The Building Industry Association of Clark County voted on Tuesday July 14 to endorse U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler in the 3rd Congressional District and State Representative Vicki Kraft in the 17th Legislative District. The endorsements were made on the recommendation of the BIA’s Building Industry Group (BIG) PAC.
Republican Congresswoman Beutler is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which controls all federal discretionary spending, and sits on the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch. Beutler largely votes in line with President Trump, although she has broken with him more frequently of late. Most recently she voted against a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill, which was introduced by Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
The bill, known as the Moving Forward Act, would invest more than $300 million into repairing roads and bridges, and hundreds of millions more to add rail and transit infrastructure, build affordable housing, expand broadband, remove contaminants from drinking water, upgrade hospitals and the health care structure and more. The bill also addresses climate change and seeks to reduce transportation carbon pollution and invest in clean energy as well as modernizing the U.S. Postal Service, both of which put it at odds with the Trump administration. The Moving Forward Act has been criticized as The Green New Deal 2.0, but locally it stands to bring millions of dollars for the I-5 bridge replacement and create millions of jobs in the U.S. construction sector, although the exact number is not known.
Tracy Wilson, chair of the BIG PAC, said in an email: “The BIA endorses candidates who have, and continue to be, supporters of our industry. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler has been a strong advocate for residential construction and housing affordability. We base our endorsement on that and not individual votes.”
State Rep. Vicki Kraft represents East Vancouver and Central Clark County. She is the minority ranking member of the House Committee on Local Government, which considers issues relating to the operations and financing of counties, cities and some special districts. She also serves on the House Appropriations Committee, the Education Committee and the College and Workforce Development Committee. She is generally considered anti-tax and government regulation, and pro-industry.
In January, Kraft reintroduced a bill to evaluate the creation of a third bridge between Southwest Washington and Oregon. The bill stipulates that the joint transportation committee must hire a consultant to evaluate all available options for an additional bridge or other connection west of Interstate that provides high-level conceptual designs of the options put forth and include a cost estimate for each option. Up to $300,000 would be appropriated for the study. The bill was first introduced in 2019, and would have been an emergency act. It was reintroduced and retained by resolution this year.
Most recently she was one of eight house members to vote against an expansion of a solar energy program in Washington State. It was ultimately vetoed due to budget constraints from the coronavirus pandemic.
Hererra Beutler and Kraft were added to the list of previously endorsed candidates including Republican State Senator Lynda Wilson (17th Legislative District), State Senator Ann Rivers (R-18), State Representative Paul Harris (R-17th), State Representative Brandon Vick (R-18), State Representative Larry Hoff (R-18th) and Third District Clark County Councilor John Blom, a former registered Republican who recently dropped his party affiliation.