Kim Schrier participates in NPI's Convention Conversations limited podcast series
Kim Schrier participates in NPI's Convention Conversations limited podcast series (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Edi­tor’s Note: On Fri­day, June 24th and Sat­ur­day, June 25th, the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty held its 2022 con­ven­tion in the City of Des­tiny at the Greater Taco­ma Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. The staff of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute trav­eled to Taco­ma to speak with par­ty lead­ers and elect­ed offi­cials about the work they’re doing in advance of the midterm elections. 

This is one of those Con­ven­tion Con­ver­sa­tions, fea­tur­ing Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kim Schri­er, D‑Washington. Press play below to lis­ten to the audio, or read the tran­script below. You can use the link in this para­graph to access the oth­er install­ments that we record­ed from the con­ven­tion hall. 

Listen to the conversation

Press play to begin lis­ten­ing; use the slid­er to the right to adjust the volume.

Read the transcript

Note: Tran­script has been light­ly edit­ed for clarity. 

CAYA BERNDT: Wel­come to Con­ven­tion Con­ver­sa­tions, a spe­cial lim­it­ed pod­cast series from the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute record­ed live from the 2022 Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­ven­tion in Taco­ma. I’m your host, Caya Berndt; we’re glad to have you with us! For this install­ment, we are hon­ored to be joined by Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kim Schri­er, who rep­re­sents the 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict and is seek­ing a third term in Congress.

Wel­come, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Schrier!

REPRESENTATIVE SCHRIER: Thank you, Caya. It’s great to be here.

CAYA BERNDT: First ques­tion that I have for you — just a ques­tion that I’ve been ask­ing every­body today — is that the Top Two elec­tion is just a few weeks away. Bal­lots are being dropped any minute to voters.

Tell me, how is your cam­paign going?

REPRESENTATIVE SCHRIER: Well, the cam­paign’s going great. I am very clear.: I that this is gonna be a tough elec­tion and tough year. But I am so excit­ed. We’ve got a ton of vol­un­teers, knock­ing doors, mak­ing phone calls, and I’m excit­ed to com­mu­ni­cate to the 8th Dis­trict and parts of the state that were not in the 8th Dis­trict [before redis­trict­ing] about what I’ve been up to and how I can help.

CAYA BERNDT: What are your pri­or­i­ties for the next two years, should you be reelect­ed? What would you most like to accomplish?

REPRESENTATIVE SCHRIER: Well, I think you can tell my pri­or­i­ties for the next two years by look­ing at some of the things that I’ve been work­ing on already and real­ly mak­ing it a pri­or­i­ty to work with both par­ties to deliv­er for the district.

And this includes every­thing from an infra­struc­ture bill that is bring­ing salmon pas­sage to Howard Hansen dam and a safer inter­sec­tion of High­way 18 and Inter­state 90 to work­ing to bring down the cost of insulin and make peo­ple’s lives a lit­tle bet­ter. I’m excit­ed about what I’ve been able to do so far. We just passed a gas goug­ing bill to make sure that peo­ple are not tak­en advan­tage of by Big Oil. I’m doing every­thing I can to make peo­ple’s lives a lit­tle eas­i­er when prices are high right now.

CAYA BERNDT: That flows nice­ly into my next ques­tion. You did men­tion the con­sumer fuel price goug­ing pre­ven­tion act that you spon­sored. There’s been a cou­ple of oth­er bills that the house has passed to address the cost of liv­ing, [like] the Low­er Food and Fuel Costs Act, which many peo­ple may not be as famil­iar with because they haven’t received a lot of media cov­er­age. Can you sum­ma­rize what these bills do and how they could help Amer­i­cans who are grap­pling with ris­ing prices?

REPRESENTATIVE SCHRIER: Absolute­ly. I think fun­da­men­tal­ly what peo­ple need to know is, we get that every­body’s hurt­ing right now. We feel it at the gas sta­tion and we feel it at the gro­cery store. I mean, every­thing is more expen­sive right now. And so I’ve real­ly tak­en this on to see what I can do to make life a lit­tle eas­i­er for peo­ple. And one of the ways is the con­sumer price goug­ing pro­tec­tion act, which basi­cal­ly says in a fuel emer­gency, it allows the FEC to crack down on oil com­pa­nies that are price goug­ing. And you know, all you need to do is look at a cou­ple num­bers to know that some­thing fishy is going on. Right?

When we are pay­ing record prices that gas pump and gas and oil com­pa­nies are mak­ing record prof­its — like high­er than the last ten years kind of prof­its — and return­ing that to their shareholders.

