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Joe Pakootas

A candidate for U.S. Representative, Congressional District 5 in the 2014 Nov. 4 Washington General Election

Party: Democrat

Age: 61

City: Inchelium, WA

Education: Graduated from Inchelium High School in 1975. Attended Eastern Washington University. Received executive MBA University of Washington 2006.

Political experience: Former tribal chairman of the Colville Confederated Tribes; member tribal business council 1987-99, 2001-13. Unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Congress 5th District seat in 2014.

Work experience: Enterprise Executive Officer for the Nez Perce Tribe. Former chief executive officer Colville Tribal Federal Corp. Worked in logging, construction. Former executive director of medical and dental services for Kalispel Tribe.

Family: Married. Has four adult children.

Contact information


On this race:

What will be your top legislative goal when Congress convenes next January?

McMorris Rodgers: My top legislative goal is spending and tax reform that leads to a balanced federal budget and job creation.

Pakootas: Look at creating more jobs and rebuilding the economy by rebuilding some of our infrastructure.

What’s the highest level of support the United States should give Iraq?

McMorris Rodgers: We need a plan from the president as to the way forward in Iraq so we do not squander the sacrifices made by so many servicemen and women. We have seen that when the president of the United States signals that he is unwilling to use military force, the cause of freedom, good governance and human rights suffers setbacks around the world.

Pakootas: There’s no way we should go in there like we did in the past. I think the diplomatic approach is the best way, with everybody sitting down to negotiate.

What’s the most important change Congress should make to immigration law?

McMorris Rodgers: Secure our borders and allow people to come to this country legally. With thousands of innocent children coming in illegally right now, we need to secure the border to prevent a greater humanitarian crisis.

Pakootas: The House should pass the 2013 Senate bill, then Congress can modify it later if they need to.

What’s the most important change to the Affordable Care Act that you would support next year?

McMorris Rodgers: I have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act because it is fundamentally flawed and a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to health care reform. In the short term, I would support legislation that ensures coverage for pre-existing conditions and that if you like your current health care plan, you can keep it.

Pakootas: I would like to give it about another year, then see where you need to adjust it.

What’s the most important change to the tax code you would support next year?

McMorris Rodgers: The tax code should be simpler and less burdensome for everyone. We should close tax loopholes and reduce tax brackets.

Pakootas: Make sure everybody’s paying their fair share of income tax by looking at the tax rates.

What should Congress do about states that have legalized marijuana in some form?

McMorris Rodgers: I remain concerned about the potential for abuse and criminal activity. I want to respect the will of Washington voters as the DEA closely monitors the situation in both Colorado and Washington for the prevention of abuse, criminal activity, or illegal use to make sure we are safe.

Pakootas: Monitor the situation. I don’t know if the federal government should spend money on a state that has legalized it.

Election results

Candidate Votes Pct
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) 134,895 60.70 %
Joe Pakootas (D) 87,390 39.30 %

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