Cheryl Crist, a long time peace activist, officially announced her candidacy in the Democratic primary for Washington's 3rd Congressional district at a press conference today. A gentle and soft-spoken woman in her 60s, Crist makes a strong case for peace. Frustrated by the non-responsiveness of elected officials in Washington to the people's desire to end the war in Iraq, she decided to take action. "I realized that I needed to run for office to give a voice to the many people who share my views that there has to be a better way," she said at the press conference.
"I was surprised, and you might say heart-broken, when our congressman started buying into the Bush message and selling it to us," she said. She rejected his belief that the U.S. has to stay in Iraq and promised, she said, "to cut off funds for the Iraq misadventure," once she is in Congress.
She believes the country was misled into going to war and challenged Baird's "stay the course" stance, pointing to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Congress's research organization. Issued in September 2007, the GAO report stated Iraq had not met the benchmarks established by Congress. Most importantly, she pointed out, the GAO report could not confirm that the sectarian violence had decreased.
In response to questions from the audience, she said she welcomed a debate with Baird on his position on continuing the Iraq occupation. She also stated that she is concerned that the President and Vice President have violated laws but Congress has been unwilling to act; she would gladly sign onto a bill calling for impeachment. In response to another question about whether she was a pacifist, she responded, "Don't we all wish we could be pacifists?" That said, she acknowledged that it is not always possible. "I believe most people desire peace," she stated and she is committed to pursuing a pro-peace agenda. "I believe that in many cases we can find a peaceful solution, we can find a better way of resolving conflict."
Crist is part of what appears to be a growing trend of Democrats who are challenging Congressional incumbents. Donna Edwards just beat the Democrat incumbent in Maryland's Congressional primary. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also being challenged in the primary and there are others. This appears to be the start of an uprising against the status quo Democrats who have unwilling to stand up to the Bush administration.
"Where ever I go, I am met by people who are glad that I am running," Crist told the audience today. "People want a voice and the want change. The change will do us good!"
You can learn more about Cheryl Crist at www.cristforcongress.us or email her at Crist4Congress@aol.com