Her name means “good friends” in Italian and as a result of a meeting with the Clatsop County’s Democratic Central Committee, state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici may have made some Monday night.
Bonamici is one of 13 candidates for the 1st Congressional District House of Representatives seat, seeking to replace David Wu, who resigned amid a sex scandal last month.
She met with the Democratic Committee at the Blue Scorcher Bakery in Astoria, the second candidate to meet with the group, following Brad Avakian. At the meeting, she said Thursday will mark two weeks since she’s announced her candidacy, and her campaign has already raised $300,000 in cash and pledges.
“I would be a strong voice for progressive values and do what I could to reflect those values in Washington,” she said. “It is my plan to be a strong leader, compromise when I can without sacrificing progressive values.”
One attendee asked her why she felt she was a better candidate than Avakian, the state labor commissioner. But Bonamici said her campaign will be a positive one and she does not want a vote based on what she says about another candidate.
She also does not want a vote because she is a woman.
“Emily’s List and a couple of other national women’s organization are paying attention to the race,” Bonamici said. “Some of you may have noticed that our entire congressional delegation is all male. So there is some national attention on the race and I want people to understand I don’t want people to vote for me because I am a woman. That’s not the reason I want their vote.
“I want people to vote for me because of my record, because of my ideas, because of my values and because of the work that I have done and will do. That being said, I think it’s important to have diversity in our congressional delegation.”
Bonamici introduced herself to the group of about 20 and spoke about her history in government that led her to where she is today, including journalism school, law school, the Federal Trade Commission, working with consumer rights and protection, and as a mother, her work with education.
“I’m firmly committed to public education and I believe that it’s very critical to our communities,” she said. “I have been very concerned about some of the education policy that is being decided at the federal level and that’s another reason why I am excited to get to congress because a lot of what happens at the state level has been dictated at the federal level, like No Child Left Behind.”
Bonamici said she is against the duplicative or unnecessary mandates placed on teachers and the standardized testing that takes time away from teaching to be spent on paperwork.
“It’s important to get rid of unnecessary mandates so that our teachers can teach,” she said. “I believe that we should have very high standards and accountability for students. But that doesn’t mean filling in bubbles on standardized tests.”
Bonamici took questions on a variety of topics. On consensus, she said she will not compromise on being a progressive Democrat, and her track record of voting in the Legistaure shows she is a progressive. But, she also noted that nothing can pass with just Democratic votes.
On liquified natural gas, Bonamici said she has “very serious concerns” with the issue. She is against nuclear energy and a strong proponent of clean, renewable energy.
On lobbyists, she said she won’t turn them away and will listen to their issues, but would never vote based on campaign contributions. Money and politics are a big problem, she said.
“I’m going to adhere to the way I have conducted myself at the state level. I have a very open mind in terms of wanting to hear all points of view. But I make my decisions based on policy, based on the values that I have and based on my constituents and what is best for them, for the state and for the nation, ” she said.