Former TV journalist to run for Congress, talks health care, immigration

Christine Brown, former Tri-City and Yakima television station manager and news anchor, announced Wednesday in Columbia Park her plans to run for the 4th Congressional District seat as a Democrat. Watch a video at tricityherald.com/video.
Christine Brown, former Tri-City and Yakima television station manager and news anchor, announced Wednesday in Columbia Park her plans to run for the 4th Congressional District seat as a Democrat. Watch a video at tricityherald.com/video. Tri-City Herald

The Tri-Cities can expect to see more of one of its most familiar faces in the coming months.

Christine Brown, who worked for Yakima and Tri-City television stations for 30 years, stood in Columbia Park on Wednesday with the blue bridge and its American flag as a back drop, to announce she is running for Congress in the 4th District. She is a Democrat.

“I am sincerely worried about our democracy,” she said. “It’s the reason I have decided to run for office.”

She has filed for the seat now held by Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Republican who has been elected to the seat twice.

The 4th District has not had a Democrat representative since Gov. Jay Inslee left Congress at the start of 1995. And as Brown noted in her announcement, Republican candidates can expect to be well funded.

She’s asking voters to do their homework and ask themselves which candidate would best represent them on the issues that most directly affect their lives.

Now the nation has leadership “making decision after decision that gives the advantage to the wealthy and big corporations,” she told about 70 people at her announcement in the Tri-Cities.

Everyone needs health care. It’s a human right.

Christine Brown, 4th Congressional District candidate

Dodd-Frank legislation passed in response to the financial crisis of 2007, the worst since the Great Depression, is a good example, she said.

Republicans are working to roll back the legislation passed by Congress in 2010 to provide consumer protection to the working and middle class, she said. Banks, hedge fund managers, mortgage lenders and payday companies need laws that make sure consumers are protected.

She’s worried that the Republican Senate will pass health care legislation as soon as July, with no hearings scheduled on the Senate-version of the bill and without first giving the public a chance to look at the bill.

Some 64 percent of the public supports the present Affordable Care Act, but it needs to be fixed, she said. Some deductibles and premiums are too high.

“I believe the Republicans worked to sabotage it,” despite repeated opportunities to fix it, she said. “They chose to hurt you and I.”

She supports a “Medicare for All” model requiring people to pay premiums on a sliding scale, she said. “Everyone needs health care. It’s a human right.”

The third issue she focused on during her campaign announcement was immigration, an issue that lawmakers have been kicking down the road for 20 years, she said.

Christine will bring back civility, a work ethic and an ability to get things done to Congress, something that we don’t have now.

Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller

It could be solved if leaders had the political will to address it, she said.

“We can solve this current crisis by electing leaders who understand the human, economic and cultural implications of the issue,” she says on her website. “We must elect leaders willing to study it, listen to the people affected, debate it publicly and, finally, find a solution.”

The bipartisan Senate proposal of 2013 was a good starting point, according to her website. People applying for citizenship would have to pass background checks, be fingerprinted, pay fines, pay taxes and prove employment, among other requirements.

Brown’s candidacy announcement was planned for Flag Day, but it also came on the same day that U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and four others were shot, targeted during Republican practice for a fundraising baseball game.

Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller introduced Brown, saying the shooting is a reminder that there is too much hate and violence in the nation today.

“We need to return to the days where we could respect and work with those with whom we disagree,” he said.

Brown would bring back to Congress “civility, a work ethic and an ability to get things,” he said.

Brown, 67, said she was born middle class and expected to die middle class.

Her parents moved to Yakima when she was 3 and she earned a bachelor’s from Central Washington University. Her interest in politics helped lead her to a career in television, first at KAPP-TV in Yakima and then for 25 years at KNDU-TV in the Tri-Cities.

Through the years she was a reporter, anchor, news director and finally station general manager. She mentored young reporters for 20 years, telling them to acknowledge, seek out and understand the multiple sides to news stories.

She would bring that perspective to political life, considering multiple points of view, rather than partisan banter, to make decisions that would not benefit the few at the expense of the many, she said on her website.

She has served on the board for the Yakima Chamber of Commerce, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Tri-City Development Council, Visit Tri-Cities, United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties and American Legion Youth Baseball.

She was named United Way Volunteer of the Year. She also volunteered as a guardian ad litem, appointed to represent a child in court actions.

She has twin adult children and two grandchildren.

Wednesday evening she planned to announce her candidacy in Yakima.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews