U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) was awarded the U.S. Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award, presented by the Secretary of the Navy Ray Maybus during an address to local leaders and military personnel on Friday in Bremerton.
The award is the highest honor a civilian not employed by the Navy can receive from the Secretary of the Navy and is a distinction given to individuals with an exceptional record of public service to the Navy, Marine Corps or Department of the Navy.
“It was humbling to accept this award from Secretary of the Navy Ray Maybus,” Kilmer said in a release. “I’m proud to fight for our service members, the DOD civilians who support them, and our veterans. Frankly, I received this on behalf of our amazing community who step up to support the men and women who serve every single day and I look forward to continuing to be their partner.”
“This award is to recognize Representative Kilmer’s tremendous support for our sailors and Marines and his forceful advocacy for the resources needed to maintain a strong Navy and Marine Corps,” Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in a release. “We are fortunate to have such a dedicated leader in Congress.”
Since coming to office, Kilmer has been a strong proponent for the region’s service members, civilian defense workers and veterans. He routinely speaks out about the need to end the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration that caused the furlough of many civilian defense workers. As a member of the Appropriations Committee he’s fought to support a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers while fully funding the Ohio-class submarine replacement program. Kilmer has also secured investments for construction at key local military installations like Naval Base Kitsap.
Kilmer successfully obtained a two-year extension on overtime pay for local shipyard workers who travel to Japan to conduct nuclear maintenance on the U.S. aircraft stationed there. He’s led a bipartisan effort to roll back DOD cuts to per diem rates for employees who have to do long-term travel for work. After the Office of Personnel Management data breach that left millions of federal employees and their families vulnerable to identity theft, Kilmer successfully passed provisions into law to help. Kilmer also passed an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill that ensures that furloughed civilian employees don’t lose their security clearance as a result of financial pressure from sequestration.
When he first came to office, Kilmer formed a Veterans Advisory Group to focus on challenges that veterans face. With their feedback, Kilmer has worked on issues like addressing barriers to education and employment, veterans’ homelessness, reviewing and improving the Veterans Health Administration and improving access to quality healthcare.