“Now representing a Democratic, largely working-class district that includes the Olympic Peninsula and most of Tacoma, 45-year-old Derek Kilmer has been an elected lawmaker for most of his adult life. Currently in his seventh year in Congress after eight years in Washington’s state legislature, Kilmer chairs the corporate-friendly New Democrat Coalition.
Kilmer’s rise in power is appreciated by the US Chamber of Commerce. The anti-union, anti-environment group honored him in April with its annual “Spirit of Enterprise Award,” praising his “pro-growth” policies. The Chamber’s assessment of 2018 voting records ranked only a dozen House Democrats higher. Impressing corporate interests is not new for Kilmer; when in the Washington state senate, he was one of only three Democrats opposing labor on a key bill affecting unions’ ability to support political campaigns.
Kilmer’s increased clout on Capitol Hill means that he has more leverage against the interests of many constituents in a district where the median household income is scarcely $63,000. Meanwhile, the congressman gets plenty of corporate money. During the last term, Kilmer — who sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee — received nearly a quarter of a million dollars combined from the casinos/gambling and securities/investment industries. The military and tech sectors also contributed; Northrop Grumman and Microsoft each chipped in more than $30,000. His campaign and PAC ended last year with more than $3 million cash on hand.”