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Mason takes another run at 'Doc'

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Craig Mason, Democrat, announced his bid for the position of 4th District congressman yesterday during a press conference in Yakima. Mason will be looking to unseat five-term U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings this election season. Mason garnered nearly 35 percent of the vote in his 2002 campaign against the Tri-Cities Republican.

Craig Mason is ready for round two with U.S. Fourth District Congressman Doc Hastings.

Mason, a Democrat, held a press conference yesterday in Yakima to announce his bid to unseat Hastings, a Republican. Mason is looking to build on the nominal success he had the first time around in 2002 against Hastings.

Mason joined the political fray late in the 2002 election and ended up as the Democratic challenger against Hastings, managing to grab nearly 35 percent of all votes cast in the November election.

"(I ran) to try and hold him accountable for things that had gone wrong," said Mason.

Mason had a laundry list of political wrongs that he accuses Hastings of being involved in, including not taking necessary precautions to battle corporate corruption, such as Enron, and backing President George Bush's stance about Iraq.

"We are now in a war destroying our international reputation," said Mason.

Mason implied that Hastings is a tool of the Bush presidency and that is one of the reasons he has been able to accumulate the power he has gained in the Washington D.C. circles.

"He is an automatic vote for them," said Mason.

Mason also tackled the always controversial subject of Social Security. Mason said contrary to what Republicans are saying, Social Security will be viable with a few adjustments until the year 2052. Mason said it is important to ensure the long-term success of Social Security because that is the retirement fund for more than half of Americans.

Veterans benefits are another area Mason said Hastings has ignored. Mason said it is important for past and present veterans to know they will be supported.

Mason also wants to be involved with promoting economic development in the Tri-Cities area and work on the Hanford clean-up plan. Mason said Hastings has long ignored the complaints of the Hanford workers.

In the Yakima Valley, Mason wants to develop ways to promote agriculture while brining in new manufacturing businesses to the area. For the Lower Valley, Mason has a plan similar to Yakima in the promoting the agriculture industry, but he also wants to expand educational opportunities, such as the expansion of the Grandview Yakima Valley Community College campus.

Mason was also livid about the need to promote high wage jobs, which he feels will provide people with financial security, pensions and quality health care.

"The government's job is to partner with business and labor," said Mason.

Mason said he plans to campaign on the differences he has with Hastings.

"I have a vision for why I am running," said Mason. "Doc Hastings hasn't done his job for the district."

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