Bainbridge councilman eyes congressional bid

Medicare for all. The Green New Deal. Corporate money in politics. Stagnant wages and the future of work in the United States.

All immense issues, and all reasons why Bainbridge City Councilman Matthew Tirman is considering running for Congress.

Tirman, a first-term Bainbridge councilman, announced this week he has formed an exploratory committee for a possible run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

If Tirman decides to run, he will likely set up a Primary Election challenge in Washington’s 6th Congressional District to fellow Democrat and current incumbent Rep. Derek Kilmer.

“It is a big step and I think it really boils down to a couple things,” Tirman said.

“Sitting on council, being so close to constituents here as a local representative, you really see what folks are struggling with. You see the issues of affordable housing, wages just not going up,” he explained.

The issues are exacerbated at the regional and national levels, Tirman added.

“I want to be able to do more. I feel like the current representation is not in tune with where the struggles of everyday folks are in the district,” he said.

Tirman said his initial outreach for a campaign for Congress began about a month ago. Now, he’s ready to announce the formation of an exploratory committee and has plans to connect with residents throughout the 6th District — which stretches from Bainbridge Island to the Olympic Peninsula and south to the city of Tacoma — to hear their concerns.

Tirman, who is director of business and sales and Descrates Labs, was a political newcomer when he first ran for the Bainbridge council in November 2017 and was elected to a four-year term.

Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat and former state lawmaker, was first elected to Congress in 2012.

Tirman said voters in the 6th District deserve a “new choice” for their representative in the House, and said he would not be beholden to corporate interests.

He said he will not accept donations from political action committees, as well as other sources that Kilmer has tapped during his political career, including the financial services entities and the defense industry.

“We’re not going to take money from fossil fuel companies and their trade associations,” Tirman added.

“We need to define what it means to be a Democrat and what it means to be an establishment, corporate Democrat,” he said.

More aggressive policies are needed to address health care, climate change and other issues.

As such, Tirman said he supports the “Medicare for all” expansion, the Green New Deal proposal, greater protections for workers and revisiting changes to the tax code to have the wealthy pay their fare share.

Tirman said he’ll decide to become a candidate based on whether a potential campaign will be able to raise the funding needed, as well as the response from voters to his message.

That decision will come by August, he said.

A website has been set up for his exploratory committee. It can be found at www.matthewtirman.com.

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