Kilmer introduces two amendments to defense bill to help veterans looking for jobs and civilian shipyard workers

On Tuesday, Representative Derek Kilmer introduced two amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to help servicemembers find jobs and authorize overtime for civilian shipyard workers overseas. The amendments will be considered by the House Rules Committee for inclusion in the NDAA bill set to be debated on the floor this week in the House.


Rep. Kilmer’s amendment on veteran employment – cosponsored by Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs – would encourage companies to hire veterans who are leaving the service, recently left, or have been unemployed or underemployed. It would create a pilot program within the Department of Defense that any business, regardless of size, could participate in. Businesses putting veterans on their payroll would see that factored into their bids for government contracts.


“Many veterans who have sacrificed on our behalf find a tough job market when they leave the armed forces,” said Kilmer. “I want to make sure we don’t forget our obligation to servicemembers. That’s why I’m introducing legislation that provides another reason for businesses interested in federal contracts to hire veterans and give them a chance to succeed in the civilian workforce.”


In 2013, the unemployment rate for veterans was 7.3 percent. Washington state’s 6th District is home to more than 25,000 active duty and reserve service members, along with more than 50,000 veterans and their families. Naval Base Kitsap, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and many other important facilities and vessels are located in the 6th District. Many residents (both civilian and servicemembers) also work at nearby Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) – Washington state’s third largest employer.


Rep. Kilmer’s other amendment to the NDAA would authorize overtime payments for shipyard workers who conduct nuclear maintenance on the U.S. aircraft carrier stationed in Japan. Shipyard workers at the Puget Sound Shipyard who volunteer to go overseas will lose the ability to collect overtime from the Navy this September without an extension from Congress.


“Civilian workers at the nation’s shipyards work tirelessly to help keep our naval edge on the seas,” Kilmer continued. “It’s time to ensure that when they go overseas to make needed carrier repairs they get paid the same as they would in the United States. It is not fair for us to ask them to leave their families for four to six months and compensate them less. I hope to see this as part of the National Defense Authorization Act we will discuss on the floor.”


Separately, Representative Kilmer and Representative Cole jointly introduced an amendment to the NDAA to limit the Department’s ability to furlough civilian employees funded through working capital projects when it would not save taxpayers any money.

Puget Sound waters to run red near Joint Base Lewis McChord

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Red dye will be injected into treated wastewater this week at Joint Base Lewis McChord’s wastewater plant then monitored in a state health department study. The Department of Health, along with federal, tribal, state and local agencies, are doing the study in the Puget Sound waters off Solo Point in Pierce County to see where shellfish are safe to harvest.

The test will be on Monday and Tuesday. Red dye will likely be visible in the waters near the treatment plant. Tracking will include gauging the wastewater’s movement and dilution. The dye isn’t harmful to people, marine life, or the environment.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is funding this test as part of a larger study, which includes other pollution surveys and ongoing marine water quality monitoring. Results will help determine whether closed shellfish beaches in some areas of Pierce County could be reopened to harvest.

The Department of Health is responsible for the safety of commercial shellfish harvested in the state. The agency’s Office of Shellfish and Water Protection uses national standards to classify all commercial shellfish harvesting areas.

Peacock Named Community Executive for Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter

Prior to the Red Cross, Peacock was the senior vice-president for the American Heart Association and the executive director for the American Cancer Society in South Puget Sound. She is a graduate of the University of Washington at Tacoma and currently serves on its advisory board. She is a longtime member of Tacoma Rotary No. 8 and has served as a volunteer firefighter. In 2007, Peacock was recognized as a business leader in the “40 Under Forty” Club for Pierce County. Her husband is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and they have two sons. The family resides in Tacoma.

“From house fires to family military emergencies, I’m honored to be part of an organization that helps people when they need it most,” said Peacock. “I look forward to working with our volunteers, staff and community partners to expand our efforts and keep our communities safe and strong.

The American Red Cross is a nonprofit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. For more information, visit or