8th District candidates Dino Rossi and Kim Schrier clash in only debate

Eighth District candidates Dino Rossi and Kim Schrier clashed in their first and only debate Wednesday night.

Hundreds of people filled McConnell Hall at Central Washington University knowing that this race to could tip the balance of control in Congress.

Republican Rossi is well known here because of his time in the legislature and three statewide races.

Democrat Schrier is a political newcomer motivated by her work as a pediatrician to make health care her top issue.

“Let me be clear about my plan for health care because there is definitely misunderstanding from my opponent. Which is that I believe we should have Medicare as a public option so that anybody at any age, especially small business owners, could buy into Medicare just like they could buy into private insurance,” said Schrier.

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“My opponent wants a government takeover of health care and a government takeover of health care means that the government is going to pick your doctor, the government is going to pick your hospital,” said Rossi.

In a TV ad, Schrier links Rossi to a fugitive real estate developer indicted for business fraud. On Wednesday night, Rossi struck back.

“What it is, is it's a character assassination based upon guilt by association.”

When asked if she would like to defend that ad, Schrier responded, “I stand my ad. I'm Kim Schrier, I approve that message.”

The 8th is the only congressional district that spans the Cascade Mountains from the high-tech suburb of Issaquah to the export-dependent farm lands of Central Washington.

On tariffs, Rossi avoided direct criticism of President Trump.

“I've been very clear that I don't think anyone wants a trade war.”

Schrier responded, “You don't have to throw uncertainty in and put our farmers at risk in order to secure and renegotiate a better trade agreement.”

At the end of the debate there was one bit of common ground. Both candidates agreed on the need for more school resource officers to prevent violence in schools.