October 16, 2023

Finding an Enlightened Path Forward

Hello Folks –

The events of the past weekend in Israel have left us all reeling. My heart goes out to the families affected, the communities in mourning, and a nation grappling with yet another episode of profound tragedy.

There’s much to discuss and reflect upon this week. So, let’s get into the news.

Standing Firmly with Israel

The unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists are stark reminders of the grave threats Israelis face every day. The slaughter of those in Israel – the murder of innocent civilians including infants and children – is unconscionable.

To Israelis who also call Washington state home and to our region’s Jewish community – I stand with you in reaffirming my unwavering support for Israel and the Jewish people – and I pledge to continue advocating for peace and security throughout the region. As these events continue to unfold, the United States must reaffirm Israel’s fundamental right to defend its people and – as President Biden has requested – should provide resources toward that end.

President Biden recently called out these horrific terrorist attacks. In doing so, he said, “In this moment, we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel. We stand with Israel. And we will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself, and respond to this attack. There is no justification for terrorism. There is no excuse. Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination. Its stated purpose is the annihilation of the State of Israel and the murder of Jewish people. They use Palestinian civilians as human shields. Hamas offers nothing but terror and bloodshed with no regard to who pays the price. The loss of innocent life is heartbreaking.”

Last week, I joined an overwhelming majority of lawmakers in reaffirming our nation’s support for Israel, supporting its right to defend its people, and condemning terror attacks on its people – just one way the U.S. government can show support for our most important ally in the region. There is no place for this horrifying violence.

If you are a U.S. Citizen seeking to contact the U.S. Embassy in Israel, use this crisis intake form from the U.S. Department of State, or call 1-833-890-9595 (toll-free) and 1-606-641-0131. U.S. citizens in Israel should call the local number (03-519-7426). For the latest security alert regarding Israel from the State Department, click here.

It is my fervent hope that we will see a future of peace and stability for Israel and the entire region.

Finding an Enlightened Path Forward

Earlier this month, a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to vacate the Office of the Speaker of the House, removing Speaker Emeritus Kevin McCarthy from his role as leader of the House.

I spent four years chairing a committee to strengthen the U.S. House as an institution because I care passionately about a Congress that can solve problems for the American people. Unfortunately, Speaker Emeritus McCarthy repeatedly chose to weaken the institution by bending to extremists rather than collaborating across the aisle. Sadly, he inherited the chaos he sowed.

As we’ve seen over the last two weeks, the process of choosing a new speaker has been messy.  I hope the Republican majority will soon embrace a smarter path forward and a more functional House. In fact, I see this moment as an opportunity to hit the reset button – you can read more on that here.


That’s because I’ve never shied away from working with my colleagues across the aisle. As a leader of a group that encourages bipartisan collaboration and the former chair of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, my goal has always been to make Congress work better for the American people. There are Democrats and Republicans who feel the same way.

As my Republican colleagues inch closer to selecting a new speaker of the House, it’s clear that the best path forward is a bipartisan path forward.  In fact, Leader Hakeem Jeffries wrote a great piece in The Washington Post calling for such an approach. You can read it here.

I hope we can work together to find a path forward based on common sense and bipartisanship.

Bridging the Digital Divide

For far too long, Native American Tribes in our region and across the country have struggled to connect to high-speed, affordable, reliable broadband internet.

I’ll never forget a moment when, several years ago, I was visiting with members of one of the tribes in our region. At a local school, they showed me the library. I asked whether this was the main hub for students to get online and use the internet to learn more about the world.

The response was simple yet jarring: “We don’t have internet here.”

That’s just not acceptable. And it’s exactly why closing the digital divide – the gap between folks who have access to high-speed internet and communications technology and those who don’t – has been a priority for me.

Last week, I had the privilege to announce federal broadband investments for two Tribal communities in our region. Both grants, totaling $1 million, come from the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and are a direct result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – landmark legislation that has already committed $1.2 billion to connect every Washingtonian to high-speed internet.

The NTIA grants include $500,000 for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and $500,000 for the Skokomish Indian Tribe, both for Broadband Infrastructure Deployment projects.

This announcement of new federal investment in Indian country is huge. It will help the Lower Elwha Klallam and Skokomish Indian Tribes utilize broadband for education, achieve better health outcomes through telemedicine, and create jobs.

Working for You


Prioritizing Our Local Youth

Kids are one-third of our population and 100 percent of our future. It was great to meet with Bremerton School District Superintendent Dr. James Crawford.  We discussed how to prepare Bremerton students for the jobs of the future, including through career and technical education.


Welcoming the Harvest

I had an unbe-leaf-able time at the Fife Harvest Festival. From gourd-geous arts and crafts to apple-solutely delicious food, it’s no wonder why thousands of folks take part every year. Sorry if these jokes were “corny.”


Celebrating a Century of Almond Roca

The folks at Brown and Haley have been making Almond Roca in their Tacoma factory for 100 years this month. It was terrific to catch up with CEO John Melin. Here’s to another century of sweet treats!

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

Derek Kilmer
Derek Kilmer