Kraft joins the field of candidates challenging Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler in the August 2022 primary election
Ten days ago, Vicki Kraft announced her decision to join the field of challengers to Jaime Herrera Beutler in the race for U.S. representative in the 3rd Congressional District. After serving residents of the 17th Legislative District as a representative in the Washington State House of Representatives since 2016, Kraft said it was the logical next step in her desire to continue to “fight for the people.’’
“It’s one of the key positions in our state, candidly, that will have input into the nation,’’ Kraft told Clark County Today. “I am running for this seat now because I have a proven track record of fighting for the people in Olympia to protect their rights and freedoms and to make the government more accountable to the people. Now, with this administration putting our country in a downward spiral, we must have elected officials in Congress who will stand up against the political pressure and special interests and stand up for the people. I have done that in Olympia and I will do that again in this position.
Kraft joins a field of challengers to Herrera Beutler that includes Republicans Joe Kent and Heidi St. John and Democrat Brent Hennrich. The August 2022 primary election will determine which two candidates will advance to the November 2022 general election.
Kraft revealed that her decision to run for Congress was impacted by the fact that the recently finalized 2021 redistricting maps in Washington moved her out of the 17th District. But, it wasn’t the only factor in her decision.
“When things became clear, in order to continue serving the people and fighting for them, this was the right step for me to make and I am making it now,’’ Kraft said. “I have been considering making this next step in a potential journey of public service for a while and have given it a lot of prayer and consideration. As the redistricting maps were released recently by the redistricting commission, it became very clear the door for me to continue serving as the 17th District representative was closing. That, basically, was the final consideration for me to say this door is closing, it is time to make this next step.’’
Like Kent and St. John, Kraft believes the residents of the 3rd Congressional District are starving for a candidate that represents conservative values.
“As I look at the 3rd Congressional District, it is so critical to make sure there is an experienced leader who has a conservative track record with a solid background who can hit the ground running Day 1,’’ Kraft said. “A person who understands what political realities look like and knows how to work as a policy maker. Those are the reasons that I am stepping forward to run for this position at this time. I firmly believe that the citizens of Southwest Washington in the 3rd Congressional District want a conservative who is a policy maker and who is a public servant. I have a proven track record, that voters can rely on, standing up for the people, constitutional rights and freedoms and for making sure their voices are heard. I have done that in Olympia and I will do the same thing in Washington, DC.’’
Kraft is not deterred by the fact that she is challenging an incumbent that has served since 2011 and two fellow Republicans (Kent and St. John) who have been campaigning for much of the last year.
“I’ve been serving in the (state) legislature for five years,’’ she said. “I have a very strong, proven track record. I have been campaigning during that time to continue in my position. So, the fact that I haven’t been campaigning in the 3rd Congressional District, to me, is not a factor. The voters of Southwest Washington already know me. I don’t see this as a challenge that a couple of others who are new in the race and have never run for office before have been campaigning for 10 months or so. I already have an established brand. The voters know me and I am running on my record.’’
The fact that Kraft is just now, officially, starting her campaign means she is behind the other candidates in terms of campaign finances. However, that too doesn’t overly concern Kraft.
“Obviously, I’ve had to do fundraising in the past and I will do it again for this race,’’ she said. “I have support within the state, folks from outside of the state, family, friends and relatives. The bottom line is I’m not coming into this with big special interests backing me.’’
When asked what issues she will be focusing on during the campaign, Kraft offered a long list of answers.
“Obviously, there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed at the national level, especially because of this administration, it is growing exponentially,’’ Kraft said. “I believe a few really key issues for many of the people are those things protecting our freedoms and our constitutional rights, which ultimately protect our country and the America which we’ve all known and been able to enjoy. Making sure we can protect our foundational freedoms is critical to our future.
“Another issue is national security, securing the borders, which was clearly moving down a much better path under the last administration and in this administration has become a debacle at best,’’ said Kraft, who cited President Joe Biden’s decision to open the border which she believes has brought criminals, drug and sex traffickers and othes looking to do harm to this country.
Kraft pointed out that in Israel, an enhanced security barrier (40 miles long) was recently constructed in the Gaza Strip to prevent militants from sneaking into that country. “I think we need to do likewise,’’ she said.
Kraft said she will also make support for law enforcement an emphasis in her campaign.
“This is a non-partisan issue,’’ she said. “Everyone recognizes the need to keep themselves and their families safe. We have to make sure our law enforcement has the proper funding and support to do their job. Washington state is last in the nation as far as the number of law enforcement officers per capita and Clark County not only has the least amount of law enforcement officers in our state, per capita, but also in the nation. This must change. We absolutely have to protect our families, individuals and communities.’’
Kraft said she will also focus on the economy and education in her campaign.
“Certainly the economy is one of the top issues,’’ she said. “We’ve all been experiencing and feeling the impacts of inflation … Those types of things that hinder the supply and demand in our nation – we need to get government out of the way.
“Education is an issue they’ve been working on for quite a while,’’ Kraft said. “I am looking forward to continuing that conversation and fight at the national level. We’ve seen parents’ rights attacked in this state and nationally as well. Whether it is COVID vaccination mandates, masking requirements or many other things that are being done without input or oversight from parents. The parents are standing up and saying they’ve had enough and they want to take their child’s education back.
“We have absolutely got to return education control back to the local level where parents can give information to school boards who need to realize these are the parents and what parents want to see happen in their children’s education is what school board members and administrators need to follow,’’ Kraft said. “Give parents the right to decide what education is best for their own child.’’