Category Archives: Norm Dicks

Norm Dicks In Line for Another Promotion

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, seems the likely choice to head to the top of the full House Appropriations Committee, now that the current seat holder is planning to retire.

The Hill, and just about everyone else, is speculating that Dicks is the most probable choice to succeed U.S. Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc., who announced today he won’t run for re-election this year.

This is, of course, assuming a few things. One assumption is that Dicks defeats his challengers this year. The second is that Democrats will retain their majority in the House. The third assumption is that Dicks would get more votes than anyone else that might challenge him for the top Appropriations job.

Linebacker Norm Set for Real Defense Work

Norm Dicks, heir apparent for the top defense appropriations post, is featured in Politico. From the story:

Even now, approaching 70, he shows flashes of the old “Stormin’ Norman”: the barrel-chested Rose Bowl linebacker and Type-A Senate staffer who burst into the House three decades ago demanding the first seat on Appropriations and the last jump shot in the gym.

At an event last year, it might have even been the health care town hall, I had some questions for him, but I really wanted to get his thoughts on Steve Sarkisian coaching the Huskies.

Dicks Cleared in House Ethics Report

The official report clearing U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, and other members of Congress, including the late Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., is available via PDF file. It’s a 305-page report with sections dedicated to each House member. I’ve yet to read the report, but here’s a key paragraph:

There is not substantial reason to believe that Representative Dicks solicited or accepted contributions or other items of value in exchange for or because of an official act, or solicited or accepted contributions or other items of value in a manner which gave the appearance that the contributions were linked to an official act.

You can download the PDF by clicking here. Later I may have time to read the section on Dicks and will pull more information for here.

Dicks “The Tipping Point” on Boeing

First off, according to a report in the Seattle P-I, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, is pretty confident he’ll be the new chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

“I will be elevated to chairman. Then they will fill the Interior chairmanship.”

Second, some analysts believe this means Boeing gets the tanker deal, according to a story in The (Everett) Herald.

Murtha’s death “was the tipping point,” the Teal Group’s Aboulafia said. “This is … a slam dunk” for Boeing.

Going back the P-I story, Dicks appears to agree.

Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, has held up Senate confirmation of key Obama Administration appointees, in part because of perceived favoritism toward Boeing. If the Airbus is picked, it will mean 1,500 jobs in Shelby’s state.

Dicks was blunt on Wednesday that his position as Defense Appropriations boss in the House trumps that of Shelby as a minority Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“The Pentagon will look at Shelby, and look at their new (House) chairman, and they’ll get the message,” he said.

Poobah’s Note: I changed the story in the middle because the Herald first reported this. — Steven Gardner, Kitsap Caucus driver. Thanks to Elaine Helm for finding the story for me.

GOP Response to Dicks on Defense

Yesterday in writing the story on U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks’ probable future as chairman of the House Defense Appropriations committee I tried to contact Kitsap County Republican Party Chairwoman Sandra Lacelle and Dicks’ Republican opponent, Doug Cloud. I was unable to reach either for the story, but LaCelle left a message and Cloud couldn’t reach me when he called back, so he sent a statement via e-mail.

Cloud wrote:

Congressman Dicks, if he is elected Chairman, is to be congratulated.  He has wanted this for a long time, but not under such circumstances.   The taxpayers and working people should be concerned, however,  as Congressman Dicks has shown no fiscal responsibility whatsoever in his current role.

LaCelle said the blessings are mixed. “It brings some clout to our area, certainly,” she said. But that comes with a cost. “Sometimes that clout is coming with distrust from the electorate.”

Dicks Likely to Assume House’s Top Defense Position

U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., died today.

Murtha was chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on defense.

Next in line is U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair. He chairs interior, but we’ve made a call to see if that might change. We’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: Dicks’ chief of staff, George Behan, said Dicks will likely assume the Defense appropriations chairman position and will remain a member of the Interior appropriations, handing over the gavel there to someone else.

The Oregonian has a story with lots of information about Murtha.

Dicks sent the following statement:

We are all deeply saddened by the death of Chairman Jack Murtha, whose entire career has been dedicated to strengthening our national security and improving conditions for U.S. military personnel.

