Interview With Debbie Boothe-Schmidt – 2020 Democratic Candidate For HD-32
WCD: What inspired you to run for local office?
Boothe-Schmidt: Having served in leadership positions at my business, for my local union and as a member of the Sunset Empire transportation board, it became clear to me that I needed to take my advocacy for the people of the North Coast and rural western Washington County to a higher level.
As a single mom who once had to work two jobs and still had to decide between putting food on the table or getting healthcare for my kids, I want to fight to ensure that working people can meet their basic needs.
WCD: How do your values and those of the Democratic party align?
Boothe-Schmidt: I’m concerned with ensuring the well-being of people. Business owners, laborers, students, healthcare workers – everyone who makes our district the special place it is. We must protect our natural resources, ensure our schools have stable funding and ensure everyone has access to affordable and accessible healthcare, including mental healthcare. I’m pro-choice and pro-LGBTQ rights. These values align with Democratic values promoting healthcare, education, the environment, labor and working families. People are the foundation of our district and our country. I want to focus on them and their well-being.
WCD: If you’re elected, what will be your highest priority?
Boothe-Schmidt: Before the pandemic, I would have said education. Our students need the tools to succeed in life, but reduced state funding is threatening the quality of education in our district, and our kids’ ability to compete. Education needs to be affordable, accessible and high-quality.
Now, because of the pandemic, my highest priority is recovery. Our region has taken a big hit. I intend to fight for every resource to help ensure that the people in our rural district can fully participate in the post-pandemic recovery.
Education is an important part of that. COVID-19 has laid bare inequities in education that have existed for a long time. We have to work even harder to correct them in the face of distance learning. Some students have no Internet access at all. Some are unable to afford laptops or internet service, and others are experiencing homelessness or trouble getting enough food to eat. We can’t let these kids fall through the cracks.
WCD: What do you feel is the most important responsibility of the position you are running for?
Boothe-Schmidt: To support my district. Not all districts are the same. We have unique challenges and needs. I want to make sure we’re not ignored or left behind. I want to represent everyone who resides here. And if that calls for working across the aisle, I’m prepared to do it. We have to find common solutions to some big challenges. I’m hoping we can overcome partisanship to get things done for my district and for the state.
WCD: What issues would you say are most important to the people of District 32, the North Coast?
Boothe-Schmidt: A living wage, affordable housing, schools and accessibility to healthcare – including access to mental health and veteran services. Working people, small business, students, everyone who lives on the North Coast has something important to contribute to the quality of life here. I want to represent them all–to work together with my neighbors to make sure we all have the opportunity to succeed.
Learn more about Debbie Boothe-Schmidt, Democratic Candidate for HD-32, at her campaign website.