Elections

Q&A with 1st District candidates: Ruderman and Rauniyar

Laura Ruderman 
City of residence: Kirkland
Occupation: Fundraising consultant
Education: B.A., Wesleyan University
Website: www.lauraruderman.org.

NKH: If elected, you will serve as Kitsap County’s representative in Congress until Jan. What can you accomplish for Kitsap County in one month?

Ruderman: We are going to be fighting some real battles during the last month of this year, and I want to go to Washington, D.C. to be a progressive voice for the 1st Congressional District, just as Congressman Inslee has for so many years.

There will be a lot on the table for Washington’s families during that short period of time including protecting Social Security benefits. I also want to be a champion for middle-class families, like mine. This includes restoring tax fairness. It’s time for the wealthiest 1 percent to pay their fair share by repealing the Bush tax cuts for the super-wealthy and passing the Buffett Rule once and for all. At this time of partisan gridlock, no one will out-work me to make change happen.

NKH: How will you use your month in Congress?

Ruderman: I will use the month in Congress as a platform to advocate for the progressive issues we all care about. The fight for health care reform, for jobs, to support our veterans, for a woman’s right to choose, to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and for a tax system that ensures the wealthiest 1 percent pay their fair share. It is important that a replacement is elected who shares Congressman Inslee’s progressive values and has the experience to be an effective voice for the families of the 1st Congressional District.

NKH: What do you understand to be the key issues of concern in Kitsap County?

Ruderman: We must continue to make investments to revitalize the local economy and get Washingtonians working again. To compete globally, we need to rebuild this country and we can start right here in Kitsap County. We can start with our roads, bridges and schools. Furthermore, we need an economic policy that reflects the important role of small businesses to our nation’s economic health. Small businesses employ over half of America’s workers and create nearly two-thirds of all new jobs, the majority of which are permanent.

In Congress, we need to improve access to capital; extend long-term small business research and development tax credits; and institute fairer and simpler tax codes. Furthermore, it is time for a tax system that ensures the wealthiest 1 percent pay their fair share. We must pass the Buffett Rule and end the irresponsible Bush tax cuts for the super wealthy.

And we must expand access to health care. This issue is personal to me. My mother, my father, my sister and my two sisters-in-law have all battled cancer over the last few years. Residents in Kitsap County shouldn’t ever be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition again. Defending President Obama’s health care law will be a top priority in Congress.

Lastly, Kitsap County is home to a very large and vital military community. I will work to secure funding for Naval Base Kitsap, and will always fight for our returning war heroes. We must continue to fund rehabilitation and research for our veterans dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and programs for alcoholism, substance abuse and suicide.

NKH: Why are you running for the 1st Congressional District short term?

Ruderman: As a small businesswoman raising a family in a suburban neighborhood with kids in public school, my priorities are investing in education, health care, and job creation. I have experience serving in a legislative body, which means that I will hit the ground running if I am elected to serve in the short-term. A good portion of the 45th Legislative District, which I represented for six years in the state House, makes up much of the old 1st Congressional District. I have served many of these constituents before and they know me. Furthermore, I currently live within the boundaries of the old and new districts, giving me the advantage of really understanding the unique challenges in the region.

NKH: On Nov. 6. Kitsap County residents will also elect a representative from the 6th District, in which they will reside effective Jan. 3. How is the 1st Congressional District short term important to Kitsap County residents?

Ruderman: It is important to Kitsap County residents that they are adequately represented in Congress in December when important issues will be considered like critical tax extensions, protecting Social Security from cuts, and other last minute budgetary items that occur before the end of the year.  It was during this time, for example, that Congress voted to extend the Bush tax cuts in 2010. I will stand up against last-minute deal making like this that doesn’t line up with our priorities.

NKH: If elected to the one-month term, how will you use the experience after Jan. 3?    Ruderman: My career has been dedicated to public service. Over 20 years ago, I got my first start in politics lobbying Congress on issues of hunger and poverty for RESULTS. At the age of 27, I was elected to the Washington State House where I served the 45th Legislative District for six years. When I left, I helped raise money for Seattle Mental Health and 21 Acres. I know that this experience to serve in Congress will further expand my desire to live a life dedicated to service as I seek out my next move.

