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Archive for the ‘Derek Kilmer’ Category

Supreme Court ruling and the local impact

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Today’s Supreme Court ruling eliminating caps on how many federal races an individual can contribute to could have an impact here if ever there is a federal race that is considered “in play.” We have not seen that in a while.

The Citizens United decision earlier had the potential of dramatically increasing the amount spent on local races for independent groups and did very little here. U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, the Gig Harbor Democrat who replaced Norm Dicks and Jay Inslee in representing the Kitsap area, did not have a particularly close race in 2012, so all that suspect money was spent elsewhere.

Today’s decision allows someone to contribute to as many House or Senate races as there are, but maintains the maximum contribution to any single race to $2,600 for the primary and another $2,600 for the general election. If someone decided to contribute in every race, it could cost more than $2.2 million. Before today the max was $48,600 per federal election cycle. The most envisioned scenario is someone giving a party, let’s say $1 million, and saying “Spend it where it’s needed.”

Parties like to spend money on races they have a chance at winning. Two years ago they didn’t see that happening here, so they didn’t spend any.

I have heard rumors about who might run against Kilmer this year, but no one has filed with the Federal Elections Commission. Meanwhile the FEC website indicates Kilmer has raised more than $1 million for the 2014 election, about $575,000 from individuals and about $419,000 from political action committees.

Kilmer issued a press release today expressing his disappointment with the Supreme Court ruling. It follows:

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Kilmer on 2013, and your opportunity to ask a question

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Derek Kilmer, Kitsap’s congressman, sent newsletter subscribers an end-of-year recap of the top 10 questions he has heard this year. Read this, but also take the time if you like to ask a question you’d like to see the congressman answer. If you’ve gone to any of the Gig Harbor Democrat’s public events you’ve heard some of the following comments, especially the one about head lice.

Since most people don’t make it out to the events, feel free to leave a question here. I’ll forward them to Kilmer in a couple weeks. I have a hunch I know one of the questions you might ask.

Here’s the Kilmer newsletter.

Over the past year I’ve sent you 23 updates about what I’ve been up to as your Representative. Since this e-newsletter will be the last of 2013, it’s going to be a little different.

I think one of the biggest problems in Washington, DC today is that some legislators aren’t listening enough to their constituents, so I’ve held 10 public town halls, four telephone town halls, and I’ve met folks from our neck of the woods at over 60 festivals, county fairs, and annual community events.

For those who haven’t had a chance to be a part of that give-and-take, let me do a rundown of the answers to some of the most common questions I received during this first year in Congress. So, with apologies to David Letterman, I give you…

THE TOP TEN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS I GOT THIS YEAR

10.) “Is it as bad as it looks?”

This is the question I get asked more than any other. I will tell you that it’s strange to join an organization that – according to recent polls – is held in lower regard than head lice and colonoscopies.

After nearly a year on the job, I can affirm that Congress continues to be a “fixer-upper.” But I’m here because I hope to make it better.

While much of the past year has been focused on partisan games, I’m hopeful that the recent budget deal is a sign that 2014 may bring more folks from both sides of the aisle together to find solutions to our nation’s problems. If we’re going to get our economy – and this Congress – back on track, we’ve got to stop seeing folks define success as making the other political party look stupid.

9) “Yikes! That sounds frustrating. Is there any hope?”

Despite the dysfunction, there’s cause for hope.

Here’s why: there’s a growing group of folks from both parties that are committed to righting the ship.

Twice a month I participate in a meeting of the Bipartisan Working Group. It’s a group of Democrats and Republicans who are committed to working to get past the toxicity in our dialogue and find ways to work together. While the challenges facing our nation are too big to be fixed overnight, every time I walk out of those Wednesday morning meetings (and the meetings of the Problem Solvers Caucus that I’ve also become a part of), I feel confident and hopeful that we can get things back on track.

8) Speaking of working together. Does the Washington delegation work together much?

