Rep. Dave Reichert, who won’t run in 2018, deserves thanks for more than 40 years of public service as a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, as King County deputy and sheriff and as a congressman.
U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert is often introduced as the man who caught the Green River killer. When that happens, his first words when he gets to the microphone are to acknowledge his team of deputies, investigators and forensic workers in bringing serial killer Gary Ridgway to justice.
It was much the same Wednesday when Reichert announced he would not seek an eighth term representing Washington’s 8th Congressional District. It was his staff, he wrote, that has “served our community with the heart of a servant, putting constituents before themselves.”
It is Reichert, though, who deserves praise for his leadership spanning four decades of public service — as a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, a King County deputy and sheriff, and as a congressman.
First elected to Congress in 2004, Reichert has worked on myriad issues of importance to his district and the state, focusing on trade, veterans’ affairs, improving foster care and combating sex trafficking.
Reichert, R-Auburn, introduced the bill in 2007 that led to the expansion of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, and designation of both the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers as Wild and Scenic in 2014.
In a state highly dependent on trade for jobs, Reichert was an advocate for open markets. In 2015, he supported the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which was unceremoniously dumped by President Donald Trump three days after he took office.
Showing a streak of independence was not new to Reichert, who made it clear that he was no fan of Trump. In his first term, he was one of five Republicans siding against their party in a right-to-die case, opposing a bill that would have allowed the parents of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman, to ask a federal court to intervene.
More recently, Reichert broke rank to vote against the Republican health-care bill, saying it fell short on provisions for poor children and people with pre-existing medical conditions. While he took much heat for not coming out sooner against the bill, Reichert was one 20 Republicans who opposed the GOP effort to replace the Affordable Care Act.
And on Tuesday, when President Trump said he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months unless Congress came up with a better plan, Reichert reiterated his long-standing support for DACA.
In standing up for immigration reform, trade and veterans, Reichert, 67, has been a strong, moderate voice for Washington state — one that will be missed.