This past Tuesday evening, for the first time, the series of Candidate Vetting sessions being held by We The People – Southwest Washington, included the vetting of a candidate for the Washington State Legislature … Brandon Vick, Candidate for State Representative in Washington’s 18th Legislative District. Although I’ve been very open about my enthusiasm for what We The People is accomplishing with this Candidate Vetting process, the fact that this was their first time vetting a candidate at this level seemed apparent. I’m not sure if this was a “first time” for Vick, in undergoing this sort of vetting, but it seemed that might be the case too. But, to be fair, reporting on this unique (up to now) event is a “first time” for me as well. I guess that just acknowledges that, as a part of the growing “Tea Party Movement”, We The People should be expected to experience some growing pains and as part of We The People, Brandon Vick and I should expect the same. With that understood, let me report what I learned from this vetting session.
As has been my practice, in reporting on these sessions, let me start with my view of this candidate’s “ability to connect with the ‘grassroots’ – i.e. the people who make up We The People.” Although I didn’t see Brandon Vick at the We The People rally, held outside Brian Baird’s office earlier on the same day as this vetting session, I have seen Vick at other We The People meetings and I’ve been around him at other events. At those times, he seemed to come across as an every-day, salt-of-the-earth kind of guy. I think this came through in his vetting session too, in a way that is obviously genuine. In other words, Vick is pretty much of a “grassroots” kind of guy (and that isn’t intended as a pun, aimed at the fact that he works in his family’s landscaping business), so it’s not a challenge for him to connect with other “grassroots” folks.
When it comes to the question of “The candidate’s motives for running?”, my sense is that Vick’s motives have some similarity to my motives for my current involvement in politics. He expressed it as, “fightin’ for values.” I express it as, “being unwilling to stand idly by while ‘they’ continue to ‘flush away’ the wonderful America I was blessed to be born and raised in.” Sort of the same things, mine just has 40 years or so (I think Brandon Vick is in his mid-twenties) of added impetus. Regardless, much like me, Vick doesn’t seem to be in this for himself. He seems to be in it to preserve our great nation, for all of us, as well as for his yet-to-be-born children and grandchildren.
The question of “How well equipped is the candidate to serve?” is the area where the “first time” issues I mentioned earlier seemed more evident. My impression here is that, since We The People is very Constitution-focused – i.e. U.S. Constitution – there’s just more work to be done in getting the vetting process to fit a State candidate versus a Federal candidate. If I’m right, that may have put this candidate at somewhat of a disadvantage. That’s not to say that none of the questioning was meaningful nor that none of his responses gave a positive indication of his preparedness for the office he’s seeking. Overall, I thought the Q&A was productive and that Vick presented himself adequately. A couple of good examples here included discussion of dealing with Unfunded Mandates and the “strings” that can go along with accepting “stimulus money”. But, it did seem to me that some areas were exposed where Vick will need to spend more time. As an example, there was a question about supporting Federal legislation to return some lands to the States. The candidate’s response (paraphrasing) was that he “hasn’t studied it” but “it sounds good.” With all that said, I don’t see anything in Brandon Vick that, in time, would prevent him from becoming well equipped to serve in an elected position.
In closing, let me reiterate, what I said in the first article I wrote in this Candidate Vetting series … “I don’t speak for We The People”. These are my views and just as I don’t mean to speak for We The People, I don’t mean to tell you that my views should be your views. My intent is to share my observations of the results being produced by the relentlessly patriotic work being done by We The People – Southwest Washington and to encourage you to do your part, including giving each of these candidates your scrutiny and arriving at your own conclusions.