Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Who Is Jason Ritchie And Why Is He Running Against Dave Reichert In WA-08?


If you've been following Jason Ritchie's twitter feed, you're following the most active struggle against Fast Track in the state of Washington, Fast Track that sacrifices $700 million in Medicare to grease the skids and Fast Track that is being pushed by Republican incumbent Dave Reichert. Obama won WA-08 both times, by almost 15,000 against McCain and by close to 5,000 against Romney. Both of Washington’s Democratic senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, also won WA-08. The district's voters gave majorities to marijuana legalization, to marriage equality, and to a proposition requiring gun registration-- each of which Reichert aggressively opposes.

Reichert tries to paint himself with the smiley face of a moderate while voting in lockstep on the important issues with the Republican extremists in Congress. He opposes increasing the minimum wage, for example, another issue on which he and Jason fundamentally disagree. "Critics of raising the national minimum wage," wrote Jason, "claim that it would harm small businesses and in fact slow job growth. The reality is that the opposite is true. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10-- in addition to allowing for cost-of-living adjustments-- would help create the jobs that America needs, that Washington needs, and most importantly, that the 8th District needs. The economy is not going to recover on its own. However, by raising the minimum wage we can encourage reinvestment in small businesses and local spending. By raising the minimum wage, we can ensure that people will be able to feel comfortable with the job that they have. I have seen the effects that a subpar wage can do to those who are unable to 'pull themselves up by their bootstraps.' We need to support our lowest-paid citizens and our small businesses by raising the federal minimum wage. We can create this kind of change if we elect the right kind of people-- those that represent the interests of the constituents." Jason:
Creating, sustaining and cultivating an economy that generates stable middle class jobs in the district, with benefits and a living wage that can support a family, should be the goal of our government: federal, state and local. Creating middle class jobs in the district is not a one-sided proposition; it cannot be done well by government or business acting alone. We need partnerships between government and business that maximize resources and share risks.

Middle class jobs are those that require skilled trades and long-term commitments. We need a trained workforce and continuing education for that workforce. We must stand up against efforts to send middle class jobs overseas and any effort to grind down wages to unlivable standards. Our community needs service providers, master plumbers and electricians, teachers and artisans working in manufacturing, all working and living in our community. We need small businesses to take risks, expending capital, inspiring ingenuity and invention. We need federally backed loans, deregulation and tax-friendly environments. We need to cultivate an economy that will support our local businesses, where local dollars are spent in local stores on locally made goods and services.

As your Congressman, I will fight for middle class jobs. I will work to create a climate where businesses and government are working together to create the kind of jobs that can support a family, grow our community and endure.
Reichert opposes equal pay for equal work for women, opposes equality under the law for the LGBT community and is no friend of this country's social safety net, Medicare and Social Security. Jason's positions contrast directly with Reichert's pathetic voting record.
Social Security is one of the most successful government programs and has proven integral to our society. Today, Social Security keeps more than a third of our senior citizens out of poverty. Nearly 65 million Americans depend on this great program, and we must work together not only to keep their benefits intact, but also for the prosperity of our children and future generations.

However, Social Security is not sustainable under current policies. Social Security is rapidly withdrawing from its trust fund, and, at current rates, will run out in 2035. As such, we need legislators who are willing to stand up and propose common sense solutions. Social Security is a problem we can solve; we just need leaders who will act. Dave Reichert has shown he is not one of those leaders. During his 10 years in Congress, Dave Reichert has not only failed to bring about legislation to remedy the upcoming Social Security deficit, but hasn’t even taken a stance on the issue. We must remove these “do nothing” politicians from Congress, who place partisan politics over the well being of all Americans.

As your Congressman, I will sponsor balanced legislation that will allow Social Security to help citizens for generations to come. One key provision will be to raise the maximum taxable earnings level, as wages over $117,000 are not currently subject to Social Security contributions. This means America’s richest are paying a lower percentage than the rest of the country. Allowing up to the 90th percentile of wages to be covered by the Social Security tax, which was part of bi-partisan legislation passed under Ronald Reagan, would fix over 36% of the projected Social Security gap. Fair and proven solutions such as this would play a major role in maintaining Social Security benefits for all Americans.
Jason was one of the first candidates Blue America endorsed for the 2016 cycle. This is the year the Democrats can win in WA-08, and Jason is the candidate who can do it. If you'd like to help him replace Reichert, please consider contributing to his campaign here.

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