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Policy with Purpose

Dr. Bank is a physician, not a politician.  As a medical professional, she has spent her career listening carefully, evaluating dispassionately, and then addressing her patients' concerns with compassion. This is precisely what Dr. Bank will do in Congress: bring a balanced, analytical approach to our nation’s problems without forgetting that there are people at the other end of those policies.

Women’s Health

Women’s health covers a wide spectrum of issues. They include reproductive health, fertility treatments, preventative health, mental health, treatment of sexually acquired diseases, and a host of other concerns.  Simply put, women’s health is family health.  The Dobbs decision has caused a deterioration in women’s health in several states across the Union, and Dr. Bank finds this to be unacceptable.  The decline in women’s health has become a major issue, adversely affecting 168 million Americans.

Until all women in the United States once again have autonomy over their own bodies, they are second-class citizens in the eyes of the law.  Dr. Bank has spent her entire career caring for women, and she will continue to fight for reproductive freedom for all!  She is the first in this district (and one of the first in the nation) calling specifically for a constitutional amendment to protect women’s right to choice and bodily autonomy.  As a doctor and a woman, she has a vested interest in ensuring this amendment passes.

Veteran's Rights

Our veterans put their lives on the line to protect our country.  For this sacrifice, they are promised benefits, including access to good healthcare.  We need to honor those promises. The Cerner Health Information Management system at both the Spokane and Walla Walla VA hospitals has shown sub-optimal patient care and provider frustration, causing high turnover at an outrageous cost.  It has been estimated that Cerner could cost over $40 billion over the next 10 years, against the original bid of $10 million.  This inefficiency is fiscally irresponsible, and consideration should be given to jettisoning Cerner and upgrading all VAs with the latest Vista-CPRS.  The estimated cost should be between $10-100 million.  This is a fraction of what the wasteful Cerner system could eventually balloon into. 

Furthermore, the closure of satellite clinics in the district has put a serious burden on veterans, many of whom now have to travel up to three hours to receive their healthcare in Spokane.  Those satellite clinics should be reopened, so veterans in our rural areas have local access to quality health services.  Dr. Bank will also support the full mission of the VA: Home Loan Guarantees, Insurance, Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Programs, Education (The GI Bill and Vocational Rehabilitation), Compensation & Pension Programs, and Burials.

Aid to Ukraine

Dr. Bank understands the hardship facing over 30,000 Ukrainian diaspora in this district whose families and friends face constant danger due to the Russian invasion.  In fact, Dr. Bank recently visited the war-torn nation, speaking with civilians and healthcare workers on the ground whose lives have been forever changed by this destructive war. 

For more information, see this video.  

Supporting Farming and Ranching

Eastern Washington plays a crucial role in producing food for the region, country, and the world.  Working the land is difficult on its own, but our farmers also have to deal with shifting state and federal policies, climate shifts, trade wars, and pressure from large international farming conglomerations.  60% of PNW grains - 10% of all US grain exports -  are grown in the Snake River area, and the corridor is the third largest grain corridor in the world.  Most of our farming is done by small, family-run businesses - our farmers and ranchers need stable and reliable domestic and international trade laws to be able to compete against international agriculture pressure.  Dr. Bank supports the Farm Bill, with the inclusion of SNAP, to help feed people and boost local economies.  Dr. Bank supports enforcement of antitrust regulations that reduce and combat the unfair advantage international conglomerates have over small town agricultural businesses.


The recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has provided $1.2 trillion in funding to repair our nation’s bridges, fix and maintain our roads, increase the use of rail, and complete many other long-overdue projects.  Dr. Bank would like to reinvigorate the decades-old plan to provide light rail between the Spokane airport and Coeur d’Alene, and proposes utilizing existing rail lines for passenger use between Spokane and the Canadian border.  Passenger rail would benefit tens of thousands of people living in the greater Spokane region, improving business and tourism while reducing vehicle traffic.  At the same time, the underutilized state rail lines in the southern portion of the state should be revamped and used to facilitate the movement of farm products to markets.  Dr. Bank is committed to improving our transportation infrastructure, benefiting everyone who lives in the 5th Congressional District.

