Okanogan rancher and former WSU Regent Peter Goldmark is hoping to steal a page from Ronald Reagan as he officially kicks off his campaign for Congress. With horse and supporters Goldmark rode into Spokane on the Centennial Trail for a rally and the official campaign announcement this morning.
Goldmark is a Democrat running for the 5th Congressional District seat currently held by Republican Cathy McMorris. He has been a rancher for 30 years in the Okanogan area of Northeastern Washington. The 5th Congressional District goes from the Canadian border down to Oregon and from the Cascades to the Idaho border.
In prepared comments, Goldmark said, “It’s important for me to listen to the concerns of the people. After watching the crowd back in DC turn a tin ear to the needs of Spokane, our small towns and family farms, I plan to ride in with some common sense and make some needed reforms.”
“It’s clear we need bold new leadership in areas like health care, jobs and economic development,” said Goldmark. “We’ve seen the incumbent politicians deliver nothing but happy talk instead of progress, and I look forward to challenge.”
Goldmark would bring a much needed perspective to Congress on a number of issues. One is the perspective of the farming community across the country. Besides ranching on an 8000 acre farm for some 30 years, an article in last Saturday’s Seattle PI notes that he served as state Agriculture Director in 1993, was a co-founder of Farming and the Environment and a member of the Washington State Biodiversity Council.
A second perspective he would bring is from the educational viewpoint. He has been a regent of Washington State University in Pullman since 1996, until he recently resigned to run for Congress.
And the third perspective he brings is that of a scientist. He has a PhD in molecular biology from the University of California and did post doctoral work at Harvard University. Such a perspective is badly needed in a time when Bush and most Republicans are doing their best to undermine the credibility of science and scientific research. You name it- stem cell research, global warming, ecosystem integrity, fisheries biology, forestry, air pollution, toxic pollution.
The Seattle PI article notes that Goldmark “has published numerous scientific papers on biology, often based on research he performs in a lab at his 8,000 acre ranch. In the past decade he has concentrated on finding new wheat varieties.”
Compare this to Bush’s time on the ranch cutting brush.
The time is ripe for a change in Congress. Peter Goldmark represents a new voice.
Besides including the city of Spokane, the 5th CD includes Walla Walla, Pullman, Cheney and Colville.
The 5th CD covers 12 of Washington’s 39 counties -Spokane, Lincoln, Adams, Whitman, Walla Walla, Columbia, Asotin, Garfield, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Okanogan and Stevens.
For many years the 5th CD was Democratic. Speaker of the House Tom Foley represented the 5th CD for 30 years, from 1965 to 1995. Democrats hope to return the seat to the Democratic column this year as part of their national campaign to win control of Congress.