Andrew Hughes
Seattle Democrat and tax attorney Andrew Hughes is running against 24-year incumbent Congressman Jim McDermott in the upcoming 7th congressional district election. Hughes today challenged McDermott to immediately put his investment assets into a blind trust.

Congressional District candidate Andrew Hughes challenges Congressman Jim McDermott; "Put your assets into blind trust"

Seattle Democrat and tax attorney Andrew Hughes is running against Congressman Jim McDermott in the upcoming 7th congressional district election. McDermott has won 12 consecutive elections, and is hoping for lucky 13.

The 7th congressional district encompasses most of Seattle, all of Vashon Island, and portions of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Tukwila, SeaTac, and Burien.

Hughes, a 30-year-old first-time candidate, has garnered attention by raising a lot of money ($200,000 to date) and by his physical activities. On May 17, he rode his bicycle across Vashon Island then kayaked across the Puget Sound the same day. The following morning he swam across Lake Burien, and began the first leg of a two-day, 30-mile walk ending up in Edmonds, the new northern boundary of the 7th Congressional District. Here is a map of the new boundaries.

Also running are Democrats Don Rivers and Charles Allen, Republican challengers Scott Sutherland and Ron Bemis, and Third Party candidate Goodspaceguy. The primary is August 7, the two candidates with the most votes will go on the general election.

Hughes challenge to Congressman McDermott:

Hughes today challenged the 24-year incumbent to immediately put his investment assets into a blind trust. Hughes pledged to do the same if he wins, and called on all Congressional members to follow suit.

Placing personal assets into blind trusts help avoid public scrutiny and accusations of conflicts of interest when politicians direct government funds to the private sector.

According to the challengers website, "McDermott Truth", in June of 2004, Congressman McDermott invested 10 precent of his personal assets in the small Canadian pharmaceutical firm ID Biomedical. At that time, ID Biomedical stood to benefit massively from the passage of the “Project Bioshield” Bill, which two weeks earlier, had passed the U.S. Senate.

Project Bioshield was run through Congress at a time of widespread public fear of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and avian flu, for which ID Biomedical developed vaccines. Six weeks later, The House of Representatives passed Project Bioshield with a Yes vote from Congressman McDermott.

"Public service should not be self-service," said Hughes in a press statement. "Members should be mandated by legislation to place their assets to place their assets into a blind trust for the duration of their time in office."

If elected, Hughes would sponsor legislation similar to H.R. 3549, known as the Congressional Blind Trust Act of 2011, which would amend the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to require members of Congress to place their stocks, bonds, commodities futures, and other forms of securities into blind trust.

"This is the only way we can insure that no member of Congress is tempted, intentionally or otherwise, to nibble at the forbidden fruit," Hughes said, who wants McDermott to "lead by example" in the absence of such legislation."

Seattle SuperSonics Stadium position & Port:

"The Port, all the way from Ballard to downtown, historically has been the economic engine of our area. That's crucial. We can't undermine them at all. In fact we have to insure that they are promoted because that is countless jobs that might potentially be moved off. Vancouver is investing heavily to make their port more efficient. They are investing in rail. The day when (shipping companies) can save a day or two they will chose to go where they can save time.

"I haven't seen the exact traffic issues but in my opinion there are concerns about the proximity to the Port. If the Port believes the stadium is going to undermine its ability to flow, this has to be weighed heavily. There are other options. We definitely have to have a viable place for the SuperSonics to play in, but the SODO arena I don't think is necessarily the answer. That port is going to be the livelihood of SODO, and Seattle, for the future. The Sonics are definitely part of who we are, but we should bring them back in a way that is beneficial to all parties.

McDermott's dominance:

"We can honor and respect Jim for his service, but at a certain point of time we have to invest in the future, promoting modern ideas." Referring to McDermott: "There is a lack of effort by people who feel they are really safe, like they don't have to show up. They put their name on the ballot and theory have the coronation ceremony and are anointed again for another two years. People are tired of feeling that their vote doesn't matter. They want legislation written in a way that is accessible. There is a lot of claim going on but not a lot of delivery.

"People understand that at a certain point of time, after being part of the system for so long, it is impossible not to become disconnected. The idea of a citizen legislator who is from their community, who chooses to serve, then goes back to work their small business or farm, those days are gone. As a career politician you lose that sense of urgency.

"Thirty percent of the 7th District is brand new. That means you have 30 percent of voters who never voted for McDermott.

"My expertise is tax law. Right now we're talking about revenue shortage and how to support programs and invest in infrastructure and our communities. That's an expertise that is so essential, being able to free up that revenue to make a fairer and more equitable code and then redirect that, and I am one of only a handful of people with that background to tackle that- The creation of more economic equality and make sure that people who invest in the system get back a return be it an equal opportunity to get an education, roads that are paved, bridges that are built, a power grid that can pave the way for alternative energy in the future. We need revenue to do that and the tax code is the source of the revenue to do that."

Background:

Hughes, a tax attorney, graduated from Seattle University School of Law and received his Masters in taxation (LLM) from the University of Washington Law School. He also received a Masters in Theory & History of International Relations from the London School of Economics.

His parents, Jill and Robin, operated a bed and breakfast in Poulsbo, the Manor Farm Inn, which was featured in the July-August, 1991 edition of "Martha Stewart Living." It was a 26-acre, fully-functioning farm.

"I grew up working the farm, collected the eggs, cleaned the stalls, did house keeping, waited tables, kept the books. It was a wonderful way to grow up. We could play outside. At the same time, we had to learn how hard it was to make a family business work."

For more on Andrew Hughes, visit his website here.

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