When Congress shut down the government in 2013, my business suffered. When I learned that the shutdown, which accomplished absolutely nothing, cost taxpayers like you and me $24 billion, I got angry. When I discovered that my own representative, Dave Reichert (WA-8) voted for this useless government shutdown, I got busy.

The shutdown shows how out of touch Dave Reichert is, but it goes beyond that. He favors warrantless wiretapping on American citizens. He opposes women's right to make their own health decisions, he is unwilling to support comprehensive immigration reform and he ignores important issues like campaign finance reform and net neutrality. My opponent hasn’t held a town hall meeting since 2005 and hasn’t been able to pass a bill he sponsored except one that renamed a post office. He’s so ineffective, he’s been nominated for Bill Maher’s Flip A District campaign.

I am not a politician. I’m a small business owner, husband and dad. I believe that American citizens have a right to privacy. I believe that women have a right to make their own healthcare decisions. I believe that we need comprehensive immigration and campaign finance reform. I believe in action, not in talk.

I want to be part of the change we desperately need in our stagnant congress. Ask me anything!

Edit: My Proof

Edit2: I appreciate all the questions, this was a ton of fun. I'll try to check in later in case there are more - thanks!

Edit3: Back for a bit to answer some more questions, in the midst of a twitter bomb with #WA8 and #FlipADistrict!

Edit4: I'm still answering questions, keep them coming (9:29pm PST) Edit5: Still here, still answering questions. (10:54pm PST)

Edit6: Its midnight here and I'm going to hit the hay, thanks everyone for some great questions. If you have any further questions you can contact my campaign on twitter or via our website.

Twitter: @ritchie4wa8

My website

Website about my opponent

Comments: 2484 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

Plague_gU_754 karma

You're a non-politician pissed off at Washington running as a ...Democrat? Why not run under independent, if you truly value non-partisanship. I've heard the "I'm not a politician like them" and the "I am a small business owner" forever. People don't understand the one key fact in life: everyone lies.

ritchie4wa8314 karma

I agree with democratic philosophies - equality, sustainable job creation, and working hand in hand with federal, state, and local governments.

I'm a democrat because I believe in these ideals, I'm not a politician because I don't want to make this a career. This is about holding our representatives accountable.

Plague_gU_160 karma

So if John Boehner came up to you with a bill that would definitely benefit your district, and Nancy Pelosi came up to you wanting you not to support the bill, who would you side with? If you sided with Boehner, you would lose funds, and risk not getting re-elected.

ritchie4wa8587 karma

I'd side with my district. Its not about getting re-elected, its about doing right by the people who put you there.

ChefDoYouEvenWhisk366 karma

Can you name a politician currently in office (Congressperson, Senator, state legislator, etc.) whose views most align with yours?

ritchie4wa8685 karma

Elizabeth Warren, she understands that there is a corrupting power to money and she is out to protect all Americans and hold Wall Street accountable.

tannerdanger310 karma

This answer, is how you get reddits support. I'm a Washington state resident and I'll be watching you closely (in the elections... Not in a creepy way...)

ritchie4wa8146 karma

I had the opportunity to meet her very briefly while she was in Seattle and hear her speak. I think she has some great ideas and if nothing else, shes bringing attention to the right issues.

sometimeserious184 karma

Whats your small business? How many employees do you have? When did you start it?

PS - Thanks for running!

ritchie4wa8333 karma

I started an accessible construction company 9 years ago after my father had a stroke. We've remodeled hundreds of homes nationwide for veterans, seniors, people injured at work and more. We employ anywhere between 50-250 people depending upon the time of year and how many projects we're doing.

mattguy2720150 karma

Do you actually employ that many people or are they independent contractors without benefits?

ritchie4wa8305 karma

I always try to hire union trades where possible, therefore most of the companies I work with already pay their trades and subs a living wage and benefits.

TryNstopME024156 karma

Are you for the legalization of marijuana or against it?

ritchie4wa8392 karma

For. We have to end this new prohibition, we're wasting resources, and money fighting a losing "war" and harming our nations youth while we do it.

Edit: If you want to take a look, I actually finished up a draft of a blog post for my Huffington Post blog today. Expect it within a few days.

nutbastard92 karma

In what way did your business suffer as a direct result of the shutdown?

ritchie4wa8167 karma

In construction, you can't go to the local Bank of America for a loan. They'll laugh you out of the building.

The Small Business Administration loan program is essential to my business. This program provides low interest, short term loans to small businesses like mine. When Dave Reichert and the House GOP voted to shutdown the government they cut off small businesses.

