Derek Kilmer currently serves as United States Representative for the residents of Washington’s 6th Congressional District.
From the private sector, to the Washington state Capitol, and now the House of Representatives Derek has remained focused on the best ways to keep the region’s economy moving forward, strengthen the middle class, defend our troops and veterans, give our children a quality education, meet our commitment to seniors, and protect the region’s rich natural heritage.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Derek has been a leader for the region. On the Armed Services Committee Derek has worked to ensure we have the world’s strongest fighting force while remaining committed to the families of servicemembers. He’s also encouraged the military to make key investments that support Naval Base Kitsap, that enhance the capacities of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, and that grow businesses and jobs. He’s actively engaged on our nation’s cyber security challenges and is pursuing opportunities to reform the Defense Department’s acquisition policies to protect taxpayers and men and women in uniform.
On the Science, Space, and Technology Committee Derek has been an advocate for American competitiveness. He’s pushed for bipartisan legislation to spur scientific breakthroughs and to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and math education so that our nation can keep pace in the 21st century competitors.
Derek is the co-founder of the Congressional Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, a group of representatives focused on the restoration of Puget Sound. He has also introduced legislation to address changes in the ocean’s chemistry (known as ocean acidification) which threaten the region’s shellfish industry and fisheries.
Derek has introduced legislation to help small businesses and to support military families and veterans. He introduced the Olympic Peninsula Economic Development Initiative, a multitude of bills and other efforts to enhance economic opportunities in rural Washington.
Born and raised on the Olympic Peninsula, the son of two school teachers, Derek saw firsthand how economic struggles impact working families and their communities. Motivated by the challenges that faced his hometown, Derek focused his studies on economic development, earning a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs and a doctoral degree from the University of Oxford in England.
Derek started his career as a business consultant for McKinsey & Company, assisting Washington state businesses, non-profits, and government agencies efforts to run more efficiently.
Following his time at McKinsey, Derek went to work for the Economic Development Board (EDB) for Tacoma-Pierce County. In the decade he worked for the EDB, he served as Business Retention Manager and then as Vice President, working closely with hundreds of local small business owners and helping them create thousands of jobs.
Having worked in business and economic development, Derek gained an appreciation for the ways in which government impacts the ability of private sector companies to succeed and grow. Derek was elected to serve in the Washington state House in 2004 and to the state Senate in 2006. As the Senate’s lead capital budget writer, he helped craft a bipartisan proposal to target long-term economic growth, investing $1 billion in infrastructure statewide and directly creating 18,000 jobs. He also led a successful bipartisan effort in the Washington state Senate to balance the budget and reduce state debt.
Because of his time in the private sector and at the state capitol, Derek recognizes that if we’re going to truly confront our nation’s challenges, we need to work across party lines to find enduring and successful solutions. That is why he is currently a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus and the Bipartisan Working Group, consisting of Democrats and Republicans committed to putting aside partisan bickering and focusing, instead, on making progress for the country. Derek has received the Heroes of Main Street award from the National Retail Foundation, the Outstanding New Member Award from the Voices for National Service, and was named 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.