Questions for candidates: Marie Gluesenkamp Perez

By OPB staff (OPB)
Oct. 24, 2022 1 p.m.
Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez, a graduate of Reed College and small business owner, is a Democrat running for Congress in Washington State's 3rd Congressional District.

Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez, a graduate of Reed College and small business owner, is a Democrat running for Congress in Washington State's 3rd Congressional District.

Jenna Deml / OPB

Editor’s Note: Washington’s 3rd Congressional District was held for the past decade-plus by Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. That was until she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump. Republican Joe Kent and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp were each able to pull votes from the congresswoman’s political flanks and unseat her in the primary. Now, they face off in the midterms. OPB reached out to both candidates to get their views on issues that are top of mind for voters this November. Here are the responses from Gluesenkamp Perez.


How accessible do you find voting in Washington?

Here in Washington State, we have a vote-by-mail system that works well and boosts participation in our elections. We’ve been voting by mail in Washington State for 15-plus years, without any significant issues. Contrary to the false claims of my opponent, who calls for eliminating mail voting, vote-by-mail has proven itself to be safe and secure, with built-in safeguards like signature verification. There has been no credible evidence — none whatsoever — of any significant fraud in our elections (so no, Loren Culp did not win the governor’s race in 2020, as my opponent claims).

Our democracy is currently under threat because extremists like Joe Kent refuse to accept the outcomes of legitimate elections and because they seek to restrict the ability of many Americans to exercise their right to vote. I’ll stand strong to protect the integrity of our elections systems and protect our democracy from attacks like we witnessed on January 6th, instead of encouraging and excusing such assaults the way my opponent does. He calls the January 6th insurrectionists “political prisoners” and claims the events of that day were a conspiracy by U.S. intelligence agencies. Southwest Washington needs a member of Congress, not a conspiracy theorist.

I’ll also add that I’m running to take on politicians who are bought and paid for by large corporations who refuse to pay their fair share while working families who follow the rules fall further behind. I’m not taking a dime of corporate PAC money, and I will put people over profits. I like to get my hands dirty fixing things, not working the system for special interests or self-enrichment.

Do you believe there was widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election?

Of course not. We had a free and fair election in 2020, one in which Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump nationally, and Jay Inslee defeated Loren Culp by double digits here in Washington State. That my opponent refuses to admit this, and instead claims repeatedly that the election was stolen and that Trump and Culp won is frankly dangerous, irresponsible, and disqualifying. And it’s not just that he pushes these sorts of conspiracy theories rhetorically — he’s also signed on as a plaintiff in a series of frivolous, crackpot lawsuits directed at non-partisan county-level public servants who oversee our elections. He even went on Steve Bannon’s podcast multiple times as the votes from the August primary this year were being tallied, where they insinuated the results were fraudulent, right up until the day the late counts turned in his favor.

Joe Kent’s attack on the foundations of our free and fair elections, without any shred of credible evidence, is not a little thing. It is a full frontal assault on the foundations of our democracy and our elections system. As a people, we believe in the rule of law, and the peaceful transfer of power after the voters have spoken is the cornerstone of our republic. Electing MAGA fringe conspiracy theorists like Joe Kent who refuse to ever admit their side has lost an election is a recipe for chaos, violence and constitutional crisis. That’s a big part of the reason I decided to run — to stand up to the dangerous political delusions advanced by extremists like Joe.

What is one policy you’d advocate for in Congress to reduce the effects of inflation in your district?

Too many of our elected leaders are wealthy enough to be insulated from the impacts the rising cost of living has on working families like mine. I know exactly what it’s like to struggle to keep up with the rising costs of food, gas, housing and prescription drugs. As the co-owner of an auto repair and machine shop, I know how tough it’s been to navigate this economy. Like so many working Washingtonians, we do our best to stay ahead of bills, but right now we can’t even afford health insurance. We take our son to work with us because child care — when you can find it at all — is unaffordable.

It’s going to take actions on multiple fronts to bring inflation back under control, but the first policy I’d pursue is to bring down gas prices by holding gas companies, which are making record profits right now, accountable for the choices they make. We must make large corporations pay their fair share and stop price gouging.


What are the biggest impacts of climate change on Southwest Washington, and what actions would you take in office to address them?

Climate change is real, and it is having profound effects on our weather patterns, which impacts key economic sectors like agriculture and forestry. We need to transition away from a fossil fuel economy and that will require major ongoing investments in developing clean energy sources like hydro, wind and solar power, but that isn’t going to happen by just announcing a transition to all-electric by a certain date.

