Congressional candidate Cloud checks in at Sand & Sawdust festival

Republican Congressional candidate Doug Cloud hit Grays Harbor Friday to check out the first day of the Sand & Sawdust festival in Ocean Shores.

The Gig Harbor attorney said his campaign has mostly focused on his area, which he said has 80 percent of the 6th District’s population within a 15 mile radius, but he recognized the importance of getting everywhere. He’s visited Grays Harbor several times before and hopes to be back.

“This is actually a pretty good population center,” Cloud noted.

Several candidates for the seat about to be vacated by Congressman Norm Dicks have stopped in on the Harbor, emphasizing the importance of rural voters in this election.

So far, six other candidates are in the running, four other Republicans — Jesse Young, Bill Driscoll, Stephan Andrew Brodhead and David Eichner — Democratic state Sen. Derek Kilmer and Independent Eric Arentz.

The Grays Harbor Republicans favored Young in the early going. Cloud said he’s talked with them since and they’re “not antagonistic to my running.”

Asked about the Wild Olympics proposal recently introduced by Dicks and Sen. Patty Murray, Cloud said it’s a complicated issue and he’s generally against it, but remained open to compromise in the future. He worried about what he saw as an attempt to rush the legislation as a legacy for Dicks.

“They want to ram it through before he retires,” Cloud said. “I think that’s an inappropriate use of legislation.”

He said he supports keeping forests working, and available for recreation and hunting, and said the legislation seems like it would seriously restrict access by the public.

“We’ll lose more jobs than we’ve lost already in the forest industry,” he said.

Cloud said a coal terminal would also present an opportunity for good jobs.

“Anything we can do to increase shipping traffic in Grays Harbor is probably a net gain, provided any environmental risks are taken care of,” he said, adding, “I think the environmental concerns are far overdone.”

China will burn coal whether they get it from our port or not, Cloud said, and the lower-sulfur coal coming from the U.S. would probably be a net gain for the environment over other options.

Commerce has to be encouraged “if Grays Harbor is ever going to get more than a toehold in the shipping industry,” he added.

Again, he emphasized the room for give-and-take on the issue, and was open to hearing more arguments on the other side of the issue. He said being open to other viewpoints as a rule was an important part of the job of governing, and everybody benefits from that.

“To some extent, I’m a check on them and they’re a check on me. Hopefully we get a better world as a result,” Cloud said.