My employees, my clients, and I all suffered. We had veterans and seniors waiting in the hospital to go home, but we couldn't finish the work on their homes because of the shutdown.

hikingismylife75 karma

Mr. ritchie, if your trying to stay out of the partisan politics, what are some issues that you disagree with your own party on?

ritchie4wa8191 karma

One example: I disagree with the president on NSA surveillance. We shouldn't be wiretapping people without a warrant.

PmButtPics4ADrawing72 karma

Flipping a district sounds difficult. How will you get the proper leverage to make up for it's extreme weight?

ritchie4wa8228 karma

The 8th CD is one of 17 districts nationwide won by President Obama in 2012, but has a Republican representative. Our task is to find the voters who voted for President Obama and for Rep. Reichert and to bring them over to our side - a doable task which we are actively engaged in.

And no, I will not be PMing any pics for a drawing.

Juniper_Rose56 karma

In an ideal world, how do you imagine campaign finance reform would be implemented? How could that be changed in a realistic way?

ritchie4wa8155 karma

Two things: overturn Citizens United and publicly finance federal campaigns. Corporations should not be treated as people.

It is going to take a concerted effort. Its going to take 218 democrats in the house and constituents holding politicians accountable. This won't be easy, but we need this if we're going to be able to address the issues of our time.

Edit: Grammar, whoops

2nd Edit: For those concerned about my usage of the phrase overturn I'm referencing the legislative process to amend the constitution. Sorry I wasn't more clear.

aokun35 karma

What about the Mayday PAC? What are your thoughts on that?

ritchie4wa8113 karma

I think the work they are doing is fantastic (for those of you who haven't seen it, check out /r/maydaypac).

The way they are structured - open, honest, and with a clear mission is great. I love that should they succeed in their goal, they will then cease to exist.

forteller7 karma

Great! So will you pledge to support the Government By The People Act, and wil we see you on the list of supported candidates of Mayday PAC?

ritchie4wa83 karma

I already have made that pledge as you can see here.

As far as I'm aware MayDay is only planning to support 5 candidates this year so odds are I won't be on the list. Certainly would be cool though.

HireMeThroughAMA55 karma

Will you hire me? Every single person who's ever met me says I'm really great.

ritchie4wa853 karma

Let me see if we win Bill Maher's Flip A District campaign. I'll get back to you.

kingshizz54 karma

I am a registered voter in the 8th Congressional district of WA. I am also a small business owner. My question is this: What is your stance on gun control and how it relates to personal freedoms and the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution?

ritchie4wa8134 karma

As a fellow firearms owner I support an individuals right to bear arms. That said, common sense regulations keeping firearms away from people with criminal records, domestic assault, and mental problems is essential. The larger issue is urban poverty, we need to provide opportunity to inner city youth to cut down mortality rates.

LeftOutLoud45 karma

I read that you had a master's degree in history and even used to teach history at the collegiate level. Drop some knowledge on us professor! Who would you consider to be one of your favorite politicians from years past and why?

ritchie4wa891 karma

Challenge accepted: Marcus Aurelius, the original philosopher emperor.

More recently Teddy Roosevelt or Dwight Eisenhower.

trenchkamen29 karma

First principles. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature?

ritchie4wa8162 karma

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."

irun4fun720 karma

You answered who, but you didn't answer why!

ritchie4wa899 karma

Teddy - because he was a progressive who didn't take no for an answer and fought to break up monopolies.
Eisenhower - because he wasn't a partisan. He built the infrastructure we use today.

I admire leaders who get things done and put progress before partisanship.

aokun12 karma

If Marcus Aurelius is your favorite, why isn't your fave movie "Gladiator"? ;(

ritchie4wa853 karma

Its up there, if that movie is on TV and I see it, I'll start watching even if its an hour in.

ManWhoisAlsoNurse34 karma

Unfortunately I'm not in your district I'm one over from you. What would be your solution to the current destruction of our online privacies? Thank You.

ritchie4wa859 karma

Unlike my opponent, I believe in the 4th amendment, which is supposed to ensure our privacy. We have lost our right to privacy online because of politicians like Reichert. I am pro-net neutrality and against warrantless wiretapping and the NSA security apparatus.

