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Reichert mingles with Buckley residents during open house
As is usually is the case when a dignitary visits a community the size of Buckley, even when there is little notice given, there is noticeable buzz as news spreads.
U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert arrived in Buckley the morning of Aug. 12 to attend the open house of one of his newest employees, Constituent Services Liaison Zachary Guill, who will be available to citizens from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. every Wednesday at Buckley's Multi-Purpose Center, 811 Main Street.
Guill was serving his third deployment in Iraq when fragments from an explosive ripped into his right leg and back. Upon returning stateside he earned the distinction of Wounded Warrior Fellow. After having a rough time finding employment due to his physical impairment, Guill became part of the recently-established government program to match veterans with politicians, who need to hear from their constituents.
"Zach is kind of a shy person who sees himself as a humble soldier and servant to the people," Reichert said. "He has a great head on his shoulders though, and I am quite confident that he will field any concerns that come across his desk and pass them along to me.
"We are lucky to have him. He is smart, compassionate and is an observant listener, especially when it comes to veteran's issues."
Asked what kind of questions or comments Guill might receive, Reichert turned to one of the critical concerns facing citizens throughout the region.
"Just like most areas in the Puget Sound area as a whole, people want to stay green by carpooling, riding the bus or even their bikes," Reichert said. But transportation is a nightmarish issue, he stated.
"Believe me, we are working on it," he said.
Reichert took a moment to comment on the region's natural beauty.
"The biggest difference between this Washington and the other Washington (D.C.) is that the air here is so much fresher," he said. "Today when I was walking down the steps of the airplane and filled my lungs with some of that Great Northwest oxygen, that was simply an invigorating experience. My press secretary drove me out to Buckley today and she made note of how green everything is, even with the recent drought around here. I proudly told her that that is why they call it the Evergreen State."
Reichert is at home in these parts. He was born and raised in the Northwest and has a home between Auburn and Black Diamond.
Best known for being the lead detective in the investigation of the Green River Murders, was awarded two Medals of Valor by Sen. Slade Gordon.
"I really earned one of those medals," he said. "I was the first one to respond to the scene of a robbery in progress and was just about done in by a criminal, who jumped me from behind and had a butcher knife to my throat."
Reichert held off the thug off until back-up arrived. "That was kind of a close call," he said, loosening his tie to reveal a scar on his Adam's apple.
Reichert said former U.S. Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn was the driving force behind his decision to run for Congress.
"Jennifer, who I truly miss as a friend and confidant, told me that if I would just run for Congress, I would have a good chance of winning that race," he said. "I of course told her that she was crazy, but with her mentoring and helping me from behind the scenes it just worked out."
His police background comes in hand when dealing with issues in Washington, D.C., he said.
"I still feel as though I am a cop who also just happens to be a congressman," he said. "In dealing with a lot of hurdles that I do in the House of Representatives, I just apply a cop's logic, street smarts and common sense, solving problems by examining the details of any case or issues on the table and making a decision from there."
In Reichert's mind, there is one thing that will probably never change about his old Northwest stomping grounds and that is the people.
"I love conversing with the folks around here," he said. "I am always making new acquaintances because everyone is so friendly. I'll bet I had 20 people greet me today as though they had known me all their life.
"They are very well-informed and knowledgeable folks, but at the same time they are just regular down to earth people, who are very easy to carry on a conversation with. Usually when people talk to a congressman they are sort of guarded in what they say. But when I come back to the Northwest, I find folks to be very warm, welcoming and not the least bit timid or shy about saying exactly what's on their mind."