Record columnist Roger Ledbetter and Congressional District 8 Rep. Kim Schrier pose for a photo before the Womxn’s March in Seattle. Photo courtesy of Roger Ledbetter

Record columnist Roger Ledbetter and Congressional District 8 Rep. Kim Schrier pose for a photo before the Womxn’s March in Seattle. Photo courtesy of Roger Ledbetter

OPNION: Chatting with Congresswoman Schrier

Local columnist recounts experience at Womxn’s March in Seattle.

  • Friday, February 1, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

By Roger Ledbetter

Special to the Record

Jan. 19 was the third annual Womxn’s March, and my wife and I wanted to go. I invited my son’s girlfriend, Emily, to go with us. Like most young people, she is getting started in life. With a degree in Sociology, she is currently searching for meaningful employment. I doubted she would want to march with old folks. To my surprise, she said she would “love” to go.

Exiting our car to catch our bus for the march, I noticed a group of people talking with Congresswoman Kim Schrier. Schrier wore an appropriately pink hat with kitty-ears. I listened in.

Sacrificing peaceful family life, Rep. Schrier jumped into the middle of a mess in Congress, arriving during a government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall.

I told Rep. Schrier there was an attack on her in The Stranger. She said, “That…was a nasty attack.”

In the Stranger Rich Smith published an article: “Rep. Kim Schrier is Starting to Sound Like Dino Rossi about the Wall.” That’s below-the-belt to Rep. Schrier. Facebook postings expressed disappointment about her “caving” in on the wall. Some worried her compassionate nature would result in protecting federal employees too quickly. One person commented “appeasement” doesn’t work.

On Q13, Rep. Schrier had said she “hadn’t decided yet” about the wall. Smith contacted her staff, receiving a similar statement. To Smith, it sounded like Rossi wiggling out of answering a question.

Rep. Schrier told me she hadn’t wanted to shut down negotiations with an absolute “No.” After speaking with our representative, Smith wrote a second story: “Rep. Schrier Clarifies Her Position on Funding Trump’s Wall.” He quotes Rep. Schrier, “Imagine, for a moment, that there was an option for $5 billion for his wall, and in exchange we got comprehensive immigration reform. Imagine we got permanent legal status for Dreamers, a path to citizenship for 11 million people, improvements to our H2A program, and improvements to the H1B program that would create an easier path toward green cards and citizenship. I would also like to see families kept together and not in jails. I would like to see adequate staffing at our borders and more immigration judges so that refugees get their appropriate respect and due process. And I would like common sense border security, which would include beefing up security at our ports.”

I said $5.7 billion was a lot of money and could do a lot of good things like fixing Flint’s water system. “Or it could fund SNAP,” Schrier replied. With 41 suspected terrorists arrested on the northern border vs. 6 on the southern, the wall seemed less practical than political.

Rep. Schrier said, “It’s not about money.” She explained the shutdown was costing $1 billionevery week. In six weeks, it would equal what Trump demanded. Our representative said there is a constitutional principal at stake. Our Constitution separated the powers of government to prevent creating an all-powerful king. Expenditure allocation went to Congress, not the president. Trump’s shutdown was making Congress superfluous. I said, “Trump could come back in a year and demand more.” Schrier corrected me, “No, he could come back in 2 months, when the debt ceiling comes again.”

Waving for my wife and Emily to come over, I said I wanted to introduce Schrier to my son’s girlfriend. Schrier replied, “I can go over there.”

Suddenly, Schrier was mentoring a young woman, describing her new job, the shut down and the difficulty of representing a purple district. Phone calls to Schrier were evenly for and against the wall.

I mentioned many people felt unrepresented by Rep. Reichert, and I understood she represents everyone. I said, “You can’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.” She agreed.

Boarding the bus, our chat ended. Smaller than the last two years, the march still gave me inspiration and hope. People were friendly, and creative with their signs.

Walking past an old woman, we noticed her being interviewed. Someone in the crowd said she was 95 years old, and had marched in protest against Hitler. I thought, “Wow, I hope I can still do that when I’m 95.”

Then I thought, “I really hope I don’t have to.”

Roger Ledbetter is a politically-active resident of the Valley. He and his family have lived in Snoqualmie since 1979. Contact Roger Ledbetter through the editor by email: editor@valleyrecord.com.

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