U.S. Rep. Denny Heck is running for a third term representing the 10th Congressional District, and there is really no choice but Heck in this race.
Heck, is a 64-year-old Olympia Democrat who served in the Legislature, was chief of staff to a governor and co-founded the TVW public-affairs network before he was elected to Congress in 2012. He is an investor and businessman who has proved he can get things done in more than one world.
James Postma, 82, is a retired Boeing engineer and former captain in the Air Force. He is running as a Republican in a fourth bid for Congress.
Postma isn’t running a visible or viable campaign. He reported no funds raised through June, while Heck built a $1.1 million campaign war chest and had over $800,000 cash on hand.
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Postma holds views that are far to the right in this Democrat-leaning district, which runs from Shelton to Olympia and north to Puyallup and University Place. He wants to replace the Affordable Care Act, which has extended medical coverage to millions of Americans, and he thinks cutting regulations, eliminating the ACA, and cutting the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency can help spur economic growth.
The challenger also has made a worrisome suggestion that the federal government take $1 trillion from the Social Security trust and hire private wealth management firms to invest it. Postma says his strategy will “make workers millionaires while preserving existing benefits.”
Heck, on the other hand, is a proponent of helping preserve Social Security by raising the cap on taxable earnings and making other adjustments.
The incumbent also believes a federal funding package for infrastructure improvements (for highways, water systems and sewers) is key to spurring economic growth, and he is open to closing tax breaks to pay for that.
The incumbent has gotten things done. Not only did Heck get bills passed as a freshman in the minority party, he used his second term to lead the fight to extend the Export-Import Bank, which is important to regional trade and our state’s aerospace and agricultural industries.
Heck has advocated at the national and state levels for transportation funding. He helped those who fought to pass a legislative tax package last year. That package will finally complete state Route 167’s freight corridor to the Port of Tacoma and widen Interstate 5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Heck also argues for more effective procurement strategies for our military and is a reliable defender against arbitrary cuts to the armed forces. He supports services and jobs for returning soldiers.
Heck has also been a reliable advocate for a social safety net and is trying to elevate Puget Sound's status as a waterway of national significance. Unlike Heck, who believes humans are contributing to a warming planet through burning of fossil fuels, Postma says he doesn’t believe humans affect the climate.
And while Postma thinks a Mexico border wall is needed to keep out illegal immigrants and favors tougher rules for services given to immigrants, Heck favors an approach to immigration that allows a path to citizenship.
Colleagues think so highly of Heck that he was named co-chairman of House Democrats’ national red-to-blue campaign effort, which seeks eventually to regain Democratic control of Congress.
We always expected a lot from Denny Heck. So far he is exceeding expectations.