BioDerek Kilmer is working hard to grow the economy of our community, strengthen the middle class, support our troops and veterans, and provide a quality education for our children and a stable retirement for our seniors.
Derek has a long history of leadership on the issues that matter the most to the middle class. Whether it was providing tax relief to small business, helping military families acquire professional licenses to find employment and stability, or investing in higher education and job training, Derek's core principle is working hard to improve his community and help his neighbors.
As someone born and raised on the Olympic Peninsula by two public school teachers and as the father of two girls, Derek knows the challenges facing Washington’s families. Seeing the economic struggles of his hometown led Derek to pursue an education focused on economic development. Derek received a bachelors' degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs. Derek went on to receive a doctoral degree from the University of Oxford in England where he studied social policy with a focus on economic development.
After completing his doctoral degree, Derek moved back home to work. Derek worked as a business consultant for McKinsey & Company, helping Washington State businesses, non-profits, and government agencies run more efficiently. As Vice President of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, Derek worked closely with hundreds of local small business owners and helped them create thousands of jobs.
Derek then went on to serve his community and be their voice in the Washington State Legislature. Derek was the Senate's lead capital budget writer and last year he worked on a bipartisan proposal to target long-term economic growth, investing $1 billion in infrastructure statewide and directly creating 18,000 jobs.
In the State Legislature, Derek helped lead a successful bipartisan effort in the Washington State Senate to eliminate the budget deficit in Olympia and reduce state debt. He'll work to do the same thing in Congress.
During his time in the Washington State Legislature, business groups have praised Kilmer for being one of the most pro-business Democrats in Olympia. He is the three-time recipient of the “LEADER Award” from the Washington Economic Development Association and was named the Legislative Business Star Award from Enterprise Washington's Business Institute. He wrote the law that helped build the new St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor – which created four hundred and fifty local jobs.
As the father of two daughters, and as someone who went to college with the help of grants and loans, Derek understands education is fundamental to a community's success. Derek was a trustee of Tacoma Community College and served on the boards of Communities in Schools and the Peninsula Schools Education Foundation. In the State Legislature, Derek fought hard for education funding and for financial aid programs to help students go to college. In Congress Derek will continue to champion education at all levels.
Derek is a champion of the men and women who keep our community and our country safe. As a member of the Washington State Senate, his commitment to helping military families and veterans has been recognized by local veterans groups and the Department of Defense. As a legislator who has fought to keep our communities safe, Derek has also been named “Legislator of the Year” by the Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs and was named an Honorary Fire Chief by the Washington Fire Chiefs.
In the State Legislature, Derek worked to protect our environment by passing a bipartisan law to create jobs through investments in stormwater cleanup, Puget Sound restoration, and toxic site cleanup.
Derek and his wife Jennifer live in Gig Harbor with their daughters Sophie and Tess.