Derek Kilmer

Building an Economy That Works for Everyone

Growing up on the Olympic Peninsula, Derek saw firsthand what it meant for families and communities to struggle when the local economy fell on hard times. That’s what inspired  him to work in economic development and run for office. As our representative, Derek’s mission is ensuring more economic opportunity for more people in more places. 

Derek is committed to helping our region’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. He helped write legislation that included rent and mortgage relief, help for students, and a lifeline for the small businesses that are the backbone of our communities. But he knows that more is needed to support businesses and workers, which is why he’ll keep working to ensure our recovery addresses some of the inequities we’ve seen prior to the virus. 

Derek has been a champion for working people. He has sponsored bills to increase the federal minimum wage, expand family and medical leave, enhance the rights of working people, and protect the federal workforce. For his efforts, Derek has been endorsed by countless labor unions including the Washington State Labor Council and was recognized as a Friend of SPEEA.

Derek spent a decade working for the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County. As our representative, Derek has worked hard on behalf of small businesses in our region, meeting with hundreds of local employers to support their efforts to grow jobs. He secured funding to expand transit services in Tacoma and worked with the local community on the development of a new behavioral health hospital. For his efforts to grow local jobs, he has been named a Hero of Main Street by the National Retail Federation and received the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the US Chamber of Commerce.

As a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Derek works to ensure America makes key investments that support Naval Base Kitsap, our district’s largest employer. He successfully passed legislation to reduce the financial burden on shipyard workers who have to travel for work. For his efforts on behalf of servicemembers and those who support them, he received the U.S Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor a civilian not employed by the Navy can receive from the Secretary of the Navy.

As our representative, Derek helped create the Olympic Forest Collaborative to bring together leaders from the environmental community and the timber industry to manage our forests in a way that improves both economic and environmental health. He has also led the charge on legislation to expand access to high speed broadband.

Derek opposed President Trump’s tax law that gave big breaks to the wealthiest Americans while raising taxes on middle-class families. Derek believes that the tax code needs to work better for working families. 

Derek has also worked to address the shortage of affordable housing and increased homelessness. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Derek successfully fought for programs that invest in affordable housing, combat homelessness, and promote home ownership. He has also sponsored legislation to expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and another bill to provide a tax credit for renters to ease their rent burden.