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Maycumber touts record, Davenport stresses health care reform in race for House seat in northeast Washington

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 7, 2020

Democrat Georgia Davenport and incumbent Republican Jacqueline Maycumber are running for Washington state House Position 1 in the 7th Legislative district.
Democrat Georgia Davenport and incumbent Republican Jacqueline Maycumber are running for Washington state House Position 1 in the 7th Legislative district.
By Nina Culver The Spokesman-Review

Republican state Rep. Jacqueline Maycumber points to her success in passing bills as one reason she deserves to be re-elected.

Her opponent in the November election, Democrat Georgia Davenport, is focused on health care issues.

The two are running for the seat in the 7th Legislative District, a Republican-leaning district that encompasses Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties as well as portions of northern Spokane County and Okanogan County.

Davenport was inspired to run for the House of Representatives because she wants to improve health care in the state.

“I’ve had my own horrible health care experiences in our system,” she said. “It’s clear profit comes before patient care.”

Davenport said she and her family have health insurance, but the out-of-pocket costs are still substantial.

“Our co-pays keep going higher and higher every year,” she said.

She was previously the paid campaign director for Whole Washington, a group founded in 2017 that advocates for universal health care in Washington State. She’s now a volunteer field director with the group. She’s also a field director with One Payer States, a group that advocates for states to initiate universal health care.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown that health care should not be tied to employment, Davenport said.

“I feel like we need to take bold actions right now,” she said. “Millions of people lost their jobs.”

The legislature also needs to deal with problems people have getting access to health care in rural areas, she said.

“Hospitals and clinics are closing in rural areas,” she said. “Those are also jobs that are at risk.”

She praised a bill passed in the most recent legislative session, which Maycumber sponsored in the House, that capped the cost of insulin at $100 a month.

“She did pass a great bill that helped people who are diabetic,” Davenport said. “We need to expand that. We need to have affordable pharmaceuticals and affordable health care for everyone.”

Maycumber, who has held the seat since 2017, considers the insulin price cap bill one of her biggest accomplishments.

“I got quite a few bills passed last year,” she said.

But there is still more to do, Maycumber said. She worked on a rural community opportunity zone bill that she hopes will come back and be approved in the next session.

“It passed last year, 98-0, but died in the Senate,” she said. “I really think this is a great thing that will help quite a few people, especially now.”

She said she also wants to work on the state having more localized responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said many rural areas have low infection rates and should be able to reopen sooner.

“We have a lot less infection rate here, a lot less exposure,” Maycumber said. “It’s just devastating to an already hurting economy.”

Businesses cannot afford to be shut down for six to 12 months, she said.

“No small business can handle that, nor can the state budget,” she said.

Davenport has lived in Washington for eight years and in Nine Mile Falls since November. She said that despite her work in politics, she never intended to run for public office. But on the Thursday night of filing week, she noticed that no one had filed to run against Maycumber, so she decided to run.

“Personally, I wanted to have a choice,” she said.

Davenport said she has an idea to fix the state’s budget problems caused by the loss of sales tax revenue during the pandemic, and it involves Jeff Bezos, the president of Amazon.

“We have 13 billionaires in Washington State who pay no income tax,” she said. “If we had a 5% wealth tax, Jeff Bezos alone would pay for our budget shortfall.”

She also wants to work on improving internet access in rural areas of the state. She said she knows of parents at her daughter’s school who have to drive to the school parking lot so their child can access the school’s Wi-Fi.

“In some places in rural Washington, it’s really, really expensive to get access to the internet,” she said. “I believe internet should be a public utility.”

Davenport noted that Maycumber is supported by health insurance companies and oil companies and pledged not to accept campaign donations from them.

“I want to be representing the people of this district,” she said. “I will be a representative for the people, not corporations.”

Maycumber said she is proud to represent the area where she grew up.

“To be able to serve the people who helped me when I was growing up is a great honor,” she said. “I truly love this district. I’ve been here in hard times and in good times. We’ve been innovative and tried to find a way. We may be the furthest from Olympia, but I want to make sure I’m one of the loudest.”

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