The U.S. Constitution is the only legal mandate for members of Congress, according to Gavin Seim, who believes it is being ignored by the federal government.
The Ephrata Republican said he has a real plan to stir the pot in Washington, D.C., if elected to the 4th Congressional seat of retiring Rep. Doc Hastings.
It starts with 100 percent constitutional voting, and continues with standing on principle, calling out corruption and not playing crony politics.
"My message is liberty, the Constitution and getting our government legal again," Seim said. "And no one in this race will take on the issues and turn D.C. inside out like I will."
Seim, who describes himself as a Christian patriot, wants to make it clear that he is not a politician and he would work to shrink government by limiting federal power and preserving state's rights, he said.
A longtime small-business owner, Seim often tests officials' compliance with citizen's rights, like taking a gun into the lobby of the Grant County Courthouse, an area he cites as being unrestricted under Washington law.
He films the encounters and posts the videos online, and encourages other activists to help take back America, "hold officials accountable and make sure they know who they work for."
Seim decided back in December to challenge Hastings -- before the Republican announced his plans to retire -- "because of his 66 percent constitutional voting record," he said.
"America is in dire straits. The Constitution is being ignored by the federal government and we have to get back to that foundation if we're going to preserve liberty," Seim told the Herald.
He is one of 12 candidates for the position. The top two vote-getters in the Aug. 5 primary will move on to this fall's general election.
This is his first time running for political office. He is a portraitist and filmmaker and his business, Seim Studios in Lakeview, focuses on educational films for the photography industry.
Seim and his wife, Sondra, have three kids: Cyrus, 6, Ana, 3, and Asher, 2.
He said he believes the federal government needs to fulfill its obligation to get "the Hanford mess" cleaned up not 20 or 50 years from now, but in a timely and safe manner. He'd advocate for state and local authorities to utilize their experts and deal with the problem more efficiently, he said.
Seim recognizes that America is a nation of immigrants, and that the diversity is the country's strength and not weakness.
But to improve the immigration system, the government needs to "end unconstitutional entitlements that are draining our economy to give to illegal immigrants," he said.
The process also needs to be streamlined so immigrants can come here and live the American dream without spending thousands of dollars, he said.
"Protecting our border is critical, and the lack of accountability we're seeing there is criminal," Seim said.
Overall, Seim said the federal government needs to get legal and back into its proper role, which means leaving the states to be independent of federal authority.
"The best thing we can do to help for farmers and agriculture is to back the federal government out of controlling these things," he said. "When the federal government is making decisions and writing the checks, it doesn't help Washington state. It puts us beholden to the federal government."
U.S. representatives receive an annual salary of $174,000 and are elected to two-year terms.
Seim had raised $13,357 for his campaign through June 30, according to the Federal Election Commission. For a full list of his donors and those of the other congressional candidates, go to tricityherald.com/donors.
For more election stories, go to tricityherald.com/election.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer