Incumbent U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has shown herself to be a strong advocate for Walla Walla and the communities she serves in the 5th Congressional District.
McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, was instrumental in getting federal funding for rebuilding and upgrading the Mill Creek Flood Control project that runs through the heart of downtown Walla Walla. She has also been a staunch fighter for keeping the Jonathan M. Wainwright VA Medical Center in Walla Walla.
McMorris Rodgers has taken strong stands against breaching the dams on the lower Snake River and she has advocated for expanding broadband to rural areas.
Her right-of-center politics are in tune with her Eastern Washington district, which is why she was elected in 2004 and then re-elected seven times.
It’s for those reasons we believe she should be re-elected to a ninth term.
However, we do so with frustration that, perhaps ironically, we share with her challenger, Democrat Dave Wilson.
Wilson, who ran against McMorris Rodgers in the past, but as an independent, mounted a late campaign (four months ago) because of her refusal to speak out against President Trump’s “false statements, missteps, and unsteady behavior.”
Two years ago, when also endorsing McMorris Rodgers, we wrote: “One area where we wish McMorris Rodgers was stronger was calling out President Trump on his rants that are too often mean spirited. She winces when she is asked about Trump’s tweets and rhetoric. She should show more leadership in trying to bring civility back to politics, particularly given her stated desire to restore trust in government.”
Still, when it comes to issues like imposing tariffs, McMorris Rodgers has opposed the president.
McMorris Rodgers was in congressional Republican leadership for several years, but stepped away from that role after the last election. She seems to have shifted her focus to more regional issues. She states she took the lead on 37 pieces of legislation over the past two years, eight of which became law. This includes a program that helps connect small- and medium-size farms with surplus crops to local food banks.
Wilson, who made the decision to become a Democrat because of Trump’s antics as president, is a centrist on most issues. He has been a successful business owner in Spokane for decades.
Wilson has a strong understanding of history and politics. His moderate views, as well as his call for incremental change to government policies, fit with the 5th Congressional District.
But we see McMorris Rodgers’ experience — 16 years in Congress as well as her years in the state Legislature, where she became majority leader — as a plus for the district.
McMorris Rodgers is a better choice to serve the people of the district.