After the pinning ceremony at Peninsula College, last Wednesday, Representative Derek Kilmer made his way a couple of blocks north to the Rainforest Arts Center. Outside the facility, a group of about eight people representing several organizations held protest signs in opposition of increased Growler training/noise on the Olympic Peninsula.
City of Forks Attorney/Planner Rod Fleck introduced Kilmer and described him as a friend and one of only two politicians who bothered to call when the West End suffered two mill closures. Fleck said it was the first Town Hall meeting in two years, in our city, by someone from the other Washington.
Kilmer gave a little update and shared photos of his family and then shared some of the things he is/and will be working on. Campaign finance was one, “We need to fix campaign finance,” Kilmer said. The bipartisan “Honest Ads Act” which would ensure transparency of online political advertisements is something Kilmer supports. Online political advertising has come to play an increasingly dominant role in campaigning.
Kilmer is a co-chair of a bipartisan group that promotes civility and looks to bridge the partisan divide. Kilmer explained that lawmakers from other states visit one another, “We bring them to our state and show and share our opportunities and challenges; for us, it is fishing, dams, timber, etc.” Kilmer will be traveling to Arkansas in October to help to understand the challenges that State faces.
Kilmer said the middle-class continues to be squeezed, “People are working harder and not getting anywhere, many 30-year-olds are making less than their parents did at the same age.”
“I would like to see more tech-Ed training, more students going into the health field,” Kilmer said. He also would like to promote Lifelong Learning Accounts. Lifelong Learning Accounts are an employee-owned educational savings account that helps pay for education and training expenses. It’s a new employee benefits program where regular contributions by employees are matched by the employer.
During the question and answer period, Kilmer did share that he would hold the Navy to flying the training jets at the proper altitude to reduce the impact of noise on communities. He would support sound monitoring and recalled a meeting a few years ago in Forks when jets were louder than he thought they should be. After making note of it, he contacted the Navy and discovered they were flying below the recommended altitude.
It was suggested he hold more Town Hall meetings, and proper oil spill response in the Marine Sanctuary was questioned. Other questions were asked on Forest Service roads, fires, recycling and the spraying of Glyphosates.
Kilmer spoke of the new push for the Wild Olympics agenda and claims it is gaining support as it has softened its stance as far as National Park expansion and impacts on the timber industry and fishing.
Other questions included impeachment of President Trump to which Kilmer said he had read the Mueller Report twice, and from what he read a private individual might have been charged with obstruction. He supported an inquiry.
Kilmer also supports a bipartisan Climate Solution in HR 763. This bill imposes a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels that will be used so as to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Kilmer reminded those attending that his office in Port Angeles is staffed with people to help those that need help and is located at 332 E. 5th St., 360-797-3623.