Derek Kilmer, state senator and candidate for Congress, held his Kitsap kickoff fundraiser at the offices of Rice Fergus Miller Tuesday evening. It was hard to do the count, but I’d guess there were as many as 200 people there, give or take a few. Among them were several of the same people who attended the Rob McKenna event. The suggested donation was $50.
Kilmer is among seven candidates seeking to replace fellow Democrat Norm Dicks in Congress. All but one, Indepent Eric Arentz, of the other candidates are Republicans: Stephan Brodhead, Doug Cloud, Bill Driscoll, David “Ike” Eichner and Jesse Young.
Jordan Schrader of the (Tacoma) News Tribune wrote a nice profile of the race, notable for former state GOP Chairman Chris Vance’s take on the race.
From the story:
“It still includes downtown Tacoma and more areas of the state that elect Democrats than (elect) Republicans,” former state GOP chairman Chris Vance said. “It would be a pretty big upset for a Republican to win this race.”
Vance – who knows something about tough races for Congress, having lost to U.S. Rep. Adam Smith of Tacoma in 2000 – said he had written off Republicans’ chances in the 6th until Driscoll decided to run. With a well-funded candidate, his party has a shot – maybe a 20 percent chance, Vance figures.
On Tuesday Steve Rice said Kilmer is smart, well meaning (“He’s going to make the right decision.) and decent, that he would be proud to have Kilmer as his representative.
Kilmer, in addition the stories about his Norwegian grandparents and unwittingly knocking on the door of Norm Dicks’ mother, gave his vision for what government could do. He doesn’t see government as a job creator, but thinks it helps the private sector create jobs. Evidence: The parking garage in Bremerton, which led to a 10-screen movie theater.
Kilmer said jobs are needed locally. “I don’t want our community’s top export to be our kids.” He said he doesn’t want government to be big, but he doesn’t want it to be hindered by the “belief that government is too incompetent to do anything right.”
The Gig Harbor Democrat said he sat with the Seattle Times editorial board earlier in the day. He said he wouldn’t name names, but that one of his opponents said, “Education is overrated.” He disagrees. Let’s see if the Seattle Times tells us who said it and in what context.
Kilmer also said members of Congress should be working to solve problems, not counting successes by how bad the other party looks. The most common question he gets asked, he said, is why he’s running when Congress is so broken. People also ask him how he can run when he has two young daughters at home. (They’re 2 and 6.) He said he’s running for his daughters, and specifically because Congress is broken.
Kilmer also stated his commitment to ways government can serve people, drawing on the experience of his grandmother. Her husband (Kilmer’s grandfather) died 31 years ago. Kilmer said her life would have looked quite a bit different had she not had Medicare and Social Security. He also said no one should go broke by getting sick.
State Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, finished the evening saying if Kilmer wins she’ll feel the same as she did when her brother left for college — sad to see him go but knowing he will be doing great things. She spoke of his reputation among state Senate members in both parties as being respectful and humble, that he is adept at gathering allies from both sides because of those traits.
It being a Kilmer event, there was pie.