12 September 1996 If the mansion won’t come to Mohammad…

… Ephrata physician will keep campaigning for governor

By Jim Camden, Staff Writer

Mohammad Said suffers regular setbacks as he travels the state in his quixotic quest to become governor.

Wednesday was such a day for the Ephrata physician.

Said was expecting a Jordanian journalist to come to the United States to cover the final week of his primary campaign. The reporter never got off the plane at Sea-Tac Airport, and the airline couldn’t even say whether he had been on board. Security reasons, he was told.

Said drove to Spokane, but the television stations ignored his news conference.

Undaunted, Said pressed on, talking to an audience that consisted of his former nurse-receptionist, her husband, and a newspaper reporter. He outlined his main issues: better programs to prevent drug abuse among children, and more international trade with the Arab states in the Middle East.

As governor, he would restrict alcohol at public functions and spend one week a month touring the state’s schools to check on alcohol and drug awareness programs.

He’d expand tourism by luring oil-rich Arab sheiks to the state’s forests, waterways and ski slopes, and increase trade with Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iran and Iraq.

But the United States just shot cruise missiles at Iraq, he was reminded.

“But we are not at war with any country, even Iraq,” he replied. After the presidential election, he predicted, Clinton will get over his “military complex,” relations will improve and the Iraqis will be looking for food and materials.

“Let’s not be stupid and leave all this business to other countries,” said Said, 57, who was born in Palestine and came to America more than 20 years ago.

He wants a complete overhaul of welfare that does away with food stamps and cash payments like Aid to Families with Dependent Children. People would be given jobs, then paid with vouchers that allow them to purchase foodstuffs from farmers.

He would eliminate training programs, which he believes are useless: “They should be finding any job, sweeping floors, fixing houses.”

Said has almost no money for such regular campaign aids as signs or television commercials. He relies on forums such as the League of Women Voters debate televised statewide on Monday, and meeting with anyone who will listen.

The Democrat is generally ignored by his own party. It’s because he opposes abortion and gay marriages, Said contended. But he did get an interview with a representative of the Christian Coalition.

That’s not so surprising, he explained. They are conservative with a strong religious faith.

“They guy who came to interview me said ‘I’m a Jew for Jesus.’ I told him ‘Pleased to meet you. I’m a Muslim for governor.'”