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The Challenge of Fixing Congress
What a time to try and fix Congress. But that’s what our guests on this episode are determined to do. This show features two politicians from the newly launched Fix Congress caucus. Reps Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and William Timmons (R-SC) first appeared on our show last year as members of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.
The stakes were high when we recorded this latest interview: the budget deficit had once more taken center stage, and the countdown to a possible government shutdown was underway.
These members of Congress are frustrated but also hopeful. They discuss dealing with the vast amount of federal government debt, the support congressional leaders have shown for their efforts, and how technology can play a part in fostering bipartisanship.
Tune in to hear more on this week’s Let’s Find Common Ground.
Read the Episode Transcript
Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA)
Derek Kilmer serves as the United States Representative of Washington’s 6th Congressional District.
The son of two school teachers, Derek was taught to appreciate the value of education. Derek wanted to make a difference in his community, so he chose to study public policy, looking for ways to help economically struggling communities. He received a BA from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs and earned a doctorate from the University of Oxford in England.
Derek put his education into practice in Washington state, first as a business consultant for McKinsey & Company, where he helped businesses, non-profits, and government agencies run more efficiently. He moved closer to the community he was raised in so he could put his experience in economic development to use helping to retain jobs and attract new employers during the decade he worked for the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County.
After seeing how the decisions that government made affected employers in our region, Derek decided to put his experience to work in Olympia. He served in the Washington state House from 2005 to 2007 and the state Senate from 2007 until he was elected to the US House in 2012. While in Olympia, Derek was the principal writer of the state’s capital budget and helped author a bipartisan infrastructure package that has been credited with creating 18,000 jobs. He also led a successful bipartisan effort in the Washington state Senate to balance the budget and reduce state debt.
Derek was reelected to a sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022 and serves on the House Appropriations Committee, one of only four ‘exclusive’ committees in the House. Derek serves on the Interior and Environment Subcommittee, Defense Subcommittee, and Energy and Water Development Subcommittee. In 2021, he was also appointed to serve as the Chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a bipartisan Committee formed to investigate, study, make findings, hold public hearings, and develop recommendations to make Congress more effective, efficient, and transparent on behalf of the American people. Now, he serves on the House Administration Committee on the Modernization Subcommittee.
Derek has learned that addressing the challenges facing our nation will require an end to political brinkmanship and a focus on finding common sense, practical solutions. He’s a member of organizations like the Bipartisan Working Group which works to bring Democrats and Republicans together to forge greater consensus on a wide variety of issues.
Rep. William Timmons (R-SC)
William Timmons serves as the United States Representative of South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District.
William entered Congress in 2019 with a commitment to bring real reform to Washington. His experience as a prosecutor and small business owner inspired him to run for public office. As a state senator, he fought for accountability and transparency in Columbia.
In Congress, William is a voice for Upstate residents as a member of the Financial Services Committee and the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. In addition to his roles on the committees, William was chosen by the Republican Leader to serve as Vice-Chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress and elected by his classmates to represent them on the Republican Steering Committee.
William is a lifelong member of Christ Church in Greenville and also serves as a JAG Officer and Captain in the South Carolina Air National Guard.