Derek Kilmer

Recovering and Rebuilding from COVID-19

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Derek has worked hard to rush support to our region and ensure everyone has access to the medical care they need. Having worked in economic development for a decade, he is committed to helping our region’s economic recovery, supporting small businesses, and getting folks back to work.

That’s why he helped write legislation that included rent and mortgage relief, direct payments for individuals, help for students, and a lifeline for the small businesses that are the backbone of our communities. It’s why he has continually fought to make coronavirus testing and treatment free. And it’s why he was proud to vote for the HEROES Act, which includes much needed assistance to families, frontline workers, hospitals, businesses, and vulnerable populations in the midst of this pandemic. 

But as our region’s recovery begins, Derek is fighting to ensure that we don’t return to the old “normal” where too many folks get left behind, but instead get to a better place and find a “new normal.” 

Derek believes that in our new normal, America should do a better job of protecting its frontline workers. The President has said America is at war against the “invisible coronavirus enemy.” But we should never send Americans into war without the equipment they need to be safe. Right now, nurses, doctors, and other first responders are being sent into the trenches without the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need. 

And in our new normal, Derek believes we should reinvest in domestic manufacturing — with more American factories and more American workers in jobs making the things our country needs. That’s why he has sponsored legislation to leverage the Defense Production Act and pivot American factories to manufacturing vital medical gear and equipment.

And as part of the strategy to address this pandemic and get to a new normal, Derek is working to ensure all communities have the ability to (1) rapidly test every symptomatic case or those suspected to be exposed; (2) perform widespread surveillance and serological testing and understand how these tests can be used; and (3) trace all contacts of known cases. He believes proper surveillance and containment of COVID-19 is paramount to keeping the virus in check and to ensuring a successful and lasting economic recovery. 

Finally, Derek believes that America’s response to the pandemic must seek to address some of the inequities that faced our country before this pandemic — and that have been amplified as a result of it. We had housing and homelessness challenges before the pandemic. Derek has fought to provide protections from eviction and foreclosure — and sponsored legislation to provide Emergency Rental Assistance to ensure that people don’t lose their housing as a result of something that isn’t their fault. Even before this pandemic, over 30 million Americans lacked paid leave. Derek is a sponsor of the FAMILY Act to ensure workers don’t have to choose between their health and their paycheck.