As voting begins, Cantwell draws clear differences with her Tea Party opponent on energy, foreign policy, women’s issues
SEATTLE – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell visited the Seattle Times Editorial Board today in a joint appearance with her Republican opponent, State Senator Michael Baumgartner. On issue after issue – from jobs to energy, from women’s health to the Ryan budget – Cantwell contrasted her bipartisan work to move Washington forward with the extreme agenda of her Tea Party opponent.
Perhaps the starkest difference came on the issue of choice and women’s health. Asked if he was pro-choice, Baumgartner noted that he didn’t want to fight a “culture war,” but that his personal religious beliefs motivate his steadfast opposition to a woman’s right to choose, which Cantwell noted extends to the extreme position of denying rape victims that Constitutional right:
“Well first of all, women’s health and reproductive choice is not about a ‘cultural war,’ it’s about the lives of women. And when last year over two thousand women in this state were raped, and Senator Baumgartner’s position is that even in the case of rape and incest this woman would be forced to have a child that she might not want, is a pretty extreme position. Much more extreme than many people here in Washington state. And you’re right, we have, we’ve codified these things into state law because we care so much about them as a state. So it is a very big difference between us, and I take that responsibility very seriously, that fact that our state basically codified Roe v. Wade before we even went the whole route nationally.”
On energy independence, Cantwell noted she voted to keep oil from a prospective Keystone pipeline here in America – something Republicans have consistently opposed. In fact, Baumgartner began his push for new drilling by saying: “You know, we’re not going to be energy independent here in America.” Cantwell argued for investments in clean technologies here in America, boosting the export of these energy sources to countries like China and India and creating millions of American jobs.
Baumgartner was also put on the defensive over his support for Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which would slash Pell Grants for Washington students by more than $47 million and cause 6,500 of them to lose aid altogether. He also tried to distance himself from a radical Tea Party pledge he signed 2010 to uphold the Spokane County Republican Party platform. Baumgartner pledged opposition to stem-cell research, support for privatizing Social Security, and US withdrawal from the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, amongst other radical proposals. Cantwell rightly noted in response to his backtracking that Republicans like Spokane Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich had refused to sign because of the extremist elements contained in the platform Baumgartner embraced.
As one of the most beautiful states in the union–and one of the richest in natural resources–Washington has a special interest in energy and environmental policy. And Maria has fought hard to uphold the state’s conservation tradition, while also working to bring our energy policy into the 21st century.
Maria knows Washington’s business community – because, as an executive at an innovative software company, she was part of it. And as a Senator, she’s led the way in helping businesses large and small throughout Washington grow, thrive, and create jobs.
Maria has taken a leadership role on safety and security issues, including defending our borders, strengthening our military, cracking down on gangs, and taking on drug crime in Washington communities.
Middle-class families around Washington and across the country are facing tough times–and tough decisions about balancing the family checkbook each month. Maria has fought to strengthen the economic security of Washington families and cut taxes for middle-class families.