Shannon Hader speaks at NPI's 2018 Spring Fundraising Gala
Shannon Hader speaks at NPI's 2018 Spring Fundraising Gala (Photo: Rennie Sawade/Northwest Progressive Institute)

Democ­rats see the upcom­ing midterm elec­tions as a crit­i­cal oppor­tu­ni­ty flip the U.S. House and sub­ject the Trump regime to bad­ly need­ed con­gres­sion­al oversight.

To accom­plish this goal, Democ­rats need to cap­ture at least twen­ty-four Repub­li­can held seats. With over thir­ty Repub­li­cans hav­ing cho­sen to retire rather than seek reelec­tion, and with Trump drag­ging down the Repub­li­can brand, the par­ty hopes to cap­i­tal­ize — espe­cial­ly in pur­ple dis­tricts that vot­ed for Hillary Clin­ton last cycle.

One of these pur­ple dis­tricts is Washington’s 8th, where Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date Shan­non Had­er is hop­ing to secure one of the two spots on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. Incum­bent Repub­li­can Dave Reichert has cho­sen to retire from Con­gress after serv­ing sev­en terms, which means WA-08 is up for grabs.

Had­er is one of three cred­i­ble Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates who have stepped for­ward to run in the 8th. (The oth­ers are pedi­a­tri­cian Kim Schri­er and pros­e­cu­tor Jason Rit­tereis­er.) All three are vying for Con­gress along­side Dino Rossi, a two-time state sen­a­tor who has the back­ing of the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty and the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment. Rossi is mak­ing his fourth bid for high­er office; his pre­vi­ous three attempts (in 2004, 2008, and 2010) were all unsuccessful.

Had­er is a fifth-gen­er­a­tion Auburn native with a dis­tin­guished career in pub­lic health. She most recent­ly served our coun­try as direc­tor of the Divi­sion of Glob­al HIV & TB at the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Prevention.

Had­er has served under four dif­fer­ent fed­er­al admin­is­tra­tions (includ­ing the cur­rent one) and is run­ning for Con­gress because she feels that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment we have now is dys­func­tion­al and bro­ken — as is evi­dent from each day’s headlines.

“I bring a life­time of pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence of get­ting things done with [fed­er­al] resources and I think we need to start get­ting those things done for the dis­trict,” she told the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute in an inter­view last month.

Hader’s expe­ri­ence with the CDC is what she says dis­tin­guish­es her from the oth­er can­di­dates in the race. “I am the only can­di­date in this race, includ­ing Dino Rossi, that brings that proven track record of deliv­er­ing results that mat­ter to peo­ple’s lives with fed­er­al resources and with urgency. I don’t think we can wait to have some­body fig­ure out how the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment works.”

One exam­ple of the results Had­er has deliv­ered with fed­er­al resources is the enor­mous progress she has achieve in help­ing the CDC com­bat HIV globally.

Had­er ran a pro­gram that encom­passed around two thou­sand peo­ple, forty-five coun­tries, and a $2.4 bil­lion bud­get. Now in its fif­teenth year, Had­er explains that the CDC’s glob­al HIV pro­gram has pro­vid­ed twen­ty-one mil­lion peo­ple with life­sav­ing HIV treat­ment, and has helped to reduce the cost of treat­ment drugs from approx­i­mate­ly $8,500 per per­son per year down to less than $100.

Had­er believes her work with the CDC’s glob­al HIV pro­gram gives her an edge against the oth­er can­di­dates in the inter­na­tion­al and diplo­mat­ic arena.

“About half of my pro­fes­sion­al career has been glob­al and most of that has been work­ing in con­junc­tion with our Depart­ment of State, our ambas­sadors over­seas, and abroad work­ing with for­eign gov­ern­ments,” she says.

She stress­es the need to pro­vide over­sight for fed­er­al insti­tu­tions like the Depart­ment of State, espe­cial­ly when it comes to trade rela­tion­ships, where Trump’s errat­ic for­eign pol­i­cy stances are neg­a­tive­ly impact­ing 8th District’s export mar­kets in tech, agri­cul­ture, and man­u­fac­tur­ing. Trump has declared that trade wars are good and easy to win, and is plung­ing head­first into one with Chi­na, which is already impos­ing retal­ia­to­ry tar­iffs on Wash­ing­ton-grown crops like cher­ries, apples, and wheat, which are cru­cial to the econ­o­my of the 8th District.

Hader’s work with­in the CDC also gave her the oppor­tu­ni­ty to secure bipar­ti­san sup­port for cru­cial pub­lic health ini­tia­tives, a skill that she says is valu­able for any­one oper­at­ing in such a par­ti­san and polar­ized Con­gress to have.