I’ve learned to watch my step around some members of the Washington delegation. Literally. Early on here, I accidently stepped on Representative Rick Larsen’s shoe and I broke it. As he hobbled around on a broken shoe for the rest of the day, I lived with the shame of having “flat-tired” one of my colleagues.

Seriously, though, we actually do interact quite frequently and quite positively. For example, Rep. Larsen and Rep. Adam Smith and I are all on the House Armed Services Committee together. Having three representatives from Washington on the committee is helpful as we work together to support our service members and ensure Washington State’s interests are protected.

What’s more, the House members from our state – Democrats and Republicans – get together for a periodic breakfast to catch up, to discuss issues facing our state, and to figure out how we can work together on some shared priorities. For instance, we’ve now had a majority of the state’s representatives become a part of the new Puget Sound Recovery Caucus I am co-chairing. We’re working together to ensure that the sales tax deduction that benefits Washington State citizens becomes a part of any tax reform proposal.

And if that’s not enough, for the nights when I’m in D.C., I actually share an apartment with our neighboring congressman (and my co-chair of the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus), Rep. Denny Heck. People are convinced that we should write a sitcom. For the record, I’m the “neat one.”

7) How’s the travel?

Not bad. Having met my wife Jennifer on an airplane back in 1996, I built up more positive airline karma than I ever deserved.

Listen, I knew when I signed up for this job that I was also signing up for a 3,000 mile commute to work. And, admittedly, I’ve learned the exact number of pretzels to expect in an Alaska Airlines pretzel package.

That said, I’m psyched to make it home nearly every weekend because it’s important I see and interact with my constituents as much as possible (not to mention my own family). Sure, that means a lot of time on a plane. But, on the bright side, I get 11 hours a week of mostly-uninterrupted work time. I get a lot of time to read policy briefings and to respond to letters from constituents. So if there’s something you think I should take a look at, email me!

6) So, did you get Norm Dicks’ office and committee assignments?

In short, no.

As you can imagine, I was somewhat bummed to find out that I wasn’t going to be the Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee like my predecessor. (I did, however, get two great committees: Armed Services and Science, Space, and Technology).

Office designations, too, are based on seniority and then on a random drawing. Let’s just say that I had about as much success in the office lottery as I had in the recent Mega Millions drawing. Of the 435 members of Congress, I drew the 429thoffice choice.

That said, I have no complaints about my office. Not only did it come with a few tiny, furry “friends” (which has made the book House Mouse, Senate Mouse even more entertaining for my kids), we found out from the Library of Congress that it was the freshman office of Washington State legend Henry M. Jackson when he served in the House. Come visit us!

5) Any big surprises?

A few.

Prior to my tenure, Congress passed the Budget Control Act which included sequestration as a poison pill. It was meant to be so stupid that it would force Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate to work together to deal with our nation’s long-term fiscal health. Unfortunately, to my surprise, for most of the last year, Congress chose to swallow the poison pill.

Thankfully, the end of 2013 saw the passage of a budget that, while not perfect, will set aside the bulk of sequestration for the next two years and ensure we won’t have another devastating shutdown. Not only is that good news, it was a welcome surprise after a year of partisanship to see our parties work together to make some progress on the budget.

I was also surprised by the scrum for seats at the State of the Union. Some of my colleagues REALLY wanted to have a seat on the aisle so they could be on TV shaking the president’s hand. I haven’t seen that much demand for seats since the last time Taylor Swift visited the Tacoma Dome. I had a feeling it was trouble when I walked in.

4) So, what’s on Congress’s list of New Year’s Resolutions?

For me, that’s simple: I need to eat healthier, exercise more, and teach my dog Truman not to eat the furniture.

For Congress, the top of the list is fighting to extend unemployment benefits early in the New Year. A recent report by Washington State’s Employment Security Department found that 24,400 residents of our state lost their benefits on December 28 due to the failure of Congress to act. Another 37,600 Washingtonians stand to lose coverage over the course of the next six months. The impact of letting unemployment insurance benefits lapse will also prove to be yet another headwind to our economic recovery. In fact, the White House Council on Economic Advisers estimates that the failure to extend unemployment insurance benefits will cost the state of Washington 6,183 jobs.

