For Tony Sandoval of Yakima, running for a congressional seat means taking an active role in making effective changes that benefit residents of Eastern Washington.
Sandoval, 49, a Democrat, is running for the 4th Congressional District seat left vacant by Republican Rep. Doc Hastings, who is retiring.
Sandoval owns A1 Jumpers, a small business that rents inflatable devices including bounce houses.
If elected, Sandoval plans to focus on agriculture issues, immigration reform, policies that contribute to job growth, ensuring that the state's trade disagreements are addressed and resolved, supporting Hanford cleanup as safely and expediently as possible, and making changes to the Affordable Care Act, he said.
"The immigration issue is always going to be a hot topic," he said. "What we have now is a broken system that has a multitude of controversial components. The key to immigration reform is to be realistic about the collective needs of the country and the needs of the people."
He advocates amendments to the Path to Citizenship Bill, stating that he believes the plan decreases job opportunities and takes money away from Americans for grants and housing supplements.
Sandoval said he feels he will bring a fresh and new perspective to the 4th District, he said.
"I have more than 25 years of service dedicated to the people of Eastern Washington where I was raised and have resided my entire life," he said. "As a community member I have founded several organizations that focus on empowering and enhancing opportunities for youth."
As for Hanford cleanup issues, Sandoval wants to ensure cleanup deadlines are met, which he said is more important than including Hanford's B Reactor as a national historic park.
"The cleanup costs taxpayers close to $2 billion a year and almost every deadline has and will be missed or extended," he said. "If the nuclear plant is not fully operational by the deadline, taxpayers in the state will (continue) to pay $2 billion a year for the next 30-40 years.
"Every time a deadline is missed, all other areas of waste cleanup, as well as the subsidiary adjacent projects, are halted. That creates a comprehensive standstill and an accrual of taxpayer obligation."
He also believes the appropriate uses of Hanford land as environmental cleanup is completed is a premature topic of discussion.
"At this time, cleanup is 40-plus years away," he said. "It is difficult to predict what environmental issues will arise within the next few decades and promoting a project that's undetermined is being presumptuous."
Farming issues are also a priority for Sandoval and he would like to see more advantages for export policies that would increase financial and fair trade opportunities, he said. He also plans to support any federal programs to expand water storage on the Yakima and Columbia Basin projects.
He is against expanding background checks for gun purchases, he said. And he feels Congress plays a huge role in addressing the global warming issue.
"I appreciated U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings hard work on behalf of the 4th District and the issues he championed," Sandoval said. "And, I will continue to support ongoing efforts for new water storage in the Yakima Basin."
Sandoval had not raised any money as of the first filing deadline, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Washington has open primaries for partisan office, which means all candidates, regardless of political affiliation, compete against each other. The two candidates receiving the most votes go on to the general election in November. Ballots for the primary have already been mailed to registered voters.
The two-year term has a salary of $174,000.