Trans­paren­cy, account­abil­i­ty, and com­mon end goals are cen­tral to suc­cess­ful bipar­ti­san col­lab­o­ra­tions between Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans, she says.

In her words: “They’re about hav­ing a strate­gic vision, a nego­ti­at­ed plan, and an exchange that allows you to adjust and have tough con­ver­sa­tions that you’re not always going to agree on, but to work a way forward.”

If elect­ed, a top pri­or­i­ty for Had­er will be improv­ing access to health­care. Her end goal is “one hun­dred per­cent tru­ly acces­si­ble, afford­able health­care for all period”.

If she had a mag­ic wand on her first day in office and could change one thing, it would be to allow our gov­ern­ment to nego­ti­ate drug prices for Medicare.

“We need to use the bar­gain­ing pow­er of Medicare as the sin­gle largest pur­chas­er of drugs in our nation to get bet­ter prices”, she told NPI. She’d also like to low­er pre­mi­ums and out of pock­et costs by allow­ing younger peo­ple to buy into Medicare and reduce some of the finan­cial bur­den of the pri­vate market.

Most impor­tant of all, Had­er wants to empow­er states like Wash­ing­ton to switch to a sin­gle pay­er sys­tem and lead the way for the rest of the nation to fol­low suit.

“I think the sta­ble way to expand that big of a changed mod­el is going to be by prov­ing it, make it hap­pen so that peo­ple can touch it, feel it, see it is hap­pen­ing, it can work out some of the kinks.”

She stat­ed that her num­ber one objec­tive as a new mem­ber of Con­gress will be to be a prob­lem solver. In a dis­trict that is both rur­al and urban, she believes flex­i­ble pol­i­cy direc­tions are nec­es­sary to meet the diverse needs of its cities and counties.

Had­er cit­ed the issue of home­less­ness and hous­ing inse­cu­ri­ty as an exam­ple of an issue man­i­fest­ing itself dif­fer­ent­ly between communities.

While Issaquah may need more pub­lic sup­port for social ser­vices infra­struc­ture to catch home­less peo­ple com­ing off the end of the bus line from Seat­tle, Wenatchee’s num­ber one hous­ing chal­lenge is the lack of mid-lev­el hous­ing, she argues, where the solu­tion is not more low lev­el hous­ing but “fig­ur­ing out how to incen­tivize that mid-lev­el gap to be filled so that every­body can move up”.

Hav­ing spo­ken with the may­ors of cities and towns through­out the 8th, Had­er told NPi that anoth­er cen­tral pri­or­i­ty for the dis­trict is infra­struc­ture investment.

An exam­ple of that, Had­er says, is the lack of avail­able park­ing in Auburn for com­muters seek­ing to uti­lize the Sounder com­muter rail ser­vice going into Seat­tle — an issue Sound Tran­sit is try­ing to address.

Had­er would also like to see more invest­ment in rur­al roads and highways.

Like Sen­a­tor Mark Mul­let (D‑5th Dis­trict), she wants to see State Route 18 expand­ed between Issaquah and North Bend.

In recent weeks, Had­er has secured a slew of endorse­ments includ­ing the sole endorse­ments of the King and Pierce Coun­ty Democ­rats, and OneAmerica.

She is also the only can­di­date to have been endorsed by most of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­isla­tive dis­trict orga­ni­za­tions that over­lap with the 8th CD, includ­ing the 45th, 11th, 41st, 31st, 25th, 30th, and 47th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict Democrats.

In addi­tion, Had­er has earned the sup­port of sev­er­al labor unions, includ­ing the Unit­ed Steel­work­ers Local 310A, Inter­na­tion­al Broth­er­hood of Elec­tri­cal Work­ers Local 77, Wenatchee Alu­minum Trades Coun­cil, and North Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton Cen­tral Labor Coun­cil. (Labor’s sup­port is split between Had­er and the oth­er two Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates; no labor union has endorsed Rossi.)

With­out ques­tion, the midterm elec­tions are the key to bol­ster­ing over­sight and account­abil­i­ty at the fed­er­al level.

“We just have to flip lead­er­ship”, Had­er declared. “The check on the exec­u­tive is not hap­pen­ing under cur­rent Repub­li­can leadership.”

As men­tioned, Had­er is cam­paign­ing in a pur­ple dis­trict that has con­tin­u­al­ly favored Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, includ­ing Clin­ton in 2016, but has also only elect­ed Repub­li­cans to Con­gress since the district’s cre­ation in 1983.

Bal­lots in the August Top Two elec­tion are due to be mailed lat­er this month. August 7th, 2018, is the dead­line to return them to a drop box or post office. For the first time, stamps will not be nec­es­sary to return a bal­lot through the U.S. Mail, as all return envelopes sent to Wash­ing­ton vot­ers will fea­ture pre­paid postage.

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