Who’s a “Career Politician?”

Dear Group,

McMorris Rodgers is 49 years old. In each of the 27 years since she graduated from Pensacola Christian College (unaccredited at the time) she has been in politics, either as an aid to a politician (Bob Morton, WA State Rep from LD7 at the time) or as a politician herself (the last 24.5 years). She is the very definition of a “career politician.” (See Who is She Really? for more background.)

In contrast, Lisa Brown is 61 years old. Twenty years of which were spent in politics, all of it serving in the Washington State legislature. Her life experience includes successfully raising a son as a single mother, earning a Masters degree and then a Ph.D. in Economics, and teaching for two decades (eight years concurrent with her time as a state legislator) as an associate professor. In the last five years she held the position of chancellor of Washington State University Spokane.

This comparison was stimulated by an article by Kip Hill in the Spokesman Review from July 16 entitled “Truth testing: The negative ads from Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Lisa Brown.” The article covers a number of peculiar claims from the McMorris Rodgers camp including the claim Lisa Brown is a “career politician.” I’ve copied part of the article below. I have no idea why Mr. Hill chose to express time as a politician in days rather than years.

Claim: Lisa Brown is a “career politician.”

Source: Cathy McMorris Rodgers TV spot “Liberal Lisa.”

McMorris Rodgers’ ad opens with the assertion that Brown is a “career politician.” Brown was an economics professor for 12 years before she joined the Washington state Legislature in 1993. She continued to teach at Eastern Washington and Gonzaga universities during her time in the Legislature. After leaving the Senate at the end of 2012, she served five years as chancellor of Washington State University.

By contrast, McMorris Rodgers’ job after graduating Pensacola Christian College was as an aide to state Rep. Bob Morton, whom she replaced in 1994. She’s been in politics ever since.

In total, as of Sunday, McMorris Rodgers has served 8,953 days [24.5 years] in office between her time in Olympia and Washington, D.C. Brown has served 7,310 days [20 years].

The take-home message: 1) Lisa Brown has spent less of her time in politics than McMorris Rodgers, but plenty time to understand legislation and compromise, 2) Lisa Brown has had a broader life experience and educational background than the incumbent career politician.

Keep to the high ground,