Congressional candidates DelBene, Reichert, share views with Kent Chamber

Congressional challenger Suzan DelBene, left, and incumbent Dave Reichert make their respective cases in front of the Kent Chamber of Commerce Oct. 12. - Photo montage by Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter
Congressional challenger Suzan DelBene, left, and incumbent Dave Reichert make their respective cases in front of the Kent Chamber of Commerce Oct. 12.
— image credit: Photo montage by Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter

Democratic challenger Suzan DelBene believes her work experience gives her an advantage over U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, as both 8th Congressional District candidates aim to try to create more jobs and get the economy back on track.

DelBene, of Medina, in her first run for elected office, told about a dozen people at a Kent Chamber of Commerce candidates meeting Tuesday that her background as a Microsoft vice president, a drugstore.com vice president and Nimble Technology president gives her the experience needed to be effective in Congress.

"Real-world experience is important," DelBene said. "You do not have to rely on what others tell you. I believe I can have an impact."

Reichert, the former King County Sheriff, hopes to be elected Nov. 2 to his fourth two-year term. He told the chamber group he knows jobs and the economy are the primary issues for people and that he plans to help make more jobs available with fewer taxes against businesses and individuals.

"There's an uncertainty about what tax will we be hit with next," Reichert told the chamber group. "We should not increase taxes on anyone. The current tax brackets (due to expire the end of 2010) should be extended through next year and beyond. January 2011 should not be the sunset."

The candidates did not appear at the same time at the chamber meeting. DelBene spoke for the first 30 minutes. After DelBene left, Reichert arrived and talked for 30 minutes.

District 8 stretches from Bellevue to Eatonville along the eastern sides of King and Pierce counties and covers the East Hill of Kent, Covington and much of Auburn and Renton.

DelBene emphasized a platform that includes government playing a larger role to oversee financial institutions.

"We need to have a banking system we can trust," DelBene said. "Capital is not flowing to small businesses. It has been two years since we started the recession and the recovery has been delayed until we have more certainty for venture investments. We need to feel comfortable we will not end up where we were before."

When asked about how she would control the financial-service industry that spent so much government bailout money on executive bonuses, DelBene responded that more government controls are needed.

"Any industry that has government money, the government can say how the money is used," she said. "We didn't tell them what to do, so they increased bonuses. The government should have done a better job."

Reichert wasn't asked about the executive bonuses, but emphasized that to get the economy going again the government needs to back off about how large a role it plays with businesses.

"The banks tell me they have money to loan but they are not ready to loan," Reichert said. "We need to lighten up on restrictions. The pendulum has swung from where everyone can get a loan to where no one can get a loan."

Reichert said the new health-care reform bill also includes tax-code revisions that require businesses to file more 1099 tax forms for transactions.

"It creates tremendous burden on small businesses and even larger businesses because they are going to have to hire people to manage the forms," he said. "And then the IRS will hire more agents to manage the bureaucracy."

Each candidate also spoke about potential trade agreements between the U.S. and other countries that could help boost jobs in this state.

DelBene pointed out that trade agreements need to be strong as far as what other businesses in other countries are allowed to do in terms of human rights, labor rights and environmental impacts.

"We need to make that part of the agreement," she said.

Reichert said he believes Congress needs to move more quickly to at least vote on proposed trade agreements by the president with South Korea, Columbia and Panama.

"Let us vote on an agreement and if it's bad we can send it back to the White House to renegotiate," Reichert said.

For more information about the candidates, go to www.davereichert.com or delbeneforcongress.com.

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