US House of Representatives, WA-08 – Jason Rittereiser

Legislative Questionnaire

Candidate Information

  • Candidate Name: Jason Rittereiser
  • Position Sought: US House of Representatives, WA-08 (Non-incumbent)
  • Home Legislative District: 5th LD
  • Democrat: Yes

Campaign Information

Part I – Candidate Background

1. Please briefly describe your qualifications, education, employment, community and civic activity, union affiliation, prior political activity, and other relevant experience.

I was born and raised in this district, and have deep roots on both sides of the mountains. I grew up in Ellensburg, the son of two public servants. My father served as a police officer and mother served on the Ellensburg City Council. I learned the value of service and hard work from each of them in their own way. I got a strong public school education, and my first job was on a hay farm in the Kittitas Valley to help pay my way through college at the University of Washington.

After law school I returned to King County to serve as a criminal prosecutor focused on protecting victims and making our communities safer. Now, as an attorney, I’ve represented thousands of Washington workers fighting for their civil rights and taking on powerful interests that don’t play by the rules.
I’ve represented a teacher who was fired for being pregnant and unmarried, a case that now serves as a model for protecting pregnant women in the workplace across the country. I took on a billion-dollar corporation that fired a child care worker because of her medical condition and disability. I brought the first case in the State of Washington to protect nursing mothers in the workplace. I’ve even taken on government when it failed to protect a victim of domestic violence.
Because of my success in representing working families, I was recognized by the King County Bar Association as the 2017 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year and was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine.
In addition to my legal work, I was appointed by Governor Inslee to the State Advisory Council on Homelessness, where I serve to address the complex issues that affect our communities’ most vulnerable people. I also volunteer my legal services with Attorneys Protecting Privacy representing child victims of sexual assault to ensure that their rights and interests are protected during criminal prosecutions.
My work has allowed me to be on the frontlines, fighting for workers and their wages, protecting the community, and combating discrimination and injustice. I have been successful one case at a time and have an in-depth understanding of how our laws affect people and their everyday lives.
I represent a new generation of leadership that we need in Congress to take on our greatest challenges. I am the only candidate in this race who can connect both sides of the Cascades, unite the district, and who has the background and experience to take on Dino Rossi. I will take this same fight to the halls of Congress to stand up for our communities and the people in the 8th district.

2. What prompted you to run for this office? What are your campaign’s most important themes, issues, or priorities (three to five)?

1. I am running for Congress because it’s time for the next generation of leaders to take on our greatest challenges. It’s time to rebuild the middle class, and it’s time to govern with our values again. That means good-paying jobs, quality and affordable education, and healthcare for every man, woman, and child in this country. I’m running for Congress for all of us who need a voice.
2. Since I’ve had the right to vote, our nation has been at war. We’ve faced the worst recession in 100 years, and our climate is rapidly deteriorating. All that has been done by Congress is that the richest people and big corporations have gotten ahead. The rest of us have been left behind, and our voices aren’t being heard.
3. I am running for Congress to stand up for what’s right and be the voice for working families. I want to take my experience fighting for regular people against powerful interests to Congress. I will stand up against the most powerful people and corporations – as I have my entire career – and always fight for what’s right.

3. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?

I’m building a strong grassroots coalition by reaching out to voters in all corners of the district. I started this campaign with 30 town halls in 30 days, talking to voters on both sides of the mountains. I’ve received the endorsements of 13 organizations, including the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 612, the Renton Police Guild, the Communication Workers of America’s Pacific Northwest Council, the ILWU Puget Sound Council, the ILWU Foremen’s Local 98, and five IAFF union locals. I won the endorsement of the coalition of Indivisible groups active in this district with 58% of their endorsement vote and actively engaged their membership as we roll out our field program. My campaign will continue reaching out to seek the endorsement and assistance of every progressive and Democratic organization in the district.

Part II – Local and State Issues

1. Do you support Initiative Measure No. 940 (“De-escalate Washington,” requiring, among other things, that law enforcement officers be required to obtain violence de-escalation and mental health training, so that officers will have greater skills to resolve conflicts without the use of physical or deadly force)?


I support the compromise legislation passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor.

2. Do you support the right of public workers, excluding military, to bargain and strike?


3. Would you support a statewide “Ban the Box” law, prohibiting employers from asking about job applicants’ criminal history until after an initial screening or interview?


