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By Lou Marzeles

Haugen says bring troops home


Lou Marzeles

ON THE ISSUES: Jon Haugen, candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat against incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, speaks Thursday at the Greater Goldendale Chamber of Commerce business luncheon.

Jon Haugen, candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat presently held by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, says when he was in the military, they never asked him if he was a Republican or a Democrat.

“They just assigned you a task, and you worked together to solve that problem,” he says. “That’s something that I would bring to Congress as well.”

The candidate spoke at the Greater Goldendale Chamber of Commerce business lunch Thursday at Gee’s Restaurant.

Haugen served for 24 years, including as a Navy pilot, and he says his years of service gave him unique insights into priorities, task management, and problem-solving.

“Right now we’ve had over 2,100 brave Americans die over in Afghanistan” Haugen said Thursday. “We’re spending $2 billion a week right now in Afghanistan. My first bill would be to end that war within 90 days. The reason I say that is because we’ve spent too much blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a country with about a 15 percent literacy rate. They’re not getting their information from the newspaper, they’re not getting it from television or radio. They have their tribal elder, their imam, who is telling them about the world. When we leave, it’s going to return to what it was before. We can stay engaged diplomatically.”

Haugen also said the U.S. mission in Afghanistan has already been completed. “Right now we have ground troops that are in harm’s way in Afghanistan,” he told his audience. “The people we think are helping, on our side, are basically turning the weapons we give them on our own soldiers over there. That all, I think, goes back to the education level of the people of Afghanistan. They’re being told that we are foreign invaders in their land and that they need to eradicate our presence there. We went to Afghanistan to do a job. That was to eliminate Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda. Thanks to our president, Osama Bin Laden is dead. Thanks to his use of drones, which his opponent wouldn’t have used—and his opponent would not have gone into the sovereign nation of Pakistan to get Osama Bin Laden—both of those threats to our security have been eliminated. Afghanistan no longer poses a threat to the United States. They will not in the future because we have diplomacy in that country. We have bases that are there, we can leave a small force there which would protect our interest. But let’s bring our troops home.”

Questioned about health care, Haugen said he supports Obamacare. “The Affordable Healthcare Act is the technical name for Obamacare,” he said. “I do support it, for a number of reasons.It actually saves us money. There are actually people who are getting checks back from their insurance company this year; $2 billion are being sent back to people who paid for their health care. The reason why is because of that law, the health care insurance companies have to spent 85 cents of your premium of every dollar you send them. Because of that they’re not spending 85 cents, and they have to rebate you what they’re not spending.”

While many of his stands on the issues are completely within the sanctioned platform of the Democratic Party, Haugen himself has not been endorsed by the Party.

“That stems from my opposition to something that you may not think affects you which is the Columbia River crossing, which is a plan to build a new bridge and light rail system over I-5,” Haugen said. The project would cost close to $4 billion and would tear down the two existing bridges over the Columbia River and build a new eight-lane bridge that Haugen said “would be a monstrosity.”

“The money we could use to tear down those bridges, we could use to upgrade the bridges” he said. “This is one area my opponent and I disagree on. She’s in favor of tolling; I look at as a ‘freeway.’ The reason it’s called a freeway is because it’s free. She thinks that that’s fine. I look at it and say, “Let’s save three billion dollars, let’s not have a toll lane because we’ll have about 62 thousand cars go across I5 right now.

Haugen’s position on the bridge issue put him sharply at odds with the Democratic establishment, which has yet to embrace his candidacy. Asked if that also reflected on the Party’s assessment of his electability, Haugen responded, “No. It really doesn’t have to do with electability. It has to do with [the fact that] I dared to speak against [this issue.] It was driven by Rep. Jim Mohler, who spoke out against me at the State Democratic meeting in June. Because he is a city and state representative, he said I wasn’t a good Democrat. He didn’t explain why I wasn’t a good Democrat; he just said I wasn’t a good Democrat.

“So for those reason I broke with my party. Basically the Columbia River Crossing is their baby, and I said their baby is ugly. They didn’t like that.”


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