Editor note: A Meet and Greet for Jason Call will be held Tuesday, July 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm , at the Squalicum Boathouse, 2600 N Harbor Loop in Bellingham.
Why Vote Jason Call for Congress:
Jason Call is running for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District against incumbent Rick Larsen; this primary is key to that campaign, and ballots will drop in the mail July 13th. Jason will fight for the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, Climate Action, fair trade, racial and gender equity, housing as a human right, criminal justice reform, rethinking policing, and an end to endless wars. As a math teacher, musician, lifelong peace activist, and former Washington Democratic Party central committee member, Jason is a refreshing alternative to the incumbent who has voted consistently to fund the Pentagon over human needs. Jason’s campaign consists completely of individual donations.
Wall Street vs. Main Street:
Rick Larsen is a corporate Democrat who’s been in Congress since 2001, 21 years. Larsen voted against regulating big banks, and in fact, in 2018 he voted to weaken the Dodd-Frank Amendment. Earlier, in 2004, when he voted for the credit card industry’s bankruptcy bill, it cost him the endorsement of the Whatcom Democrats. Larsen voted for the George Bush repeal of the estate tax, and during the Obama years he joined the Tea Party to further cut programs in the name of “deficit reduction.” He also favored a tort reform bill that limited consumer’s rights to sue for damages or medical malpractice.
Climate and coal terminal:
Larsen’s history of involvement with the Gateway Pacific Terminal (the defeated Cherry Point coal terminal) goes back to February 2011, when he said, “I am pleased to see an in-district company making a major private investment in our nation’s export infrastructure.” In 2015, it was reported that Larsen supported an amendment that would allow reviewers to disregard concerns brought forward by Lummi Nation regarding the development’s violation of treaty rights. The amendment was agreed upon by voice vote. Democrat Frank Pallone of New Jersey rose against the amendment specifically identifying its violation of treaty rights the Lummi Nation has with the U.S. Finally, in 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers declared that indeed, the GPT did violate their rights, but Lummi Nation got no help from their own Congressional representative, Larsen, who was busy palling around with donors who sought to profit off the project. Larsen’s PAC donors include: SSA Marine: $6,000 by 2011, followed by $28,000 since; and Goldman Sachs: $5,000 in 2011. Goldman Sachs had been an investor in the GPT until major protests signaled its demise.
Starting with a series of votes in 2001, Larsen has helped keep the U.S. from becoming a member of the International Criminal Court. According to Wikipedia, “…the ICC is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression." Further, Larsen consistently voted to fund the Iraq War, even as constituents pressured him to take a stand against it. In 2005, he voted against ending the war, and voted for a resolution “to express the commitment... to achieving victory in Iraq.” Not coincidentally, he received at least $635,500 from 38 companies with PACs linked to the military-industrial complex: Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Raytheon, United Technologies, Honeywell, Boeing, and multiple others. He gives unwavering support to Israel, to whom Boeing sells fighter jets for its war on the Palestinians, and voted for Mike Pence’s amendment against humanitarian aid to the later. In 2020, he attended an American Israeli Public Affairs Committee conference that was later determined to have been a “super-spreader” event. A staff volunteer has admitted that after peace activists leave Larsen’s office, he makes fun of them.
Since 2014, a majority of Larsen’s funding has come from corporate sources, including $15,000 from Koch Industries; $1000 each from two tobacco companies; and at least $433,699 from the fossil fuel industry; including BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Marathon Oil, and others. In 2011, he voted to undermine federal gasoline emissions regulations. By 2014, he voted to cut the EPA budget by $8.5 million and instead redirect that money to grants for police.
Free Trade vs. Fair Trade:
Rick was a staunch supporter of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a “trade agreement” written in secret by 600 corporations, many of whom are his donor base. This treaty proposed to give corporations the power to sue governments for regulations that interfered with their right to make a profit in any participating member nation. Though the entire Democratic base, all labor unions, and environmental groups such as Sierra Club opposed this measure, Rick would not be moved. Therefore, we were forced to hold a sit-in in his office. The TPP was ultimately defeated by the Trump election. However, when Trump re-wrote the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as promised, it was worse than the original. Rick supported NAFTA 2.0 - “TrumpTrade,” as well as the TPP, (though most likely the Donald had been elected because of bad trade agreements that outsourced good American jobs to slave labor countries).
Larsen has always opposed single-payer or Medicare for All, given his many donors from the private insurance sector. He recently posted a photo of himself hobnobbing with insurance company lobbyists in D.C.! Yet tens of thousands of people died in the pandemic due to lack of insurance. As a retired Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP), I am speechless at this hubris. Here are a few of his pro-insurance donors: American Dental Association - $55,500, Premera Blue Cross - $35,000, McKessen (pharmaceutical and medical supply corporation) - $34,500, American Hospital Association - $31,000, American Medical Association - $23,000. My source is the Federal Elections Commission.
On every occasion I have met with Rick Larsen, I have come away angry and discouraged. Perhaps the worst episode was a get-together of the 4th Corner Coalition, made up of Whatcom Peace and Justice, Community to Community (farmworker justice), Occupy Bellingham, and Veterans for Peace. One of the issues we raised was comprehensive immigration reform. Larsen had previously voted for a watered down version, and when Edgar Franks from Community to Community introduced his more comprehensive bill, Larsen looked at him and said, “Why can’t YOU PEOPLE get your act together?” Meaning, why can’t they be just as neoliberal as One America (an immigrant rights non-profit) whose requests are minimal. My biggest regret is not walking out with Edgar after that insult.
I have been targeted by Larsen’s sarcasm as well over the years, and especially irritated by his “pivot trick.” That is, when you bring up a subject, he redirects the conversation back to you, which thereby avoids the point. For example: In February 2014, our 4th Corner Coalition wanted to know why the U.S. was installing a neo-Nazi government in Kiev, which would be certain to provoke a Russian response and cause undue suffering to the Ukrainian people (a position in hindsight that was prophetic). Larsen turned to me and said, “Do you know anyone that’s Ukrainian?” Before I could answer, “Yes, I work with a Ukrainian doctor,” Larsen butted in, pivoted the conversation, and wouldn’t let me finish.
We need a representative who represents us. Vote Jason Call for Congress. https://www.callforcongress.com/