This election year, Cathy McMorris Rodgers has two opponents in the race for the congressional 5th district seat: Christopher Armitage, a Democrat, and Rob Chase, a Republican.
Armitage is an Air Force veteran who has a master’s degree in Homeland Security and an undergraduate degree in criminal justice. Chase served in the Army Reserve and has a degree in operations management from Eastern Washington University. The Gazette sat down with these two candidates to find out how they would be handling the current pandemic situation.
Gazette: What do you think could have been done differently to prevent pandemic in Washington State?
Armitage: “Earlier quarantine and gathering of emergency supplies and tests. Our campaign has released a federally focused COVID 19 Response Plan.” The Armitage campaign’s four-page outline entitled “COVID-19 Mobilization Plan” includes: detailed steps for nationalizing the medical supply chain using the Defense Production Act, creating tens of thousands of jobs for those losing theirs by heavily subsidizing or even temporarily nationalizing the renewable energy industry, creating a new Joint Task Force or the 1st Homefront Support Wing, airline bailout plans, and foreign relations.
Chase: “It sounds like it’s something out of our hands – sounds like it originated in China. And so about all you can do is be more prepared for that. I think that one thing that might have hurt us is just-in-time inventory methods. They’ve been around for quite a while, several decades now, so I think we should have safety stocks of certain things we might need in the future, and that’s the only other thing.” Chase thinks the president should have a committee, perhaps the Department of Health, to make recommendations on what types of items should be strategically stockpiled.
Gazette: With so many people out of work, would you support universal basic income and Medicare for all?
Armitage: “I support UBI regardless due to automation rapidly increasing, same for universal healthcare.” In regards to healthcare, he said, “If you own a company, and you see every other company is doing something for less money, and, that they seem to have better outcomes because the United States is not in the top 30 for most positive health outcomes when it comes to other industrialized countries, then maybe it’s time to say, ‘what are they doing right?’”
Chase: “I don’t think that’s a good idea, universal basic income. I read Andrew Yang’s book … I thought he had a lot of good questions on it, but I don’t think it’s constitutional to have universal basic income and I think people need to be independent and need to be able to rely on themselves too. And I think what he was saying was that we need to have it because technology is going to put a lot of people out of jobs. Well I’ve lost my jobs a few times because things changed: Hewlett Packard said they didn’t need me anymore, you know, mining/smelting industry didn’t need me anymore, so you just tighten your belt and move on. That’s just what life is. If you want job security, become a plumber or a carpenter or something but also … I’m all about personal responsibility and life is a roller coaster and there are ups and downs and I think sometimes things like that make you grow.” On healthcare, Chase responded with, “No, that’s at the state level. There should be no healthcare. … There’s nothing about health, education, or welfare in the federal constitution. Those things belong to the states.”
Gazette: What actions would you take to protect and help boost small business to recover from this pandemic?
Armitage: “Massive government contracts directed towards small businesses with minimal red tape.”
Chase: “That would be just follow the constitution … It wasn’t just the corona virus [that] was actually the black swan. It could have been anything, but we were already in trouble before that.”
Gazette: Do you believe the president has the legal authority to lockdown the nation for pandemics or other emergencies?
Armitage: “If it saves millions of lives, then instituting national emergency procedures becomes necessary.”
Chase: “I say yes, Congress is required to repel invasions amongst other things and the president is commander in chief, so this isn’t like any other enemy we’ve seen before, but it is an enemy and that’s the purpose of government is to protect us from enemies foreign and domestic.”
Gazette: What changes would you like to see to the tax code in regard to businesses of all sizes?
Armitage: “Lower taxes for the smallest businesses compared to the largest, government contract prioritization with clear and accessible instructions and minimal bureaucracy.”
Chase: “I think just at the federal level, I’d like to see a either a flat tax or a consumption tax or maybe even a uniform tariff reciprocity and that would definitely give us the amount of money to lower taxes but also the amount of money to fulfill our constitutional duties under the constitution.”
You can learn more about Christopher Armitage at https://armitageforcongress.com/, and more about Rob Chase at https://electrobchase.com/. Unless things change, the primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, August 4, 2020.