During the recent election campaign, candidates were subjected to all kinds of attacks, some on their record in public office, and some just plain nasty. I particularly object to the numerous ads run by the United States Chamber of Commerce (based in Washington, D.C.) against Rick Larsen, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 2nd District. Fortunately, he won anyway.
Rick has served as Snohomish County Council member representing District 1, the northern area, for the last three years, a full-time elective position. Previous to that he worked for the state dental association as a legislative rep. The ads started out calling him a “lobbyist” as though this were somehow a felony, and carried on about how Rick never met a tax he didn’t like. Evidently the polls must have shown that the voters were not scared off by this approach, so the Chamber’s ads became more desperate and started warning voters against a “pickpocket” (definition: sneak thief) they identified as Rick Larsen.
Now, I don’t know if any of you have ever been called a thief on radio and television day after day, but it must be a very unpleasant experience. I was horrified that a very decent man and his family were being subjected to this kind of slander. We all hear complaints about the quality of our elected officials, and it is no wonder that many fine people choose not to run for election even if they have a genuine desire to serve their community. Unfortunately, in the years to come, many people will remember these vile attacks, and unable to know how false they are, will be left with the impression that our leaders are dishonest.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents businesses, mostly very large corporations, but their activities reflect on all business people and the local chambers in every community. I think these business people should contact the U.S. Chamber and let them know that their ugly ads are resented and counter-productive. Tell them that we don’t like gutter politics here in the Northwest.
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