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Posts Tagged ‘Derek Kilmer’

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


Spotlight on Patty Murray, y’all

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

ED NOTE: There is at least one element of the budget Congress is about to pass that is causing significant heartburn locally. Inflation guarantees for military retirees younger than 62 were reduced. Tom Philpott, whose column appears in the Kitsap Sun, addressed the issue this week.

Spotlight on Patty Murray, y’all
(Yeah, Yeah)
The press is all aghast
(Yeah, yeah)
She got a budget passed
(Yeah, yeah)
Oh yeah! Oh oh yeah.

— Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music”, as written by a reporter who happens to be wearing tennis shoes at the moment.

There would probably be no better time for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray to run for another term in the Senate. Washington’s Democratic “Mom in Tennis Shoes” is being heralded at Christmastime as the Senator who saved the holiday for many. To do it she worked with the House Republican who would have preferred to be Vice President about now. Together they crafted a budget deal, something we’ve seen scant few of in recent years.

That deal has something for everyone to dislike, for sure, but the bar is really low right now for the things we celebrate out of Congress. Murray worked as the Senate rep with House Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. The deal was timed so well politically Speaker of the House John Boehner felt the moxie to knock the heads of a subgroup of Tea Party conservatives within in his own party, something lots of folks noticed.

Murray and Ryan got to a deal by working their own rooms, by keeping their negotiations out of the press spotlight, and by keeping the White House more or less out of the process. Murray had to get support from House Democrats, which was not easy particularly because of the cuts to federal retirement benefits, including for military retirees. She told them that Ryan wanted much bigger cuts, and for many of them that was at least enough to get support.

Kitsap’s congressman, Democrat Derek Kilmer, had long said Congress needed to at least get a budget done, and that was the tone he took in his comment following his vote.

“While there are parts of this budget I don’t like, I have spent the last year calling on my colleagues to set aside their partisan differences and pass a budget. I’m encouraged that Democrats and Republicans have found a way to work together, help avert a government shutdown, and halt most of the damaging across-the-board cuts that have hurt our region. Congress must now continue to work together on a plan that deals with our long-term fiscal health and grows our economy so we can get folks back to work.”

Murray’s effort has generated tons of media attention.

From CNN: Patty Murray emerges as bipartisan figure after budget deal

“Murray, a Democrat from Washington state serving her fourth term, is considered a steady hand in the Senate who shuns grandstanding and garners respect from both sides of the aisle.
“She is a liberal, but can be pragmatic and has some conservative thoughts on budget issues.”

From Politico: How Patty Murray won over Dems on budget fight

“President Barack Obama was on the phone repeatedly with Sen. Patty Murray during the high-stakes budget talks and asked how he could help.
“Murray’s response: I got this.”

From U.S. News & World Report:The Real Value of the Budget Deal

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a conservative Republican and his Senate counterpart, Patty Murray of Washington, a liberal Democrat, should be praised for breaking an impasse that has stymied the most basic function of a government over the last many years – adopting a budget. Even if the agreement falls short of addressing the fundamental federal budgetary challenges that confront the country’s future, and it does, it nonetheless demonstrates that two very different political philosophies can still find common cause in a polarized country and a divided Congress.”

There are naysayers about the budget bill.

From Katrina vanden Heuvel in the Washington Post: Undeserved applause for Ryan-Murray budget deal

“There’s something troubling, even farcical, about lawmakers applauding their own mediocrity, handing themselves medals of participation for showing up to work on time.”

Murray herself acknowledges the deal isn’t perfect in a column on Huffington Post, but urges the Senate to pass it so government stops “lurching from crisis to crisis,” such as another potential government shutdown. The Senate voted to end debate on Tuesday, meaning the budget bill is ready for a vote in the chamber. It only needs to a one-vote margin for approval. With 67 senators voting to end debate, bill passage seems likely.

It’s enough to make people watching politics to shine a spotlight, and to sing. I’ll spare you that and leave the singing to the experts.


