Washington state’s 1st Congressional District encompasses eastern regions of Whatcom, Skagit and King counties and the eastern Snohomish County communities of Darrington, Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Snohomish, Monroe, Sultan, Gold Bar and Index.
U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, Democrat, has represented the district since winning election to the seat in 2012 and now seeks her fourth term. DelBene, a Medina resident, previously served as director of the state’s Department of Revenue and was at Microsoft for 12 years, including time as a vice-president for global sales, marketing and mobile technology.
She is challenged by Sultan Republican Jeffrey Beeler, a Snohomish County resident since he was a teenager in Mukilteo. A small-business owner, Beeler has served on the Sultan City Council since 2009 and represented the county’s cities on a regional transportation policy board in 2014-15.
Beeler espouses traditional Republican values, such as fiscal responsibility and support for the Trump administration’s economic policies; protection and promotion of jobs; greater border security and immigration reforms such as E-Verify.
But Beeler does make a distinction regarding how his party handled the vote over repeal of the Affordable Care Act earlier this year. Beeler said he would not have voted for the repeal because Republicans had long promised that any repeal would include a replacement for Obamacare, yet offered no such solution.
Beeler correctly diagnoses the nagging problem of partisanship as being responsible for a lack of meaningful action and reforms on a number of issues, including health care, immigration and spending, and he expresses a demeanor that balances his convictions with a willingness to compromise.
Yet Delbene, during her tenure in Congress, has shown herself to be practiced in that same balance and has only deepened her skills at promoting policy that is in her constituents’ interests and in pursuing legislation that advances those interests. And she has the respect of her peers who have assigned her to the critical committees on the budget and ways and means.
During her most recent term, DelBene has been an outspoken advocate for the Affordable Care Act, tax fairness, net neutrality’s open internet, email privacy, the environment, job training and development and Dreamers, those who were brought across the border as children.
Among those, DelBene was critical of the Republican’s package of tax cuts that largely benefited corporations and the wealthy. Still, when House Speaker Paul Ryan came to Everett to promote the GOP plan during a tour of Boeing in August 2017, DelBene reached out to Ryan and other Republicans and urged a collaborative process that could have put families first.
Later that fall, when Republicans allowed less than four days of opportunity for comment on the tax plan, DelBene pursued the issue, making her point about the package’s basic unfairness by asking why corporations were being allowed to deduct the cost of office supplies for their employees while the same deduction was not afforded to teachers who did the same for their students.
While she remains a strong supporter of the ACA, DelBene has also been open to reform of the current legislation to keep it viable and an affordable option, introducing legislation that would have expanded the tax credit for small business that would have allowed more to offer health insurance to employees.
DelBene is an active lawmaker, introducing 23 bills during the term, many that drew bipartisan support. During this term, she has missed only two votes.
Like her approach in legislating, Delbene backs the same measured responded should the voters give Democrats control of the House in the election. She hasn’t blindly called for President Trump’s impeachment, though she supports the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. But DelBene does want to see a Democratic majority properly employ Congress’ oversight responsibility regarding the administration, which has been lacking in a Congress where Republicans have been in control of both chambers.
DelBene, during her six years in the House, has only served in the minority. Given the chance to be part of a Democratic majority and a voice for good governance and fair debate of issues, we expect DelBene to show herself as a leader in Congress.
The Herald Editorial Board endorses Suzan DelBene.