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Kilmer talks politics, economy at PUD forum

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Super PACs spending, and the influences of "dark money" on American political campaigns, have expanded, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-6th District) told a Shelton audience last week.

The congressman got his biggest applause from about 30 people at the town hall meeting Feb. 17 at the Mason County PUD 3 building when he said is sponsoring a bill to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's 2000 Citizens United ruling that tossed out the corporate and union ban on making independent expenditures and financing electioneering communications.

"You have no idea who is paying for super PACs... even if they are Americans," he said.

Kilmer, a congressman for three years, said he is tired of partisan bickering in the nation's capitol.

"Too often Congress is playing silly political games," he said. "I vote on things that seem to me to make a statement rather than make a law."

But the Port Angeles native also talked about crossing the aisle during his weekly participation with the Bipartisan Working Group, about 30 House Democrats and 30 Republicans who meet to discuss issues.

Kilmer also talked about the economy and education.

The country has experienced 71 consecutive months of job growth, yet "the middle class is getting squeezed... Wages have been pretty flat," he said.

Congress "thankfully" dropped the No Child Left Behind program, Kilmer said. That means "less micromanagement by the federal government... a bipartisan move away from that," he said.

Kilmer said the average student loan balance is about $29,000. He has introduced a bill to revitalize the Pell Grant program to help students.

Kilmer will also host his 11th telephone town hall at 6 p.m. March 2. Participants will have the opportunity to ask him a question or leave a message with their comments.

Residents of the 6th District who want to join the call can sign up at kilmer.house.gov/contact/townhall, or send an email to kilmer.teletownhall@mail.house.gov with your name and phone number by 3 p.m. March 1.

Residents who sign up for the deadline will receive a phone call at 6 p.m. March 2 inviting them to the town hall.

Kilmer also invited high school students from the district to participate in the 2016 Congressional Art Competition.

The winning artist will have their artwork displayed in the U.S. capitol for one year and be awarded a trip for two to Washington, D.C.

Each framed artwork must be no larger than 28 inches high, 28 inches wide and 4 inches deep. The accepted mediums are paintings, including oil, acrylics, watercolors; drawings, including colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal; two-dimensional collages; prints, including lithographs, silkscreen and block prints; computer-generated art; photographs; and mixed media, the use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolors, etc.

All entries must be original in concept, design and execution, and must not violate any U.S. copyright laws.

For consideration, entries must be received by 5 p.m. April 18 at either one of Kilmer's district offices: 950 Pacific Ave., suite 1230, Tacoma, or 345

6th St., suite 500, Bremerton. The offices are open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

For more information and to download the required forms, go to kilmer.house.gov/services/art-competition.



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Original Publication Date: February 25, 2016



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