Congressman Derek Kilmer

Representing the 6th District of Washington
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Full Biography

Derek Kilmer serves as the United States Representative of Washington’s 6th Congressional District.

With over a decade of experience working in economic development in the Puget Sound region, Derek Kilmer is focused on getting our economy and our Congress back to work.  Derek has a strong record as a problem solver for Washington families and he's been recognized by veterans organizations for his support of our troops, their families, and those who have served. As the dad of two little girls, he is working to make sure all our children receive a quality education. He is committed to honoring our promises to seniors by protecting Social Security and Medicare. Derek grew up on the Olympic Peninsula and has worked to promote local economic development and to be responsible stewards of our natural resources. 

As someone raised in Port Angeles, Derek saw firsthand how the region's economy has struggled, and the impact on families and communities. The son of two school teachers, Derek was taught to appreciate the value of education. Derek wanted to make a difference in his community, so he chose to study economic development. He received a BA from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and earned a doctorate from the University of Oxford in England.

Derek put his education into practice right here in Washington, first as a business consultant for McKinsey & Company, where he helped businesses, non-profits, and government agencies run more efficiently. He then spent a decade working for the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County where he focused on helping retain our region's jobs and attract new businesses to our area.

After seeing how the decisions that government made affected employers in our region, Derek decided to put his experience to work in Olympia. He served in the Washington state House from 2005 to 2007 and the state Senate from 2007 until he was elected to the US House in 2012. While in Olympia, Derek was the principal writer of the state's capital budget, and helped author a bipartisan infrastructure package that has been credited with creating 18,000 jobs. He also led a successful bipartisan effort in the Washington state Senate to balance the budget and reduce state debt.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Derek is a member of the Armed Services Committee, and believes we must have the world’s best equipped and most well trained fighting force in the world. He’s a strong supporter of Naval Base Kitsap and Joint Base Lewis McChord, and has secured key investments to help ensure that these installations will continue to play a key role in our national defense and our local economy. Derek also believes we must provide our servicemembers and their families, veterans, military retirees, and the civilian workforce that supports their mission with the pay and benefits they deserve.

In the legislature, Derek was recognized as the Legislator of the Year by the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and was also recognized by the local chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

While serving on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Derek has championed bipartisan efforts to better leverage federal research dollars and spur increased private sector innovation and job growth. He's working to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, so that we can have the 21st Century workforce necessary for strong economic growth.

Derek understands that our children's future is only as safe as the water they drink and the air they breathe. That's why he helped found the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, to bring increased focus and attention to the cleanup work that needs to be done to restore our region's waters. It's also why he introduced legislation to address the impacts that global climate change is having on our region's coastal communities and its shellfish industry and fisheries.  As a native of the Olympic Peninsula, Derek knows the important role that natural resources play in our region, and is committed to protecting our waters and improving the health of our forests.

Derek has learned that addressing the challenges facing our nation will require an end to political brinksmanship and a focus on finding common sense, practical solutions. He's a member of organizations like the Bipartisan Working Group and the Problem Solvers Caucus, which work to bring Democrats and Republicans together to forge greater consensus on a wide variety of issues.

In his short time in Congress, Derek has already been recognized by a wide variety of groups for his effectiveness and advocacy. He's been named a Hero of Main Street by the National Retail Foundation, an Outstanding New Member by the Voices for National Service, and a Humane Champion by the Humane Society.

Derek and his wife Jennifer live in Gig Harbor with their daughters Sophie and Tess and their Australian Shepard Truman.