Creating Jobs

Utilizing the infrastructure bill to its fullest will create thousands of new jobs in dozens of disciplines throughout the region.  Dr. Bank plans to create a system to incentivize big companies that call our state home, like Microsoft or Amazon, to invest in the district.  Large corporations like Boeing and companies take hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and other programs, but apart from a single Amazon distribution center, investment in Eastern Washington is sorely lacking. The 5th District is home to ¾ of a million people - there is plenty of room for these companies to supply both blue and white-collar jobs.

Dr. Bank also has a plan for improving rural areas’ business capacity, primarily through investment in high-speed internet infrastructure throughout the region. Reliable, high-speed internet allows more people to work remotely and improves small businesses’ ability to manage and expand their capacity, which reduces rural unemployment and improves small-town economies. Investing in rural fiber optics and satellite networks now will provide exponential benefits in the future.

Firearms Policy

Dr. Bank has spent much of her life living in rural areas, and her views on guns and gun control reflect that.  She is a firm supporter of the Second Amendment for home defense and for hunting, which continues to be an integral part of many Eastern Washingtonian’s lives.  Attempting to ban outright and confiscate so-called “assault-style weapons” cannot be achieved in today’s political climate.  The right to bear arms has been enshrined in our Constitution and is integrated into the American fabric - there is no way to remove Second Amendment rights without inciting violence.

While she is pro-2nd, Dr. Bank fully understands the need for more comprehensive gun control.  Strong background checks and red flag laws must be strictly enforced.  We also must invest in funding for mental health services and other policies that help prevent crime by assisting people in need before they turn to crime.

The Environment and Energy

There has never been more focus on energy and the environment than today.  Eastern Washington’s natural beauty has been threatened by fire, drought, and shifting weather patterns, and these problems will only worsen unless we update our environmental policies.  Due to our robust hydroelectric dam systems, the 5th District currently enjoys cheaper energy than most of the country - but these prices will likely increase if we do not continue to upgrade our energy infrastructure.  Roughly 15% of our energy comes from natural gas and coal, which are increasingly expensive to acquire and maintain - we must seek alternatives to prevent cost inflation.  This doesn’t just mean increasing solar and wind capacity - nuclear power is safe, sustainable, produces zero air emissions with minimal waste, and has a minimal land footprint.  It is important to implement these newer sources of energy alongside updating and improving our existing infrastructure.

To help mitigate future fires, Dr. Bank believes the Forest Service’s budget must be increased.  Increasing allocations for preventative measures not only reduces the chance of fires threatening our communities but also helps maintain our forest industry for future generations.  To help reduce drought concerns, Dr. Bank believes in maintaining and updating our hydroelectric systems and their associated reservoirs, as well as ensuring our current water supply is clean and safe.

Recent investigations have revealed that PFAS and other harmful chemicals are serious sources of harmful pollution in drinking water - especially surrounding the Spokane Airport and Fairchild Air Force Base.  These ‘forever chemicals’ are known to cause cancer and other long-term health issues when exposed through water, dust, and food.  They’re difficult to filter out with most in-home filtration systems, meaning clean-up must occur at the government level.  Dr. Bank is dedicated to cleaning up PFAS and other toxic chemicals in the region.

Immigration and The Border

Washington’s 5th Congressional District is a major provider of wheat, grapes, apples, asparagus, etc.  These labor-intensive crops are the backbone of our rural economies, and they depend on migratory workers with H-2A Visas to complete massive harvests.  Dr. Bank recognizes we need these migratory workers and will work to ensure legal pathways for migratory workers are maintained.

When it comes to unauthorized immigrants, Dr. Bank supports nonpartisan legislation to increase security at the border and increase the number of judges and immigration personnel.  She supports DACA and a sensible pathway to citizenship for those moving here.  The labyrinthian system that is currently in place at the USCIS is inefficient; Dr. Bank supports changes to USCIS systems that would reduce costs to tax-payers, improve legal processing capacity, and improve border security.

The Crisis in Gaza

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a generational issue, and creating a long-term two-state solution will take time and will require diplomatic compromise on both sides.  Civilians in the region have been caught between the extremes of the Hamas terrorist group and President Netanyahu’s Likud party.  The current Israeli administration and Hamas leadership in Gaza are no longer tenable. The world must work together to ensure lasting peace in the region.  Dr. Bank calls for an immediate ceasefire predicated on the release of all hostages taken on October 7th, 2023.  The conflict in this region is generational.  Both sides deserve leadership whose goal is peace and prosperity for both peoples.

Paid for by Friends of Dr. Bernadine Bank 
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