ManWhoisAlsoNurse20 karma

So should we take that to mean that you would work towards limiting the NSA's overreach and stop the many retries at CISPA?

ritchie4wa851 karma

Yes.

kayakyakr29 karma

How's the campaign going? Have any shot of being elected over an incumbent? Is your district up in arms enough to actually go your direction?

ritchie4wa857 karma

If you look at his record, Reichert is clearly vulnerable in this purple district that went for Obama in 2012. He voted to shut down the government, he voted for warrantless wiretapping, he has no jobs plan. So, yeah, he's vulnerable, and I'm backed by every major union and the strong Democratic base here in Washington State.

epabs2328 karma

Why is marijuana still illegal?!

ritchie4wa893 karma

Well, it's not illegal here. Marijuana is legal in Washington State, and I support decriminalization of it nationwide. My opponent still opposes it because he's out of touch. Marijuana should be treated the same as alcohol.

megotsabigdick35 karma

I hate to be "that guy" but there is a huge difference between decriminalization and legalization. I feel that's an important distinction that needs to be recognized by someone running for Congress.

ritchie4wa845 karma

Absolutely, decriminalization is a first step. I've said before I support both decriminalizing, and legalizing marijuana.

Here in Washington state, we started with decriminalization in municipalities first. With the gridlock in congress, decriminalization is probably our first step federally as well.

hobojoe0823 karma

Do you have a favorite subreddit?

ritchie4wa8120 karma

I'm not going to lie - I am compelled to check out /r//wtf at least once a day. I don't want to, but I can't help it. I just can't look away.

dvrzero18 karma

Hey man good on you. I have a few friends doing the same and I intend to after my homestead requires no constant labor.

How much money did you have to raise originally to get started?

ritchie4wa835 karma

Bottom line is there is too much money needed to run an effective political campaign. I read today that a senator has to spend 80% of her time fundraising. I think that is simply anti-democratic. I think social media like reddit is the great leveler.

To answer your question, I put in around $50K to get started.

The_Wonk17 karma

What community experience outside of your professional career do you have that you believe makes you a qualified candidate for office?

ritchie4wa859 karma

I've had several careers in my life. I taught political science and history, I've got a degree in both subjects from the University of Michigan and a Masters degree in History from the University of Eastern Michigan.
In the early 90s I interned in Washington DC as a juvenile justice advocate, I've built my own small business from the ground up, I'm a volunteer in my children's schools and a former chamber of commerce member.

I believe I have the diversity of experience, the knowledge, and the background.

z_impaler14 karma

What's your stance on term limits and lobbying reform?

ritchie4wa833 karma

I support term limits for federal offices, specifically 3 terms (6 years) in the House and 2 terms (12 years) in the Senate. There is too much money in politics and lobbyists take advantage of our lack of term limits.

z_impaler11 karma

Thanks for your reply. I'd like to hear you say something more than acknowledging that lobbyists take advantage of the status quo. I respectfully ask, can you say something as a definitive stand against this skewed and direct influence on congress?

ritchie4wa831 karma

I believe there should be a moratorium, a time set between when a representative leaves Congress and when they can be employed as a lobbyist. I hope by doing that we can remove the malignant lobbyists from our political system.

ReasonReader8 karma

He favors warrantless wiretapping on American citizens.

So do most of the elected officials in your side of the Ruling Party. Will you take Obama, Reid, and Pelosi to task over this, or is it just something you'll use against your opponent in the election, and then betray us?

ritchie4wa810 karma

Yes, I will. I'm running to defend the constitution and support the 4th amendment to the Constitution. D or R, I will fight to stop warrantless wiretapping.

Ftnpen7 karma

How do you feel about term limits for elected congressional representatives? Do you plan on becoming a "career politician" therefore not being able to sell the whole "I'm one of you running for office!" platform?

ritchie4wa826 karma

I'm for term limits, specifically six years or three terms in the house and two terms, or 12 years, in the senate.

I plan on self-imposing such a term limit on myself should I be elected.

irun4fun76 karma

What if, after six years in office, there are no good candidates for the 8th district? Would you run again?

ritchie4wa837 karma

No. There are plenty of people who would make fantastic representatives for our district, republicans or democrats.

Its time for new blood now, and it will be again in six years.

DeathToAllPotatoes6 karma

What is your favorite movie?

ritchie4wa872 karma

My campaign response is "Saving Private Ryan".

My real response is "Dazed and Confused".

TheTjTerror5 karma

Is there any chance on a debate with Dave Reichert? So far, I'm definitely liking your stand. I've been reading through some answers and didn't see this question yet either, so I thought I'd ask. Do you think there would be anything you could do to help the homeless?

ritchie4wa88 karma

We need to address homelessness, and its a big deal throughout our district. My opponent voted to cut $40 billion from SNAP, we can't have people starving. More than that we need to find ways to provide affordable housing and transportation.

I'm intrigued by this idea, we should try giving people homes.