In addition, there are some big challenges that deserve attention: a comprehensive immigration reform bill, improvements to the Affordable Care Act, comprehensive tax reform to help Main Street businesses and middle class families, actions to address climate change, and campaign finance reform.

And most importantly, Congress should resolve in 2014 to get focused on the economy. Not a single JOBS bill passed this year. I hope that changes in 2014. In fact, I’m working with a group of colleagues on the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act. Stay tuned for details as we work to get it passed.

3) What do I do if I’m not getting the help I need from a federal agency?

On my district team, we’ve got some wonderfully talented caseworkers who work every day to solve problems for the people we represent and make sure government works for you. This year alone, we’ve helped over 500 people resolve issues with government agencies and we’ve helped return over $600,000 in savings for constituents from agencies like Medicare, the VA, or the IRS. If you have an issue or know someone who does, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

2) So, are we making progress?

Despite the dysfunction in our nation’s capital, there were some policy successes. We saw the bipartisan passage of the Violence Against Women Act. Just prior to the holidays, we saw Congress pass a budget for the first time since 2009.

My focus – on the policy front and in the district – is on economic development. I spent the past decade working in economic development, and I feel strongly that a lot of the challenges facing our nation will get a lot better when people get back to work. That’s why I’ve proposed or cosponsored bills to help small businesses, to improve workforce development, and to improve our business climate. It’s why we fought (successfully!) to protect the Small Business Development Centers in our region and are actively working to responsibly increase harvest levels in the federal forests, to protect jobs at our military installations, and to give downtown revitalization a shot in the arm. I’m very hopeful that 2014 will see a greater focus by the Congress on helping our small businesses.

That’s also why I do “Kilmer at Your Company” events. As we end the year, I’ve visited with nearly five dozen companies in our district. I’ve had the opportunity to help construct a door at the Simpson facility in McCleary. I’ve visited hospitals, toured emergency rooms, or stopped by dialysis centers in every county in the district (and used a lot of hand sanitizer). I’ve slipped on some hip-waders and gotten into a cranberry bog. I’ve visited IT companies, manufacturers, and local small businesses. In each meeting, I try to get a sense of the good, the bad, and the ugly of how our employers are interacting with the federal government. I want to make sure that we’re doing all we can to see employers grow, succeed, and stay here in our region.

While there’s obviously much more to do, I’m proud that my team has accomplished a lot for folks in our region for the past year. Take a look at this “Year End Report” we put out that shows some of our efforts and accomplishments.

1.) So, overall, how’s it been?

When I first decided to run for federal office, the most common question I received was: “Why on earth would you want to serve in Congress when it’s such a mess and you have two little kids?” My answer remains the same now as it was then. “It’s because it’s a mess and I have two little kids.” Their ability to grow up in an America where there is growing educational and economic opportunity, where our nation is secure, and where there is clean air and water is important to me. But getting there requires Congress to get to work.

Being your Representative is an honor and a privilege and not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for the opportunity. I’m heading into 2014 highly motivated to get things back on track.

Let me just end by saying I’m grateful to each of you for continuing to read these updates, and for continuing to provide me with your thoughts and advice. I wish you a happy new year, and I look forward to hearing from you in the coming year.

Sincerely,

Derek


Kilmer town halls north, south, west

Friday, November 1st, 2013

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor will host three town hall meetings between Nov. 1-8. All the meetings are open to the public. Those attending get an opportunity to ask questions. Doors open a half hour before the start time.

The first event is in Sequim from 4:30-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1. On Monday he will be at Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor and on Friday, Nov. 8 he will be in Grays Harbor.

Sequim Town Hall
Friday, November 1, 2013
4:30pm – 6:00pm
Guy Cole Convention Center
202 N Blake Ave.
Sequim, WA 98382

Purdy Town Hall
Monday, November 4, 2013
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Peninsula High School Auditorium
14105 Purdy Dr. NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98332

Grays Harbor Town Hall
Friday, November 8, 2013
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Ocean Shores Elementary School
300 Mt. Olympus Ave
Ocean Shores, WA 95869

For questions, call Rep. Kilmer’s office in Tacoma at (253) 272-3515, in Bremerton at (360) 373-9725, or in Port Angeles at (360) 797-3623.


