2020 Vision: Across the River in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District

On the other side of the Columbia River, Washington’s 3rd Congressional District is a rematch between Republican incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler and Democratic challenger Carolyn Long. The 3rd District is located in the Southwest corner of Washington state and includes Vancouver and its suburbs as well as significant rural land. In 2018, Herrera Beutler won with 52.7% of the vote, beating Long by five points. This year, Cook Political Report labels the race “likely Republican” with Herrera Beutler up four points. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in the second quarter (April 1 – June 30), Herrera Beutler raised $2.9 million and Long raised $2.3 million. 

Photos Courtesy of The Columbian, Jaime Herrera Beutler (L) and Carolyn Long (R)

Photos Courtesy of The Columbian, Jaime Herrera Beutler (L) and Carolyn Long (R)

Herrera Beutler has held the seat since 2010 when she was elected at age 31. She was the first Hispanic person to represent Washington state in the U.S. House of Representatives. Currently, she serves on the House Committee on Appropriations and the U.S. Joint Economic Committee. Herrera Beutler co-founded the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care and also serves on the Women’s Issues Caucus. Her bill, Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act (ACE Kids Act), which sought to improve healthcare for low-income children with rare or complex health conditions, was signed into law in April 2019. She has hosted seven annual “Southwest Washington Jobs Fairs” to connect her constituents with job opportunities, and she brought the Veteran Affairs’ Mobile Unit to Pacific County to provide medical care to rural veterans. Herrera Beutler is one of three Republican Representatives from the Washington State Congressional delegation along with Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05). Prior to her election, she worked as a Senior Legislative Aide for McMorris Rodgers and served in the State House of Representatives for two years. 

Long was a tenured professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs at Washington State University Vancouver for 25 years. She grew up helping at her father’s small business, John’s Fresh Produce, and she paid her way through college by working at a Safeway. As a Fulbright Scholar, she taught in Slovenia. During her time at WSU Vancouver, she published two books in her field of Constitutional Law: Religious Freedom and Indian Rights: The Case of Oregon v. Smith on the First Amendment and Mapp v. Ohio: Guarding against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures on the Fourth Amendment. In 2017, Long was awarded the Iris H-RoC Award which, according to her campaign website, “honors women in Southwest Washington who have promoted civil discourse, teamwork, collaboration, and cooperation.”

Graphic Courtesy of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Graphic Courtesy of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Herrera Beutler is an anti-choice, anti-gun control, anti-LGBTQ+ conservative. According to FiveThirtyEight, she has voted in line with President Trump 81.5% of the time. On her campaign website, Herrera Beutler lays out ten issues central to her campaign and candidacy. She believes that national defense and the military should be “a top priority” and that education issues should be decided by local leaders not national representatives. Herrera Beutler wants to make healthcare more affordable and available to people; however, she does not support the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because under the ACA, “rural residents have been treated like second-class citizens when it comes to health care access.” Herrera Beutler wants to protect public lands and tackle the opioid crisis, although her approach is unclear. She is against proposals by the state of Oregon to add tolls on the I-5 and I-205 bridges and promises to “keep fighting against any plan that unfairly treats Southwest Washington residents like piggy banks and provides them little to no benefit in return.” One of her ten primary issues is sea lions. Because in the last 10 years, sea lions have caught approximately 46,000 salmon below the Bonneville Dam, she is “fighting for bipartisan legislation that would allow fish managers to control the sea lion population, and prevent the day when salmon disappear from the Columbia River entirely.”

Long, labeled “A Strong Voice for Southwest Washington” by her campaign website, is a pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-LGBTQ+ candidate. She wants to improve the healthcare system by repairing and expanding the ACA, creating a low-cost public healthcare option, lowering the cost of prescription medication, and requiring pharmaceutical companies pay for opioid crisis treatments. As a lifelong educator, she is dedicated to closing the achievement gap, reforming student loans, and increasing apprenticeships and internships. She supports a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and create substantial campaign finance reform. As part of a large infrustruce plan, Long proposes building a new I-5 bridge and ensuring all residents have access to broadband internet. She believes that “we need to invest in broadband the same way we invested in the interstate in the 50s.” To protect clean air and water, she wants to restore and grow the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior. Long supports expanding industrial hemp production, reforming the criminal justice system, and creating affordable housing options. 

To get involved with a specific campaign, visit their campaign website. To help engage new voters, learn more about When We All Vote and Rock The Vote. If you live in Washington, register to vote here.

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