We just might get a budget, ending sequestration

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Derek Kilmer, Democratic congressman from these parts, was in the office last week talking about a lot of issues. Of particular import was his estimation that the House and Senate in Washington, DC will work out a budget that ends sequestration. It won’t be an overly ambitious one that settles things for years, but it would avoid another government shutdown and perhaps would not in and of itself become a campaign issue in 2014.

According to this Politico story, Patty Murray, Democratic senator from this state, has been negotiating with Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to get a deal Republicans and Democrats can live with, even if there are parts both sides will hate.


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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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.


Clinton tells Democrats Kilmer creates jobs, doesn’t just bloviate

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Speaking of leaked videos, when former President Bill Clinton was in town campaigning for governor candidate Jay Inslee, he saved 43 seconds to talk about Derek Kilmer and Suzan DelBene. Here’s proof.


6th District forum schedule change

Monday, September 17th, 2012

A forum for 6th Congressional District candidates that was to have been hosted by the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce Sept. 26 has been canceled, because only one of the two candidates would have been able to attend, Coreen Haydock, the chamber’s executive director announced Monday.
Haydock declined to say which candidate would have been the no-show. Derek Kilmer, who was the lone Democrat in the primary, is running against Republican Bill Driscoll, who beat out four Republicans and one Independent candidate. Kilmer and Driscoll are vying for the seat that longtime Congressman Norm Dicks, a Democrat, will vacate when he retires at the end of the year.
The Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce will host a debate between Kilmer and Driscoll from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 19 at Peninsula High School, 14105 Purdy Drive Northwest Gig Harbor, WA 98332. An RSVP via the chamber’s website, www.gigharborchamber.net, is requested. For information, call 253-851-6865.
On Wednesday, the Port Orchard chamber will host a forum among candidates in the 26th and 35th state Legislative races from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. at the Port Orchard Pavilion, 701 Bay St., in downtown Port Orchard.
There is no cost, but RSVPs are appreciated; 360-876-3505.


6th Congressional District endorsement talk

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Typically we shy away from making big splashes out of endorsements. By the end of the campaign there will be so many that it’s usually better to just let the candidates produce a list, which is what most of them do at some point any way. That’s how you knew that Chris Henry endorsed Charlotte Garrido. (It was NOT the Kitsap Sun’s Chris Henry.)

A couple in the 6th District Congressional Race are worth mentioning. I’m kicking myself now for not mentioning former Republican U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton’s endorsement of Republican candidate Bill Driscoll in July when it happened. I have two reasons to regret that call. One is for the reason the (Tacoma) News Tribune called attention to it. Gorton and fellow Republican Tom Huff both served on the state’s redistricting commission and split their allegiances in the Congressional race. Gorton, as mentioned, endorsed Driscoll. Huff endorsed Jesse Young.

The other reason to mention it then was because Young had listed Gorton as one of his endorsements in his 2010 bid for Congress. Gorton switched horses, as it were.

On Wednesday Democratic candidate Derek Kilmer announced what his supporters certainly have to consider significant news. On Sunday I was interviewed by a couple of local knuckleheads who produce a weekly online radio show. They asked me if Driscoll’s military experience was a plus for him. It’s an easy “yes” on the question, and it’s one of the things Driscoll emphasizes, the other two being businessman and non-politician.

Kilmer, in landing the endorsement of retired Washington Army and Air National Guard Major General Timothy Lowenberg, can hope to soften whatever impact Driscoll’s military experience is having. Lowenberg will chair Veterans for Kilmer, going with the candidate to veterans meetings.

“I am supporting Derek because of his intellectual rigor, work ethic and diligence in making well-informed, fact-based decisions on policy issues,” said Lowenberg in the statement issued by the campaign. “He is knowledgeable about foreign and domestic security matters and committed to serving those who serve our nation in uniform. He will be a Congressman our service members and their loved ones can count on – and will reflect great credit on the citizens of his district.”

In August Lowenberg contributed $500 to Republican Rob McKenna in the governor’s race.


