It’s the end of November, which means the Kilmer family is already thinking about the large amount of turkey (and, my personal favorite, PIE) that will be consumed by the end of the week. Our plan for Thanksgiving is to take the kids to serve food at the Rescue Mission for a few hours and then have some family time.
This year, I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for those who serve our country in the military. I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent each of you. And I’m thankful that we have a system of government in which your voice matters.
There have been a lot of developments since my last newsletter, so read on before the food coma sets in.
Helping Veterans Get Needed Care
Speaking of those who serve...
I had a chance to spend Veterans Day with a great (and really large) group of veterans for the annual ceremony at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. I was also honored to participate in an event with the Suquamish Tribe. As you may recall, a couple of years ago, we worked to get the law changed so that tribes can be recognized as veterans service organizations so that they can help veterans get access to the benefits they’ve earned.
I also had the chance to deliver some good news. Just after I sent my last newsletter, the House passed two bipartisan bills that I wrote with my colleagues that help veterans get the care they need and deserve. Learn more about why those bills are steps in the right direction here and here. I’ll keep pushing the VA to get this right.
The Kitsap Sun published an op-ed where I highlight what improvements still need to be made.
I was honored to join with community members to honor the service of our veterans, and thank them for their tireless work.
Tax Reform Update
Tax reform was the big issue everyone was talking about for the last few weeks. Unfortunately, rather than real reform that helps grow our economy and supports the middle-class, the bill brought forward in the House was a partisan proposal that will increase taxes on millions of middle class families. It was a step in the wrong direction, and--as a consequence--I voted against it.
I think Congress should move forward with bipartisan tax reform. The current tax code is too complicated and often encourages businesses to grow jobs someplace other than the United States. I’ve told folks on all sides of the political spectrum that I’d like to work toward real reform to fix that. Sadly, rather than an inclusive, bipartisan process, this bill was written behind closed doors and put special interests ahead of the public interest. For a deeper dive into why I didn’t support this bill, click here. You can also watch me explain some of my concerns here.
Making Government Accessible and Accountable
If you’re a frequent reader of my newsletters, you probably know I’m pushing to make government work better for all of us. I believe government should be more accountable to the American public--and one key way we can accomplish that is by opening up the government’s data to the public. I worked across the aisle with Speaker Ryan to get a bill I wrote included in a larger piece of transparency legislation and it passed this week! I spoke about why it is important on the House floor. Check it out.
Shining a Light on Our Elections
Americans ought to know when Russia and other shady actors buy ads online to try to influence our elections. I’ve been hard at work with a bipartisan group of my colleagues from both the House and Senate to make sure that it is clear who pays for the political ads we see online. It is called theHonest Ads Act.
Last week, I joined a coalition of good government groups to deliver thousands of petitions calling for more transparency to the Federal Elections Commission (which is the group that sets election rules). They listened, and on Thursday, they got the ball rolling on starting to change some rules. Read more about that here.
Working for You
Thanks to everyone who joined me for last week’s telephone town hall. Stay on the lookout for another town hall in December. If you need help from my office, please feel free to contact me using this link: http://kilmer.house.gov/contact/email-me.
Thanks to Reverend Freda Cash and the congregation at Ebenezer AME Church in Bremerton for welcoming Tess and me at their 105th Anniversary Celebration. It was a joy-filled event!
I had the chance to spend time with two organizations doing great work in our region: Habitat for Humanity and The Salvation Army USA. If you have some time to spare, groups like these can use a hand year-round, and it’s a great time of year to get started.
Okay, that’s it for this edition. As always, let me know if I can lend a hand to you or someone you know.
And most importantly, from my family to yours: Happy Thanksgiving. It’s an honor to represent you.
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