This week, ballots were mailed to Washington voters for the August 2018 Top Two election. Voters in the state’s 8th Congressional District have until August 7th to decide who they’d like to see take over for Dave Reichert in the United States House of Representatives (Reichert is retiring after seven terms in Congress).
Two weeks ago, NPI began publishing profiles of the three leading Democratic contenders vying to succeed Reichert. Only one of them is expected to advance to the general election to face Republican Dino Rossi.
In the final installment of this series, we’ll take a look at the candidacy of Dr. Kim Schrier, a pediatrician from Issaquah who is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Schrier says the 2016 election was a huge wake-up call for her. When the first Trumpcuts bill was introduced, she went with three other doctors to meet with Dave Reichert’s staff and explain all the ways it would hurt the district and their patients. Days later, Reichert voted for it in committee anyway, and that galvanized Schrier to become the change she wanted to see in the 8th District.
“We deserve better,” she told NPI in an interview. “At this moment, when healthcare is being taken away from people, who better than the community pediatrician who is a mom and who has her own preexisting condition.”
Schrier was diagnosed with type one diabetes as a teenager — a condition that helped prompt her to pursue a career as a pediatrician.
When asked what sets her apart from the other Democratic contenders, Schrier argues she is the only candidate that has truly made the 8th her home.
As she puts it: “I have been working with families here for the past seventeen years. I think that taking care of these families has given me a front seat view to what really goes on in the lives of the families of the district.”
Schrier prides herself on being a thoughtful and effective listener. “It’s truly important to be accessible to hear [the] concerns of every constituent”, she says.
Schrier is proud that her campaign has not one, but two field offices. One is located in Auburn; the other is in Issaquah. Schrier plans to open a third office in Wenatchee should she advance to the general election.
Fittingly, considering she is a pediatrician, Schrier’s top issue as a candidate is healthcare. Earlier this month she released two healthcare-focused ads that will run on television and digital channels in the district.
At the same time, she unveiled her comprehensive healthcare plan. It includes expanding Medicare through an immediate public option that would allow more individuals and small businesses the opportunity to buy into Medicare.
She also wants to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and ensure those prices get rolled out across the board for private insurance companies.
Schrier has firsthand experience with the rising cost of prescription drugs in this country. “I know what it’s like to worry about the cost of medications. The price of the insulin that I use rose from forty dollars per bottle twenty years ago to $260 now. It is the exact same bottle. Nothing has changed, but our healthcare system has allowed the price to increase by more than six hundred percent.”
Schrier also supports efforts to invest in medical research, including providing funding to federal research agencies and universities, as well as increasing federal funds for research on addiction and treatment for opioid addiction.
Another major concern for constituents in the 8th is agriculture. Schrier is hoping to gain support from rural farmers who may have previously voted for Trump but are now suffering from the administration’s policies on immigration and trade.
“Farmers are really cooling to this administration. I know a lot of them did vote for Trump, but seeing that their bottom lines and their workers are really being adversely affected by these policies… it may make them think otherwise.”
Schrier also mentioned immigration reform, keeping families together, and protecting women’s reproductive rights as key priorities she will focus on if elected. Schrier has been endorsed by both EMILY’s List and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. And, along with Rittereiser, she was endorsed by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, at the WSLC’s COPE meeting several weeks ago.
In just a few short weeks, we’ll know who will advance to the November general election in the 8th. There are twelve candidates competing for two spots.
Dino Rossi is widely expected to be the top vote getter thanks to his name recognition (he’s previously run three times for statewide office and lost) plus his support from the Republican Party establishment.
Who will be the other top vote getter? Will it be Kim Schrier, Jason Rittereiser, or Shannon Hader… or someone else? We can’t answer that question right now, but we should have a pretty good idea once the sun has set on August 7th.
Until then, don’t forget to vote! If you’re registered to vote in Washington, you should have received a ballot packet in the mail from your county elections agency. Note that it is no longer necessary to place a stamp on the return envelope to send it back through the mail, as every county is providing prepaid postage.