In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached. Each participant in Utah’s Housing First program also gets a caseworker to help them become self-sufficient, but they keep the apartment even if they fail. The program has been so successful that other states are hoping to achieve similar results with programs modeled on Utah’s.

ritchie4wa87 karma

I hope so, I'd love to debate him. I'm planning on challenging him to as many debates as possible dealing with issues specific to the district including immigration, net neutrality, business growth, and more.

heidiqt0125 karma

what are your stances on equal pay and women's reproductive rights?

ritchie4wa814 karma

All people, whatever their sex or gender, deserve equal pay for equal work. I've got no business interfering in the healthcare decisions a woman makes with her doctor and neither does the government.

Derpatron30m4 karma

How confident are you in winning, especially with your lack of "professional politics"?

How long do you think it will be when more people begin to realise that the most effective politicians are not "professionals," and are more like everyday people, like they used to be?

What is your opinion on Second Amendment rights?

I appreciate your willingness to actually get something done for this country, thank you.

ritchie4wa810 karma

I'm confident I can win because this is a purple district that hasn't had a candidate like me run it in before. Additionally, the incumbent is unpopular, partisan and out of touch.

I believe the 2nd Amendment applies to the individual's right to bear arms, but I believe in commonsense regulations to keep firearms away from people with a violent background.

cuddleswithwolves3 karma

Are you planning on avoiding corporate donations while you run or are you going to be like every other politician?

ritchie4wa89 karma

At this point, almost all of our contributions have been from individuals or unions. I don't think I'm the kind of guy that a corporate PAC would support.

fishyfish73 karma

Your website states you believe that everyone should be paid a minimum of $10.10. What is the lowest wage your business currently pays?

ritchie4wa85 karma

My business pays significantly higher than minimum wage because we work with skilled trades. I'd have to look at specific numbers because we do work nation wide but our minimum has got to be around $15-$20.

Ingens_Testibus2 karma

I'm a political campaign consultant for 'the other side'; however, I am glad to see more non-professional politicians make the decision to run. Best of luck (but not too much luck) to you, sir!

One question...what has surprised you most about running for office?

ritchie4wa83 karma

Voter apathy. I think if people understood how corrosive partisanship has become on our democracy, they would use their power as voters to demand change. Instead, I find so many people feel simply disconnected and disinterested. Red or blue, this makes me worried for our future.

PM_ME_FOODS2 karma

Would you rather fight 100 duck sized Reicherts or 1 horse sized Reichert?

ritchie4wa88 karma

I'd fight any Reichert that shows up.

Hell, I'd debate him too if he could be bothered to show up.

rockyard223 karma

Idk... Reichert is pretty buff. I think you would get clobbered.

ritchie4wa87 karma

Well he better come out swinging, he can't talk his way out of a paper bag. His positions are indefensible.

runciter_is_dead1 karma

I support your positions on paper, but this idea in American politics that anybody can just quit their day job get into politics and run the largest and most powerful government on the planet scares the crap out of me. It's as if someone gets fed up with our broken health care system and says, "Screw it. I want to be my own doctor."

You saw this glorification of inexperience manifest in people like Ross Perot, Sarah Palin, many Tea Party candidates, (even Obama to some extent) and now yourself. Running a government is quite different than running your own business. The decisions you make when you run a business enrich yourself and your employees, while in government it should be just the opposite. You should enrich your constituents.

How do you think your experience running a small business qualifies you to help run the one of the largest organizations on the planet?

ritchie4wa88 karma

First, I still have my day job. Try running for Congress when you don't have the money to quit your day job and you'll start to understand how much I can relate with the middle class Americans I'm trying to represent. I am one of them.

What qualifications would you suggest? Would you suggest a full-time politician, someone who is completely disconnected with the reality of earning a living? I prefer my representatives be people I can relate with.

I am running because I spent the last 10 years watching my government drift further and further away from enriching the constituents of which I am a part. My opponent has never worked in the private sector.

Just so we're clear, I'm running for Congress, not President. I'm not running to run the entire government. I'm running to represent the 8th Congressional District of Washington State. I'm running to bring back a little common sense to the legislative process in D.C. I'm running to be 1 of 435 members of Congress who need to do a better job of building consensus, managing their money, and getting things done. That's exactly why my experience running my business has prepared me for this task.

Allysquad1 karma

Are you for or against free education ?

ritchie4wa83 karma

If we could reasonably fund it, I'd have to see more specifics on certain proposals.

My big issue is with accessibility, right now students are leaving college with mountains of debt. I understand that feeling -I'm still paying off my student loans. We need to address this issue.

evanessa1 karma

Are you going to be on Bill Maher anytime soon?
Edit* #flipadistrict #WA8, send it to Bill people, would be a great show!

ritchie4wa83 karma

I'd love to, tell him to have us on!

uncreative86-2 karma

Why are you only answering questions that are completely irrelevant to your stances on policy issues?

ritchie4wa88 karma

I can only type so fast. Wait for it.