Congressman Derek Kilmer made a quick visit to Forks last Wednesday, April 4, first stopping at Forks City Hall for an update there from Mayor Tim Fletcher and department heads. At noon Kilmer spoke to about 50 citizens at the Forks Chamber of Commerce noon meeting at Blakeslee’s Bar and Grill.
Kilmer said he was here to share the good, the bad and the ugly of what is going on in DC or more likely what is not going on. Sighting the constant dysfunction and gridlock, Kilmer said he is working to get Congress back on track as part of several bipartisan groups that meet each week.
Kilmer shared the constant shutdowns and lack of a working budget result in “can- kicking” which affect so many agencies and impacts their ability to get their work done.
Kilmer shared he has been working on a new plan to fund fighting wildfires. The new plan will have funding of its own and discontinue the “fire borrowing” that has plagued agencies in the past few fire seasons. Other funding is being looked at for earthquakes and Tsunamis and the Veterans Affairs.
Campaign reform is also high on Kilmer’s list, saying too much money is spent on elections and he shared he does not consider corporations people. “The Federal Elections Commission does not work anymore; we need to protect the integrity of the election system,” Kilmer said.
Kilmer went on to say that the middle class in America is getting squeezed, “middle class income is on a steady decline.”
“There is no silver bullet to economic growth, we need to reach out to small companies, see what is working, what is not,” Kilmer added.
“Our infastructure at the moment gets a D+, not just roads and bridges but we need better access to broadband.”
“There are people that need jobs and jobs that need people,” Kilmer said, and that he is supporting a bill next month that will support tech education programs.
Kilmer said he is still working on natural resources issues through his collaborative, and new timber innovation to look at other types of emerging timber products.
Kilmer urged those that need help to reach out to his Port Angeles office with any problem they might be having, staff is there to help.
Kilmer took a few questions regarding off-shore drilling, fisheries, National Park fee increases. Kilmer agreed that National Parks are not adequatley funded to keep up with maintenance but the fee hike proposed was too extreme.