U.S. representative meets with local leaders, constituents
February 3, 2012
By Christina Lords
Although congressional redistricting doesn’t shift the city of Newcastle’s representation from the 8th to the 9th Congressional District until 2013, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith says he’s already prepared to make his case of focusing on the still-sluggish economy, job growth, and needed tax and education reform to his new constituency.
The congressman — whose district now spans the area south and east of Seattle, including Newcastle, Federal Way, Renton and Bellevue — met with about 75 local government officials, business sector representatives and Newcastle residents at an informal gathering at Newcastle’s City Hall on Jan. 14.
While the physical boundaries of his district may change, the regional focus of his work — which includes supporting higher education and technical colleges to teach skills needed to maintain manufacturing and other skilled-labor jobs — will not, he said.
“There is nothing there illogical at all about my representing Newcastle, Bellevue, Mercer Island, the central district, the international district,” he said. “It fits perfectly with the issues that we’ve been working on.”
Smith’s district will become the state’s first majority-minority district, with more than 50 percent of the district’s constituents made up of racial or ethnic minorities.
The U.S. must continue to remain viable in the global market of manufacturing and technology-related jobs, especially when those sectors continue to expand rapidly in countries like China, Smith said.
“When you think about this economy, when you think about people who are desperate for jobs who have been unemployed for two years, and they don’t have the right skills to match … we have to fix that,” Smith said.
Technical and community colleges must receive adequate funding that allows students to be workforce-ready with applicable skills within one or two years, he said.
Employers should continue to reach out to colleges and high schools within the region to make sure students have hands-on experience in a trade, Smith said.
“The other thing that is critical is to get young people into these businesses so they understand how those businesses function … if you understand a business, you become employable,” he said.
Smith said Congress has a unique opportunity to re-examine the federal tax system after 2010’s two-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts comes to an end.
“Simplifying that code would … free up a lot businesses and investors to have a far more predictable and understandable environment and at the same time bring in more revenue,” he said.
At age 25, Smith was elected to the Washington State Senate in 1991 through 1996. In 1997, Smith beat out incumbent Republican Randy Tate for the 9th District seat.
Smith serves as a ranking member of the House’s Armed Services Committee and has also served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Committee. He lives in Tacoma with his wife and two children.
Call Smith at his Tacoma office at 253-593-6600 or go to his website at http://adamsmith.house.gov/contact to send him an email.