by Christina Russell
Peter Goldmark is looking to claim representation of Washington’s Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives to contest the traditionally Republican-voting pattern on a Democratic ticket.
Washington’s Fifth encompasses the Eastern Washington counties of Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Spokane, Adams, Whitman, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Asotin. This district—which is also home to Whitman College—has been represented by Republican Cathy McMorris since 2005.
Anyone who has frequented the wheat fields to watch a sunset can testify to the fact that this area is predominantly farming country, which typically votes Republican. Goldmark, however, is offering a perhaps unique, Democratic solution to the economic distress farmers and ranchers like himself are facing in the Fifth District.
According to his campaign biography, Peter is a well-educated candidate. After graduating from Okanogan High School in 1967 he attended Haverford College for Undergraduate School before he went on to the University of California at Berkeley in 1971, where he earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology.
From Berkeley he returned to the east, and at Harvard University he participated in a postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology.
Goldmark was married in 1972 and raised a family of five in Okanogan with his late wife Georgia, who died of cancer in 2003. He has put three of his children through Whitman College; Jay Goldmark is the most recent alumnus, who graduated in 2006.
While Goldmark has served in multiple capacities on public service issues involving agriculture, science and education, he is at a disadvantage to the incumbent Cathy McMorris in that McMorris has 10 years of legislative experience and is representing the more dominant Republican platform.
What is unique about Goldmark’s campaign this fall is that while farmers and ranchers in the Fifth District have in the past sided with Republicans, traditional solutions to prevalent agriculture problems have not proven successful.
In an interview with “The Inlander,” a liberal Spokane publication, Goldmark claimed that he is looking to deliver aid to his fellow ranching community in order to solve economical problems that have surfaced in the face of rising energy prices in a market in which prices have not fluctuated in generations.
Regarding the war in Iraq, Goldmark said that it appears to be “adventuring for oil,” which is why part of his platform is supporting alternative energy sources that he calls “National Security Corps.”
He wants to encourage farmers to utilize biofuels and resources like canola, switchgrass and mustard. “Imagine the good to our communities,” Goldmark said to “The Inlander,” “to grow, process, refine and burn our own domestic fuel supply.”