Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA): Bipartisan Champion of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Issues


Rep. Dave Reichert, R-WA

Save lives. . .save families. . .save our country.
– Dave Reichert
 
Abuse survivors learn early to watch what people do rather than what they say.  Integrity and strength of character are revealed in a person’s actions.  This is why I am endorsing Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) again.  He consistently reaches across the aisle and joins hands with fellow abuse survivor Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) to introduce and pass legislation to protect women and children from abuse.
 
Leading zealots of both parties are so vocal that we don’t hear enough about the elected officials who are quietly working very hard to create bipartisan solutions that will keep us safe in our homes. 
 

Sheriff Dave Reichert interrogating Green River serial killer Gary Ridgway

It was a team effort that captured Ridgway.
– Dave Reichert
 
Green River Killer Arrest to Congress
 
Rep. Reichert is best known for his nineteen-year relentless pursuit of Green River serial killer Gary Ridgway, who was the deadliest serial killer in U.S. history.  His quest was fueled by a passionate need to protect women and children.  Mertie Winston, the mother of one of Ridgway’s victims, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
 
He gave all of himself to the family members.
 
In 1997, he created the first domestic violence program in the King County (WA) sheriff’s department.  Shortly after Tacoma Police Chief David Brame murdered his estranged wife Crystal, Sheriff Reichert vowed to make domestic violence a “firing offense.”  He told the Seattle P-I:
 
I don’t want a bad cop. 
 
This impressed me and shocked me because his peers were working overtime to maintain the status quo of the blue wall that protects abusive cops.  I didn’t know at the time that Rep. Reichert is a survivor of child abuse.  It triggered within Rep. Reichert an obsessive instinct to protect himself and others.
 

Grand Opening of the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center

 Our goal is to end domestic violence ~
not to say that we have reduced it by 10% or 20% or 30%,
but the goal has to be we end domestic violence. . .
Let’s continue to make this a team effort, and we will be a great success.
 – Rep. Dave Reichert
 
“Save lives. . .save families. . .save our country”
 
In 2005, Rep. Reichert worked on a bipartisan effort with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to secure a $750,000 Violence Against Women grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.  The money was used to create the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center in Tacoma, WA.  At the grand opening of the center on January 20, 2006, he said fighting domestic violence is a team effort:
 
This building with Crystal’s name embedded in it in bronze signifies an effort by all of you in this community to fight domestic violence.  I always think back to my time as a police officer on the street. . .the times I would be called into a domestic violence call. . .to walk into a home and see children hiding behind a couch and sometimes with pillows over their heads to muffle the noise are memories I don’t like to relive and I know the children don’t like to relive.  Domestic violence is a tragedy that can destroy a family. . .not only destroys lives, families; it destroys communities, and it can destroy this nation.  
  
 Survivor to Bipartisan Congressional Leader
 
Rep. Reichert’s passionate zeal to protect women and children is reflected in his congressional priorities.  For example, he and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both houses of Congress jointly introduced legislation designed to end teen dating violence.  Rep. Reichert explained
 
This nation’s greatest asset is our children.  Our shared future depends on their success and we can’t let dating violence limit their aspirations.  Teen dating violence, unfortunately, occurs in all of our communities and contributes to the increasing school drop-out rates nationwide.  To reverse this trend, I am proud to support the SAFE Teen Act, which will provide resources for comprehensive awareness, education, and prevention programs designed to combat teen dating violence.  By recognizing this problem and acting to address it, we can teach the next generation valuable lessons that will allow them to succeed in schools and beyond.
 
Rep. Reichert can be counted on to make sure that Violence Against Women Act initiatives are funded.
 

David Reichert and his grandchildren

 This nation’s greatest asset is our children. 
Rep. Dave Reichert
 
Family Man
 
Rep. Reichert is a family man of deep faith.  He and his wife Julie met in college.  They have three children and six grandchildren.  One of his grandfathers was the town marshal and the other was a preacher.
 

Rep. Reichert wrote Chasing the Devil:  My Twenty-year Quest to Capture the Green River KillerIt was the basis for the Lifetime movie The Capture of the Green River Killer with Tom Cavanagh playing the role of Sheriff Reichert.  The book and movie provide insights into how experiencing child abuse fueled Rep. Reichert’s determination to protect those walking in his shoes.

 He survived.  He’s thriving and has found joy. 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.  Please join me in wearing your purple and celebrating survivors.

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