He was a strong leader and an exceptionally fair Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and I enjoyed serving with him on that panel for 31 years. He was a ‘hands-on’ Chairman, routinely traveling to areas of conflict where American troops were deployed, and I accompanied him on many of those trips. As much as he enjoyed hearing from the generals and the admirals in command, he always took the time to visit the mess hall and talk with individual troops who would give him a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ view of the conflict. In November I accompanied Chairman Murtha and five other subcommittee members to Afghanistan, which helped broaden our perspective of the complex task ahead for U.S. forces there.

Suzie and I expressed our heartfelt condolences to Joyce Murtha and the entire Murtha family today as we learned the sad news. The country has lost a real patriot; the Congress has lost a real workhorse; and I have lost a great friend.

Long Beachers Lobbying to Be Part of Sixth Congressional District

The Chinook Observer, based in Long Beach, is making the case that its area should be included with the Sixth Congressional District. This opinion comes on the heels of the news that U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, is not seeking re-election and that the state’s Redistricting Commission will be redrawing congressional maps following the 2010 Census. The newspaper expresses little confidence a new member of Congress will be very effective, for Long Beach. From the editorial:

“Whatever you think of his politics on national issues, Baird has been a powerful ally for our communities in Congress. Baird has seen to everything from obtaining port dredging funds to unraveling your grandmother’s Social Security problems. We will go from that to having a freshman member who may be lucky to be told how to find the U.S. House restrooms, let alone do anything very meaningful for us.”

The Observer sees the same kind of representation were it to come from U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair. Again, from the editorial:

” . . . Sixth District Rep. Norm Dicks wields enormous influence in Washington, D.C. He and his staff would seamlessly fill the void left by losing Baird. In addition, Dicks knows coastal issues and has frequently been helpful to our causes in the past.”

The Observer concedes, however, that Dicks won’t be in Congress forever. The real impetus is that coastal communities have more in common with the Olympic Peninsula than they do with the communities along I-5 (Vancouver and Olympia) that are in the Third Congressional District.

“But if we join the sixth district, we will be among our own – far-flung, mostly rural communities that depend on the same set of economic and social circumstances. We all face similar issues in terms of strengthening and maintaining traditional industries while enhancing the core lifestyle and environmental values that make the coast so appealing to tourists, retirees and everyone who lives here.”

Well, Tacoma isn’t exactly “far-flung,” but we are. At least I feel far flung, or flung on, when I have to leave the Mariner game early to catch the boat home. For purely selfish reasons, I’m all for this. I love Long Beach. I could even be persuaded to love Ilwaco (Go Fishermen!) and Stringtown. Even more I love the Oregon locales Astoria, Seaside and Cannon Beach. I can foresee a junket for me one day where I have to cover something in Long Beach, because it’s in the district, which means I could cross the Columbia and get me some Oregon Coast. I expect all of you to join me in this campaign.

Investigation Into Congressman Dicks Over

There are several stories out that an investigation into House members’ relationships with the PMA lobbying group is over. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the issue is gone, because the House Ethics Committee could still decide to pursue the matter.

The inquiry involved seven members of Congress and the link between campaign contributions they received from PMA and earmarks that went to PMA clients.

The Seattle Times story is here, but that story is pulled from a slightly longer Washington Post story, which is here.

The News Tribune story is here, and is probably the most complete of the bunch.

Washington Legislators Lead Call for Return to key Bank Regulation

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee both have their names on bills that would restore the 1933 Glass-Steagall act. The bill would require commercial and investment banks to operate separately.

Washington Democrat Cantwell is joined by U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. in sponsoring the Senate Bill.

Inslee, a Bainbridge Island Democrat, is a co-sponsor on a bill forwarded by New York Democrat Maurice Hinchey. From Inslee’s press release:

“If we allow banks to become too big to fail, than we will have done little to succeed,” said Rep. Inslee. “When I voted against the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999, I did so because I feared that consolidation in the financial industry could wreck the economy. That fear was substantially realized and today we should adopt one principle – never again.”

