Shelton-Mason County Journal - Dedicated to the citizens of Mason County, Washington since 1886

Five questions with Derek Kilmer, Elizabeth Kreiselmaier

2022 General Election — 6th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

 

September 29, 2022



Derek Kilmer

1. Why are you running for office?

I’ve been recognized as one of the Representatives most committed to bringing people together, even working with people with whom I disagree.  But a lot of people in our area are suffering now because Mitch McConnell and Trump Republicans in Congress believe that blocking progress may help them win elections.

Rather than focusing on political games, I’m focused on helping folks in our community. People in our area are being squeezed by inflation.  I’ve voted to crack down on price gouging by oil companies and lower gas prices. I wrote legislation to boost manufacturing in America, which would reduce inflation.  I’ve pushed to expand Social Security to help seniors keep up with rising prices. I voted to protect a woman’s right to choose. I voted to protect voting rights. Unfortunately, McConnell is blocking all of those things from becoming law.  No wonder so many people are frustrated that Washington DC isn’t doing enough to help people in our Washington.

I’m running for Congress to stand up for reform – to reduce the role of money in politics, ban representatives from buying stocks, and stop representatives from being paid if they don’t do their jobs and pass a budget.  

I’m running to get government working again for people – to clean up Puget Sound, expand Social Security, secure funding to lower the cost of housing and reduce homelessness, and to make sure police get the funding needed to keep our neighborhoods safe.

I’m running to be a champion for folks who are struggling.

2. What are the biggest challenges facing Washington’s 6th Congressional District?

There are communities that continue to struggle economically. I grew up in one of them. That’s why I worked in economic development professionally, and it’s why I ran for Congress. I believe that folks should have a shot to make it economically no matter what zip code they live in.

My focus in Congress has been on creating more economic opportunity for more people in more places. It’s why I’ve worked to invest in rural broadband. It’s why I’ve fought to secure federal funding for Mason County’s PUDs, so infrastructure investments can be made without the costs being borne by local taxpayers. It’s why I passed a bipartisan provision to get more assistance to communities that have had economic challenges so they can create good jobs.

We’ve also seen challenges related to housing affordability and homelessness. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ve secured funding for our region’s housing authorities to build hundreds of additional housing units that folks can afford. I’m leading a bipartisan bill to remove regulatory barriers that prevent new home construction. I’ve sponsored a bill – supported by Democrats and Republicans – focused on addressing veterans’ homelessness because, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, every brave service member should have a home. And I’ve worked on bipartisan legislation to provide more resources to address mental health and substance abuse issues because those are often factors related to homelessness.

I’ll keep pushing to make sure folks in our region have economic security.

3. If elected, what are your day 1 goals in Congress?

On Day One, I’ll push to reintroduce bills that passed the House but that have been blocked by Mitch McConnell in the Senate.

We’ve seen how high the stakes are this year.  Basic rights – including reproductive freedom – are on the ballot this year.  I sponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure women can make their own healthcare decisions. I sponsored the Equality Act because nobody should face discrimination in housing, employment, or anything else, based on who they are or who they love.

Democracy is on the ballot this year.  I was in DC on January 6th of last year and I saw how fragile our democracy is. That’s why I sponsored the For the People Act to reduce the role of money in politics. I sponsored the Protecting Our Democracy Act to secure our democracy and ensure that elected officials are acting in the people’s interest – not in their own interest. I sponsored a new Voting Rights Act so that Americans don’t face barriers to the ballot box.

Economic security is on the ballot this year. I sponsored the Raise the Wage Act to increase the federal minimum wage so that people who are working full-time don’t end up living in poverty. I sponsored the Protecting the Right to Organize Act to protect the right to organize a union and bargain for better pay and benefits. I sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act which embraces a very simple principle — equal pay for equal work.

Let’s get these done.

4. The 6th District has a distinct balance of suburban and rural areas, how would you effectively balance representing the different needs and values of these groups?

My job is to make sure that we are meeting the needs of all of the communities I represent.

I grew up on the Olympic Peninsula, so I’m committed to making sure rural areas like Mason County get our fair share. That’s why I worked professionally in economic development for a decade. I’m focused on helping our communities and small businesses recover from the pandemic – and empowering folks to navigate economic change.

That’s why I wrote part of the new law supported by Republicans and Democrats to make our economy more competitive with China.  This provision will bring more federal money to communities that have struggled to create good-paying jobs, because no community should have to worry that its top export will be its young people.

