Nov. 7, 2012 – 12:15 a.m.

113th Congress: Derek Kilmer, D-Wash. (6th District)

Derek Kilmer cites his seven years in the Washington Legislature as evidence of his ability to work with Republicans while playing up his blue-collar roots in the working-class Olympic Peninsula. The son of two teachers, he led efforts in the state Senate to create new scholarships for college students and has pledged to expand the Pell Grant program while in Congress.

Kilmer says he wants to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Democrat Norm Dicks, and create middle-class jobs with good benefits. He helped lead efforts to enact a nearly $1 billion construction bill backed by labor unions that uses debt financing to speed up already approved public works projects to take advantage of low construction and borrowing costs. Some Republicans complained the project list favored Democratic lawmakers up for re-election.

The 6th encompasses such scenic areas as Olympic National Park, Puget Sound and mountain-rimmed coastlines along the Pacific Ocean, making environmental issues a top priority. Kilmer pledged to boost spending on stormwater cleanup and Puget Sound restoration, and to fight efforts to overhaul the Clean Water Act and the EPA.

Kilmer has paid attention to veterans’ issues, a potent subject with Naval Base Kitsap and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in the district. He’s vowed to fight privatization of Veterans’ Affairs Department health services and to work with veterans and their families to find housing, employment and educational opportunities.