Posted by: sweeneyblog | April 25, 2012

Interview with Dan Matthews

At the Whatcom Republican county convention last Saturday (see my write-up here), I had a chance to sit out on the lawn with Dan Matthews who is running against Rick Larsen to represent the 2nd Congressional district.

Dan Matthews for Congress

Let’s start with the basics, why is Matthews running for Congress? “As a veteran and a pilot,” he began, “I bring the necessary skills of leadership and decision making that will better represent the people of the district of the 2nd district, to better face the economy, jobs, issues related to the milatary especially.”

What sort of issues? “We have three bases in the district. Congressman Larsen is on the Armed Services committee. He should know about these issues but he has abandoned our soldiers with regard to the charging of medical fees, tricare and health care in general. You’re not making a lot of money as a military member. Your benefits include retirement as defered compensation. That contract has existed for a long time, defered health benefits. Now what is happening is that Rick Larsen and the Democrats have started to charge military members for their benefits. A promise has been broken. That is significant. Military retirees are on limited income. Their planning is now being thrown askew. Active duty members are now having to pay more for co-pays. It is part of the package and they are changing the rules. They are trying to balance the budget on the backs of the military, and not charging civil service employees at the same time. That disparity isn’t a balance that is fair. The military isn’t a convenient target. You can’t just give lips service. Over the next two years, charges for services will triple, that’s a real hit for someone on fixed income.”

Obviously this is an issue close to Matthew’s heart. Outside of his military service, he has served as a pilot for Northwest Airlines, a 747  instructor and a private contractor.

So what is Matthew’s top priority as a Congressman? “My first priority is the economy. The economy can be addressed by fixing the deficit spending. We can’t continue to spend more money that we are bringing. If our budget is balanced, then paying down the debt can begin to take place. That kind of desparity adds to the debt and the compounding interest. The Office of Management and Budget says  in 12 years, it all falls apart. Their term was ‘it collapses’, meaning all our money will be used to pay our debt. That’s a real risk.”

I asked him to clarify how that will help the economy. “Reducing government spending will help the economy. Absolutely. If you balance your budget, the economy will take care of itself.”

So what about some local issues? Rick Larsen has come out with a full-throated support for the Gateway Pacific Terminal project. How does Matthews feel about it? “I’m pretty supportive, with some provisions. The environmental concerns are genuine. There are some environmental concerns with the ships that come in and out. We have the ability to address these issues without shutting down the whole project. It will go much beyond 400 jobs. If we deny it, it will go on up to Canada. I’d like to see us to address environmental concerns.”

What about the proposed effort to legalize, tax and regulate Marijuana in Washington State? “One of those hot-blooded social issues, I tend to favor where we are right now. Federal supremacy still rules. We are pushing at a gate that won’t open. I have social concerns about gateway drugs. I understand some of the medical issues, Oregon has addressed that issue. But pushing against the Controlled Substances Act pushing against that might not productive.”

To finish up the slate of social issues, I asked Matthews about his position on marriage equality. “My position, is that the Defense of Marriage Act fully states the issues. The current law, really is something that gay couples have all the rights that are necessary under domestic partnerships. They gain nothing by changing the definition of marriage. They are finding a problem where none exists. Marriage has been well definied in our culture and around our world.”

How about the ongoing war in Afghanistan? “I think that our utility of being there has run its course. We need to fully examine why we are there, what we can accomplish. That’s a decision for the president and the Department of Defense. Congress should be consulted, but not do the deciding. We shouldn’t be into nation building. Helping nations be free is important and any nation’s risk is a risk to all of us.”

 What does Matthews see as the biggest danger of electing Rick Larsen? “Nothing. Rick Larsen has had 12 years to establish what he has done or not done. He has done very little to justify his re-election.” He takes a pause to warm-up and then comes out swinging. “Larsen has not earned the title of representative for this district. He has taken credit for things he hasn’t done. He has a responsibility to reflect his district first, not his president and his party. He lives in DC, he doesn’t have a presence in this district.”

What is a specific example? “They dropped the ball on Airbus. He and our whole delegation should have been screaming Bloody Mary over that prospect. American jobs were at risk, 24,000 jobs within this district. I would have risked my career for that. Remember Scoop Jackson? Scoop would have never allowed that. Our Senators and our Congressman sorely dropped the ball on this issue. For those people to come to the podium and say ‘We did our best,’ what an affront to the truth! That a foreign company could be bidding on a strategic asset for our military is something that should have never occurred.”

What can I say about Dan Matthews? He is a steady and engaging speaker, who smoothly goes through the issues. It is clear that Veteran’s health is his passion, but with the recent redistricting, Republican Matthews has a serious demographic challenge facing him

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Responses

  1. Here’s an ad you’ll like: “He lied.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nLvCWJ0-wko

  2. What a brave warrior we’d gain in Mr. Matthews.
    The gate that won’t open to legalize pot,
    civil rights that can’t be expanded since after all,
    marriage has been defined in our culture and also around the world!
    What a surprise that the universality of Wholly Matrimony is a constant from Austria to Zambia.
    An ‘economy’ that relies on a federal budget balance to what,
    grow growth and stem expenses through wholesale public sector losses and social safety net elimination?
    Sound like more Republican Fuzzy Math to me.
    A rising tide drowns all those mired in the muck.
    Or is the trouble really that tax revenue is bleeding off the top of the pile and not anywhere near our spending priorities
    and there are no guts available to re-instate levies that actually cover our bills?
    A foreign nation ‘at risk’ is a danger to all of us,
    but we need not build any nation in the pursuit of forcing them to be free.
    How do you free a people trapped in their own nation’s structure?
    Dunno, it’s not specified.
    However that Freedom needn’t extend economically like to AirBus
    lest an American lose their job on the way to saving federal funds and helping balance that dangerous budget.
    As does every other Republican,
    this one wants fake rhetoric to stand in for real action.
    Bleh.

  3. Dan Matthews is pretty much a loser. My girlfriends and I have been watching him since the “Car-a-van with Dan”. He has blown up at Jon Shoop twice that we know of, for no reason and then later said it was some kind of Satanic thing that got into him.

    If Dan can’t handle a little pressure with all of that backing from the Republican Party, how in the world can he handle Congressman Larsen??? We watched as the guy in the black hat pretty much took all that Matthews could dish out and Shoop didn’t even flinch.

    Matthews is a flake!

    Yours,
    Suz

  4. […] I publish the wrongful termination at the Sheriff’s office article, but I did sit down with Dan Matthews again after the primary and got his thoughts on Domestic Violence, the state of his race against […]


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