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Smith faces mixed bag of challengers for Congress seat
Dave Christie, a Lake City resident, is running against Adam Smith on a platform of impeaching President Obama and restoring the financial tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
John Orlinski, a Polish native, has been working in Bellevue as a social worker since the early 1990s. He believes that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was forced on the country and avidly supports Mitt Romney and Rob McKenna.
Jim Postma, who has run against Congressman Smith in the past, believes that the current administration is leading the country “...into a brave new world of socialist control. With government doctors, government hospitals, and government teachers.”
Adam Smith said that he would be the best candidate for the 9th District. He has lived his whole life in the district, and believes that he has a strong connection to the community. “I understand the blue collar family. There's a bigger gap between the haves and the have-nots in this country and we are losing the middle class,” he said.
On July 21, the Federal Way Mirror and Federal Way Chamber of Commerce hosted a congressional forum for candidates in the 9th District.
Of the five candidates running for office, four attended last Saturday's forum at Federal Way High School: Dave Christie, a LaRouche Democrat, Republicans Jim Postma and John Orlinski, and Congressman Adam Smith (D). The fifth candidate — Tom Cramer — was not present. (see voters pamphlet)
Each candidate was given two minutes for an opening statement before answering the audience-submitted questions.
Jim Burbidge, moderator for the candidate forum, reminded them that there was a time constraint of one minute for answers. He began with a question made all the more real due to the events in a Colorado movie theater last Friday.
Is it time for more modest gun control?
“It was a tragedy, what happened in Colorado, but the issue should be left up to the states to decide,” said Orlinski.
Postma went a step further. “Any high schooler knows you can bear arms. If I were in the audience, I would have wanted a gun to shoot this guy.”
Congressman Smith acknowledged the citizen's right to bear arms as a part of the Second Amendment, but that does not mean one has the right to own a tank or a helicopter.
“Firearms don't necessarily make us safer, in the case of Colorado many other factors affected that situation — including mental health issues,” he said.
Christie didn't address gun control laws, but rather blamed the military programming within the popular first person shooter games being played by today's youth.
“Why are children in this mindset of violence? It is a reflection of a society that has disintegrated.”
Later, the candidates were asked about their views on same-sex marriage, yet another hot topic for Washington state.
As a whole, this is an issue where the candidates all agreed.
Orlinski said that as a social worker, it was his job to make people happier and therefore he is not against same-sex marriage.
Postma confessed that he is a straight man, but can also understand that other people want the right to do what they would like to do. “I'm also pro-life,” he added before his time was up.
“I'm a strong supporter of this matter,” said Congressman Smith. “It comes down to the basic issue of equal rights.”
Christie adopted a slight Southern drawl and said, “Well, they have the right to be just as miserable as the rest of us.”
The inevitable marijuana question made it into the forum on Saturday. Should medical marijuana be legalized on a federal level?
“The drug mafia of the last few decades have become the drug capitalists,” said Christie. He also said that instead of legalizing the drug, the people should do away with it, claiming that society is better off without drugs.
Orlinski affirmed that he has never used drugs, but that he supports decriminalization – which would be similar to a traffic infraction if caught possessing the drug.
Postma gave an anecdote about a vacation he took to Vancouver, B.C. – where marijuana is legal. In a joking manner, he began to mock the issue.
“Medical marijuana is a shame,” he added. “We shouldn't legalize it, if we did there would be no drug lords but we would have this happy day society.”
“I support the legalization of marijuana for medicinal use,” said Congressman Smith. “But I struggle with general legalization.”
He said that he wouldn't support outright legalization yet, but readily admitted that the nation's current drug policy isn't working and is far from effective.
After fielding many more questions, each candidate was afforded an additional two minutes for closing statements.
Orlinski said that he was running because he doesn't like what is happening in Washington, D.C., and that the country needs to elect Mitt Romney and this state needs Rob McKenna.
“I want a smaller government,” he said. “Washington has too many lawyers and bankers. They could use a social worker.”
Postma took the opportunity to say that the Obama administration has increased taxes and regulations, which is crippling American business. He said they were taking the capital out of capitalism.
“You really have two choices,” said Postma. “You can choose Obama and Smith and be poor or choose Postma and prosper.”
Adam Smith addressed his long tenure as Congressman for the 9th District, and said that his experience made him the most qualified to represent the district.
“We need a middle class approach and a demand based economy,” he said. “I will let your voice be heard, I come from here and I know what it's like.”
Lastly, Christie said that it was more important to speak of principals and not party politics. He said that neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney deserve to be candidates and that his goal is to have Obama out of office by September of this year.
“We need a real Democrat in there.”