Brian Baird finds his way post-Congress

TACOMA — Brian Baird is enjoying life after Congress.

The former six-term lawmaker, who represented most of Thurston County, has returned to government and politics after a seven-month stint as a stay-at-home dad to twin sons, now 6, The Olympian reported in Tuesday’s edition.

He’s taken a job coordinating lobbying at Vigor Industrial, a Portland-based shipbuilder and government contractor. And he is promoting his book, “Character, Politics and Responsibility: Restarting the Heart of the American Republic.”

The 55-year-old former Pacific Lutheran University professor doesn’t rule out running for office again, but he will be in new territory, both politically and physically: His new home in Edmonds would fall in a district with an incumbent Democrat and not the open 1st District or the newly created 10th, if proposed redistricting maps are approved.

But for now, he’s not up for election and feeling free to espouse his views on issues facing candidates. “The fact is we’re going to have to raise taxes and we’re going to have to cut spending, both discretionary and entitlements” such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Baird said.

Otherwise, he added, “The choice is to pass deficits on to our kids, which is not tenable.”

Family isn’t far from his mind, since his sons, William and Walter, are getting more time with their dad, including trips to the ski slopes and to Yellowstone National Park for bear-watching and river-swimming. Earlier this year, the family left Vancouver and the 3rd Congressional District, which looks to become more Republican under the proposed new district lines, and moved to Snohomish County.

He said they moved closer to his wife’s brother and her job at the University of Washington, not for political reasons. Picking a new home with the goal of returning to Congress would have been “kind of stupid” before knowing where the political lines would be drawn, he said.

“Right now, I have no plans. You know, you never rule anything out 100 percent. That would be kind of foolish too,” Baird said.

He is working from home and from the former Todd Pacific shipyard in Seattle. Vigor is upgrading a Coast Guard icebreaker and wants to make sure the guard doesn’t scrap another of the vessels.

Vigor’s contract to build up to three ferries for Washington is contingent on future state dollars, likely from fees or new taxes.

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