Congressional candidate George Cicotte picked up the support of a Tri-City health care leader Tuesday and introduced a series of laws he'll promote if elected.
Kadlec Health System CEO Rand Wortman said the health care law attorney is just what is needed in Washington, D.C., with baby boomers aging and money drying up to pay for medical services. Wortman spoke at a news conference at Cicotte's Kennewick office.
"I look forward to his conservative approach. I look forward to his knowledge, his integrity and helping solve some of the health care issues," he said.
Wortman said he already has written Cicotte's campaign one check and plans to write another.
Also speaking on Cicotte's behalf were Petersen Hastings Investment founder Roger Hastings, the brother of retiring U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, the man Cicotte is trying to replace. Roger Hastings said he's worked with Cicotte and seen how he can balance a budget.
"I think you look at his resume and you see he knows how to run a business," Hastings said. "He wouldn't be here if he wasn't able to do the right thing."
Cicotte unveiled his "Contract with Eastern Washington," a series of 10 laws he promises to bring forward if elected. The laws focus on health care, balancing the federal budget and what he calls "restoring constitutional balance."
In health care, Cicotte wants to eventually replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, but said that is unlikely until a Republican president is elected in 2016. So he wants to pass laws that would increase competition in health care and stop "bailouts" of health insurance companies in the meantime.
Cicotte seeks to balance the budget by separating Social Security from the budget, requiring Social Security taxes to be held in a trust. He also wants to adjust the retirement age for people now under 47, while simplifying the tax code. He said he will meet constitutional requirements by restoring cuts to military spending and increasing the number of soldiers.
The budget can be balanced despite an increase in military spending, Cicotte said.
"A strong military is the federal government's first obligation under the Constitution," he said after the event. "Are there efficiencies that can be found in the military? Sure. But, if you don't have a strong defense, you don't have much to defend."
Cicotte also wants to reform immigration with a "market-based" visa system that will require immigrants to show that they can make a positive contribution to the United States economy and avoid criminal actions. He said the law would result in a realistic number of agricultural visas each year.
He also wants to require up or down votes in Congress on a "balanced budget/tax limitation amendment" and a line-item veto.
"The contract provides the citizens with an opportunity to invest their votes wisely," Cicotte told supporters. "Those running solely on 'past performance' or on angry bouts of vitriol about the broken system offer no viable plan to achieve the future results we all so strongly desire and need."
Cicotte is one of eight Republican candidates scheduled to take part in a candidate forum at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Richland High School auditorium. A straw poll will be taken after the event.
Twelve candidates are running in the Aug. 5 primary for the seat Doc Hastings is retiring from after 20 years.
-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom