How do Republican candidates respond to Trump’s ‘blatant anti-immigrant rhetoric’?

Federal Way City Council candidates Linda Kochmar and Mark Koppang respond to resident’s question.

Question: I’ve taught high school in Federal Way for 11 years to students whose families hailed from all over the world. Thus, it upsets me when I see the leader of the Republican Party tell duly-elected representatives, women of color, three of whom were born in this country, to “go back” to the countries from which their families originate if they don’t like the direction our country is going. I see the rising tide of nativism in the Republican Party, kick-started by the president, and all of this makes me wonder about the Republican Party in Federal Way. I wonder about the two Republicans running for City Council: Linda Kochmar and Mark Koppang.

I know that council is a non-partisan race, but both candidates are registered Republicans and in a city of immigrants like Federal Way, I feel as though there are some things we need to know about these candidates: How do they respond to the blatant anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from the head of their party? How far would the president have to go before these candidates felt that they could no longer remain in the party?

Stephen Austin II

Linda Kochmar: While I appreciate Mr. Austin’s comments in the Mirror, I believe he may be making assumptions that are not accurate. As an emergency substitute teacher for the Federal Way Public Schools, I am very aware of the diversity in our schools and have been for a long time. In fact, when I was a legislator, I voted for breakfast before the bell and and after the bell to make sure that all our students were properly fed and prepared to learn. I also voted in favor of the DACA program to allow all students to compete for college scholarships. In addition, I have an adopted son from Korea.

My choice to be a Republican is personal and is based on my belief system, which includes fiscal responsibility, pro military, support for police, individual freedom, and pro life. Many people from both parties support these same principles, and while both parties will change with the times, the basic principles remain the same. I believe we are a nation of laws and these should be respected.

I am running for the Federal Way City Council because I believe I have the knowledge and experience to make a difference for the citizens of Federal Way, in short to make life better for them. As a previous council member, I helped widen 320th Street and provided for the street lights and trees. I lobbied in Washington, D.C. seven times to bring back $12 million as seed money to obtain the millions needed for the interchange by Costco. I helped build City Hall, which is paid for, and I helped build the Community Center.

The simple answer to Mr. Austin’s question is that the Federal Way City Council is nonpartisan and we should keep it that way.

Mark Koppang: The Federal Way City Council is nonpartisan.

Email your questions for the candidates to

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