April 01, 2024

An Update on Major Appropriations Wins for Our Region … Plus - Announcing the 2024 Congressional Art Competition

Hello Folks –

I hope this week’s newsletter finds you and your families doing well as we welcome the April showers (and hopefully May flowers next month). Whether you’re celebrating opening weekend of Major League Baseball (Go Mariners!) or riding out the rain in hopes of sunshine and warmer days ahead, April is always a fun (and extremely busy) time of the year for folks across our region. As for me, I’m keeping busy running pillar to post in our neck of the woods and back in Washington, D.C., fighting for the things that matter most to those I represent.

We have a lot to cover this week, including some exciting news for projects in our region, so let’s get into the news!

Securing Major Wins for Our Region

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I get to support investments for our region that will create jobs and support the communities I serve. Just last month, Congress passed a new government funding package for fiscal year 2024. The package was passed with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate before being signed into law by President Biden. I was able to secure some important wins for our region, including a couple of major projects in our neck of the woods that will make a real difference. 

Connecting Seniors to Healthcare in Rural Jefferson County

Across our region, it’s more important than ever that we ensure folks in rural communities can access the care they need, and deserve, close to home. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or an Independent, you can acknowledge that making sure people in rural communities get the care they need, when they need it, makes sense.

That’s why I’m proud to have been able to secure $2 million in federal funding for Jefferson Healthcare to support the construction and opening of a new clinic offering specialty care in neurology; pulmonology; ear, nose, and throat (ENT); and geriatrics to seniors in Jefferson County who face geographic barriers to health care.

This project is a vital step forward in bridging the healthcare access gap. It’s about ensuring that our aging population receives the comprehensive care they deserve, close to homes without the multi-hour trip to urban centers like Seattle or Tacoma. We can and should continue to champion projects like this that directly impact the well-being of folks in rural communities.

Investing in Affordable Housing in Sequim

Across our region, we all know that we need more affordable housing. But that’s only going to get built if we have the infrastructure needed to support it. That’s why I’m proud that the government funding package recently passed by Congress included $800,000 in federal funding for Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County’s Brownfield Road Project in Sequim. The funding will support the construction of 42 new homes that are intended to be utilized for workforce housing - as well as the necessary neighborhood infrastructure - including roads, sidewalks, lighting, and utility connections.

I had the chance to celebrate the groundbreaking of this important project for our region in July of last year.

This project is a solid step forward in the effort to build more affordable workforce housing on the Olympic Peninsula, promising not just homes but the foundation of a thriving community.  It takes a village to build a village, and this federal investment is a big win for our region.

Investing in Shipyard Modernization & Seismic Mitigation

In addition to these major investments, I was proud to help secure dedicated funding to ensure the safety and resiliency of our naval infrastructure – including at the public shipyard in Bremerton.

It’s no secret that seismic mitigation is sorely needed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) and at public shipyards across the nation. I was thrilled that the spending package signed by President Biden included a $110 million increase for public shipyard seismic mitigation. Our public shipyards are at the core of both our national defense strategy and local economies. As the largest employer in Kitsap County, PSNS is vital to both the readiness of the Navy as well as employing thousands of workers across the region.

With public shipyards undergoing a once-in-a-generation revitalization through the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) in order to strengthen, maintain, and modernize America’s fleet, this investment is a big win for our region. SIOP is the Navy’s twenty-year, $21-billion plan to optimize and modernize the U.S. Navy’s four public shipyards– including Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton. The shipyards serve a critical role in ensuring our national defense - and SIOP aims to ensure they can meet the requirements of our growing active fleet. The plan also includes several critical improvements including dry dock recapitalization, facility layout and optimization, and capital equipment modernization.

The shipyard investments in this bill are about jobs and about having the backs of the brave women and men who serve our country.  That’s why this funding is such a big deal.

