I know I’ve broken rule number one in politics: never mention your opponents name,. But the sight of a gigantic campaign sign in the window of a closed business on Main Street spoke volumes to me. Political differences aside, there are just some facts people can’t ignore. Our district is struggling, our Main Streets are lined with empty store fronts and no matter how many flags we fly or flowers we plant we can’t hide the decline and the despair.
Karen Hardy: SD-07 Special Election
Karen Hardy is a native Washingtonian and Head Teamster at the Rocking K Ranch in Deer Park, WA. After attending Clark College in Vancouver, WA, she worked for Delta Airlines for almost 20 years. An avid outdoorswoman, Karen is committed to promoting and protecting Washington State’s resources and public lands. She will also fight to stabilize the WA state health care market and cultivate innovative partnerships to drive economic development. She and her husband live in Valley, WA.
We’re in the home stretch and things continue to get more and more interesting. Parade and fair season is almost over and now we are transitioning into our “get out the vote” mode. Candidate forums and media interviews are stacking up quickly, there are more people volunteering than ever and our momentum continues to grow. To date, we’ve received just less than $36,000 in donations from all over the state and beyond. By far, the largest portion ($16,000) has come from individuals like you. It’s humbling to have received so much support as a first time candidate.
I’ve been traveling around the 7th for months now campaigning, meeting people, attending fairs, rodeos, BBQ’s, benefits and bars. I’ve talked to strong supporters and fierce opponents and there is one common thread running through everything: people are good. As a whole and as a rule, people are good, they do good, and they want good. Every day people help each other, people look out for one another, people go out of their way to make their communities and world a better place. Contrary to media reports, Americans work incredibly well together, we unite quickly and tightly over natural disasters, community projects and honestly almost anything that helps our neighbors or our communities. I don’t think we hear that enough. I think the real story of America has gotten lost in the media’s need for conflict.
Today I realized, I don’t know where my current State Senator stands on most of these issues. I’ve only heard her speak publicly once, I can’t find anything in writing other than her official voting record and she has no social media or any other kind of media presence. I can’t find an op-ed, mention of a speech or anything of relevance on google. I’m guessing if I can’t find anything, neither can anyone else, so I’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and just ask the questions I want answers to:
As many of you may know and some of you may not know I am assisted by a service animal. Her name is Rio and she is a 12 year old Border Collie/Heller mix. She travels with me most everywhere I go and generally is nearly invisible. Her job is to stay focused on me which allows me to do my job. It’s a great partnership we have and as a result I can maintain my health as well as my fast paced lifestyle. I seldom acknowledge her in public and only on rare occasion do I speak about my personal disabilities. Unfortunately this can lead to some confusion and misunderstandings. So in the interest of transparency and advocacy for people with disabilities I’ve decided to broach this topic.
Saturday, Heather Heyer was killed in an act of terrorism, by an American citizen on American soil. A violent, cowardly act fueled by hatred and bigotry. Before I had chance to come to terms with what had happened and the devastating human cost, the digital debate about “free speech” and 1st Amendment rights began to rage. Blame was passed around like a hot potato from organizers, to protesters, to the police, to everyone and everything fueling more division, anguish and pain.
We’ve been crunching a lot of numbers since Tuesday and planning our strategy moving forward with most of these planning sessions happen in my kitchen. The benefits to this very organic way of planning and looking at things is that it keeps us focused on what’s important and focused on the realities of living in the 7th. Realities like internet connections won’t support video conferencing, realities like August in the 7th is when we work, we fix fences, cut firewood, work fire lines, put up hay, tend gardens and get ready for winter. We don’t have time for endless meetings or frivolous conversation. So we do the best we can and keep moving forward.
It’s not quite 7am and I was up until 1 am watching C-span to see if my fellow Americans would be losing their ability to get health insurance. My daughter Amelia was texting me, so upset, so anxious, so worried because this vote and this entire health care issue affects her every day. She lives no more than 72 hours without medical care. That’s real, that’s raw and that makes this very personal.
At no time did she mention holding the Capital Budget hostage over the Hirst Decision. So imagine my surprise and I’m guessing the surprise of the attendees at the forum when on Thursday the Republican led Senate refused to vote on the budget before adjourning from their third special session. Our legislators spent 193 days in session and left without funding the $4 billion in projects approved during those sessions. These projects ensure our compliance with McCleary, create 19,000 good living wage jobs, provide for Mental Health services, Parks, WDFW, DNR and so on. Again $4 BILLION dollars in projects put on hold until Jan 2018 at the earliest.