Derek Kilmer ContactBack to top
Address: 1428 LHOB, DC 20515
Phone: (253) 272-3515
Address: 950 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma WA 98402
Phone: (360) 373-9725
Address: 345 Sixth Street, Bremerton WA 98337
Phone: (360) 797-3623
Address: 332 East 5th Street, Port Angeles WA 98632
Derek Kilmer StaffBack to top
Derek Kilmer CommitteesBack to top
Derek Kilmer BiographyBack to top
- Elected: 2012, 1st term.
- District: Washington 6
- Born: Jan. 01, 1974, Port Angeles
- Home: Gig Harbor
Princeton U., B.A. 1996, Oxford U., Ph.D. 2003
- Professional Career:
Mgmt. consultant, McKinsey & Co., 1999-2002; V.P., Econ. Development Bd., Tacoma-Pierce Cnty., 2002-12.
- Political Career:
WA Senate, 2006-12; WA House, 2004-06.
- Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
- Family: Married (Jennifer Kilmer); 2 children
Democrat Derek Kilmer succeeded his political mentor, retiring Rep. Norm Dicks, after winning the 6th District seat in 2012.
Kilmer grew up as the son of two public school teachers in Port Angeles, where he first met Dicks at age 18. “He’s been a really great mentor for me over the years,” Kilmer said in an interview with National Journal. Watching the town’s economic struggles in the wake of the timber industry’s decline prompted Kilmer to pursue a career linking public policy and economic development. He got a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Princeton University and a doctorate from the University of Oxford in England in social policy, with a focus on economic development.
In 2002, Kilmer went to work for the nonprofit Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County. As a vice president, he talked with 200 businesses a year in an effort to broaden the economies of communities like Port Angeles, long dependent on timber. “How do you put more legs on the stool so it’s more stable,” he said. “How do you diversify a local economy to help it prosper?”
Kilmer was elected to the Washington House as a Democrat in 2004 and two years later moved to the state Senate. He rose to chair the chamber’s Capital Budget Committee, where he promoted legislation to create jobs by borrowing money for public construction. In addition to economic development and education, Kilmer focused much of his time as a legislator on veterans’ affairs. Naval Base Kitsap is in the 6th District, and veterans make up more than 15 percent of the population.
Dicks gave his protégé the early word in March 2012 that he would not seek a 19th term. “He told me, ‘In about an hour I’m going to announce my retirement, and you should figure out what you’re going to do,’” Kilmer recalled.
A military background was one major difference between Kilmer and his GOP challenger, Republican businessman Bill Driscoll, who had served in the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan and also worked in the timber and real estate industries. He called the federal deficit the biggest threat to national security and departed from Republican orthodoxy in calling for tax increases tied to specific spending cuts. Driscoll also supported abortion rights and same-sex marriage.
Kilmer maintained a strong lead in the polls, and he made sure to let voters know that he was running with Dicks’ backing. The district’s major newspapers also endorsed Kilmer. The Seattle Times called him “a problem solver who can be bipartisan,” and The News Tribune of Tacoma praised him for having “an uncommon understanding of trade, business taxation, smart regulation, job creation, and other fundamentals of economic growth.” Kilmer won the contest with Driscoll, 59% to 41%.Show Less