07.20.20

Investing in Our Communities

Hello Folks –

Over the weekend, our nation lost a titan of our civil rights movement – and one of my personal heroes – John Lewis.

Earlier this summer, I was on a call with Mr. Lewis - a man who was beaten and tear gassed for advocating for the right to vote. He said he was sad because he had been reminded in recent months that we aren’t as far on the path to justice as any of us want our country to be. But then he said, “But I’m hopeful. Because young people are standing up. They’re working for change. They’re moving us down the path to justice.” And then he said, “Keep your eyes on the prize. We will get to the promised land."

In 2019, I got to bring one young person - my daughter Sophie - to Selma, Alabama for a civil rights pilgrimage with Mr. Lewis. We crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge with him and heard his stories - of his childhood preaching to his family’s chickens, of his time working for civil rights with Dr. King, and of his experiences in Congress. At the end of the trip, Sophie went up to him at the airport and said, “Thank you for this experience. Can I ask you one more question? Were you ever scared?” He said to her, “You know, I was scared. But I knew I was doing the right thing. And I knew that others were depending on me standing up for them too."

One of the honors of my life has been getting to serve with this extraordinary man. To learn from him. To see him, even after his cancer diagnosis, preside over the House as we passed a new Voting Rights Act. His legacy of fighting for justice — of causing “good trouble” — has strengthened our country.

Please join me in extending condolences to his team, his constituents, and the Lewis family.

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Supporting our Shipyard Workers and Defense Communities

In our region, we know how important it is to have the backs of the brave women and men who serve our country – and the backs of the civilian workforce and communities who support our local military installations.

That’s why, as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to have worked to shape the Fiscal Year 2021 defense spending bill, which included a three percent pay increase for members of the armed forces. This bill also included a provision I led to help our civilian federal workforce – essentially repealing three Executive Orders that have made it harder for our shipyard workers and other federal employees to negotiate fair pay, benefits, and working conditions.

This bill also supports jobs – and includes critical investments to improve the quality of life of our service members, their families, and the civilian workforce that are the lifeblood of our defense communities. These are issues I’ve been working on with the City of Bremerton and Kitsap County for some time now – so I’m excited to see these provisions move forward.

That includes a $50 million investment I fought for to fund projects that address commuter workforce issues and other local infrastructure that support military installations like Naval Base Kitsap and Joint Base Lewis-McChord (those who have sat in traffic outside our bases know what I’m talking about here). I also secured critical investments to support infrastructure upgrades at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, to improve resiliency to fires, earthquakes, and other natural hazards – to ensure we take steps to continue to keep our communities safe.

I spoke in support of the legislation in Committee last week before the bill advanced to the House floor for a vote later this month. You can catch my remarks here:

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Growing Jobs in Rural Communities

As someone who grew up in Port Angeles, I know how important healthy, sustainably managed forests are to the economic well-being of our timber communities.

In 2015, I helped launch the Olympic Forest Collaborative – an effort to bring leaders from the timber industry, environmental community, and local government to work together to create economic opportunity on the Olympic Peninsula. Together, members of the Collaborative work to advance forest treatments that increase harvest levels while also achieving much needed environmental benefits like landscape restoration, watershed protection, and habitat conservation.

Last week, I was proud to help secure a measure in the appropriations process to support our Collaborative and collaboratives just like it across the country – highlighting their value and directing the U.S. Forest Service to prioritize resources to expedite project development and approval of forest treatments developed by collaboratives. They need support in order to produce additional timber while also accomplishing important restoration goals. This provision will help us create more economic opportunity in the region, and I was happy to get this done.

I also worked to secure measures in the legislation that will help support new wood technologies and wood that is sustainably harvested - which will deliver economic and environmental benefits to rural communities and grow jobs on the Olympic Peninsula. You can read more about that work here.

Working for You

Protecting Seniors’ Health Coverage

We need to ensure that seniors - and all Americans - have quality, affordable health care. I’ve made it a priority to ensure that the 35,000+ Medicare Advantage participants in the district I represent can get the coverage and care that provides the best value to them and best meets their needs. Last week, I was honored to be recognized as a “Medicare Advantage Champion” by the Better Medicare Alliance, a grassroots coalition of nearly 500,000 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, for my work to strengthen and protect Medicare Advantage. I will always fight for the seniors I represent.

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Supporting Our Small Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy - and they’re facing unprecedented challenges. I was grateful to join the Key Peninsula Business Association to answer questions from local employers about the federal government’s response to COVID-19 and my ongoing work to secure more help for local small businesses and workers!

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Fighting for Equality

The Kilmers were all in for drive-thru Kitsap Pride!!! It was awesome to see so many people show up to celebrate the move for equality and the notion that love is love!

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OK – that’s it for now folks. Don’t forget the three W’s from UW Medicine: Wear a mask, Watch your distance, and Wash your hands!

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Take care of yourselves – and one another. As always, I’m honored to represent you.

Sincerely,

Derek