The editorial board endorses Dino Rossi for the 8th Congressional District seat.
Washington’s 8th Congressional District is a hybrid district, spanning both sides of the Cascades. On the West, it’s steeped in high-tech software companies. To the East, it has some of the world’s most sophisticated international producers and exporters of apples and other commodities. It’s super urban and uber rural.
In the last redistricting, the 8th District was drawn to be a safer Republican district for retiring U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, a Republican first elected to Congress in 2004. The eastern edge was hoisted over the Cascade peaks and stretched to take in Lake Chelan and Ellensburg.
Vying for the open seat is Republican Dino Rossi, a political veteran who was almost elected Washington’s governor in 2004, except for 129 votes, and Democrat Kim Schrier. Though she’s new to politics, she has been a practicing pediatrician in Issaquah for 15 years.
Rossi, a former state Senate Ways and Means Committee chair, is the editorial board’s recommendation for this seat. We have frequently expressed grave concerns in editorials about President Donald Trump’s divisiveness and policies on everything from immigration to tariffs to environmental rollbacks. But Congress needs more people like Rossi, a pragmatic lawmaker with a demonstrated record of working across the aisle with Democrats for solutions that work for the greater good.
As Rossi pointed out in a Wednesday debate, while Schrier criticizes his work in the Legislature, the 2003 budget he wrote in a severe deficit year was similar to one proposed by Democratic Gov. Gary Locke. In negotiations, he helped drive a compromise with the Democratic-controlled House, which protected vulnerable citizens, including people with disabilities.
Meanwhile, Schrier embodies the national effort to take back Congress from the Republicans as a check on the president. It was Reichert’s vote on an Affordable Care Act repeal that prompted her to challenge him — even before he announced his retirement. She is passionate about health care, for children and women, especially. She wants to make Medicare a health-care plan option for all Americans to buy into — but falls short in explaining how to manage the cost.
While Schrier wants to fight, Rossi promises not to. He wants to go to D.C. and put his budget expertise to use. Given his two past statewide elections and national reputation in GOP circles, there’s a better chance he will advance more quickly onto committees and positions where he can make a difference than Schrier would if elected.
We share Schrier’s concerns about Rossi’s position on abortion. The editorial board has long supported a woman’s right to choose, and Rossi believes it should be used only in cases of incest, rape and to save the health of the mother. But they are running for a position in the House, not in the Senate, which confirms federal judges.
Yes, Trump needs to be checked. But the fighting and the divisiveness has led to a hopelessly dysfunctional Congress, where people fight over issues, not push for solutions.
Rossi has done that — and he can again.