Cowan Races Against Baumgartner for Spokane Senate Seat

By Paige Browning

Film producer Rich Cowan has entered the race for Washington state Senate. As part of our series on candidates in the November election, we meet Cowan, a Democrat focused on stimulating the job market. He’s running against Republican incumbent Michael Baumgartner.
It’s likely you have heard of Rich Cowan before. He helped start the North by Northwest TV and film production company in Spokane, and in 2012 he ran against Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress. He turned to state senate this year, because he says a lot can get done on the state level.
He says jobs should be the number one priority in the state legislature. And his focus on east-side jobs.

Cowan: “And even the wages. The wages are about 20-thousand dollar less here in Eastern Washington, compared to the other side of the state. And that gap is growing. We have our own version of income inequality just within the state, and we have to do something about that.”
He’s proud his company gave a boost in jobs recently, 200 actors, for a new series about zombies. To stimulate the economy, Cowan says lawmakers needs to think long-term on state infrastructure. He suggests improving education by shrinking class sizes in K-through-12, and funding transportation.
Cowan: “We’ve got to finish the North South Corridor, Medical Lake interchange, there’s a lot of work to do in that area. And political gridlock right now, politics is ahead of progress.”
Cowan blames Republicans in the legislature for not agreeing on transportation funding. Next year, the Republican majority is up the air.
Cowan’s campaign will focus on jobs, basic education, and transportation funding. Michael Baumgartner focuses on jobs, higher education, and reducing government spending. When it comes to another hot topic, health care, the candidates are basically party line. Baumgartner criticizes the affordable care act because many Washingtonian’s had to change insurance plans. Cowan says the affordable care act is a step in the right direction. His concern is the cost of care, which makes up about 18% of the country’s GDP.
Cowan: “Being competitive in a world economy, our competitors are spending about half that, in general, on health care, with, in most cases, better results.”
In the months leading to the November election, we’re likely to hear a lot from both candidates. Cowan, with a production studio at his fingerprints, says some political ads may be in the works. Baumgartner has already loaded up arguments against Cowan. At his campaign kick-off, he accused Cowan of trying to buy the race.
Cowan’s campaign has raised $109,000 dollars to Baumgartner’s $165,000, as of May 30th.
Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio

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