Norm’s replacement Derek Kilmer. WA 6th Cong. Dist.
February 8, 2013 space
I just got done with a big tour of our region where I was able to meet with a lot of our neighbors – small business owners, educators, men and women who keep our nation safe, and many others.
My focus this week was on getting folks back to work. We held three “Kilmer at Your Company” events and held meetings with the Hoh, Lower Elwha Klallam, Quileute, and Quinault tribes.
I had the opportunity to speak with the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance Decision Makers Breakfast, the Forks Chamber of Commerce, and held two small business roundtables – one in my hometown Port Angeles and one in Aberdeen.
I also toured the Port Angeles Coast guard Air Station and met with folks involved with the Public Development Authority at Fort Worden at Port Townsend.
At the Forks Chamber of Commerce discussing ways to help create jobs
No matter if the meeting was at a gas stop or on a shop floor, and no matter who I spoke with, I heard the same message from people during my road trip: we gotta get folks back to work.
I couldn’t agree more.
This recession caused folks struggling the hardest to take it on the chin. It’s time for Congress to provide some relief and start focusing on smart ways to grow our economy.
Thank you to everybody I was able to meet with and I hope to meet with many more of you in the coming months.
We Need Smart and Balanced Ways to Reduce Our Deficit
Speaking of economic growth, I was disappointed to see that a plunge in military spending may have caused our economy to dip slightly in the fourth quarter of 2012.
This was the second stark reminder in recent weeks about the damage looming across-the-board cuts could do to our region’s economy, the men and women who protect us, and their families.
Last month, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard had to postpone a job fair because of budget uncertainty. Even though we have the work and the workers, the career fair had to be postponed because Congress won’t do its job.
The risk to our national security and our local economy is too great for us to do nothing and allow these cuts to happen. Republicans and Democrats should work together to replace these across-the-board cuts with smart and balanced long-term solutions to reduce our deficit, kick start economic growth, and bring certainty and stability to our economy. The country is depending on it.
Moving Forward on Immigration Reform
You may have read in the paper that bipartisan groups in the House and Senate are engaging on the issue of immigration and that the President has put forward some policy principles on the issue as well.
We need an immigration system that is reflective of both our needs and our values. Our nation’s immigration laws are outdated and broken—there are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. In my view, that requires that Congress move forward in a bipartisan way on commonsense approach to comprehensive immigration reform.
Reform should include three components: First, we need to keep our borders secure and safeguard our communities. Illegal border crossings can threaten our national security and undermine our ability to protect Americans from those who are involved in drug or arms trafficking, or who pose a threat to our communities.
Second, we need improvements to our system to ensure that those playing by the rules aren’t put at a competitive disadvantage. I’m concerned that some employers are undercutting the wages of working Americans by hiring undocumented immigrants. This hurts our economy and can often give way to dangerous working conditions.
Third, as the bipartisan proposals put forward have suggested, we need a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants who have been here for years. They’ve started families and businesses. They go to the same schools, the same parks, and recite the same pledge of allegiance as the rest of our families. Some have even joined the Armed Forces, risking their lives to defend this country. They are Americans in every way but on paper. The process should include going to the back of the line, passing a criminal background check, and paying back taxes and penalties among other things.
A smart immigration policy is not only good for our region and the country, but it’s also true to our values – shared prosperity and the pursuit of the American Dream. We are a nation of immigrants. In fact, I am the son of an immigrant. But we’re also a nation of laws. Making smart reforms is important to ensure our laws fit today’s needs and to ensure our nation continues to be a beacon of hope for people all over the world.
As always, it’s an honor to serve you and I look forward to discussing these ideas and more with you in the future.
P.S. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any ideas, concerns, questions, or opportunities in which our tax dollars could be spent more efficiently. And in the meantime, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and forward this email to a friend and ask them to sign up to receive our updates.