Vacation was a word rarely used in my house growing up. Like most parents in Eastern Washington during the 1900’s, my mom and dad instilled the values of hard work from sun up to sun down. And when I co-wrote the script for the film “The Basket,” I showed the hardships endured by those generations before us to keep the family farm alive. Back then, as it is now, it often took the whole community to come together through back-breaking work, cooperation and even some help from the local banker to keep the business going and food on the table. This type of work ethic is our regional legacy. It’s what gave me the courage to join my friends to start a film production company called North by Northwest Productions in Spokane. We worked together, kept a close watch over our budgets, and never took a vacation until our work was finished.
In my mind, our work ethic guaranteed our success. Why can’t we say the same about the work ethic of our current Congress? Congress has taken more vacation this year than ever before in recorded history. That’s right, including our Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who is part of the leadership who decided to work only 13 days over the last four months. What kind of work ethic is that?
Our Congress is broken, and the greatest example of its dysfunction is the farm bill. The Senate did its job back in July and passed a five year bipartisan version of the farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee did its job and sent its proposal to the full house. The House leadership, who voted against the last farm bill, blocked the bill from reaching the floor. Our Congresswoman could have done her job and signed the discharge petition along with farm-belt Republicans and Democrats to get the bill on to the House floor for consideration, but instead, you know the answer. She took a vacation. Now Congress won't return to session until mid-November.
Agriculture is a $40 billion dollar industry for our state, employing 160,000 people and making up 1/10th of our state’s economy. The farm bill, which supports everything from crop insurance to milk production, ran out on September 30th, after the Republican leadership in the House blocked a bipartisan effort to pass a new law. This goes beyond affecting the farmers. It affects us all when we buy food. For instance if the Farm Bill is not passed by the first of the year, milk prices could skyrocket past $6 a gallon, according to a new CBS News report.
Right now farmers need a five year plan to secure loans at their local bank for next season. Yet our Congress doesn’t feel the need to meet that deadline. I agree passing five year bills is difficult, but many of us Americans face complicated tasks daily and still see the job through. In our daily lives putting off our responsibilities simply is not an option. Unfortunately, our Congress sees putting off its responsibilities as its only option.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the Republican Caucus Vice-Chair, the highest ranking woman in Congress. She could have broken with her Party Leadership and joined other farm state Republicans who did the right thing for their district. Instead she stuck with the Republican House Leadership that voted against the last farm bill. She should have stuck up for us.
In our KSPS-TV debate in October, I asked her why she didn’t take the opportunity on the Farm Bill to “come home a hero.” She responded, “I made my voice clear. I sat down with Speaker Boehner... I’ve written letters making clear my support of the Farm Bill.” Yet, her leadership fell flat.
It begs the question – Where’s Cathy’s interest? Is it in representing us or the Republican Party back in that “other” Washington?
Rich Cowan is best choice for US Congress
By Editorial Board
As of Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Congress is broken.
The Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House are so entrenched in their partisan views that compromise is seen as evil.
As a result, the two political parties have brought the country to the edge of fiscal disaster as they bicker over budget cuts and taxes.
This can’t continue. Change is needed. That change has to come one lawmaker at a time.
We believe Rich Cowan, a Spokane Democrat, is what this nation — and the 5th Congressional District — need.
Incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, has done a solid job in her 10 years in office.
But McMorris Rodgers is a rigid conservative and highly partisan. She has worked across the political aisle on district issues like keeping the VA Medical Center in Walla Walla, but she isn’t willing to compromise on major national issues.
When the nation was on the brink of a financial disaster when the housing bubble burst and banks were at risk, McMorris Rodgers would not vote for the bank bailout or the economic stimulus package. Nor did she offer any alternative. Her lack of action made it clear she was willing to accept economic collapse.
We have great respect for McMorris Rodgers and the hard work she has done. If America was not in such dire fiscal shape, we might think it reasonable for McMorris Rodgers to remain in Congress.
That, however, isn’t the case.
Cowan’s moderate views and pragmatic approach are refreshing.
Sure, he will be on a steep learning curve and it will take some time until he is going full speed. The wait will be worth it.
Cowan has the type of business experience that is needed in Congress. He started his own company, North by Northwest Production, from nothing and built it into a thriving and profitable film company.
Cowan understands the burdens put on small businesses by government and he knows how to make tough decisions. He is extremely bright and knowledgeable about all the major issues facing Congress. His stands on most issues are sound.
He believes the Bush tax cuts about to expire at the end of the year should be maintained for all but those who earn more than $200,000 a year, although he isn’t so entrenched on that dollar amount that he wouldn’t at least listen to other views.
Cowan also believes bailouts prevented economic collapse and that Obamacare isn’t the final solution but merely a step toward improving the nation’s health care.
Again, he’s willing to explore options to find the right solutions to problems.
We recommend voters elect Rich Cowan to Congress.
The internet has been abuzz with the latest comments from Mitt Romney at a Republican Party fundraiser a few month ago. I don't believe the comments besmirch him, my opponent Cathy McMorris Rodgers, or the Republican Party.
