By Chris Winters Herald Writer
EVERETT — Seven-term Congressman Rick Larsen, running for an eighth term to represent the 2nd Congressional District, has two challengers in Tuesday’s primary election.
One is a familiar face, Mike Lapointe, who challenged Larsen unsuccessfully in the 2012 primary election, is running as an independent.
The other, B.J. Guillot, is a product manager at a software company who serves on the Marysville Library Board. Guillot (pronounced “Ghee-OH”) is running as a Republican.
The 2nd Congressional District encompasses all of Island and San Juan counties, plus western Skagit, Whatcom and Snohomish counties, including the cities of Everett, Marysville, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Arlington, Stanwood, Tulalip and surrounding parts.
The two top vote-getters, no matter which party, will advance to the general election Nov. 4.
Larsen, a Democrat, is being flanked both on the left by Lapointe and by Guillot on the right.
Larsen said that he wants to use an eighth term to push for a long-term transportation bill, enact comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, and overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which eliminated many restrictions on corporate financing of elections. A transportation bill would replace the current law, which expires at the end of September.
“There are too many private sector construction jobs at stake to just leave it undone,” Larsen said.
Job creation is also why he pledges to keep working with Gov. Jay Inslee to expand the state’s aerospace sector, and supports building a new coal terminal at Cherry Point.
A recent report from the Puget Sound Regional Council outlined that most of the jobs created from the terminal would be in Whatcom County while most of the negative effects in the form of increased congestion would be felt in Snohomish County. The 2nd District covers both areas.
“The PSRC report provides a wake-up call for infrastructure investment that we have needed for some time in Snohomish County,” Larsen said.
The coal terminal has been controversial, and Guillot opposes it for its impacts on traffic.
“Traffic’s already bad enough. We need to fix transportation in general before we can even think about that,” Guillot said.
Guillot added that building more and bigger pipelines would also remove the need for more oil trains.
Lapointe also points to the coal terminal as an example of a project that would be even harder to stop under proposed international trade agreements such as the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he said could give corporations too much power over local authorities.
“Let’s say we succeed in that effort and stop the shipping of coal through our state. Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a corporate tribunal could fine us,” Lapointe said.
Lapointe also wants to reduce the growing disparity between the wealthy and everyone else by raising the national minimum wage to $15 and ensuring corporations pay their fair share in taxes.
He also said he would only accept $65,000 of a U.S. representative’s salary (which is $174,000 for 2014) and put the remainder toward supporting more local participation not dependent on corporate financing in the democratic process.
“We shouldn’t be having to depend on activists to keep our democracy alive. We should elect people who represent the people,” Lapointe said.
Guillot’s priority issues include stopping the National Security Agency from spying on people, overturning the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare), and securing the borders and enforcing immigration laws.
“We just need to make sure we don’t vote on anything that would give amnesty to anybody,” Guillot said.
Guillot also said there were elements of Obamacare that he liked, such as the prohibition against insurers denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26. Those elements should be put into separate legislation to replace Obamacare, he said.
On more local issues, Guillot also wants to make sure Naval Air Station Whidbey Island remains open and able to conduct test flights of its EA-18G Growler craft, which have drawn noise complaints from local residents.
“Any attempt to try to close that base or stop those planes would be a devastating impact to the community,” Guillot said, adding that he’d hold the Navy to its promises on scheduling and notice of the flights.
If the breadth of ideas the three candidates espouse are all over the political map, in the race for campaign funding there is no contest.
As of July 16, Larsen has $386,486 in cash on hand, and has raised more than $770,000 since the beginning of the election cycle last year. Political action committees or other groups provided $550,000 of Larsen’s contributions, while most of the rest came in the form of contributions from individuals.
Neither of his challengers has raised or reported any contributions. The Federal Election Commission requires regular reporting of contributions once a candidate raises $5,000 in an election cycle.
Larsen likewise has lined up endorsements of most Democratic politicians and groups throughout the district, with the exception of the San Juan County Democrats, which threw its unanimous support behind Lapointe primarily over Larsen’s support of the coal terminal at Cherry Point, said David Dehlendorf, chairman of the group.
Guillot said he was waiting until after the primary before seeking endorsements.
2nd Congressional District
Experience: Seven terms as U.S. Representative for the 2nd District; member of the House Transportation &Infrastructure Committee and House Armed Services Committee
Experience: Product manager for a software company; serves on Marysville Library Board
Experience: Owns Firewheel Community Coffeehouse in Everett. Has been politically active with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and in support of Initiative 1329, which supported a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.