Kilmer, Murray on Syria

Monday, September 9th, 2013

With Syria within sharp focus, Kitsap’s representatives in Congress remain undecided on whether they should vote to support U.S. military action in Syria.

In an email U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer sent out on Friday he tells constituents that he has not yet decided which way he would vote, what he is against and what questions he wants answered before he decides. The entire letter follows, but the main bullet points are that:

  • Kilmer does not support sending in troops;
    He does not support starting something that will create a larger regional fight;
    He does not support empowering extremists;
    Kilmer wants to know what success looks like;
    He wants to know what the effect will be in the short, medium and long terms;
    He wants to know what the price of inaction is.

Kilmer asked for your feedback and receives email at WA06DKima@mail.house.gov or you may call any of his offices.

Sen. Patty Murray’s statement, in which she also says she is undecided, follows Kilmer’s and her contact page is at http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme.

I don’t see an official statement from Cantwell, but news reports show her as undecided.

The full statements follow.
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Sequestration hurts, but no wolves appear, according to WaPo

Monday, July 1st, 2013

In science the “observer effect” supposes that the act of observing an phenomenon changes it. So it goes with a Washington Post story from Sunday with the headline “They said the sequester would be scary. Mostly, they were wrong.

The headline comes from claims made mostly by the Obama Administration of what sequestration would cause. Many of the scary things predicted have not happened. Some of it is because Congress created more flexibility than the meat cleaver that was initially part of the sequestration threat.

But U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, has said on several occasions that the technical definition of the kind of cuts made under sequestration is “dumb.” And there are people locally, civilian employees at Keyport as one example, who have felt the real impact of sequestration. And there are cuts that have happened that could take a long, long time for anyone to notice. And by that time they might have forgotten about sequestration. Here are three paragraphs from the story that show some of the impacts and the places where the government cried, “Wolf!”

“Across the government, more than 125,000 employees have been furloughed from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Internal Revenue Service, and other agencies. About 650,000 Defense Department civilians will start taking 11 unpaid days next week. Public defenders are losing up to 15 days of pay.

“In 24 cases, however, The Post’s review showed that the predictions were wrong — sequestration had not lived up to the administration’s alarms.

“That included some cases in which furloughs were threatened but then reduced or eliminated. Customs and Border Protection agents, for example, faced up to 14 unpaid days before the Department of Homeland Security shifted money around last month to avoid the furloughs.”

Other parts of the story show where government agencies have made cuts that will benefit taxpayers. There is much less of a tendency to send employees to conferences, which should certainly reduce the likelihood of seeing high-profile abuses like that of the General Services Administration $820,000 conference in Las Vegas. It also means scientists won’t meet as much.

The Post’s story’s emphasis is primarily on the fact that the widespread (It’s important to emphasize “widespread,” because 11 furlough days in my family would be calamitous to us, just not to the entire nation.) calamity predicted by sequestration has not happened. In fact, in some cases it has created effects that could prove to be positive in the long run. Another sequestration round begins in October unless Congress passes a budget. If Congress doesn’t, it’s going to be harder for those who predict disaster to find a believing audience.


Congressman Kilmer takes the ‘Town Hall’ to Twitter, Twitter tries to bite back

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Two years ago President Barack Obama hosted the White House’s first ever Twitter Town Hall meeting. Former Congressman Norm Dicks didn’t follow suit. I don’t remember Jay Inslee doing that either.

Introducing the Twitter town hall locally falls on Derek Kilmer, Kitsap’s newest and only member of Congress, a youngish one at that. On Tuesday Kilmer hosted a Twitter town-hall meeting. Before launching into the substance of that, let me be clear that the congressman has shown a willingness to host the real thing, an in-person town hall. He did six in a week a few weeks back and we wrote about it. On Monday he spoke to a group in Belfair. He doesn’t seem to be afraid of meeting you in person.

