District 9 Congress candidates attend election forum

Congressman Adam Smith faced three out of four challengers in a primary election forum Saturday in Federal Way.

The redrawn 9th District stretches from Tacoma in the south to Mercer Island and Bellevue in the north.

More than 75 people attended the July 21 forum, which was sponsored by The Mirror and Federal Way Chamber, and held at Federal Way High School.

Four candidates are challenging Smith, a Democrat, for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The top two finishers in the Aug. 7 primary will face off in the November general election. Learn more at kingcounty.gov/elections.

The candidates

• Adam Smith, a Democrat: Smith was first elected in 1996 to the U.S. House of Representatives. He has served on the House Armed Services Committee in representing a district with a large military population. Smith has had direct involvement with local issues such as the I-5 Triangle Project and potential flooding of the Howard Hanson Dam. Smith has practiced law, and also served in the state Senate from 1991-1996. Info: www.electadamsmith.com.

• Jim Postma, a Republican: The Tacoma entrepreneur lost to incumbent Adam Smith in 2008, garnering 35 percent of the vote. According to his website at www.postma.com, Postma is a former U.S. Air Force officer, simulation and rocket engineer, and businessman involved with investments and consulting. Postma is a resident of Steilacoom and does not live in the 9th Congressional District. Info: www.postma.com.

• Dave Christie, a Democrat: According to his website, Christie has campaigned with Lyndon LaRouche and the slate of LaRouche Democrats to restore the original provisions of the Banking Act of 1933, also known as the Glass-Steagall Law. "I choose to run as a Democrat, in order to fight for a return to the policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy," he says at www.davechristie.us. Christie is a resident of Lake City and does not live in the 9th Congressional District.

• John Orlinski, a Republican: According to his website, Orlinski is based in Bellevue. He taught political science in his native Poland before moving to the United States. Orlinski later earned a master's degree in international studies. He has worked as a financial planner for the Metropolitan Insurance Company, and in 1991, he started working as a refugee social worker for the DSHS in Bellevue. Orlinski said he supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He also supports the election of Mitt Romney for president and Rob McKenna for governor of Washington. Many of Orlinski's answers at the forum were difficult to understand because of his accent. Info: johnorlinski.com.

• Tom Cramer, a Democrat: Cramer ran against U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert in 2010 for the District 8 seat, and is running in the newly configured District 9, which now includes parts of the Eastside. The candidate hails from Redmond. Cramer did not attend the July 21 forum at Federal Way High School. Info: www.tomcramer.org.

Forum overview

The candidates fielded questions from the small audience. Questions ranged from job creation and the economy to foreign policy, specifically involving U.S. military efforts overseas. Candidates also tackled social issues such as same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.


• What is your position on The Buffett Rule?

What do you see as the best approach to job creation, and how do you plan on creating jobs for a new generation of young adults?

Notable quotes/points

• Smith on austerity, which refers to a policy of cutting the deficit by lowering spending: "I do not believe austerity is the solution to our economic problems." Focus should be on infrastructure and jobs, along with a 10-year plan to get the deficit under control.

• Christie on austerity in government: "I don't believe in killing people so I don't believe in austerity."

• Postma on austerity in government: A free market will balance the budget, the government will not. "I propose a Social Security Investment Trust Act" to invest all the welfare taxes in American business, not infrastructure, he said. He claims this will lead to retirees receiving three times the benefits they receive now.

• Jim Postma on The Buffett Rule, which calls for a principle of tax fairness, especially on those who make more than $1 million a year: "Every time you take some money away from a rich man, you're taking capital away from capitalism that provides jobs. Every time you tax the rich, that's one more, two more, three more jobs that are going to disappear. Poor people don't provide jobs. Rich people do. … It's not an attack on the rich. It's an attack on the American capitalist system. The people who want to tax the rich are the people that want all the capital to go to the government. They want to destroy our free economy and they want to run everything as their business. Definitely, I am against taxing the rich. As far as the current tax laws, I think they're fairly fair." He said the inheritance tax is "the biggest jobs killer we've got."

• Christie: "The whole system is chock full of bogus financial paper." The only solution at this point is the Glass–Steagall Act, he said.

• Postma on raising minimum wage: "It's a fair amount right now." He wouldn't change it, and he says a higher minimum wage decreases jobs.

• Smith on minimum wage: "I support increases in minimum wage." He says it's a myth that raising minimum wage will decrease jobs. Economic success comes when people have access to a good job and decent wages.

• Christie: Supports much higher minimum wage. "The crisis right now is not a monetary crisis. The real crisis is one of physical economic reduction."

• Postma: The government has put the nation at war without declaring war, which in the end has hampered U.S. forces overseas. He supports proper declaration of war.

• Smith on the Middle East: "We're always going to have to pay attention to that region and try to contain the threat that comes out of there." He supports "keeping supply routes open" and getting U.S. troops out.

• Christie on the National Defense Authorization Act: "What we need to do immediately is impeach Obama." He wants to "repeal all these fascist laws" such as this act and the Patriot Act.

• Smith on health care: He strongly supports universal access to health care. "The need for health care is critical." Affordable Care Act far from perfect, but at its core principle, "we have to have a system that gives everybody the opportunity for care." The key going forward is cost control.

• Christie on the Affordable Care Act: "The American people were put through a fraud with this thing. It is a bailout for the HMOs and private insurance cartels." He advocates for a single-payer system that establishes standards for adequate hospitals and access.

• Orlinksi: "I think Obamacare was forced on us in the wrong fashion."

• Postma on health care: We need a system that is affordable." It keeps going up because government keeps interfering, he said, and the more government gets involved, the higher the prices.

• Smith on gun control: Reasonable restrictions make sense. "The right to keep and bear arms doesn't mean the right to own your own tank."

• Postma on gun control: No restrictions because of the Second Amendment.


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