4. Do you support legislation that reimburses the cost of reproductive health care services, such as SB 6105, the Reproductive Health Access for All Act?


5. Would you support an automatic voter registration act such as HB 2595 (Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2018), streamlining procedures in order to automatically register citizens to vote?


6. Would you support a bill that would enable the state of WA to create a single health financing entity to provide health care financing for all Washington residents, independent from employment, such as the WA Apple Care Trust?


I believe access to quality and affordable healthcare is a human right, and government should ensure every man, woman, and child has healthcare. However, I believe this effort should be led at the federal level, instead of through a piecemeal effort by the states.

Part III – Free Response

1. Why are you running as a Democrat? What aspects of the Democratic platform most resonate with you?

I am a Democrat because I believe that government can be a force for good, that all people are created equal, and that justice is the foundation of a more perfect union. I believe that government ought to be a partner in creating prosperity for all and in protecting our communities. The Democratic Party reflects the values I was taught by my progressive, feminist mother and my father who preached the virtues of community policing and criminal justice reform in Ellensburg long before they became national priorities. I believe in rebuilding the middle class through addressing wages and the rising costs of housing, education, and childcare. I believe in reinvesting in our aging infrastructure, supporting workers and unions, working toward a progressive tax system, reforming our criminal justice system, reversing climate change, making college affordable, and achieving universal healthcare.

2. In the past, many Democrat-sponsored bills have died in the Republican-controlled Senate. Please list three failed bills from the past legislative session that you will champion when elected.

Even in a wave election, it is likely that Democrats will take back the House of Representatives but that the Senate will remain controlled by Republicans. In a divided government, I believe that we need to focus on building coalitions and prioritize legislation like a real infrastructure investment that can gain bipartisan support. Paul Ryan’s refusal to bring any bill to the floor that has a hope of passing the Senate has been responsible for one of the least productive Congresses in history, and Washingtonians are tired of sending representatives to a broken D.C. that can’t get anything done.

3. What important state and local issues have you worked on (or taken an interest in) that you feel aren’t getting enough attention from elected leaders and the media?

I was honored to be appointed by Gov. Inslee to the State Advisory Council on Homelessness, an issue that doesn’t get nearly enough attention from elected leaders and the media. In the wealthiest country in the world, we should be able to find solutions so that no one has to sleep on the streets.

4. Do you think Washington public schools are adequately funded? If not, what minimum requirements should be met in an adequately funded public school system? What specific forms of taxation would you support to attain that funding?

I believe that it’s time Congress governed with our values again, and that means making sure every parent has access to quality and affordable education for their children. I believe the federal government can do more to help states find funding sources for public education other than local property taxes; as property taxes are too high in Washington, disproportionately advantage students in wealthier areas, and reinforce the historical inequities of discriminatory housing policies.

5. What are some obstacles inherent in proposed legislative solutions to climate change? How would you approach those obstacles in order to best overcome or minimize any negative effects?

I believe the single largest obstacle to a successful legislative solution to climate change is the failure to have a serious debate about the reality of our warming planet and accurately assess the scale of the response needed. We need a comprehensive strategy to both mitigate the damage our changing climate and rising sea levels are already causing, meaningful investments in clean energy and the infrastructure to support it, and support for innovators working on technology to reverse the trend of climate change itself.

6. What are some obstacles inherent in proposed approaches to tax reform in Washington State? How would you approach those obstacles in order to best overcome or minimize any negative effects?

The first order of business in achieving tax reform and tax fairness is repealing the GOP’s most recent tax reform legislation, which was a massive shift in wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest corporations and individuals in this country. America works best for all of us when we each do our part for our communities and country. That includes paying our fair share in taxes to build our roads, educate our kids, and keep our country safe. But too often, big corporations and powerful interests get special tax breaks. We should close the loopholes that let them get away with not paying their fair share, and focus on tax policies that build prosperity from the middle out.

7. Do you support the voter-approved call for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision (I-735), and if so, how do you propose to work toward that goal?

Yes, I strongly support a Constitutional Amendment to reverse one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in modern history. I will support HR 377, the proposed Constitutional Amendment introduced in the House of Representatives and strongly advocate for its passage in Washington.

By typing my name below, I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.

Printed Name: Jason Rittereiser

Date: 04/23/2018

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