Democrat candidate for Congress Jon T. Haugen thinks one person can make a difference in our nation's political system.
A Portland native, Haugen grew up in Ashland, Ore. He wanted to become a pilot and won an appointment to the US Naval Academy where he entered flight training.
He served active duty military 1981-88 and reserves until 2005. He is now a Delta Airlines pilot, based out of New York City, and flies routes from NY to Europe, Africa and South America.
"I got into politics while stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey," he said in an interview. "I learned that school levies needed a super majority (60 percent) to pass, a law dating from 1932. That sounded undemocratic to me."
He joined a local PTA and began working on changing the issue. He testified before state House and Senate committees, and he traveled around from Yakima to Vancouver to Kelso to the Puget Sound area speaking on the issue, and voters approved the change in 2007.
"I realized one person could get involved and make a difference," he said. "Since I had served before, I thought I could serve again."
The urge to run for Congress came last summer in the standoff over approving federal borrowing authority. The Republican party controlled the House and was refusing to renew the borrowing authority.
"Our Congress wouldn't pay our bills," he said. "I thought they needed some adult supervision."
The money was needed for the country to operate and take care of the obligations it had made, he added.
So, when the filing period opened last may, he filed as a candidate for the District 3 representative position now held by first-term Rep. Jaime Herrera-Buetler. (Editor's note: The Eagle will publish a profile of Rep. Herrera-Buetler next week.)
Government is needed to help the country progress, he said.
"One reason I am a Democrat is that I still believe we need to make investments in the needs of our citizens," he said. "That's what will keep us at the top of the world."
Employment is a major issue facing the country, he said.
"As a Congressman, you can do transportation jobs," he said.
"For every $1 we send to Washington D.C. we get back just 88 cents," he said in an email to The Eagle.
"I will work to return more of our money. I will work to bring thousands of construction jobs. Wahkiakum and Pacific counties would benefit from the replacement of hundred-year old jetties at the mouth of the Columbia River. Port improvements in Cowlitz County would increase international trade. In Clark County, I am the only candidate to offer an I-5 bridge plan that saves $3 billion without tolls or light rail. The SR-35 bridge over the Columbia River serving Skamania and Klickitat counties needs to be replaced. Lewis and Thurston counties need a basin-wide solution to prevent floods from closing I-5. Each of these investments in our infrastructure would benefit the Third Congressional District for generations."
If elected Haugen would press for a withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan within 90 days. "Afghanistan is a tribal nation; it won't change by us staying longer," he said.
"Osama Bin Laden is dead and Al Quaeda is in disarray; the US has accomplished what it came for. Two billion dollars per week and the cost in lives isn't worth continued presence."
He said he follows a principle stated by retired General Colin Powell: "We don't intervene unless we have a clear idea of what we want to accomplish."
Congress can take action to help the slumping economy and reduce the national debt, Haugen said.
First, Congress can allow Bush era tax cuts to expire for those making more than $250,000 and then increase to 39 percent the tax on Capital Gains, carried interest, and dividends for those with a taxable income over $250,000.
"The Wall Street Romneys of the world would pay 39 percent," he said. "We could use this extra tax revenue to pay down the debt and deficit.
"We must reduce spending. One idea is to bring home the 70,000 U.S. troops we have in Europe, saving billions. Re-deploying those troops in the U.S. adds to our economy."
Haugen would reinstate the principles of 1930's financial controls to govern the financial industry.
"In our history, we had recessions or depressions every 10-15 years until the act in the 1930's," he said. "We didn't have a major recession until the act was repealed in the Clinton years."
Haugen also said he would oppose the Romney-Ryan budget "that ends Medicare, punishes seniors, the poor, the disabled and college students but gives more tax breaks to the rich while not balancing the budget until the year 2040. My opponent has voted for this plan.
"I support the Simpson-Bowles budget plan to save Medicare and strengthen Social Security," he said. "It requires the rich to pay their fair share and cuts our deficit by $4.5 trillion dollars over 10 years. The far left hates this plan; the far right hates this plan so it gets my vote. My opponent voted against this plan."
Haugen would like to see development of the nation's natural gas reserves.
"It is much cleaner than coal," he said. "The Trans Alta coal plant at Centralia is being converted to natural gas. Wind turbines--they could be produced in southwestern Washington. The silicon plant at Moses Lake ships its material to Norway where solar panels are made; they could be made here; we have cheap electricity."
The region has potential for wave and thermal energy, he said, and from his experience in the Navy, "I know nuclear energy can be safe. It has to be an all of the above energy policy."
In social issues, Haugen said he supports equal rights for all citizens.
"The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal," he said. "In 1776, that meant white males who owned property.
"In 2012, now we have learned that understanding has a different meaning. For too long we've separated by divisions of color, religion or who we love.
"I fully support Washington's equal rights for all people. It doesn't make sense to have a separate but equal class."