I helped create the Olympic Forest Collaborative to get folks from the timber industry and the conservation community at the same table to develop a strategy for responsibly increasing harvest levels in our federal forests

I helped lead the effort to increase funding for our national parks that President Trump signed into law.  Our parks draw people and their dollars to our region.

And I helped bring Democrats and Republicans together to support the largest investment in our nation’s infrastructure in years.  That means more money for fixing roads and bridges in our region without raising taxes.  It means funding for rural broadband internet access.  That helps our businesses compete and our children learn.

I’ll keep fighting for our area.

5. With the Supreme Court recently striking down Roe vs. Wade, abortion has emerged as a central topic at both the state and federal level. Would you explain your position?

I know this is a big difference between my opponent and me. She’s on the record of saying abortion should be banned even in cases or rape and incest.

I believe decisions about women’s health care are best made by women in consultation with their doctors – not by politicians.

That’s why I’ve voted to support the Women’s Health Protection Act to provide statutory protections for the right to choose and ensure reproductive freedom in every state. Congress should pass that into law and codify the protections that existed under Roe v Wade.

And don’t think for a second that we aren’t at risk here in our state. Trump Republicans in Congress have made clear that they intend to pursue a nationwide abortion ban. And one of the state legislators in my district has a bill that would make women who seek an abortion in our state felons. I just don’t think that’s where our values are here.

I will continue to stand up for women’s reproductive freedom—and oppose legislation that impedes those rights.

Also, it’s important to acknowledge that the Court decision — and Justice Thomas’s opinion in particular — puts other rights into jeopardy — including access to birth control and marriage equality. I’ve supported action in Congress to make sure the next generation doesn’t have fewer rights than our generation.

Question from Elizabeth Kreiselmaier

Kreiselmaier: How do you justify voting for the so-called Inflation Reduction Act when it will increase taxes on hard-working Washingtonians just when they are hurting the most, and when even the Penn Wharton’s budget model reports that this Act will have very little impact on inflation and even produce an increase in inflation for the first few years?

Kilmer:My opponent is not telling the truth about the Inflation Reduction Act.  Former U.S. Treasury Department secretaries from Democratic and Republican administrations put out a statement that income taxes will not increase for middle-class Americans.  Rather, the new law - which will reduce the deficit - asks the very largest, most profitable corporations to pay a minimum corporate income tax.  The folks I represent think that’s a good and fair deal. And the fact that it makes good on the president’s commitment not to raise taxes on families making less than $400,000 a year is a good thing. 

But, beyond that, let’s look at what the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act means for the folks I represent.  It means lower health care premiums for thousands and thousands of people. It means that seniors will have their out-of-pocket drug costs capped at $2,000 per year.  That’s a big deal when a lot of seniors are paying over $10,000 for medications.  It means that seniors with diabetes will see their insulin costs capped at $35 per month.  

It means our region will see the creation of good jobs tied to combatting the climate crisis.  Talk to folks in the trades or, for example, folks who install HVAC systems; they are thrilled about what this will mean for them - and for jobs. And because these investments will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, it will mean that folks will see gas prices and energy prices go down over time.

Listen - politicians like my opponent will say a lot to try to win an election when they are far behind.  But don’t take my word for it. In fact, 126 leading economists – including seven Nobel Prize winners, three former chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers, two former Treasury Secretaries – say the new law “will fight inflation and lower costs for American families while setting the stage for strong, stable, and broadly-shared long-term economic growth.”

I am committed to doing all I can to lower prices for the folks I represent.  It’s why I voted to crack down on oil companies that are price gouging.  It’s why I voted to strengthen American manufacturing - because when we make stuff in America, we aren’t dependent on other countries and won’t have the supply chain problems we faced during the pandemic.  And it’s why I’ll keep pushing to help people make ends meet.

Elizabeth Kreiselmaier

1. Why are you running for office?

 My candidacy isn’t about me.  It’s about America and Americans, Washington and Washingtonians—people like you and me who live here, and love it here.  Most of us sense that America’s headed in the wrong direction, so my top priority is to turn this ship around while we still can. My main concerns are the crushing inflation and horrific increases in crime that are stripping us all of our economic security and personal safety. Unlike my opponent, I’m not a career politician and never intended to be. However, I happen to have a servant’s heart for the country, the ferocious devotion of a mom, and a particular skillset. The “why” behind all of it for me is that I want my son, and everybody else’s children and grandchildren, to grow up into an America that we’d recognize — the one we know and love — that supports and protects the security, liberty, and prosperity of all its citizens.

