Congressman Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, officially was sworn in Jan. 3 as a member of the 113th Congress and got to work on issues important to Washington state’s 6th District: growing the economy, supporting military families and improving quality of life.
The former state Senator is taking roles to help impact the Northwest. Last month, he was named to the House Armed Services Committee to help strengthen the military and support servicemen and women, as well as their families. Kilmer also has been named by Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer to serve as an assistant whip.
“I am humbled and honored to be the voice in Congress for so many hard-working families in our community,” Kilmer said in a news release. “I promise to get to work right away to represent their values and make a difference on the issues that matter to them most.
“We face many serious challenges, which is why it’s so important that Congress gets its act together from day one. I look forward to working with my colleagues from both parties on ways to create jobs, grow the economy, and get results for our region.”
Kilmer was joined at last week’s ceremonial swearing-in by his wife, Jennifer, their two daughters, Sophie and Tess, and his parents, J.C. and Marietta.
While his arrival signaled a fresh start for Congress, it marked a big drop in clout for Washington state, which lost the muscle of the retiring Democratic Rep. Norm Dicks, a 36-year veteran who rose to No. 10 in House seniority.
Kilmer, who took over for Dicks, will rank 391st in seniority.
He said his predecessor left “an extraordinary legacy” in the state and that his experience will be missed.
“Tacoma’s a different place, and Bremerton’s a different place, as a result of his years of service,” said Kilmer, who turned 39 on Jan. 1.
Kilmer will join two others from Washington state on the House Armed Services Committee — Democrats Adam Smith of Bellevue, the ranking member, and Rick Larsen of Everett. Kilmer said his assignment would be a good fit for his district, where “the military has an enormous impact.”
He added that he backed the centerpiece of a tax bill passed Jan. 2 by the previous Congress that increased tax rates on households with incomes of more than $450,000. He said he would have supported higher rates for households with lesser incomes of $250,000, as originally proposed by President Barack Obama.
Kilmer was disappointed that the end-of-the-year partisanship in the former Congress prevented passage of a deficit-reduction plan to replace planned across-the-board spending cuts.