By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Eight-year-old Sophie Kilmer has been a part of her father’s speeches since birth but has lately moved toward center stage.
“One morning she asked me what I was doing that day, and I told her about this great event I was attending about providing economic opportunities and educational opportunities for women, and she said ‘Dad, that’s my agenda,’” Kilmer said Sunday in a speech at the Jefferson County Democrats’ annual Fish Feast.
Kilmer described how Sophie retrieved a workbook from her bedroom, flipped to the page where it had the heading “When I am elected president I will . . .” and her answer was “women will get paid the same as men.”
“Derek has a lovely wife who could be smarter than him,” state Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, said in his introduction of Kilmer.
“He also has two beautiful daughters that I know are smarter than him.”
Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat and the representative of the 6th Congressional, addressed about 325 people at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds during an event that raised about $15,000 to support advertising and media for the county’s Democratic candidates.
This year, there are no Republican candidates on the local ballot, although Democrat Kathleen Kler is opposed by Dan Toepper, who has stated no party preference, in the race for the District 3 county commissioner seat.
Three of the Jefferson County races have two Democratic candidates each: Judy Maves-Klatt and Rose Ann Carroll for auditor, Dave Stanko and Wendy Davis for sheriff and Scott Rosekrans and Mike Haas for prosecuting attorney.
All of these candidates along with those in uncontested races — Superior Court Clerk Ruth Gordon, Assessor Jeff Chapman and treasurer candidate Stacie Hoskins — gave short speeches prior to the main event Sunday.
Kilmer, 40, is running for his second term and is opposed by Republican Marty McClendon, a Gig Harbor real estate broker who has $9,725 in campaign assets compared to Kilmer’s $1.5 million.
Kilmer’s speech sought to motivate Democrats in the same way as his predecessor, Norm Dicks, who was a regular fish feast speaker.
“We as Democrats embrace a simple principle: equal pay for equal work,” he said.
“We are fighting in Congress to get that done, and I believe it’s time that we end all discrimination — of race, or religion, or gender — and I believe it’s time that you cannot be denied employment based on who you love.”
Kilmer said that people without a high school diploma are 17 percent of the general population and 55 percent of the prison population, adding that he favored spending for schools on the front end instead of paying for prisons on the back end.
He also called for a more restrained foreign policy.
“This is a time of extraordinary upheaval, and it’s very scary when you look at various hot spots around the world,” Kilmer said.
“We need to be a lot more thoughtful as a nation about going to war and embrace the notion that not every foreign policy problem can be solved with a bomb and a tank.
“The challenge in 21st century foreign policy is finding the right tools for the right problem.”
Also addressing the gathering was Washington State Democratic Party Chairman Jaxon Ravens, who provided updates on all of this year’s congressional races.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.