Some who like to make sport on the Twitterverse were early to the party.

Chris Joonior “@chrisjoonior” was first, a full day before the town hall. “What is being about the drone problem, last I heard the NAVY in Bremerton was using dogs as drone target practice? Rusty got hit.”

Joonier had several questions:

#AskKilmer how many potatoes am I allowed to eat raw per day?
#AskKilmer when are you going to admit you’re my dad
#AskKilmer can you play the trumpet and would you start a new-wave ska band with me?
Why did you skip out on my wifes Sonic the Hedgehog BBQ when you said u would bring the SEGA #AskKilmer
#AskKilmer what is being done about this Benjamin Ghazi fella

There were other people and other questions I sha’n't share here.

Once the town hall officially started there were serious questions. The ones he answered were about the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and campaign finance, whether members of Congress should be paid while they can’t pass a budget, sequestration, term limits, veterans benefits, student loans, Congressional gridlock, Highway 167, civil liberties and national security.

Kilmer even answered the ska band question. “I’m a bass player. I’ll leave the ska to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones,” he wrote.

As for the format, “I prefer the old fashioned town hall and have now done one – or more – in every county in our District. But I’m all for new ways to interact with the folks I represent and to be accountable to them. 140 chars is a challenge though” the congressman wrote.

One of the good things about a town hall like this is there is a full record of the proceedings. To see the questions go to Twitter and search for the entries with the hashtag #AskKilmer and on Facebook at the “Derek Kilmer” page. The answers were all on Twitter at @RepDerekKilmer.


Incumbency, close calls and money

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
This will make sense later.

This will make sense later.

In January it became clear that the November general election would almost certainly be a race between Nathan Schlicher, the appointed Democratic incumbent, against Republican Jan Angel, a member of the House. As I write this neither of them have filed to run, so we are still operating on assumptions.

There have been cases in our recent political past where the gift of an appointment might payed dividends. Would Steve Bauer have had as easy a path to his election to the county commission, and then Rob Gelder had they not been appointed earlier? I doubt it. In those cases incumbency gave them a record and some kind of reputation.

Schlicher certainly benefits from incumbency as opposed to trying to challenge Angel with no official legislative experience. The questions I wanted to pose were how well appointed incumbents have done in the past, and in cases where appointed incumbents failed to be selected, what happened? Sunday’s piece answered those questions. We scheduled the piece for the Sunday before filing began and “Happy Mothers’ Day, everyone!” I looked at legislative historical records available on the Legislature’s website, as well as news archives, to get some context.

Some side issues, interesting on their own but not contributing to the questions asked Sunday, arose in conversations with candidates and others, as well as in the research.

incumbentIssue One: Because Schlicher was not elected, can he call himself the “incumbent?” Angel said she doesn’t think so, but the dictionary does not distinguish between whether someone was elected or appointed. In fact, for many people getting the approval of the local party would be harder than getting approved by voters. It is worthwhile to note the distinction, because for many the word “incumbent” implies a past election. President Gerald Ford was the incumbent president in 1976, even though he was elected with a 1-0 vote. That’s an old joke that ignores the fact that Ford was confirmed vice president 92-3 in the U.S. Senate and 387-35 in the House.

Issue Two: If the race is close, which there is sound reason to suspect it could be, so many factors could make the final difference. In fact, in close races it is nearly impossible to credit a win or blame a loss on any one thing. So many unseen things can effect the outcome. “When you lose by 191 votes the flap of a butterfly’s wings can make a difference,” said Randy Gordon, who was the Democrats’ appointed incumbent in the 41st District Senate seat. He lost by 194 votes, according to the state, but let’s not quibble. If he were to pick one ingredient it would be the national anti-incumbent, especially anti-Democratic incumbent, mood across the country. But it could have been any one of his votes in the Legislature, or a particular ad run against him and financed by national PACs, or the money dumped into his opponent’s campaign, or the Democratic Party not putting enough money into his campaign. He said state party officials admitted to him they goofed by not spending more on his race, but how much more would have created a victory? This could be one of those races where in every moment of being awake the candidate and their supporters will not have a moment they can afford to relax.