Bill Driscoll may be optimistic, but so much favors Derek Kilmer

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

There is a new poll in the right column. I see someone has already voted in it.

Speaking of surveys, an earlier post referred to survey work done by Republican Bill Driscoll, running to replace Democrat Norm Dicks in the 6th Congressional District. His campaign didn’t release the questions, but sent a fundraising pitch suggesting the polls show he has a shot.

Another poll with a pretty huge sample size (40 percent) was the 2012 Primary. In that one state Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, polled about as well as anyone might have expected. Out of seven candidates he pulled in 53.4 percent of the votes. Sure, Kilmer was the only Democrat. But for Driscoll to have the shot he thinks he has, he has to hope the anti-Barack Obama sentiment in the 6th District is overwhelming, that Mitt Romney manages to have people excited by November and that people get to know Driscoll by then, too. And not just get to know him, to like him more than they like Kilmer.

It’s not impossible, and turnout for the primary was low. But you also can’t assume that those for whom Jesse Young or Doug Cloud was the first choice will automatically go with Driscoll in the general election. Most will, but the question will be whether there would be enough. Recent electoral history suggests Kilmer’s percentages in the general election might even go up from where they ended in the primary.

Driscoll is campaigning as a “Non-Politician.” It’s one of the titles on his website, between “Marine Corps Veteran” and “Businessman.” Running as an outsider can work sometimes, when the general public is mad at the incumbents. The public was mad at Congressional incumbents in 2006 and in 2010. They probably will be again in 2014.

In this race there are no incumbents. The Democratic candidate, though, has a political record. Unfortunately for Driscoll, Kilmer’s record is not as polarizing as, say, Nancy Pelosi.

On Monday Kilmer was recognized by a Tacoma company that makes residential wood boilers. They acknowledged Kilmer for his help in getting regulatory prohibitions against those boilers removed. Washington had been the only state where wood boilers couldn’t be sold. The result of Kilmer’s efforts with state regulators, said Greenwood Clean Energy’s president, Michael Kuehner, was the company took work that had been occurring in Canada and Mexico and brought it to Washington. That’s 16 jobs, with an outlook for double that, according to the press release Kilmer’s campaign sent out.

Over the next three months, look for Kilmer to repeat that story, and the one about the theater and apartment development in Bremerton, and the new hospital in Gig Harbor.

Driscoll has a different kind of record. He will tell you that he volunteered to rejoin the Marines long after he had to. That will certainly play well with many. He will also ally himself more with Republican fiscal ideals, which again will play well with many.

Driscoll also says he will go after bipartisan solutions, but Kilmer makes the case he has a record of working across the aisle in Olympia. And Kilmer’s focus on business certainly casts him in a different light than, say it again, Nancy Pelosi.

If you go to Washingtonvotes.org, you can parse out Kilmer’s record.

During the 2011-12 session there were more than 2,000 bills introduced in each chamber. More than 700 passed and there were nearly 1,100 votes. Of those, only 55 were decided by a margin of 10 or less. I picked that number as the marker where a single vote is most important. Kilmer voted against his party on seven of those votes, 12.7 percent of the time. By comparison, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, (He’s the one running against Democrat Maria Cantwell for her Senate seat. He’s also the one who had unkind words for a reporter from Publicola. Look it up.) voted against his party four times in those same 55 votes, or 7.3 percent. Tim Sheldon, D-Shelton, known as a maverick for voting against the majority of his party often, voted against his party 81.8 percent of the close votes. I guess that means if Sheldon were a Republican he would have voted against his party 18.9 percent of the time.

In the House I upped the vote difference to 20 or less. There were 158 of those. Republican Jan Angel voted against her party 12.7 percent of the time, same percentage as Kilmer. Democrat Larry Seaquist went against party 4.4 percent, and Democrats Sherry Appleton and Kathy Haigh each voted against their party three times, 1.9 percent.

Of the 51 bills Kilmer introduced as the prime sponsor, 41 had Republican co-sponsors.

