Dear Mr. Killion:
Thank you for contacting me to express your opinion on pending legislative matters. As always, I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
As you likely know, after 36 years serving as the Congressman from the Sixth District of Washington State, I have decided to begin a new chapter in my life as I retire at the end of this year. It has been my distinct honor and privilege to represent you in Congress, and I wanted you to know how much I have appreciated your input on legislative matters. It is vitally important that we have an informed and engaged electorate to ensure the vibrancy of our democracy.
I have been a proud advocate for jobs and economic development in Washington State, the protection of our environment and natural resources and supporting our State’s robust military installations and returning veterans. The revitalization of the downtown areas in Bremerton and Tacoma has been a huge priority for me over the past few decades, and while work still remains to be done, much has been accomplished.
Environmental causes remain among my greatest passions, and I am proud of what has been accomplished toward the restoration of the health of Puget Sound and the expansive recovery of Pacific Northwest salmon runs. The Nisqually Estuary has been restored and the Elwha Dams are coming down—representing the largest environmental restoration efforts in the State’s history. The health of our waterways and the vitality of the salmon runs are inextricably linked.
These past few years have been difficult for many Americans as we fought back from the worst recession since the Great Depression. But the recovery continues to make progress as hundreds of thousands of Americans have gone back to work in recent months. However, there are a number of important issues that still face Congress during the final weeks of the 112th Congress which could threaten the recovery. Congress will soon begin debate on legislative solutions to two critical issues: automatic, across-the-board budget cuts and the expiration of a number of important tax provisions, both of which will occur at the end of the year if Congress does not take action. Looming over these near-term discussions are long-term concerns about eliminating the federal budget deficit and reducing the impact of the accumulated national debt.
As my time in Congress concludes, my priority will be to ensure that my colleagues consider the effects that any action will have on employment, on social programs such as Social Security and Medicare, and on our vitally important defense programs. I will also work to ensure that the final product is balanced, so that American families that are already struggling are not asked to solve the budget problems of the nation while the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans receive additional tax cuts. It is my hope that Congress and the country will be able to come together, irrespective of partisan politics, to ensure that we can continue down the path of economic recovery.
Again, I want to thank you for the privilege of representing you in Congress and for your contacting me. I know you will continue to be well represented by our Congressional Delegation, including incoming Sixth District Representative Derek Kilmer, and our Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.