Dino Rossi came to Sunnyside, Washington today, and we had a conversation about his campaign at Guerra's Coffee Co. on South First Street.
U.S. Senate Candidate Dino Rossi with Aaron Guerra, owner of Guerra's Coffee Co. in Sunnyside, WA.
I asked Mr. Rossi how small businesses, such as the one in which we were enjoying some refreshing beverages, could benefit by his election to the U.S. Senate:
Rossi responded by saying "I will be one of the few Senators in Washington D.C. that knows what it is like to sign the front side of a paycheck." He went on to describe his own personal experience that includes starting out at the age of 17 working as a janitor. He said as a business owner, he knows what it is like to work with no salary, and no benefits. "If you don't work, you don't eat", said Rossi, about being a small business entrepreneur.
Expressing concerns about the new financial reform bill being passed in Congress, Rossi said it will kill liquidity in banks and financial institutions which provide loans to small businesses.
Rossi pointed out that Patty Murray is proud of the healthcare bill she supported, which will be a $500 billion tax increase, taking money away from small businesses, putting it into government instead, with the I.R.S. being in charge. The ultimate goal of the program Murray supports is to have a single payer system, which will be run with all the compassion of an I.R.S. agent. Rossi said that is not the kind of healthcare system he wants, and that most Americans don't want either.
Murray has never had a private sector job in her life, said Rossi. Since the 1960's, 64% of job growth has come from small businesses, and it is increasingly difficult for them to find loans and investors to fund their growth and expansion. Rossi said that too many in Washington D.C. have no experience as an entrepreneur, or being a business owner, and that it is unrealistic to expect that solutions to our economic problems will come from them.
When asked about the call from some people to simply vote out all the incumbents, Rossi said we must pay attention to how people in office are actually voting, and that we shouldn't always paint with such a broad brush. However, he said that "Frankly, both Republicans and Democrats contributed to the out of control spending and growth in government that caused this problem."
He said that for small businesses to succeed, they need low or modest taxation. They also need stable, predictable, regulation from government. Acting in opposition to this, is Senator Patty Murray, who Rossi pointed out, has voted for every single spending bill since 2004.
He said that the uncontrolled spending started under Bush, but has continued on steroids under Obama, with the full support of Patty Murray. "We can not stimulate our way to a good economy. What part of broke does Murray not understand?", said Rossi.
Rossi raised $1.4 million in one month of campaigning during the last quarter. Murray raised $1.6 million, but took the entire quarter to do it. I asked Rossi how competitive he felt his campaign would be, in the context of fundraising. He said he was fortunate to have so many people contribute to his campaign already, and that he felt confident he would be successful in raising enough to tell his story, and defend himself from attacks.
"Murray has an indefensible record of taxing and spending", he said. Although he felt confident about raising enough to tell his story, he also felt that his campaign needs to do even more. Rossi pointed out that he has over 29,000 people who "like" his page on Facebook, and follow updates from this campaign there. He is impressed with the tremendous support and communication abilities that Facebook offers. Facebook supporters used their friends and contacts to turn out a large group of supporters for him at a parade in Skagit County recently. This all happened at the last-minute, with the supporters spontaneously showing up to march with him during the event. Supporters also follow him on Twitter @DinoRossiWA, and get updates from his campaign headquarters @DinoRossiHQ.
Rossi pointed out that he has been successful in the past campaigning against an incumbent for State Senate, even when that earlier opponent outspent him by a margin of 20%. "The reality is that I have the support of the people with me; Murray's number one source of fundraising is from lobbyists."
Before leaving to continue campaigning in eastern Washington, Rossi said that he needs the support of everyone, by going to his campaign website, dinorossi.com, volunteering, knocking on doors, and giving financial support in any amount they are comfortable contributing. He also said that once elected, he needs people to keep supporting him, and not to abandon him. He will need input from the community, and wants citizens to stay involved to help implement the major course correction that he and other conservative candidates hope to bring to Washington D.C.