In 1999 Glass-Steagall was repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. A Bloomberg story on the restoration has one expert calling it “crazy,” but another saying the 1999 move has been acknowledged as a mistake. From the story:

“Trying to split them up is crazy,” John Douglas, a former general counsel at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. who leads the bank regulatory practice at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in New York, said in a telephone interview. “The integration of the securities and banking function came about because of the need of large corporate customers to have integrated banking and securities services.”


“We cruise along for 80 years without a major calamity infecting the entire financial system and then less than eight years after the repeal of Glass-Steagall we have a financial meltdown in this country,” Camden Fine, president of the Washington-based trade group for about 5,000 smaller U.S. banks, said in a telephone interview. “That’s no accident.”

I did a search for the 2009 bill and couldn’t find it yet. It might be too early yet. For the 1999 bill I did confirm that Inslee voted against it, but he was one of only 57, including four Republicans, who did. U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, was among the 362 House members who voted for it. In the Senate the vote was pretty much party line, 54-44. Washington Republican Slade Gorton voted for it while Democrat Patty Murray voted “nay.” Only one Democrat, South Carolina’s Ernest Hollings, voted for it. No Republicans voted against it.
In the Senate both Republican Slade Gorton and Democrat Patty Murray voted for it. Thank you Bob for the correction. Indeed I was looking at the wrong vote.

Inslee’s press release follows the jump.

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Inslee, Dicks Host Pelosi in Seattle

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. will be in Seattle touring Swedish Medical Center’s Medical Home Pilot in Ballard today. She’ll be accompanied by our congressional representatives and Seattle Democrat Jim McDermott.

All three voted Saturday in favor of HR 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which passed the House 220-215.

The press release follows:
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Some History to the Dicks-PMA Inquiry

Most of you know U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, is among those in an inquiry about lobbyist money and earmarks.

This has been on the radar before, though today’s news was the first indication that there was anything official happening. To be clear, it has not yet risen to the level of “investigation.” The word is they’re trying to find out if there is anything worth investigating.

Here are the references we’ve had here on this blog about the matter:

Norm’s Named, But He’s Not Being Investigated — Feb. 12, 2009.

Norm, PMA, Earmarks — March 17, 2009.

And Old Story — July 4, 2009.

A New Wrinkle Among Earmarks — Sept. 10, 2009.

Inslee, Dicks Trumpet Major Health Care Reform

Rachel Pritchett has a story about a new program Harrison Medical Center is offering for those facing end-of-life questions one story commenter mentioned would be grounds for some to bring up “death panels.” That, of course, was a statement coined most famously by Sarah Palin, regarding end-of-life counseling, which sounds like what Harrison is offering.

Wellllllll, speaking of health care and reform things, our two members of Congress (Democrats Jay Inslee of Bainbridge Island and Norm Dicks of Belfair) scheduled a press conference last week to announce major changes in how Medicare money will be distributed. The bigger story, perhaps, is that if this does make it in the bill that lands on the president’s desk, it has the potential of changing the health care system in what would seem to be a big, big way. From the joint press release:

“Today we have announced that we will no longer stand for inefficient care that costs taxpayer dollars and lives; and we will instead change the way reimburse care – rewarding quality over quantity,” said Congressman Jay Inslee (WA-01).

I linked to Dicks’ version, because there is also a link to the bill’s actual language.

The first part of this is a move to change Medicare reimbursement rules to change what seems to be the geographic disparity, which was explained to a major degree in a story in The New Yorker in June.

If you take the time to read the New Yorker piece, you’ll see much about the pay-for-service model so often discussed. Explained in simple terms, it means doctors get paid for every service performed, whether each service contributes to better health or not. Many think there are better ways to do it. The New Yorker story points to salaried doctors at the Mayo Clinic, but suggests the salary model is shrinking in use.

A writer for suggests the changes Inslee and Dicks are proposing would occur before rates in public option would be tied to Medicare.

The second study, which would take place over two years and be subject to congressional review, would implement a plan to base Medicare payment on quality of care rather than volume. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said that current problems with Medicare reimbursement needed to be fixed first before establishing programs such as a public health plan option based on Medicare rates.

