Schoenike: ‘We’re a stronger society when we cooperate’

Sumner Schoenike’s signature issue as he challenges Jan Angel this fall is universal healthcare. - Courtesy Photo
Sumner Schoenike’s signature issue as he challenges Jan Angel this fall is universal healthcare.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

The fact that he garnered only 39 percent of the vote during the Aug. 17 primary election hasn’t discouraged Sumner Schoenike in his quest to assume incumbent Jan Angel’s Position 1 seat in the State House of Representatives from the 26th District.

In fact, he’s encouraged.

“I’m trailing. I recognize that,” the Gig Harbor physician said in an interview this week. “But my feeling is that if people recognize what I’m about, then it’s a slam dunk.”

Not surprisingly, the Kitsap County Democratic Women, who endorsed him over his Republican rival, agree.

“You want to support the candidate that supports the issues that favor women,” said Jo Fox Burr, the club’s president. “We don’t discriminate against men.”

Healthcare and education have been two central issues for Schoenike’s campaign, and they’re the major reasons why the Kitsap County Democratic Women endorse him.

“I think he really puts children first,” said Burr. “Being a pediatrician first, he understands their needs.”

Schoenike has argued that improving the quality of healthcare and education available to low-income residents makes sense not only morally but economically.

His reasoning is that healthy, educated people make better workers.

“It will raise all boats,” he said. “Making people healthy will increase productivity.”

Schoenike got a firsthand look at a universal healthcare system while working as a doctor in Europe.

“Taking what’s good from the European system makes a lot of sense,” he said. “Their level of satisfaction is very high.”

Schoenike uses a similar argument to say that the state should do a better job educating “all kids, not just the academic kids.”

His “hair’s on fire,” he said, because “35 percent of kids in this district aren’t graduating from high school.

“Those people are almost guaranteed to be on the dole,” Schoenike said. “They’re untrained and unprepared to contribute to the economy.”

Although Schoenike argues that the policies he proposes make sense financially, he sees misguided self-interest as the ironic obstacle preventing many from favoring them.

He believes that a lot of people think they’ll individually end up paying more of their money for the programs, and they don’t want to do so.

“We’re living in a time of unprecedented greed and selfishness,” he said. “We’ve lost the view that we need each other — that we’re a stronger society if we cooperate and care for one another and provide for one another.”

Schoenike wrote several philosophical ideas about selfishness, community and maturity, and he posted them on his campaign website.

One such philosophy is: “Meaning and purpose come from devotion to something larger than yourself.”

Another is: “Society, as it matures, must move from a society motivated by taking to one motivated by giving.”

Schoenike sees his suggested improvements as vital to the success of our society as a whole.

“Whether I prevail or not,” he said, “I’m still going to be thrashing around to make these things happen. If they don’t happen, we’re toast.”

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