Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Meet Peter Goldmark, The Next Congressman From Washington’s 5th District

Eastern Washington, like many rural areas across the country, has turned over the last decade from a securely Democratic area to a Republican stronghold. Washington’s 5th district, once held by Speaker of the House Tom Foley, fell into Republican hands with the Gingrich Revolution. In 1994, the country was ready for a change and that meant that many long term Congressmen were swept out of office with the changing tide. But now that the Republicans have been in control of the Congress for over a decade, it seems that the tide is about to change again, and one of the candidates that could very well benefit from the swell of dissatisfaction with the Republican Congress, is Peter Goldmark.

Goldmark has lived in the 5th district for most of his life, he knows the people and being a rancher himself (cowboy hat and all), knows how important agriculture is to the stability of this part of the state. Farmers face some difficult times ahead, and with a major rewrite of agricultural legislation slated for 2007, it is the perfect time for someone like Peter Goldmark, an experienced farmer and innovator, to become the Congressman for his district. He seems to be a perfect fit and the voters may be ready to give him that chance.

Cathy McMorris is currently holding the seat, but in her first term, she has done little for her constituents and instead has, as a sort of protégé of Tom DeLay, spent much of her time furthering the Bush agenda and that of special interests willing to pour vast sums of cash into GOP coffers. The power that Tom Foley had, as a longtime Congressman and Speaker of the House, to bring direct benefits to his district is, I’m sure, sorely missed. There doesn’t appear to be any chance that Rep. McMorris, even with the support of the GOP establishment, will ever be that fighter for the 5th district, no matter how long she stays in office, but Peter Goldmark could bring that hope back.

I had a chance to chat with Peter Goldmark yesterday morning via Instant Message, and this is what he had to say:

LGND:
First of all, how is your campaign going so far? Are you getting a lot of support from the National Party?

Peter Goldmark:
The campaign is growing fast! We have a Spokane office, a manager with more staff next week. The national office is very supportive, but has not promised money, yet.

LGND:
How is your fundraising going?

Peter Goldmark:
It's going well, with a plan to raise a mil, ahead of track, with a long road to go. The national mood for positive change helps.

LGND:
I’ll bet.

Peter Goldmark:
So, the major route is through personal contact via phone and events. People are receptive and responsive; it takes time and commitment.

LGND:
What are the big issues for the voters of your district and do you think they are ready for a Democrat again?

Peter Goldmark:
Many are, it's pretty clear that the past has not produced solutions to many problems. Big issues are Ag policy, health care, corruption in congress, jobs and education.

LGND:
Cathy McMorris made affordable healthcare a big part of her campaign, how has she done as far as making that a reality for the people of the 5th?

Peter Goldmark:
I do not think she has delivered on any promises. She has followed DeLay and others in leadership, without serving the needs of the district.

LGND:
There will be some big changes in agriculture policy next year and farmers in your district face some tough times ahead, how would a Rep. Goldmark do better than Rep. McMorris in serving the needs of the district?

Peter Goldmark:
I would make it a priority to be on the ag committee, so that I could represent the critical needs of the district in the ag policy arena. The district's farmers are hurting badly and no one has stepped forward to help, I would because I know their needs and their pain. Farmers deserve far better treatment from the federal government.

LGND:
Why do you think Rep. McMorris hasn't been able to do a better job of that? Is it because of the short leash that the Republican leadership keeps their members on?

Peter Goldmark:
Yes, and she has put more emphasis on serving the needs of partisan leadership, than the needs of her district.

LGND:
One more question

Peter Goldmark:
Ok

LGND:
Republicans tend to use wedge issues, such as abortion rights, gay marriage and gun control against Democrats running for public office in rural districts. How are you dealing with that?

Peter Goldmark:
The political part of the campaign really has not started yet. When it does, I will speak about individual's rights, personal freedom, and the importance of keeping government out of people's lives. I am not in favor of gun control, but am very concerned about keeping firearms out of the hands of felons.


Sounds good to me. Hopefully now that Mr. Goldmark and I are IM buddies, this will be one of many chats we will have about his campaign as it progresses. Like he said, the political part hasn’t really started yet, and with a first term Republican forced to run from her Party’s record of bad government and corruption, it could get good, real fast.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Jimmy said...

Sweet! Good job and getting this interview. I totally missed it but I will link over on mccranium.org.

6:09 PM  
Blogger teacherken said...

I was a college classmate of Peter at Haverford - we were on same corridor as freshman. Peter is already getting support from classmates and others from Haverford. We know it will be a tough race, but the stars may be coming into alignment. Peter declares kicks off this morning, and lead story on ABC News this evening is the Speaker Hastert may be in the crosshairs of the Abramoff investigation, with new Majority Leader Blunt not far behind.

In the near future I may well provide a link to your post over at dailykos and myleftwing, two wellknown blogs where I have a certain amount of prominence.

4:05 PM  

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