A Huffington Post piece opines that changes recommended in one of the studies would be required:

Lest you suspect that this might be the typical, run-of-the-mill Congressional study, generating lots of chin-stroking but no real action, yesterday’s agreement gives this particular IOM study teeth. The Secretary of HHS would be bound to implement the IOM’s. Only a joint resolution of disapproval passed by both Houses of Congress could stop it. And such a resolution would be subject to Presidential veto.

A New Wrinkle Among Earmarks

In the ongoing question about earmarks that go to companies that make campaign contributions, The Center for Public Integrity offers a new detail.

“In these circles, former staffers became lobbyists for defense contractors; the contractors received earmarks from the representatives; and the representatives received campaign contributions from the lobbyists or the contractors.”

Of the 16 members of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, 12 (seven Republicans, five Democrats) show the pattern described above. One is U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair.

Dicks is way down the list in terms of money received in earmarks and campaign contributions following this pattern. U.S. Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Penn., directed more than $48 million in earmarks and received almost a half-million dollars in contributions.

Also, accoring to, his single $2 million outlay that has the former staffer-earmark-contribution connection was one of 80 earmarks Dicks sponsored or co-sponsored in 2008, totaling $106 million. Of the 80 earmarks, 23 of them were in the Defense bill, so it’s possible there are more elsewhere.

Notes from the Health Care Field

I’m back from vacation, in time for the president’s address on health care. I couldn’t watch it live because I was in a Bremerton City Council meeting, in which they discussed new incentives for employees to leave.

In the e-mail inbox upon my return were a few references, direct and indirect, to the town halls.

One was a Daily Kos recap of the Norm Dicks event. The coolest part was the fact that the writer’s brother-in-law gets to play bass for Steppenwolf. Enjoy that magic carpet ride, and the veal!

Additionally there was some criticism of our coverage of the Poulsbo event. I judged the audience to be pretty evenly mixed. I did a walk-through before the event started and then judged based on the different eruptions and applauses throughout. An e-mailer suggested I way overcounted the opponents of health care reform, saying there were more supporters there. The writer may be correct. A colleague of mine who attended also judged the supporters outnumbering the opponents based on the number of people standing during different ovations. When I went to the Norm Dicks event, however, I judged my initial speculation about Poulsbo to be about right. Another entry on Kos (I’m having trouble finding it.) suggested we intentionally oversold the impact of the opponents. All I can say to defend myself is that I wrote what I thought to be correct.

The video after the jump shows Keli Carender, who is with the King County Young Republicans. Some raised the “astroturfer” claim when that was revealed. She is, however, a registered voter in Kitsap County, confirmed by the county elections office. The King County group, she told me by e-mail, is the strongest Young Republicans group in the state and has members from Pierce and Snohomish counties as well. She has an apartment in Seattle, but her permanent residence is here.

I also received two e-mails from someone who wrote to the Kitsap Sun at first, then a second note that also went to Keith Olbermann. I’ll include the text of both of those after the video, which is after the jump. Bottom line is the writer believes we’re socialists or worse.

Last night I did finally get to see the speech as it was being rebroadcast on BET. I’ve yet to see the Republican response, which I’ll get to today. Before I saw the speech, however, I heard Michael Medved. The conservative commentator is against the move to have the government involved in health care, (I’m shorthanding his stance, but I think that’s accurate.) but said Obama did a good job. He said most of the points were those no one could argue with.

On facebook some of my “friends” were heaping praise on Obama. Another didn’t criticize the speech, but questioned the constitutionality of the health care move. Another asked whether so much of the speech should have relied on the emotional punch provided by the segment dealing with the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

As always, feel free to leave your thoughts.

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Replay of Monday’s Town Hall with Rep. Norm Dicks

If you missed Monday evening’s town hall in Bremerton with Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, we recorded our live broadcast and life blog. You can watch it here (it’s a large file so it may take a moment to load).

Just as a note, I’d love to hear from anyone who watched both town hall broadcasts as they happened and hear how you thought they compared. E-mail me at

– Angela Dice

Town Hall Coverage Even When We Win the Lottery

Looking for me at the town halls? I’ll be the guy in this chair.

