A Washougal woman is joining the race for Washington's 3rd Congressional District, launching her bid for the seat as a "libertarian Democrat."
Lucy Lauser will join the pool of candidates planning to unseat Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, when she's up for re-election in 2022. Lauser announced her campaign Tuesday and filed a candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission, a step that's required in order to raise funds.
She launched her campaign shortly after Heidi St. John, a Christian author and conservative Republican from Battle Ground, announced her run. Lauser, who is transgender, said she wants to counter St. John's "authoritarianism and bigotry against queer people."
"She's running on a nationalist, anti-queer, anti-immigration platform," Lauser said. "As someone who grew up under that ideology, I want to counter what she says."
Lauser, now 29, lived the first seven years of her life in Vancouver before her family moved to a rural plot of land just outside North Bonneville. She bounced around Southwest Washington after coming out as trans in 2018 and is currently living with a friend in Washougal.
She's been active in the Democratic Party and served as a delegate at the Skamania County convention in 2016, where she supported Bernie Sanders.
"I got out in my early 20s," she said of her fundamental religious upbringing. "I grew up forced into the conservative Christian white male culture, and it was really traumatic."
As a congressional candidate, Lauser's platform is best described as "explicitly anti-authoritarian," she said.
If elected, her top priorities would include drafting a more progressive tax code — she would push to overturn the policies included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Herrera Beutler strongly supported — and implementing a nationwide body-camera program for police. Lauser also supports establishing a public option for health insurance.
Including Lauser and St. John, five candidates have already announced that they'll challenge the sitting congresswoman in an election still 20 months away.
Two other Republicans are seeking the seat: Joe Kent, a military veteran from Battle Ground who aligned himself with former President Donald Trump in his campaign announcement, and Wadi Yakhour, a Brush Prairie resident and former special assistant to the Secretary of the Interior during the Trump administration.
Across the aisle, Vancouver Democrat and movie theater technician Brent Hennrich announced his bid last month.
St. John is an author, podcaster, speaker and blogger with a Facebook following of 332,000 people. She frequently discusses trans people on her various public platforms, and was among the group that protested the Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries' Drag Queen Story Hour series in 2019.
"Public Libraries: No Longer Safe for Children," stated the title of one since-deleted blog post. In another post, still online, St. John calls transgenderism in children "a grave new threat to parental rights."