I am writing to you because I am a 58-year-old lifelong resident of the lower Columbia River — a continental river drainage that happens to be in a temperate rainforest — and concerned for what a Joe Kent in Congress for Washington’s 3rd District really means to my community.
I do my own due-diligence in choosing a primary candidate because I am a former veteran, retired from the U.S. Forest Service, and politically, a moderate educated independent. I contacted the Kent campaign in June of 2022 with questions during the primary campaign and am stunned with how little Kent is familiar with the district’s timber and fishing economy that he hopes to represent.
• All timber mills in the district (Carson, Chehalis, Longview, Redmond, Mossyrock are examples I mentioned) are tooled for cutting 10-inch diameter Douglas fir old growth. (None of them are.)
• Roads currently exist in old growth wilderness areas allowing for easy logging.
• He’s never heard of the term NEPA/SEPA and is unfamiliar with the process.
• Yacolt burn area still has old growth timber today and he lives in Yacolt.
• Wants to compete head-to-head in timber sales with Weyerhaeuser, yet doesn’t recognize it as socialistic or communistic to have the federal government try to compete, possibly bankrupting a large local employer.
• Called the Northern Spotted Owl an invasive species, while not being able to list a single actual listed species native to the district.
• Does not know Skamania County is entirely (almost) a National Forest and is unaware that rural Skamania County gets its schools funding from the U.S. Forest Service.
• He has never heard the term FERC or that there is a management and monitoring process for the relicensing of the PacificCorps Lewis River and Tacoma Power Cowlitz River dams.
In addition to Kent’s lack of understanding of the economic environment of this district, Kent has no respect for public property or the laws to protect it, as evidenced when the Kent campaign vandalized a chain link fence at milepost 5 on Highway 14 in Vancouver to install a Kent for Congress sign.
I am in fear that Kent will get elected without any understanding, awareness and knowledge of what it means to live in a downstream community of a continental river drainage that happens to be in a temperate rainforest. Those words got lost on Kent, or at least his campaign manager/staffer that is the POC on the Kent for Congress webpage where I started my due diligence.
I respect the honor and integrity of real journalism which is why I plead to you. I hope that in upcoming interviews, debates and opportunities you have in speaking with both Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and Kent that you forcefully tease out the specific details about their understanding of problems, ideas and solutions for WA3, and call out any candidate for their lack of respect to public property.
Mary Jean Dowell