Here’s another stat Driscoll will have to overcome. In the two previous Congressional election years that were run with the Top Two format, Norm Dicks ran against multiple candidates in both. In each primary he topped 50 percent. Worse for Driscoll, Dicks’ percentage went up in each general election.

The penny in the picture tells you why Derek Kilmer’s name appears before Bill Driscoll’s in the poll on the right. In the past I’ve gone alphabetic, but decided to flip a penny here. Heads it’s Driscoll. Tails it’s Kilmer. You see what happened.

If you read on you can read the press release Kilmer’s campaign sent about Greenwood Clean Energy’s praise for Kilmer.

(more…)


Bill Driscoll says survey shows he has a shot in 6th if people know his views – Updated

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Bill Driscoll, Republican candidate for the 6th District Congressional seat, sent a copy of a memo suggesting he’s got a shot at beating Democrat Derek Kilmer.

I responded to the email asking if I could have a copy of the questions Moore Information asked, the ones that led to the following paragraph:

“Importantly, after a series of questions on the Kilmer and Driscoll records, Driscoll moves out to a 9 point lead over Kilmer (48% to 39%.) The movement in the ballot test is almost entirely attributable to Driscoll’s improvement with Independents after they heard messages about each candidate. In fact, on the educated ballot Driscoll led 53% to 25% among Independents.”

UPDATE: Driscoll’s camp declined to offer those, saying the the survey was mostly for internal campaign purposes. Kilmer’s campaign declined to comment.

It is worth noting that normally I don’t make much out of surveys that come from campaigns. Since hardly anyone who isn’t affiliated with a campaign polls our area, that pretty much means I seldom do anything with surveys. Without the questions I have no idea the reliability of the data on this letter, which includes a request for donations. If Kilmer releases a similar letter referencing a survey, I’ll post that one to be fair.

The entire email follows.

(more…)


Fifth Republican joins Congressional race

Monday, April 30th, 2012

A fifth Republican announced today he’ll run for Congress in the 6th District.

Bill Driscoll, a former Marine who has also been in the forest products business, issued a statement saying he put $500,000 of his own money to put him even with Democrat Derek Kilmer’s “$350,000 in special interest money.” (For more about Derek Kilmer’s money, read our story from Monday.)

Driscoll’s statement says career politicians have failed, that he would focus on jobs, a strong defense, making sure veterans get the benefits they’ve been promised and balancing the federal budget.

Filing week begins May 14. The entire Driscoll statement follows:

(more…)


Kitsap Sheriff Steve Boyer not running for Congress

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Brynn writes:

Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer sent out a release today saying he won’t run for the Congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair.

Last month Boyer said he hadn’t ruled out the possibility of running for the 6th Congressional seat.

“It’s always in the back of my mind that you’re looking for the next way to serve,” Boyer said March 7.

Since then he’s decided not to join the race. Instead Boyer has endorsed state Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, who announced his intentions to run earlier this year.

Here’s the official release from Boyer:

Like so many throughout Kitsap County, I was surprised by Congressman Norm Dicks’ announcement that he would not be seeking reelection. Once the initial impact of the announcement passed, I took some time to consider whether the honor to participate as a United States Congressman and to help set a positive course for the future of America might be the best decision for my family, Kitsap County, and the citizens of the 6th Congressional District.

There were many factors to weigh while considering a decision of this magnitude and I would like to give my thanks for the confidence and encouragement extended by so many diverse groups and individuals for such a candidacy. The final analysis demanded determining where one can provide the most value for our citizens. This would be a capstone to my 40 years of public service in which success is measured by accomplishment and the respective trust which must exist with our citizens. I also have a high level of personal and professional satisfaction in ensuring public safety as the Kitsap County Sheriff.

Therefore, after due consideration, I am endorsing Derek Kilmer in the Sixth District Congressional race.  He has the right skill set built upon a foundation of strong character.  I trust that Derek will always defend American values and do what is important for our Nation.

Yours in safety,

Stephen A. Boyer


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