(By Brandon Hansen/Managing Editor of the Chewelah Independent)
Spokane Valley resident running as Republican and Constitutionalist…
The seat for the 5th Congressional District in Eastern Washington is being sought after by the country’s two major parties, but there is also another choice in a race that has been so far framed as McMorris Rodgers vs. Lisa Brown. 31-year-old Jered G. Bonneau of Spokane Valley represents a growing political trend of people getting fed up with the same old choices in November.
Bonneau sees incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers as a part of the establishment, and Democratic challenger Lisa Brown as someone who wants to raise taxes and push socialist values. Bonneau is campaigning as a Republican along with being a constitutionalist.
Bonneau was born in the Tri-Cities and spent his childhood going back and forth between his mother and father’s households. He spent time homeless in Arizona and joined the military at age 18 where he served in the infantry before being discharged.
His family had been involved heavily in politics, and he grew up listening to Michael Savage and reading up on the history of the United States and the Constitution – having to memorize and recite the Bill of Rights.
In 2008, Bonneau was laid off from his paint factory job and it took months of going business to business to find a job. During this time, he said he started waking up to all the bad effects of the Bush Administration and the destructiveness and traitorous actions of the Obama Administration. He applied for and was hired at Eastern State Hospital in 2012.
Bonneau became involved in the Tea Party and the militia movement where he was a member of a few groups. He said he saw the movement get too big and there were some less-than-level heads that caused him to re-examine their values. He said he joined the 3 Percenters movement as they want to make changes through the ballots.
Bonneau is a supporter of the Bundys and has a tattoo memorializing LaVoy Finicum, who was shot and killed by authorities at the Oregon Wildlife Refuge standoff in 2016. He never went to the refuge during the standoff but has been a supporter of the Bundys remotely.
Working at the Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake and then taking nursing classes in NIC, while also being part of the militia movement, Bonneau found his life becoming more and more hectic. A husband and father of two, he was thinking about getting into either law enforcement or politics, and after consulting with his wife, he decided he would get in the congressional race in the fifth district.
A supporter of Matt Shea in the Valley, he didn’t want to run against him, and set his sights on a seat that he felt had long become stagnant. While not wanting to run a campaign of personal attacks against McMorris Rodgers, Bonneau has expressed his displeasure at McMorris Rodgers’ policies and lawmaking practices, saying they’re more beholden to corporations than everyday people.
While he thought about running as a Liberatarian, he said running as a Republican on the ticket means more of a chance at victory. Since then, he has been touring the district and meeting with farmers, ranchers, workers and other citizens. Not going after corporate backing, Bonneau filed last week along with two other congressional candidates not named Brown and McMorris Rodgers. He has held a townhall where he debated and discussed items with Democratic candidate Lisa Brown along with attending the Lincoln Day Dinner in Stevens County where Cathy McMorris Rodgers was the keynote speaker.
“I want to help local people, farmers and bring smaller government,” Bonneau said. “I want to lower taxes and I want less government and oversight.”
So what stances does Bonneau have? Here are some of his campaign points.
Bonneau feels that Lisa Brown wants our current healthcare system to continue to be like ObamaCare, while McMorris Rodgers wants to replace it with a Republican version.
“I want to privatize it and bring it more into the free market,” Bonneau said. “I want more freedom for people when it comes to their health. For example, we have a great Medicare system and we all pay into it, yet when you turn 65, you’re forced into Medicare when you should have the option to use something else if you want.”
Bonneau says it’s disheartening to see talk about government or other organizations determining what can or can’t be said in social media or by media organizations. He is a supporter of the free press and sees a clamp down on alternative media sources, along with liberal movements telling people what they can and can’t say.
When it comes to freedom of religion, Bonneau said people need religious freedom, and points to an example of religious groups losing their nonprofit status for what they say, or people getting prosecuted for refusing service because of religious beliefs.
“Hatred is unacceptable, but the constitution allows people their religious beliefs and we shouldn’t let the government tell you what you can and can’t support,” he said.
Bonneau hosted a shooting range campaign event already and is a stalwart supporter of the second amendment. He does not support regulations that would infringe on the rights of gun owners.
While guns can be used for self-defense and hunting, he also feels the second amendment is designed to prevent a tyrannical government from enforcing its will on the populace.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Bonneau is aghast at the current powers of the federal government concerning wiretapping and spying on US citizens.
“People are prisoners in their own country,” he said.
He does not agree with federal law enforcement agencies’ current practices, the Patriot Act and the president having more powers in times of emergency.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Bonneau is a big supporter of state rights and says that it was originally planned that the federal government would not own any land ten miles outside of Washington D.C. – which has obviously changed. He also believes states should be able to decide what happens on their own lands inside their borders.
“If you look at federally owned land there is a ton here in the Pacific Northwest,” Bonneau said.
Bonneau said there is nothing in the constitution banning marijuana or other drugs and says that the war on drugs has been a disaster, creating an exploding prison population.
While a big Trump supporter, one bone he has to pick with the president is his handling of the opioid crisis. Citing many people needing to control pain for various conditions, saying that simply cutting people out for relief is not solving the problem.
He supports the legalization of medical marijuana and would like to see it country-wide.
While spending time homeless himself, Bonneau is also focusing on helping the homeless problem in the district. If elected, he would donate $30,000 of his salary to homelessness groups in the area. Along with that, he would like to see privatized groups create housing for homeless people and vets, get them back on their feet and help them save money to get them back into normal living conditions.
Bonneau would also like to see the VA privatized so it can be run better and not be caught up in so much government red tape.
“People are waiting three months or a year to get looked at,” Bonneau said. “We need the fastest and easiest way to help people.”
The campaign has been an overwhelming one for Bonneau so far, as he’s a father of two and works a full-time job. He’s researching and campaigning everyday, usually beginning at 5 a.m. and going to bed in the wee hours of the night.
He has been meeting with local citizens, farmers and cattle producer groups like CPOW. Bonneau said he’s trying to get a good feel for what the common citizen wants and needs. He has not received any mainstream support from the GOP as many people have told him they support McMorris Rodgers. Bonneau said he was treated well by SC Republican Chairman Lori Larsen who let him meet and greet people at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Colville, but got different responses from different people at the dinner.
He said he disagrees with Lisa Brown in almost every policy but has had discussions and has been treated with respect from her.
A Trump supporter, Bonneau has liked what the Trump administration has been able to accomplish so far.
“He has gotten North Korea to stand down and he’s been able to continue to accomplish things despite getting hated on constantly from Republicans, Democrats and the press,” Bonneau said. “He was a businessman while Hillary and Obama were partying in college.”
For more information, you can visit Bonneau’s website at electbonneau.com.