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Camas City Council Member Lewallen Running For US Congress


Camas City Council member Leslie Lewallen, a Republican, is running for the United States Congress. She’s campaigning to give the public an alternative to Joe Kent, who lost his 2022 race against Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, now serving her first term representing Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.

Lewallen, a mother of four, former King County prosecutor, and a business entrepreneur, has created a campaign that focuses on these issues:

  • Economy
  • Crime
  • Homelessness
  • Mental health and drug addiction
  • Dams and salmon
  • A third Columbia River bridge crossing
  • Sustainable Forest and Watershed Management

“During COVID, I watched the people that I love and the values in our country fall apart,” said Lewallen. “I’ve been in politics before and thought enough is enough and that’s when I decided to run for Camas City Council. I knocked on 5,000 doors. I earned the opportunity to serve on the City Council and got a front row seat to all the problems in Camas and the region. I have a seat on the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) , which is a voting board position with members of the Clark County Council, Vancouver City Council, and others who prioritize federal and state grant transportation dollars.”

The politics of the I-5 replacement bridge opened her eyes, as well.

“We have repeatedly voted down light rail, but bureaucrats keep pushing it,” she said. “They keep trying to push it even though voters don’t want it. They don’t listen. Ninety-nine percent of all public transportation has traces of meth and fentanyl. Why are all these bureaucrats wanting to spend money on light rail that’s dangerous and unhealthy? It’s dangerous for all of us, especially our children.”

It’s not just public safety that concerns Lewallen about the I-5 proposal, it’s also the taxpayer dollars she says are at risk. 

“Beyond the public safety risks presented, light-rail makes no economic sense for Southwest Washingtonians,” Lewallen said. “The potential $2 billion light rail proposal is an expensive taxpayer solution looking for a non-existent public problem. C-TRAN ridership has decreased steadily for consecutive years and won’t improve as remote working gains a stronger foothold in our labor market. I’m on the RTC and key Camas City subcommittees to advocate for Camasonians and all citizens in Southwest Washington who don’t feel like they have an effective voice in the future of our city, the region or the state. My purpose in being an elected official is to speak for the people I represent by bringing a common-sense, practical and pragmatic perspective to the policy discussions impacting our communities. Southwest Washington deserves better, and I am working hard every day to deliver meaningful results for our citizens.”

Leslie meeting with voters.

Lewallen is concerned about local GOP party politics because a select few are deciding who should be the nominee instead of letting the voters decide. This is a major contributing factor to Republicans losing the seat in 2022, she said.

Kent defeated 12-year incumbent Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler in the 2022 primary. However, Kent’s views turned off many voters in Southwest Washington and he lost to Perez in the 2022 general election. Exit poll results show that the 3rd Congressional District remains a Republican district. Donald Trump won it by four points in 2020 and Tiffany Smiley won it by seven in 2022.

Fueled by the fact that former Washington state Senatorial candidate Tiffany Smiley, who has endorsed Leslie in her race, won this district in 2022, Lewallen makes calls every day for six hours to bolster her campaign. 

“I can’t tell you how many people who say ‘thank God there’s an alternative.’” And then some say, ‘I voted for Marie, but I like what

I am hearing, and then we have a longer, productive conversation.’ Perez has been designated by Roll Call as the most vulnerable member of Congress. I made the shift from Council to Congress by watching this last race. We need a pragmatic problem solver who is a lifetime Washingtonian and can relate to voters in Southwest Washington. .We win by addition, not subtraction. We need all Republicans, Independents and Democrats to win this race. I truly believe we all have more in common with one another than we disagree on.”

“Will this be easy? No. Nothing worth fighting for is ever easily gained. But, I see an opportunity, and am working hard every day to earn it. I looked at all the numbers and what they would look like with me in the race. I don’t get into anything unless I see a clear path for victory. I went through a thorough budget planning process with my team to get a very good understanding of what I need to do to win. It’s going to be an uphill battle.”

Despite the odds, Lewallen isn’t overly concerned and says it makes this race more challenging. 

“I believe democracy depends on choices,” said Lewallen. “Our Founding Fathers created a system of government where the entire electorate chooses its representatives, rather than having representatives chosen for them by a select few.” 

Lewallen has a positive outlook for her hard road ahead. And, past Washington State election results give her good reason to be optimistic in reaching the general election. 

“History oftentimes is unapologetically truthful, and history suggests Joe Kent can’t win in 2024. In the past 30 years, there hasn’t been one statewide re-match in Washington that has resulted in a flipped outcome. I knew this race would be challenging. It’s the number one watched Congressional race in the nation. This race could determine whether we keep the majority in the House of Representatives. Joe Kent is part of the reason why we have this razor thin majority.”

So, why not wait until 2026?

“If Marie gets another term under her belt, we could lose this seat forever. It’s essential to have alternative voices to bring balance to the state. I don’t want to leave our country in the state that it’s in for my kids and future grandchildren. If I didn’t think it was necessary to run right now, I wouldn’t have gotten in. Sometimes in life God comes knocking and I have to answer that door.”

Learn more about Lewallen’s campaign at her website: www.leslieforwashington.com

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