I travel down to Vancouver every three months for my dentist appointments. My husband does the driving because he has nerves of steel. I close my eyes and pray that we make it down to our destination safely.
Once upon a time not so long ago, in 2015, Vancouver was thriving. Downtown Vancouver was bustling with businesses and customers, and it was clean and safe to walk the streets.
As we make the journey down the I-5 riding, you can see that Vancouver has exploded in growth with businesses popping up everywhere.
Once you take your chosen exit for Vancouver, the view becomes more grim. There are homeless encampments on the side of the off-ramp as you exit — homeless people gathered around in groups, with shopping carts, garbage strewn about and tents.
As we drive down Mill Plain Boulevard, there's a young woman who is bone thin with scraggly hair, mumbling to herself as she crosses the busy intersection. She is someone's daughter, and yet she is alone in her own scrambled thoughts.
It really is heartbreaking to see how we as a country have lost our humanity for the vulnerable, the mentally ill, the drug-addicted, the veterans who suffer from PTSD, and others who are lost and lonely.
It doesn't feel safe in Vancouver anymore. I keep my windows and doors locked as we travel through. And yet my heart hurts for these forgotten people.
Congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, who represents the Third Congressional District, has not addressed the homeless issue whatsoever. Gluesenkamp Perez is pushing for light rail to connect Portland to Vancouver, which is concerning because we do not need more mentally ill and drug-addicted people coming into our communities.
To further exacerbate the situation, Gluesenkamp Perez voted no on H.R. 2 (Secure the Border Act). Washington state is seeing a huge increase in drug addiction and fentanyl poisoning deaths. It has now become a crisis in our state with children and young adults dying of fentanyl.
We must close down our southern border to stop the fentanyl from coming into our country. We need to do better with our vulnerable homeless population by offering a forced choice of jail or rehabilitation, and provide these people with ways to bring them up and out of the lowest point in their lives.
I feel that Congresswoman Gluesenkamp Perez is not interested in our district when it comes to the homeless crisis — the drug-addicted, the homeless veterans and the mentally ill who live on the streets in our communities. Gluesenkamp Perez is a real disappointment. She has ignored this catastrophic crisis affecting our communities.