2. What are the biggest challenges facing Washington’s 6th Congressional District?

Our District’s challenges are America’s challenges. Inflation is the highest it’s been in 40 years. We all feel pain at the gas pump and the grocery store. Crime and homelessness are surging. Public safety is threatened. Businesses are suffering. Biden’s administration, which includes my Democrat opponent Derek Kilmer, isn’t solving the problem—it is the problem.  Congress isn’t doing its job.  2022 is a pivotal election; in fact I call it an existential election, in that the existence of our country as we know it is on the line. I’m fighting for this District and for all Americans, to defend what we all love: Strong Families, Strong Communities, and a Strong Country.  That means: Rebuilding our economy by lowering taxes and debt; Eradicating homelessness; Restoring public safety by supporting our police and military; Protecting America’s sovereignty and our workers’ livelihoods; Preserving Constitutional freedoms; and Reclaiming parental authority over our children’s education.  Our District, as well as our country, deserves nothing less.

3. If elected, what are your day 1 goals in Congress?

Day one goal:  Fire Nancy Pelosi and vote in a new Speaker of the House!  And then hit the ground running on the most crucial issues facing our country with solutions and bills as outlined in the Republican Commitment to America https://www.republicanleader.gov/commitment/ as well as the platform priorities and draft bills outlined on my own Elizabeth for Congress website at http://www.CleanUpTheHouse.com. The fact of the matter is that the majority of Americans (upwards of 75%) believe that we are headed in the wrong direction under Biden, Kilmer, and the Democrats’ leadership.  We need to change course, and QUICKLY, to address the pressing issues of inflation, crime, educational failures, and the erosion of Constitutional freedoms.  We also need to stem the tide of corruption in D.C. and hold our elected officials accountable for malfeasance.  It’s time to Clean Up The House in D.C. and you can help me do that at www.CleanUpTheHouse.com.

4. The 6th District has a distinct balance of suburban and rural areas, how would you effectively balance representing the different needs and values of these groups?  

My job will be to represent ALL of the citizens of the 6th Congressional District, regardless of geographic location, economic status, or other differences. I will do this both by hearing and responding to the particular and differing needs and issues of the various subgroups within our CD6 population (e.g., urban, suburban, and rural; civilian, active duty military, and veterans; and different demographic groups such as working families, retirees, students, Tribal members and business owners).  However, I also believe firmly that the most pressing problems facing us today (such as inflation and crime) cut across all of those different subgroups and pose a threat to us all.  Therefore, promoting and achieving solutions that work to curb inflation (through reigning in spending, lowering taxes, and restoring energy independence) and to increase public safety (through supporting our police and military, securing our border, and eradicating homelessness) will serve us all equally well.

5. With the Supreme Court recently striking down Roe vs. Wade, abortion has emerged as a central topic at both the state and federal level. Would you explain your position?

The overturning of Roe v. Wade via the Dobbs decision simply returned complex and emotionally-laden decisions regarding abortion issues back to the States, where they rightfully belong.  Individual states will wrestle with such decisions, as they should. Regardless of my views on abortion (personally, I am pro-life), I am of the mind that we need to address the most urgent issues relating to America’s security and prosperity first, before we can attend to anything else.  Issues surrounding our economy and public safety simply must come first, because if we don’t survive economically or materially as a country, nothing else we might decide will matter.  It’s a matter of triage.

Question from Derek Kilmer

Kilmer: As part of the Inflation Reduction Act recently passed by Democrats in Congress, the federal government is empowered under Medicare to negotiate lower prices from drug companies.  Do you support this policy?

Kreiselmaier: No, I don’t support the so-called Inflation Reduction Act recently passed by Democrats, including its provisions that supposedly empower Medicare to negotiate lower prices from drug companies. Why not? Because while it has a catchy title and its promises sound good in the abstract, it’s entirely wrong-headed and counterproductive in terms of its likely results.

With respect to its regulatory provisions to introduce price controls, for example, it will produce the exact opposite of its intended effect, because it will actually cause the prices of drugs to increase, not decrease. Price controls only serve to weaken the incentives for innovation, so they ironically cause the prices of drugs to increase, causing patients and employer-sponsored health plans to pay more for their drugs.  Marketplace competition is what drives prices down, and the Inflation Reduction Act discourages the competitive process, which will result in higher, not lower, drug prices.

Moreover, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act will raise taxes on anyone making more than $30,000/year at a time when their wages are being eaten away by the inflation we are all suffering under, and which this Act does nothing to effectively address.

 

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