Politics & Government

How effective are Washington’s members of Congress?

Courtesy of Derek Kilmer

In his freshman term in the U.S. House, Gig Harbor’s Derek Kilmer was one of the most effective minority Democrats.

That’s according to the Legislative Effectiveness Project, directed by researchers Craig Volden of the University of Virginia and Alan Wiseman of Vanderbilt University.

They scored House members on effectiveness in the congressional term covering 2013 and 2014 based on how far their proposals advanced. The researchers wrote about their findings Monday in the Washington Post.

They concluded former Rep. Doc Hastings of Pasco was one of the most effective lawmakers in his final term, ranking him fourth behind Dave Camp of Michigan and Californians Darrell Issa and Edward Royce, and just ahead of Alaska’s Don Young.

All those lawmakers were Republicans, who control the House and occupy the vast majority of the top scores. Rep. Dave Reichert of Auburn scored second-highest among Washington lawmakers, ranking 27th among Republicans and 28th among all 435 voting House members.

While Kilmer barely cracked the top 75 overall, his score was good enough for top five among Democrats. He ranked behind only Oregonians Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader, Richard Nolan of Minnesota and Elijah Cummings of Maryland. (Two non-voting delegates also placed higher.)

The top five Republicans and top five voting Democrats ranked highest in their parties were all men.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, who has an influential position as ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, nevertheless ranked last by this measure among Washington lawmakers.

Kilmer said in a statement he’s “honored” to be ranked highly, and said he was one of only a few House Democrats who had two proposals signed into law in 2014.

One lets banks offer holders of savings accounts the chance to win cash prizes. The other renames a memorial to Japanese Americans forced out of their homes during World War II.

Jordan Schrader: 360-786-1826, @Jordan_Schrader