I fix cars for a living, cars that run on gas, so I know that transitioning is going to be no easy task. Where is the investment in building the infrastructure necessary to support a clean energy economy? Some of that is happening now, via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. But this is another way that rural America is getting left behind. I live in a very rural part of the district, in Skamania County. There isn’t an electric charging station for miles from my home. Where’s the infrastructure investment around here and in other rural areas of our district? I’ll work to secure those investments and bring the necessary resources back to Southwest Washington so that we can actually make progress on addressing the threat posed by climate change.

How do you envision you can best help the economy in Southwest Washington, particularly as it relates to natural resources and extractive industries (e.g. commercial fishing and logging)?

For one thing, I know from my personal experience that it’s not easy to run a small business in America right now. We have to navigate the SBA, OSHA, the IRS, the EPA, local permitting and licensing; deliver quality, affordable service to our customers and most importantly — recruit and retain the best employees. So I’ll work to reduce that sort of bureaucracy and red tape that is drowning small businesses and creating barriers to opening new ones.

Also, we need political leadership that respects the trades. I will use my experience creating my family business to support American manufacturing. When our local machine shop planned to shut down due to the retirement of their machinists and lack of available apprentices we took proactive steps to keep that equipment in service and bought out the shop. We need to retool our economy to make things here again, and provide the family wage jobs you can buy a house with. In Congress, I’ll work to boost American manufacturing that will strengthen our economy, create good jobs, and reduce our dependence on hostile trading partners like China.

As for forestry, I come from a long line of loggers. We farm trees in Southwest Washington, and we need to do more of it. It’s vital to our economic well-being. So I’ll push Congress to promote the use of renewable paper and cardboard for packaging rather than environment-killing plastics. That will create good-paying jobs here at home and ensure our local economy is strong for decades into the future. Our fishing sector is a vital industry for our coastal communities, and the tribal nations located in Southwest Washington have been fishing here since time immemorial. I’ll collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure the sustainability and resiliency of fishing for generations to come.

What do you think Congress’s role is, if any, in addressing gun violence in America? Do you support any legislation that would regulate the public’s access to firearms?

Gun violence is taking a terrible toll in America right now. Mass shootings have become a regular occurrence in our country. I think about the violence we see in places like Uvalde, Texas as the mother of a toddler who will attend public schools someday soon. So we do need to take actions to reduce this senseless violence.

I am also a gun owner myself, as is everyone I know who lives around me. Guns are a part of life in rural America, and I support the 2nd Amendment. That doesn’t mean we can’t take commonsense actions that don’t infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners. I support raising the age to purchase an assault weapon from 18 to 21. The bipartisan gun law that passed Congress earlier this summer, which was designed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous or mentally ill people, was a good model. I support a better system of background checks, and I’ll strive to work across the aisle to find common ground and make progress on reducing gun violence.

Southwest Washington has been a frequent site for political extremism in recent years. Why do you think that is, and what is Congress’ role in addressing it?

If you want to see political extremism in the district, you need to look no further than my opponent. It’s not just that he claims the 2020 election was stolen. He says we are at “war” with federal law enforcement and has repeatedly called for defunding the FBI. He supports and praises the people being prosecuted for engaging in violence against police officers at the Capitol on January 6. He had a consultant on his campaign payroll who self-identified as a Proud Boy, he is closely allied to the head of Patriot Prayer, he met with and tweeted in defense of a white supremacist leader. He routinely demonizes anyone who doesn’t 100 percent agree with his extreme views, including other Republicans, like those who supported Jaime Herrera Beutler.

So if we want to reject extremism in the 3rd Congressional District, we should start by rejecting it at the ballot box this November! Voters of all parties need to send a message that there’s no place in our politics for extremists who preach anger and division, and who have no interest in listening to or trying to find common ground with those who aren’t exactly like them.

Do you believe Congress should take action on abortion access following the overturning of Roe v. Wade? What action should they take?

We need to protect the autonomy of women to make their own medical decisions. This is very personal for me. In 2020 I miscarried and had to rush to a clinic to get care. My story is not uncommon, and if my opponent got his way lifesaving medical procedures would be banned. Joe Kent has taken the most hardline, extreme position imaginable, calling for a total national abortion ban with no exceptions for ANY REASON, including rape, incest or even saving the life of the mother. If he had his way, I might never have been able to give birth to my son, or worse. So yes, if elected I will fight to ensure that women have the freedom to choose for themselves what’s best for their lives and their families.