April 15, 2024

An Update on Economic Wins for Our Region and Supporting Our Tribal Partners

Hello Folks –

I hope this week’s issue of this newsletter finds you and yours well. From the recent solar eclipse that captivated our nation to recent major investments made right here in our region, there’s a lot to cover this week so let’s get into the news!

Recent Economic Wins for Our Region and Looking at the Road Ahead

Over the past few years, we’ve seen some major wins thanks to new bipartisan legislation that was signed into law –from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to the CHIPS and Science Act to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and more. Thanks to these landmark laws and the leadership and partnership of folks throughout our region, we’re seeing the benefits of these bills in our neck of the woods.

These bills, known collectively as the “Investing in America Agenda,” have supported the creation of 15 million new jobs since January 2021. That’s nothing to sneeze at – and it means we’re putting more Washingtonians to work, ensuring their families have a roof over their heads, food on the table, and medical care when they need it. Don’t get me wrong, we have more work to do, but the March Jobs Report, highlighting unemployment down to just 3.8%, is a great snapshot of how far we have come in just over three years.


Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed into law in 2021, we’re seeing local impacts.  For example, a first-of-its-kind $1 billion program that I wrote along with Senator Cantwell is putting resources into our region to address the impact of failed culverts on salmon and other fish. In addition, we’re ensuring that Tribal and coastal communities are not alone as they face new threats from the climate crisis, including rising sea levels, and are forced to physically move their homes to higher ground.

What’s more, the CHIPS and Science Act, passed at the end of 2022, included the Recompete Pilot Program, a trial program based on my RECOMPETE Act, to help ensure that everyone, no matter their zip code, has access to economic opportunity. For me, the Recompete Pilot Program is the most exciting aspect of the CHIPS and Science Act, because it’s something that the federal government hasn’t really done much of before – placed-based economic development.  When this program kicked off, it quickly became the most popular program in the history of the Economic Development Administration. 

Thanks to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, historic gun violence legislation that was signed into law in 2022, Congress finally took concrete steps towards protecting our children, keeping our schools safe, reducing the threat of gun violence, and strengthening our communities.

Thanks to these landmark laws, the costs of critical infrastructure, affordable housing, safer communities, and overall economic development aren’t going to fall solely on the backs of local taxpayers.  That’s a big deal. It means the federal government is going to do its part to invest in our communities and ensure folks have the support and resources they need.

But there’s more work to be done. Whether it’s protecting Social Security, increasing access to behavioral health care, fighting against rising inflation, or other priorities, I’ll keep at it!

Fulfilling Trust and Treaty Obligations

Last week, I had the honor of speaking on the House Floor in support of a critical piece of legislation that represents a significant step toward economic revitalization and sustainable development in the South Sound.

Passed on Thursday of last week, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians Land Into Trust Act will transfer more than 17 acres of land currently owned by the Puyallup Tribe into federal trust.



This action is a restoration of the Tribe’s ancestral homeland, a place that holds deep cultural and historical significance for the Puyallup people. Indeed, it’s not just about land. It’s about enabling the Puyallup Tribe to further diversify and expand economic opportunities, to spur job creation at the Port of Tacoma and along the Tacoma waterfront – a vision of prosperity that benefits not only the Tribe but the entire South Puget Sound region.

Last year, I attended the State of the Union address with Puyallup Tribe Chairman Bill Sterud as my guest. Chairman Sterud believes that the Land Into Trust Act “will help the Tribe diversify its economy and bring critical infrastructure and business to the Tribe’s port development and the entire region.”

In other words, this is a game changer for the Puyallup people.

Our federal government has a solemn duty to ensure that Tribal communities are afforded the same opportunities that have spurred growth and prosperity across other communities in our state and nation. By putting over 17 acres of land into trust, Congress is helping unlock a host of federal programs and services that can foster significant economic development and infrastructure investments for the Puyallup Tribe and surrounding area.

Empowering the Makah Tribe to Protect Both the Environment and Their Culture

It’s no secret that the climate crisis has a huge impact on communities along our coast, and in particular, our Tribal partners. That’s why, earlier this month, I was thrilled to announce that the Makah Indian Tribe will receive more than $288,000 in federal funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to support its ocean data mapping capabilities.

Thanks to funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this investment will empower the Makah Tribe to continue to implement critical ocean mapping that will enhance their capacity to protect both the environment and their culture.


Not only does this investment build on prior ocean data and mapping work by the Tribe, but it also focuses on priorities identified by the Tribe and the West Coast Ocean Alliance. I am proud to support these efforts and remain committed to advocating for the resources necessary to uphold the federal government’s responsibility to Native nations.

Working for You


Checking in with local non-profit organizations

At the end of March, I spent some time touring the St. Vincent de Paul Bremerton site and checking in with Executive Director Joe Crain and his team.

I was inspired by these folks’ commitment to others – including emergency shelter and other vital support services offered in the heart of Bremerton – and its plan for the future. Partnerships like these strengthen our community!


Celebrating investments in protecting Puget Sound

I joined a wide range of fantastic partners from our region, including folks from the City of Tacoma, the Washington Department of Ecology, the EPA, the Puget Sound Partnership, and the Washington State Department of Transportation, to celebrate $12 million stormwater funding, which will support efforts to address toxics in Puget Sound aquatic life, protect and restore freshwater streams, and reduce Puget Sound nutrient pollution.  Investments like these are crucial to protecting the Sound and I’m proud to partner with local leaders on these efforts!


Meeting up with the Quileute Tribe

Recently, I was thrilled to have the chance to check in with the Quileute Tribal Council. We discussed the Raven Crest Housing Expansion and celebrated our shared accomplishments, like the construction of the new tribal school at higher ground.  I’m proud to partner with the Quileute Tribe for a bright future!

OK – that’s it for now, folks. As always, I’m honored to represent you.

Derek Kilmer
Derek Kilmer