For the last decade, residents of Western Washington’s 6th Congressional District have sent Rep. Derek Kilmer to Congress as “a problem solver who can be bipartisan,” as this editorial board described him during his first campaign. Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, has consistently fulfilled that promise.

His public service has provided the nation’s bitterly divided Capitol a strong example of how pragmatic but assertive moderation can advance good policy and civility. Kilmer has more than earned reelection by the voters of his district, which stretches from Tacoma to Aberdeen and covers the Olympic Peninsula.

The Port Angeles native has given perennial attention to struggling communities that need help reviving their economies. His advocacy helped direct nearly $10 million this year toward flood protection for Aberdeen and Hoquiam. The RECOMPETE Act he has proposed, with bipartisan backing, would set up economy-boosting grants in distressed communities to run a full decade. And his work to restore salmon populations — including helping land $1 billion in federal funding for culvert removals — aids Washington’s fisheries, tourism and other sectors.

“I don’t want any of the communities I represent, I don’t want any of the families that I represent, to have to worry about their community’s main export being young people,” Kilmer told this editorial board. 

David Horsey / The Seattle Times
Read all Seattle Times editorial board endorsements for the Aug. 2, 2022, primary

This is the kind of leadership the towns and cities beyond the nation’s metropolitan areas need. His affably technical approach to community restoration speaks across the partisan divide, an intentionally chosen path that has yielded considerable benefits.

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As chair of the House’s Committee on the Modernization of Congress, his work has produced more than 140 bipartisan recommendations on making government functional, including a blueprint to potentially save billions by helping the federal government fix inefficiencies faster.

Straightforward, good-faith governance deserves a bipartisan renaissance. Kilmer’s work has brought Congress closer to that ideal, and he has earned another term to advance it.

Of the five people running against Kilmer, only two have mounted substantial campaigns. Democrat Rebecca Parson is running a hard-left campaign that espouses a vast expansion of government services and a $30 minimum wage. Republican Elizabeth Kreiselmaier is pushing equally hard toward the conservative extreme. In a campaign commercial, she claimed “violent mobs are destroying our cities”; on Twitter, she denounced “unconstitutional and unnecessary mask mandates,” and passed along dubious claims about critical race theory and government subsidies of drug addiction. 

Kilmer decisively defeated both Parson and Kreiselmaier in 2020 and deserves to win handily again. Voters in the 6th District should make the clear sensible choice to continue leading a deeply divided political realm back from the extremes.