I am also running to represent the new 1st Congressional District. Should I be elected to that position, serving in the short-term will grant me seniority so that I am better positioned to take on leadership positions.

Darshan Rauniyar 
City of residence: Bothell
Occupation: Technology entrepreneur
Education: BS in Electrical Engineering, MBA
Website: www.darshanforcongress.com.

NKH: If elected, you will serve as Kitsap County’s representative in Congress until Jan. 3. What can you accomplish for Kitsap County in one month?

Rauniyar: It is likely that the budget will be addressed in the one-month term. The debt ceiling increase adopted last year included poison pills for the American people, yet efforts to negotiate better alternatives have failed.

Important issues for Kitsap County will include implementing defense cuts included in last year’s debt ceiling agreement and extending tax cuts for the middle class. It may be possible to attach riders to bills which would improve various aspects of the quality of life in Kitsap County. The Dream Act is another major piece of legislation which may come up in the lame duck session that I will work hard to pass.

NKH: How will you use your month in Congress?

Rauniyar: I will introduce legislation to implement fair trade policies, a balanced budget, and improve education. I recognize these are unlikely to be considered before the end of the session, but I will propose bold new ideas for my colleagues to start thinking about and I will reintroduce them in January.

I hope to vote to extend tax cuts for the middle class, for the Dream Act, and to start the process of overturning Citizens United so that future elections cannot be bought and sold. I will also ask likeminded colleagues to start a new congressional caucus of non-politicians and first-time office holders to be the paradigm shift and new direction that is needed is Congress.

NKH: What do you understand to be the key issues of concern in Kitsap County?

Rauniyar: Jobs, education, and balancing the budget are key issues throughout the nation, including in Kitsap County. Of special concern to Kitsap County would be potential cuts in defense spending that might result in the downsizing of local naval bases. The health of Puget Sound, especially Hood Canal, is an important issue.

NKH: Why are you running for the 1st Congressional District short term?

Rauniyar: I am running for the short term for the same reasons I am running for the full term. I want to restore the American Dream of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for all. I will bring jobs back to this country by replacing free trade agreements with fair trade policies. I will move the country toward a balanced budget by ensuring the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. I will introduce legislation to improve our education system. I will work to protect the environment and health of our communities through actions like my opposition to the Coal Train. I want to continue to bring this nation closer to its ideal of equality for all.

The people in this district have gone without a voice for too long already. Congress has failed the nation and needs different kinds of people to get different results. I am not a professional politician. I am the only candidate in the race not accepting PAC money, so I will not face undue influence from special interests. As an immigrant, I will bring a global perspective to the issues facing the nation.

NKH: On Nov. 6, Kitsap County residents will also elect a representative from the 6th District, in which they will reside effective Jan. 3. How is the 1st Congressional District short term important to Kitsap County residents?

Rauniyar: The short term will be a period when issues too controversial to take on before the general election will be handled. Every vote matters, especially when contentious issues could divide the House. It is important to fill the void in representation our district is experiencing so our residents will have a voice in Congress again.

I will vote to extend tax cuts for the middle-class and for fiscal responsibility by voting to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. The U.S. Navy is the largest employer in Kitsap County, so legislation influencing defense cuts in last year’s debt ceiling extension agreement would be critical to county residents. There may also be important jobs legislation to support. There will likely be efforts to attach riders to bills that could affect the quality of life in Kitsap in many ways.

NKH: If elected to the one-month term, how will you use the experience after Jan. 3?

Rauniyar: I will use the short term to prepare for the full term that starts in January. It will be an opportunity to learn from retiring members of Congress before they leave office, and to get staff in place and draft legislation to introduce in the full term. I will take advantage of the extra seniority relative to new members who will first take office in January to more effectively serve the State of Washington.

Q&A with J. Byron Holcomb and Suzan DelBene

 

 

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