“The Lars Larson Show” debate contains predictable responses on policy from candidates

Lars Larson hosted a debate on his conservative talk show between two candidates running for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.
Joe Kent, R-Yacolt, and Brent Hennrich, D-Vancouver, discussed their visions for Southwest Washington and views on policy.
Kent emphasized his goal to unseat incumbent Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, because of her perceived status as a “Republican In Name Only,” a term used by conservative Republicans who believe an officeholder isn’t following party goals.
Hennrich, on the other hand, was general in his intentions to run “for and by the people.”
However, the debate quickly unraveled into a partisan conversation between Larson and Kent versus Hennrich and the “establishment.”
Topics covered included COVID-19-related mandates, the Build Back Better Act and fossil fuels. Larson weaved a common thread between the matters: America’s potential ruin and inevitable path toward socialism and communism under President Joe Biden’s leadership.
Larson and Kent identified the impetus for this supposed future being the recently passed infrastructure bill. The $2 trillion package includes initiatives to support affordable housing, fight climate change and expand the nation’s social safety net. Hennrich briefly stated that he supported the bill and didn’t elaborate further.
On the topic of COVID-19 mandates, Hennrich was more outspoken. He said the government is fulfilling its duty to protect the public, which entails implementing mandates, such as wearing a mask indoors. Kent pushed back and said the government is overstepping its control, and added his plan to dismantle COVID-19 mandates if he was elected.
“I think we’re headed toward a very authoritarian direction,” Kent said.
The debate served as a space for the candidates to talk past one another and promote their views, which fell in line with their political parties. It was expected. What wasn’t expected was Hennrich’s presence on the show, Larson said, as Democrats rarely attend.
He said maybe there will be more bipartisan debates in the future.

Lauren Ellenbecker

Lauren Ellenbecker

Lauren Ellenbacker is a politics reporter for The Columbian.

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