Conversations With Senator Maria Cantwell


Sam Ketchem, Web Editor

Senator Maria Cantwell visited to discuss politics and current events with students with both Mr. Blair and Mr. Divito’s government classes. The group talked about school safety, the future of the economy and the state of society.

A common theme among the discussion questions centered around the challenges facing America. Cantwell thinks one of the nations biggest challenges revolves around the economy and distribution of wealth.

“I think there’s a lot of inequity, and that’s a problem,” she said.

Students also asked her about how social media will shape the future, especially when it comes to politics. Cantwell was a vice president at the technology company RealNetworks and serves on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation. She acknowledges how social media can bring people closer together, but she also sees that foreign governments can use the technology to launch attacks against American democracy.

“We have to take the good about the information age and harness it,” the senator said.

One of Cantwell’s biggest motivations to be in the Senate comes from her joy of aiding the people who elected her.

During her first term, the energy company Enron filed for bankruptcy after it was released that the company had manipulated energy prices. But even after the filing, the conglomerate still wanted organizations like the Snohomish County Public Utility District, the county’s public power company, to honor contracts they had signed with the failing company. Cantwell fought to terminate the contract and protect power customers in Washington.

Mr. Huack, a government teacher, was also helped by Senator Cantwell. While he was filming a documentary about the oil industry in Nigeria, his production team was arrested by the Nigerian military, even though they had permission to film. Luckily, Huack was able to escape, but his captured team spent nine days in jail. Cantwell called Nigerian authorities and helped negotiate the film crew’s release.

“I like helping people, that’s why I am in the Senate,” Cantwell said.

Cantwell, who was reelected to the Senate for her fourth term on Nov. 6, has been in politics for more the 20 years. She is a Democrat and has also served in the state legislature and in the US House of Representatives. Cantwell is the Senate’s highest ranking junior member and serves on the Indian Affairs, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Energy and Natural Resources and Finance committees.