Issue Three: Both candidates said they will win by telling their stories to win the campaign. Angel added that she will raise money. Since the story ran Angel is reporting more in her campaign chest. On a separate blog a few of you took U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, to task for planning to host a Star Wars-themed fundraiser. I’ll be honest, I was surprised at that reaction. I assumed everyone knew that a big part of a member of Congress’ life is raising money to win the job again in two years. If you haven’t listened to the “This American Life” piece “Take the Money and Run for Office,” I suggest you set aside about an hour to get yourself schooled. That Kilmer is raising funds should not surprise anyone. I’m not saying it’s right, so don’t take me to task for cheerleading the fundraising. I’m not. But I have a difficult time faulting someone who knows he needs to raise funds to win a public office for doing just that. Until finance laws change, that is how it works. Even if finance laws do change, there is no guarantee this kind of election begging would go away. If your problem is that it was a Star Wars theme, maybe it’s worth asking what the harm is in having fun with an otherwise ugly task. If I was hosting fundraisers, you can bet one would be a Batman theme. And not the newer cool Batman, but the Adam West version. Then, every time more money came in I could flash signs that said, “Kapow!” or “Zowie!”


Kilmer fundraiser looks beyond our ‘wretched hive of scum and villainy’

Monday, May 6th, 2013

According to the first-quarter 2013 Federal Elections Commission, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, has more than $400,000 on hand in preparation for the 2014 election. It’s a nice beginning sum, given that his first election to Congress had an astronomical (for races here) price tag of $1.7 million. He is almost a quarter of the way to that lofty outpost.

Kilmer is not one to rely on mere earthly pursuits in gearing up for the next contest in 2014. I won’t be the first or the last to pull out a lousy pun by saying Kilmer is going galactic for one of his next fundraisers.

Dave Levinthal from the website publicintegrity.org reports Kilmer will be the beneficiary of sci-fi largesse at a Star Wars-themed fundraiser on May 22 in Washington, D.C. From the story:

“The merged fundraiser will culminate May 22 in a ‘galactic trivia battle,’ with tickets starting at $50 and climbing skyward to $1,000 for political action committees and full trivia teams, according to an invitation. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association’s Washington, D.C., headquarters will play host.”

Kilmer is, apparently, quite the Star Wars fan. The party is no Taylor Swift concert, but some might argue it’s better. I mean who can resist the allure of a member of Congress correcting you on how many systems would love to kill Dr. Evazan, or trying to remind you who Dr. Evazan is.

For those of you wondering about the headline, the stuff in quotes is from a Star Wars movie. Which one, I couldn’t tell you. I’d fail miserably in a galactic trivia battle. I’m not the nerd you’re looking for.


Kilmer tells Congress to do its job so you can do yours

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, made his first floor speech in Congress Thursday and reiterated his theme that Congress should do something to stop the accross-the-board cuts that will happen at the end of the month if it doesn’t act.

In the speech he refers to “legislation that doesn’t solve this problem, isn’t going to pass the Senate, and isn’t going to become law” and that there will be four days of action in DC before the cuts happen.

The legislation he is referring to he HR 273, which freezes federal employee pay. Kilmer spokesman Stephen Carter said via email that the bill will be voted on Friday, but there was “a procedural vote on the rule to consider it.”

The text of the speech follows and was provided by Kilmer’s office:

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Kilmer bucks his party in one vote the Washington Post counts as key

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

If the 2014 congressional election started today (I found a page showing incumbent Congressman Derek Kilmer has raised $15.55 so far. I’m guessing the total is actually more than that, but we have nothing official yet.) here is a campaign charge you might hear.

“Derek Kilmer has voted with his party 97 percent of the time.”

Or maybe this one:

“Derek Kilmer has voted with Nancy Pelosi nine out of 10 times.”

