U.S. House of RepresentativesWA District 2
Rep. Rick Larsen
Born and raised in Arlington, Larsen is currently serving his 10th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He attended public schools and went to college at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. He serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Armed Services Committee.
Responses to Tribe's Questions
To read about this candidate’s responses to the Snoqualmie Tribe’s questions, click through each question below.
Q1: What do you know about the Snoqualmie Tribe?
The Snoqualmie Tribe is one many Coast Salish Tribes who have resided in the Pacific Northwest for generations. For years, the Snoqualmie have worked tirelessly to provide vital services, preserve their culture and traditions, and ensure a better future for its members. In 2008, the Tribe opened the Snoqualmie Casino, a cornerstone of its local economy.
Q2: What is your experience working with Tribes?
Washington state’s 2nd Congressional District includes traditional lands and waters of many sovereign tribes whose history and culture are critical to the Pacific Northwest’s character and makeup. For years, I have worked with tribes to build local economies, restore the environment and waters of Puget Sound, protect Tribal children and elders from domestic violence and preserve sites of Tribal significance in Northwest Washington.
Q3: What does the ideal government-to-government relationship with tribes look like to you?
The ideal government-to-government relationship is characterized by open communication and engagement between elected leaders and local Tribal communities. This relationship is key to protecting vital services and resources, ensuring the health and well-being of Tribal members and improving economic opportunity for the Tribes in the Pacific Northwest and across the country.
Q4: If elected, what would your Indian Country-related goals be?
My top priority in Congress is to invest in long-term economic growth that creates jobs and opportunity in the Pacific Northwest. I am working to ensure people have access to better-paying jobs and more skills training to succeed in the workforce. I am a champion of bills to improve our country’s transportation and infrastructure and ensure local businesses can get their goods to market. I also advocate for investments in education, so the next generation of workers is prepared to succeed in the jobs of the future. I will continue to encourage tourism and recreation in the Northwest, and work to protect Washington state’s environmental heritage for the future.
Q5: What is your knowledge of tribal treaties and trust obligations?
In the U.S., Tribal treaties are foundational agreements between governments which acknowledge the sovereignty of a Tribe and establish resources the federal government will provide, such as health care, education, hunting and fishing rights, etc. The trust responsibility refers to the U.S.’ legal obligation to protect Tribal treaty rights and resources. The U.S. must do more to improve engagement with Tribes and honor these agreements.
Q6: Do you support increasing funding to tribes for services such as health care, cultural resources, and education?
I strongly support improving federal funding for key tribal services. More recently, helped secure the following funding increases in the House-passed Fiscal Year 2021 spending package:
- $6.5 billion for the Indian Health Service.
- $39 million for Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities.
- $2.5 million for HUD/VA Supportive Housing for Homeless Native American Veterans
I also supported in the CARES Act, a first step in providing much needed relief for Tribal communities during the pandemic, including:
- $8 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund for tribal governments.
- Includes tribes as eligible recipients for fishery relief assistance.
- $1.032 billion in additional Indian Health Service funding for COVID-19 response efforts.
- $69 million to the Bureau of Indian Education for COVID-19 response activities.
Q7: What do you know about free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC)? If elected, would you advocate for these principles to be included in legislation and policy?
FPIC is a model for consultation with indigenous peoples before development on traditional lands, based on international law. U.S. laws surrounding public works, like NEPA, should ensure the rights of tribes are respected and their views on proposed projects are consulted.
Q8: What protections do you believe Tribal cultural resources and sacred sites should have?
The protection of Pacific Northwest Tribes’ sacred sites and resources is critical to preserving culture and traditions for future generations. In previous Congresses, I supported the Native American Sacred Lands Act, legislation to ensure these resources are treated with dignity and respect. Specifically, the bill:
- Requires federal agencies to accommodate meaningful access to sacred lands and use by Tribal religious practitioners.
- Prevents significant damage to sacred lands.
- Requires federal agencies to consult with Tribes before taking significant actions concerning these lands.
- Authorizes federal agencies to enter into cooperative agreements with Tribes and take sacred land into trust.
Q9: What do you believe is the best role of government in the fee to trust process for tribes to gain jurisdiction over their traditional lands?
I support Tribes’ ability to take land into trust because putting land into trust for Tribes is key to developing a foundation to preserve vital Tribal community services and give members certainty about the Tribe’s future. The land trust process is only one step the federal government must take in attempting to honor the trust responsibility with Tribes across the country.
Q10: What do you know about the Snoqualmie Tribe's sacred site, Snoqualmie Falls? Do you support the Tribe's right to have a say in any future decisions made on its sacred site, including hydropower licensing?
Snoqualmie Falls is the center of the Snoqualmie Tribe’s spiritual and cultural traditions. The nearly 300-foot waterfall is among the most visited natural landmarks in the state and is key to the region’s outdoor recreation. I will continue to support improving federal, state and local engagement and consultation with Tribes, particularly on issues that impact their lands and cultural resources.
Hazelo was raised in a single-parent household in Dewitt, Michigan. He joined the United States Navy in 1987 and served for 20 years. He served in multiple theatres including the first Gulf War and Afghanistan. He is married and has 3 sons and grandsons. He lives on Whidbey Island where he and his wife have a small farm.