Since I’m scheduled to take vacation beginning Tuesday (It would have been tomorrow, but there are town halls I don’t want to miss.) I thought I’d get this out there now.

A group of us here at the Kitsap Sun have pooled our resources and purchased several Mega Millions lottery tickets, which means we would share the $330 million prize up for grabs. Having increased our collective odds from 1 in 750 million to 1 in 10.7 million, we’re feeling pretty good about the idea that come 8 p.m. or so tonight we’ll be figuring out ways to spend our money.

Of course, even with our newfound riches we will still keep our commitment to covering the heck out of the two Kitsap town hall meetings on health care. Our plan is to live stream the events for those who can’t go. I’ll also be live-blogging and we’ll have a nice video after the fact. That’s the plan, anyway. We’re still working on logistics.

Logistics, I assume, will take care of themselves when we are all able to flash money at any problems that come our way. True I will cover the events, but don’t be surprised when you see me sitting up front tapping away at my computer while seated in the Surf Chair I’ll have flown in overnight from somewhere in Scandinavia. By Monday I hope to have a motorized version. Maybe I can make it street legal.

For those of you thinking the lottery is a tax on the stupid, I encourage you to read this wisdom that comes from Canada.

“One actuary was even quoted by a wire service as saying if you bought a ticket with three or four other adults, it would be more likely that all of you would be dead within the year than be winners of the top prize.

“But here’s the thing. Despite a better grasp of the laws of chance than most, the actuary admitted that he too had bought a ticket.”

See you in line at the Sev.

Norm Dicks to Host Health Care Town Halls

Just got this from Norm Dicks’ office:

Congressman Norm Dicks has scheduled two Town Hall Meetings on Aug. 31st to discuss Health Care Reform and other national and local matters of concern to residents of the 6th Congressional District. These sessions will offer an opportunity for constituents to express opinions about issues on the congressional agenda, helping Norm to do his job as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The first meeting will be held at Fort Worden State Park in the Commons, Building 210 [] from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday August 31st.

Later that day, Norm will be hosting a similar Town Hall Meeting in the Puget Sound Ballroom of the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton [] from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
These Town Hall Meetings are open to all residents of the 6th Congressional District.

UPDATED: Inslee Announces Town Hall Dates; Dicks to Speak at Invite-Only Event in PA

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee’s Kitsap town hall will be on the 29th of this month. The location is North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo in the gym. The time is 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, will attend a forum Friday put on by Clallam County Democrats, according to the Peninsula Daily News.

Meanwhile the Seattle Times reports the story about the baseball stadium town-hall meeting hosted by U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens.

By the Way, There Will Be an In-Person Town Hall

I admit it. Sen. Patty Murray’s press secretary Alex Glass is right. Members of Congress have been coming to the community and talking about health care and not getting much attention until now. “I honestly think it was because there wasn’t this frenzy, and people like to watch the frenzy,” Glass said.

Murray, herself, was in Bremerton in July for a health care workforce event at Harrison Medical Center. As for town halls, that’s not a forum she prefers, said Glass. The interaction is better at smaller, round-table events. She probably won’t be in Kitsap during this recess, Glass said, but will be traveling the state discussing health care. And she has had the telephone town-hall meetings.

I’ve called the office of U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, but have yet to hear back on his plans over the break.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell has had nine forums on health care this year. She doesn’t have any planned over the break, but will have three events during the break that are open to the public. I know of one, so far. It’s next Friday in Pend Oreille County where she’ll address multiple issues, including health care.

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, said he will have two town halls, probably within the first couple weeks of September. One of those will be on this side of the water. They’re still working on dates, times and location.

Even if you blanche at the sight of the name “Paul Krugman” or “New York Times,” I think you might find his take on the town halls today interesting. He believes the people shouting at these events are not just shills trucked in from elsewhere, even if he thinks some of their anger is misguided.

” . . . while the organizers are as crass as they come, I haven’t seen any evidence that the people disrupting those town halls are Florida-style rent-a-mobs. For the most part, the protesters appear to be genuinely angry. The question is, what are they angry about?”

I won’t spoil the ending for you, or the beginning for that matter. Seriously, go read it.