Choice” allows for veterans to circumvent the Department of Veterans Affairs and use private doctors. Congress decided not to invest $21 billion into funding the building of new VA facilities. Using outside services for blood labs and other services cost a lot more. I will be fighting to make sure that veterans are served well, and also that our doctors’ training grounds are managed well.
New physicians sometimes go into training to be doctors at the VA, so if we keep going to private funding, we’re losing one of the places that doctors get trained. Ultimately, in the future it will affect everybody.
Q: What is your opinion on gender-neutral bathrooms?
A: It’s the biggest non-issue that I can think of. For the people who are saying they are afraid of abuses, there are studies that show who the real abusers are, and they are not transgender.
Q: Do you think the federal government should legalize marijuana?
A: Yes, I believe it should be legal across the U.S.
Q: What is the main issue on your platform?
A: Economics. We have talked about the problems with minimum wage, housing and the burdens on veterans and students, which says that our biggest problems are economic.
We are creating economic slavery. When you are working multiple jobs and still making so little that you are fighting to survive, you are in economic slavery. I believe every minimum wage job should be a living wage. Everybody deserves an equal chance, and if you’re working, you deserve a living wage.