NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

Meet the 2018 contenders in Washington’s 8th Congressional District: Shannon Hader

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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