The candidates were neck and neck in the primary election in August, with Newhouse slightly in the lead, winning by just 571 votes.
While both candidates may agree on what many of the top problems are facing Yakima County residents, they don’t agree on how to fix them or who should be in charge of doing so.
For Newhouse, the issue of missing and murdered indigenous people on the Yakama Reservation is an issue that’s of utmost importance to public safety and one he’s been working to address for years.
“I’ve led legislation, several bills, I’m very proud to say have passed and signed into law to address this horrific problem that we have in Indian Country, not just in Washington, but around the nation,” Newhouse said.
White said while he agrees with the focus on missing and murdered indigenous people, he doesn’t think Newhouse and other lawmakers have gone far enough to address the problem and have been too slow to make changes.
“So, MMIP is probably one of the most tragic things I have ever witnessed and I know these people; I’m participating and I’m seeing what’s happening and what I’m seeing is nothing is moving forward,” White said.
While both come from farming families in the Yakima Valley and are passionate about supporting farmers and making sure they have the workers they need to support them, they have different ideas on how that should be accomplished.
Newhouse said the best way is through a bill he’s pushing forward: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which offers long-time agricultural workers without documentation the opportunity to apply for legal residency.
“And it, in turn, helps strengthen our communities,” Newhouse said.
White said while he agrees that issues with immigrations and the agricultural workforce need to be addressed, he said the bill should have included a path to citizenship, not just residency.
“Residency is on a condition that you give the rest of your life to work for a minimum wage job at agriculture only and I think that is indentured servitude,” White said. “We need to find a solution to agriculture and making sure that we have qualified people coming up here to help us on a seasonal basis, but we cannot trap them into contracts that none of us would accept.”
Newhouse said people should vote for him based on his experience standing up for Central Washington residents: for their way of life, their communities, their culture and their industries.
“For the important infrastructure that we have, for instance, in the dams along the Snake and the Columbia rivers, for making sure the federal government is held accountable to clean up the Hanford area,” Newhouse said. “I think all of those things have proved that I’ve been an effective voice for Central Washington.”
White said though this would be his first elected position, he’s prepared to lead and has a strong vision for the future of Central Washington.
“I’m a global project manager, multinational technology solutions, working with people of very different backgrounds across different countries, always my responsibility to be able to find that common ground and get it done on time and under budget,” White said. “Are there better skills for a member of Congress? I don’t think so.”
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