Both quotes are true, but they lack context. There have been 30 votes in the U.S. House of Representatives since Kilmer joined it earlier this month. Some are procedural and don’t deal with issues at all, like voting to approve Congress’ journal or to adjourn. If either of those mattered we might hear this one:

“Doc Hastings was the only Washington member of Congress with the guts to vote to adjourn.”

We’ve addressed this before, but it’s worth repeating. Context matters. Of the 30 votes taken in Congress, the two parties agreed with each other 11 times. Again, those were procedural issues. The first vote after the roll call was on who should be named House speaker. Republicans voted for John Boehner. Kilmer voted with Democrats for Nancy Pelosi. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Kilmer is a Democrat, after all, and he wanted to see his party’s leader holding the gavel. Everyone knew it wouldn’t happen and it didn’t.

On the other 19 votes, many were questions on the same issue, and Kilmer agreed with the majority in his party on all but one of them.

That one is critical. Of the 30 votes taken, two were considered “key votes” in the Washington Post vote database. One was the race for speaker. I guess I agree that one probably should be considered “key,” but not like the other one on the list of two. That was the one to suspend the debt limit until May and to suspend Congressional pay starting April 15 if there is no budget. On that one a majority of Republicans voted “Yes,” and a majority of Democrats voted “No.” Kilmer, in this case sided with Republicans. He issued a statement saying why he thought the measure was a good one.

“I believe America should pay its bills even if they were racked up before I came to DC. This plan prevents the immediate threat of default that could cause harm to our nation’s economy. Hopefully, this is the first step toward a real bipartisan effort to forge a balanced solution to our long-term fiscal challenges. This plan also forces Congress to live by the same principle that all folks in our region live by: if you don’t do your job, you shouldn’t be paid. I’m supporting this bill today because I’ve always said I’ll do what’s right for the families and employers of our region, regardless of whether it’s a Democratic or Republican idea.”

Kilmer wasn’t alone among Washington Democrats, joining fellow freshmen Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Camas Republican, voted contrary to her party on the same vote.

Just as it’s almost worthless to draft statistics that include meaningless votes on procedure, it’s way too early to form conclusions on a voting record that only includes two votes that seem to matter. Nonetheless, stay tuned to the “key” votes tally and see if bipartisanship spreads.


Kitsap, Pierce county electeds to pick Kilmer successor

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Commissioners from Kitsap County and Pierce County council members meet Thursday morning to choose a replacement for Derek Kilmer in the state Legislature.

Kilmer resigned the 26th Legislative District state Senate seat after being elected to Congress.

Following the rules set by the state constitution, 26th District Democratic precinct committee officers picked a ranked list of three nominees from which the county leaders will choose a senator.

In the most recent cases in Kitsap the commissioners have gone with the party’s top pick. On Dec. 27 that was Nathan Schlicher, an emergency room doctor in Gig Harbor. Schlicher also has a law degree. He came in first, but it was close. He had a plurality of votes on the first ballot and the second ballot was a tie with Todd Iverson, a longshoreman and member of the PenMet Parks board in Gig Harbor. Schlicher won on the third ballot with a 12-11 vote. Iverson was ranked second. Gerry Baldwin, former district party chairman and airline analyst, was ranked third.

Each county gets 50 percent of the vote on Thursday, according to Kitsap County Clerk Dave Peterson. Kitsap has three commissioners and Pierce has seven council members.

The selection is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Gig Harbor City Hall, 3510 Grandview St.


Kilmer lands Armed Services spot

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

U.S. Rep.-elect Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, landed a spot on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. He’ll join fellow Washington Democrats Adam Smith and Rick Larsen there.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Armed Services Committee,” said Rep-elect Kilmer. “Not only does the military play a vital role in keeping our entire nation safe and secure, it also has an enormous impact on the lives of many residents in our region. I look forward to the opportunity to play a meaningful role in helping to strengthen our military and support our servicemen and women and their families.”

Suzan DelBene, who represents part of Kitsap County until Jan. 3, will be on Judiciary. Denny Heck, who like Kilmer is new to Congress, will be on Budget.


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