Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor is the preferred candidate to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks in the 6th Congressional District.

Kilmer is a state senator and vice president at the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County. He is a graduate of Port Angeles High School who went abroad to earn a doctorate in social policy from the University of Oxford in England.

A moderate Democrat, Kilmer is a problem-solver who can be bipartisan. He stuck with liberals on the state budget this year, but sided with conservatives by voting against the state estate tax, for reform of workers’ compensation and for removal of the cost-of-living provision from the state’s Plan 1 pensions.

In the Senate, Kilmer put together a bill for the state to borrow for public construction while also working out a constitutional amendment that slightly tightened the state’s debt limit.

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At the national level, Kilmer says, “There is not enough acknowledgment in the Democratic Party of the debt.” He argues that Congress’ job is to tackle the deficit and debt with a balance of spending cuts, revenue increases and economic growth.

The Republicans have put up a good candidate for this open seat: Bill Driscoll, who has been a Marine in combat and a manager in the forest industry here and in China. Driscoll is a moderate, common-sense man, but he has never been in public office and has no track record as a legislator.

Kilmer does have a political record, and it is one of the better ones in Olympia. His business-friendly approach and legislative style is just what is needed in Congress.