With the Nov. 8 election, Snohomish County welcomes a new congressional district for communities in the county’s east. Redistricting redrew the 8th Congressional District’s boundaries, starting from the county line with Skagit County to include communities along the Stillaguamish River Valley, including Arlington Heights, Oso and Darrington, extending south to Granite Falls and the U.S. 2 communities east of Monroe, including Sultan, Gold Bar and Index, almost all of which of which had been in the 1st Congressional District.
Rep. Kim Schrier, a Democrat living in Sammamish, is a pediatrician who was first elected to Congress in 2018.
She is challenged by Matt Larkin, a Sammamish Republican who is an attorney and owner of a manufacturing business. Larkin ran in 2020 for state attorney general, losing to Bob Ferguson. Larkin did not respond to a request to participate in an interview with the editorial board.
Schrier first ran, she said, out of concern for health care access and threats to the Affordable Care Act for her patients but also for herself, as someone with a preexisting condition, Type 1 diabetes. That remains a focus, Schrier said, and much of her record of legislation that she has sponsored centers on issues of health care, public health, children and education. Schrier serves on the House agriculture committee and also on the energy and commerce committee, which considers a broad range of issues.
Schrier said she supports a public option for medical insurance, a federal insurance program that would expand what’s available. And while the Affordable Care Act has survived past challenges, she remains concerned that some among the Republican Party — should it gain majorities in the House and Senate — could again seek to dismantle the ACA, also known as Obamacare.
The only pro-choice woman doctor in all of Congress, Schrier said she has been able to offer a doctor’s perspective that has been necessary to counter comments and even misinformation from Republicans touting medical credentials.
“There’s a role for me there that nobody else can play right now,” she said.
Schrier does expect Republicans — if in the majority — to seek a nationwide ban on abortion, despite the perception among many that the Supreme Court decision left the issues to the states. Such legislation, she said, could even seek to include some forms of contraception and devices such as IUDs in a ban.
As much as the IRA accomplished, Schrier said, there were provisions that were jettisoned to win enough support for passage. She said she would have liked to have seen the price cap on insulin extended to all, rather than just Medicare patients. And she preferred an earlier version that allowed Medicare to negotiate the price on 30 named medications, rather than the 10 in the IRA.
Schrier also supports further action, initially proposed in Build Back Better, that would have provided universal pre-school and expanded after-school programs and an extension of a more generous Child Tax Credit.
Universal preschool and after-school programs, she said, would allow more parents to work and reduce childcare costs and promote better social behavior for children. The Child Tax Credit, before its expansion expired, brought half of children living in poverty, out of poverty.
Schrier has a notable record of success on legislation she has sponsored. Fourteen of her bills won approval in Congress and were signed into law, six by President Biden and eight by President Trump. Such success, even with Democrats in the majority, has required bipartisan work and building relationships with Republicans, she said, but it may also assure she’ll be able to continue that success if the GOP wins the majority.
“I sure hope we’re in the majority, but if not, I’ll still be able to deliver for this district,” she said.
Schrier has shown herself to be attentive to her district, working on water access concerns for fish and farmers in the Yakima River basin, concerns that are shared for the Snohomish County river valleys in the new district.
Although not adopted, even before the price of gas hit its highest levels in summer, Schrier had proposed a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax — 18.4 cents a gallon — as a measure to help families cope with inflation and transportation costs. This editorial board in June argued against such measures at the state and national level because a suspension of the gas tax — after both Washington state and Congress had made significant investments in transportation infrastructure — seemed counterproductive and unlikely to make much of a dent in the price of gas for consumers.
Yet, our difference with Schrier on that point is hardly reason not to endorse her. Voters rarely if ever will find a candidate who aligns with them on all issues of importance to them, which is why in our endorsements we favor candidates who have either proven or shown a commitment to working toward solutions with broad support.
Schrier, in her two terms, has produced a record of legislation and attention to her district that should be appreciated by the district’s new voters in Snohomish County.
Schrier fully ticks those boxes. Snohomish County voters in the new 8th District can confidently tick the box on their ballot for Schrier.