Richard Ray "Rick" Larsen (born June 15, 1965) is the U.S. Representative for Washington's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2001. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Early life, education and career
Born in Arlington, Washington, he attended Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Minnesota, earning a master's degree in public affairs. He formerly worked as director of public affairs for the Washington State Dental Association and as a lobbyist for the dental profession. He also worked for the city of Everett, Washington as director of economic development for the city's port.
Before being elected to the House, Larsen gained political experience when he served as a Snohomish County Councilman and as chair of the Snohomish County Council.
Staff Twitter scandal
On December 8, 2011, three staff members of Larsen were fired by Larsen after they were tweeting insults about Larsen and bragging about drinking on the job in Larsen's Washington office.
In 2006, CQPolitics described him:
Larsen, a member of the centrist New Democrat Coalition in the House, has carved an image as a moderate that appeals to crucial swing voters in the politically competitive coastal district in the northwestern corner of Washington State. He still maintains support from more liberal voters, mainly in the district’s population centers surrounding the port cities of Everett and Bellingham.
Given the importance of defense- and aviation-oriented jobs in the 2nd District, Larsen’s seats on the Armed Services Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are politically advantageous.
Rick Larsen has repeatedly cosponsored legislation that would create the Wild Sky Wilderness area in his home district and is a member of the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus.
Larsen has authored a law that regulates the international marriage brokering industry, by protecting "mail order brides" from abuse and clients from being monetarily ripped off. Among his other priorities are fighting for better access to health care for veterans and the poor, increasing support for government programs that combat homelessness, increasing highway funding, and finding solutions to the growing methamphetamine problem in the district.
One of Rick Larsen’s major priorities is transportation issues. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he has voted yes on every transportation bill since being reelected in 2008. He believes that “sound investments in transportation keep our economy moving,” and improve conditions in other areas. Representative Larsen has gotten over $52 million dollars in the form of transportation projects for the SAFETEA-LU Bill to improve highways, increase funding for ferry systems, and expedite the flow of traffic and goods through border crossings.
Since being reelected in 2008, Representative Larsen has voted yes on every labor bill, ranging from the “S-Miner Act” to the “Extending Federal Emergency Unemployment Benefits and Providing Business and Homebuyer Tax Credits” bill.
Rick Larsen has shown strong support for the interests of the Utility Workers Union of America, Service Employees International Union, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, and AFL – CIO. He works to support the local Washington economy by investing in small to medium-sized businesses to help them succeed in the global economy.
Pro-choice interest groups have consistently supported Rick Larsen. Planned Parenthood, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association and NARAL Pro-Choice America have all highly rated his position on abortion. In addition, he has voted against several bills that would restrict abortion rights.
Larsen has supported the House Democratic proposal for publicly-funded health care. He voted for the reform bill in November 2009.
Although Larsen initially voted against a bill authorizing military force in Iraq in October 2002, he has since voted yes on nearly every bill put forth in the House concerning the Iraq and Afghanistan.
Larsen supports President Obama's proposed exit strategy which promises to remove combat troops by summer of 2010.
Larsen defeated Republican candidate Doug Roulstone, a retired Navy officer who was recruited by GOP strategists. Larsen received 65% of the vote to Roulstone's 34%.
Larsen was challenged in the Democratic primary during his 2008 reelection campaign by perennial candidate Glen Johnson. His Republican opponent for the House race was recently retired Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart.
For the 2008 election cycle, Rick Larsen’s campaign’s total income was $1,336,438. His campaign spent $1,155,691. The companies that contributed the most money were Boeing Co., Microsoft Corp., American Dental Assn., McBee Strategic Consulting, and Puget Energy.
The labor, finance/insurance/real estate, transportation, misc. business, and health sectors were the largest contributing sectors. The major industry donations came from heath professionals, transportation unions, building trade unions, retired, and sea transport.
Larsen narrowly defeated Republican nominee John Koster to win a sixth term.
Larson was endorsed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on October 13, 2010.
March 4, 2012