It is an opportunity to dissect their thinking. To figure out how they will handle the structural reform needed in the next congress to shore up our safety net. For example, it explains why my opponent believes that Medicare should be a block grant program for individuals that would not rein in the increasing costs of medical spending, and not keep up with inflation.
This election is about two paths: One that leads to reform that honors our elderly and provides a safety net - and a second that provides a go-it-alone/go for broke attitude.
This week, New York Times Columnist David Brooks said it best, "There's no way the country will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn't have the basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own."
Do you stand with me to make a difference in the next Congress? To provide government that focuses on increasing people's opportunities for success - and not a punishing go-it-alone attitude?
I have been blessed with opportunity. Your support in this campaign has given me the opportunity to hold Cathy McMorris Rodgers accountable. We are leading the Letters to the Editor battle four-to-one. And we are going to have two debates in Spokane.
It looks like we are going to have an opportunity .... for a new Congressional Representative.
You're invited to join Rich Cowan at the home of Linda and Tim McHenry (1624 S Latawah St, Spokane) to meet the next Representative from Washington's 5th Congressional District and mingle with other likeminded supporters! Food and drinks will be provided. The program starts at 5:30 on Thursday, August 30, and ends when the last person leaves. Suggested donation of $35. RSVP: email@example.com or (509) 624-4999. We hope to see you there!
Great turnout for the candidate forum hosted by the Spokane chapter of the NAACP. The chapter's concerns are our community's concerns.
I've been travelling around the district, meeting voters and participating in forums, getting ready for the August 7th primary deadline. Be sure to get your ballots in by then!
(Spokane, WA) June 28, 2012 - Congressional Candidate Rich Cowan's (D, WA-5) statement on the United States Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act:
"The Supreme Court did the right thing for our health care today.
In upholding the Affordable Care Act, the decision protects the 180,000 residents of Eastern Washington and the rest of the nation struggling to get insurance, and restores the competitiveness of American business on a global scale.
As a business owner I have experienced first hand how important basic, affordable health care is to employees. And for those who are not working, their lack of medical care is frightening and can be life threatening.
The most vulnerable will no longer be excluded because of pre-existing conditions. Young adults up to age 26 will be able to remain on their parents' insurance. We will have more choices, families and small business will save money, children and seniors will have preventive care with no more co-pays. Most importantly, people can still keep their private insurance and their doctor.
This is a victory for "our Washington." There are parts of this law that can be improved, like cost containment and access issues, but it is time to put aside the partisan bickering and put America back to work."
We had great turnout at the Spokane Area League of Women Voters' candidate forum last night! Thank you to everyone who made it.
Even though only one of my opponents appeared, it was great to finally begin tackling the issues that matter to us all, like preserving Social Security, putting a stop to partisan bickering, and, most importantly, "Jobs Jobs Jobs."
If you weren't able to make it to the forum, watch the replays on CityCable 5. I’d love to hear what you think:
• Monday, June 25 at 1 p.m.
• Wednesday, June 27, at 7 p.m.
• Sunday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m.
• Monday, July 2, at 10:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, July 4, at 7 p.m.
• Wednesday, July 11, at 7 p.m.
• Sunday, July 15, at 6:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, July 25, at 8 p.m.
It will also be posted soon on the CityCable 5 website here.
As Father’s Day approaches, I wanted to share with you two recent proud parent moments. My daughter, Kristin, has just been selected to play Ariel, the lead in the new Disney On Ice show and will soon begin a national tour. My son, Casey, has just graduated from college. I was so proud when I watched him walk across that stage to accept his diploma.
This month high school seniors around the district graduated as well. For some of them, the future my son now enjoys awaits. Sadly, for local graduates the reach to a four-year college is exceedingly difficult - in 2010, far fewer Spokane County students finished a four-year program than those in the rest of the state and the nation.* Now, astonishingly, our current representative is making it even harder for our students to pursue their dreams.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers has lined up yet again with her Republican Party. Instead of helping Eastern Washington, she voted for a GOP budget that doubles the interest rates for over 7 million student loans. She has repeatedly voted for the largest cuts to student aid in history.** And when Democrats tried to reduce loan interest rates, she voted to exclude middle class families. Our students needed her help, not bigger bills.
College is an investment in people, in the human strength that binds and drives our communities and our nation. We cannot deny any American the chance to fulfill his or her potential. I will fight for education so every child in Eastern Washington has that opportunity.
Thanks so much for your support and Happy Father’s Day!
P.S. By 2018, 60% of American jobs will require a college degree. We need to make education a priority now in Eastern Washington. You can help by contributing $100, $50, or $25 now by clicking here: Save our Students!
*Community Indicators 2010
**HR 6049, HR 2669, HR 4241, HRS 653, HR 3010
I got a chance to discuss the future of Medicare and Social Security with more than 100 local AARP members for a couple of hours this morning. The people I met shared many concerns with me: about the alarming state of these retirement programs, about fears for future generations, and about our representation in Congress. They are offended by Republicans who call these programs “entitlements.” These retirees earned the benefits by paying into them throughout their working lives. They are distressed by a looming GOP budget plan that forces them to pay more for less coverage. No question, the programs must be fixed. But we shouldn’t break the promises we made to our seniors to do it. As your Congressman, I will make preserving and improving both Medicare and Social Security a priority.