They’re doing stock buy­backs rather than giv­ing us some relief of the pump. I think we need to have some pres­sure on them to make our lives easier.

And then, the Fuel and Food Act: This allows things like ethanol 15, which is cheap­er than pre­mi­um gas. It also helps farm­ers who are pay­ing high prices for fer­til­iz­er right now. And it helps meat pro­duc­ers who are pay­ing a very high cost for pro­cess­ing, but not real­ly get­ting any reward finan­cial­ly themselves.

CAYA BERNDT: Thank you. Yes­ter­day, the Supreme court over­turned Roe v. Wade. Can you sum­ma­rize what House Democ­rats are doing to defend Amer­i­cans’ repro­duc­tive rights right now?

REPRESENTATIVE SCHRIER: Yep. First let me just say that I am absolute­ly furi­ous that they just over­turned fifty years of prece­dent. That they took away a right that women have lived with and become accus­tomed to, and real­ly inter­nal­ized for the, for the past half a century.

And, you know what this means for women in half the states in this coun­try is that they will not have access to abor­tion unless they are wealthy enough to be able to fly to anoth­er state or dri­ve to anoth­er state and have it done there.

This is a com­mon pro­ce­dure that one out of four women under forty-five has done. And to make this inac­ces­si­ble is… I mean, it’s just infu­ri­at­ing to me. It takes away a wom­an’s abil­i­ty to con­trol her own life and des­tiny, and to choose when and if to have a child.

That said, let me tell you some of the things that we’ve already done, we passed the wom­en’s health pro­tec­tion act, which essen­tial­ly makes row the law of the land.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, none of the Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate — and two Democ­rats in the Sen­ate — did not sup­port that bill. And so we will con­tin­ue to try again and we need big­ger majori­ties. And so if you’re won­der­ing what Democ­rats will do, give us big­ger majori­ties and we will show you.

CAYA BERNDT: Okay, thank you. And mov­ing on to vot­ing rights: Are there any actions Con­gress could take through the bud­get­ing process, also known as rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, to shore up vot­ing rights, which are under attack in Repub­li­can con­trolled states?

REPRESENTATIVE SCHRIER: I have not heard any sug­ges­tions about using rec­on­cil­i­a­tion specif­i­cal­ly to work on vot­ing rights. Joe Manchin is essen­tial­ly the keep­er of all secrets rec­on­cil­i­a­tion right now. But I could imag­ine being able to use that in a bud­getary way… rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is tied to bud­gets, but if you said you could put a cer­tain num­ber of dol­lars toward help­ing states do mail and bal­lots, those kinds of things you pos­si­bly could use it. I have to say, I have not heard this [idea] yet, but I will take it back to Con­gress and ask.

CAYA BERNDT: And then, just one more quick ques­tion for you is that in the cur­rent Con­gress, one of your areas of focus has been crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture, espe­cial­ly access to clean drink­ing water. So can you talk about the leg­is­la­tion you’ve been devel­op­ing to enable local gov­ern­ments to invest in pipes, irri­ga­tion, facil­i­ties, and treat­ment plants need­ed for Wash­ing­ton’s farms, fam­i­lies, and busi­ness­es thrive?

REPRESENTATIVE SCHRIER: Yes, this is, this is called WIFIA [Water Infra­struc­ture Finance and Inno­va­tion Act]. That’s the short name for the water infra­struc­ture fund­ing [bill]. And the idea here is that, you know, when [we] embark on a big infra­struc­ture project, espe­cial­ly if it involves water, [or] waste­water treat­ment, it is a very cost­ly endeav­or, and the abil­i­ty to finance that upfront and pay that off over fifty-five years instead of thir­ty makes all the dif­fer­ence in the world on whether a com­mu­ni­ty can afford to do this.

And so these are projects that will con­serve water that will make sure we have clean drink­ing water, and that we’ll do waste water treat­ment all with the abil­i­ty to finance them.

CAYA BERNDT: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Schri­er, it’s great to be able to catch up with you. Thanks for tak­ing the time to talk with us about your cam­paign. If you enjoyed this pod­cast, we invite you to check out our oth­er Con­ven­tion Conversations.

For NPI, I’m Caya Berndt. Take care!

About the author

Caya is a Northwest Progressive Institute contributor based out of Spokane, Washington, writing about Lilac City politics, the Evergreen State's 5th Congressional District, and related politics. She previously hosted the inaugural episodes of NPI's PNWcurrents podcast. She works at the Unemployment Law Project and is a graduate of Central Washington University, with a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and sciences. Caya also has a minor from CWU in law and justice.

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