Prioritizing Puget Sound Recovery

Puget Sound is our region’s most iconic body of water. It’s a place on which generations of friends and neighbors have built their lives and made their livelihoods. But if future generations are going to have those same opportunities, we’ve got to act to protect and restore the Sound.


That’s exactly why I’m proud to share that in this latest Appropriations package, I was able to secure another $54 million in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Puget Sound Geographic Program. This important federal funding will help protect and restore Puget Sound, providing critical support to local economies and helping the federal government meet its obligation to protect tribal treaty rights.

What’s more, the package also directs the EPA to continue to work to establish the Puget Sound Recovery National Program Office and Puget Sound Federal Leadership Task Force. This will ensure the federal government plays its part in the recovery of the Sound, improving water quality, enhancing fish passage, and restoring salmon habitat.

Championing Better Pay for Servicemembers

If you serve this country, Congress should have your back and invest in you and your family. I’m pleased to report that this latest Appropriations package fully funds a 5.2% pay raise for our servicemembers, making it the largest pay raise in more than 20 years for folks in uniform.

What’s more, this spending package included increased funding for the Basic Needs Allowance, as well as funding for bonuses and resources to help ensure military families can make ends meet. All these are great steps in the right direction and mean great things for our community.  I’ll keep working to ensure the federal government does its part to support service members and their families.

A Historic Investment in Our Coastal Tribal Communities

As someone who grew up on the Olympic Peninsula, I know firsthand the challenges faced by coastal communities. But it wasn’t until I visited places like the lower Taholah Village of the Quinault Indian Nation, the Quileute Tribal School in La Push, and the historic villages of the Hoh and Makah Tribes, that I truly understood the imminent threats facing coastal Tribal communities.


When you have a childcare center that’s just a stone’s throw or two away from the ocean, your community is at risk. When your community’s only health center is literally in the Tsunami Inundation Zone, your community is at risk. When rising sea levels are already putting people’s lives and property at risk on an annual basis, your community is at risk. When “100-year” floods – defined as a flood so bad it should only occur once every 100 years – become a regular occurrence, your community is at risk.

Congress and the federal government should be taking steps to lower these risks and provide more resources to Tribes here in our region and across the country. That’s why I was thrilled to recently announce the allocation of nearly $14 million in federal climate resilience funding for Tribal nations right here in our region. This funding represents a lifeline for Tribal communities that are at the forefront of the climate crisis and will empower nine tribes in Washington’s 6th Congressional District to implement critical projects that will enhance their resilience against the ever-increasing threats of climate change, including rising sea levels.

While there’s plenty more to do, federal investments like these are a testament to the strength and resilience of our Tribal communities. This funding is a crucial step in supporting each tribe’s efforts to safeguard their homeland, culture, and future generations from the increasing threats of climate change.

Calling All High School Artists!

I am thrilled to announce that the annual art competition for high school students across our region is back! This nationwide Congressional Art Competition allows students from our region and across the country to showcase their artistic ability – with winning artwork displayed at the U.S. Capitol! The first-place artist will win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., where they will be recognized for their achievement alongside winners from across the nation.

See below for more information or click here.


Working for You

Supporting Local Ports

I had a great meeting with the folks from the Northwest Seaport Alliance to discuss their vital role in the Pacific Northwest’s economy and infrastructure. I’m proud to support federal funding for sustainable development, creating jobs, and improving efficiency at our region’s ports!

Leading the Way in Community Healthcare

I was thrilled to recently get the chance to tour the North Olympic Healthcare Network Eastside Health Center and see firsthand the incredible impact of their expansion. From behavioral health to primary care, NOHN is a cornerstone for community health in Port Angeles!

Innovating the Timber Industry

Cross-laminated timber represents economic opportunity, especially on the Olympic Peninsula. I recently visited the Composite Recycling Technology Center in Port Angeles and had the chance to witness the innovative work they’re doing with the Makah Tribe on advanced CLT panels.

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

Derek Kilmer
Derek Kilmer