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Kilmer will run for Oke’s seat

State Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) announced yesterday that he will run for the 26th District Senate Seat left vacant by retiring Sen. Bob Oke (R-Port Orchard).

Oke announced to his colleagues on March 4 that he will not seek re-election this fall.

His term expires in January.

Kilmer was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives in 2004, replacing the incumbent, Lois McMahan.

McMahan an-nounced her candidacy for Oke’s seat last week.

“Two years ago, the voters of our area decided they wanted a change,” Kilmer said. “They wanted someone who could get things done on issues they care about. In 2004 and four times now, voters in our area have decided that Lois McMahan isn’t that person. I’m confident and hopeful that, when voters compare our records this fall, they will make the same decision.”

“Derek Kilmer is someone who gets things done,” said U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, in his endorsement of Kilmer. “He’s focused on the right issues — like growing more local jobs — and he’s making terrific progress. He has my full support.”

In addition to Dicks’ endorsement, Kilmer’s candidacy has been endorsed by Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel, Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman, Gig Harbor Mayor Chuck Hunter, Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge, Port Orchard City Council members John Clauson, Fred Chang and Rita DiIenno, Bremerton City Council member Carol Arends, and Port of Bremerton Commissioners Bill Mahan and Mary Ann Huntington.

“I feel like I have made a real impact on many of our priorities,” Kilmer said. “I’m excited about the possibility (of getting) more done in the state Senate. In the years ahead, we’ll need strong leadership in the Senate to fight for our priorities and get results. I will continue to fight for more local jobs, better education for our kids and our fair share of transportation dollars.”

When he is not in Olympia, Kilmer serves as the Business Retention Manager for the Economic Development Board (EDB) for Tacoma-Pierce County. He is also a member of the Port Orchard and Bremerton Chambers of Commerce and serves on the board of the Gig Harbor-Peninsula Area Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to his work at the EDB, Kilmer was a management consultant for McKinsey & Co..

Kilmer serves as a Trustee of Tacoma Community College, which has a campus in Gig Harbor. He is the former vice chair of Communities in Schools of the Peninsula, a nonprofit organization focused on helping kids succeed in school and in life.

Kilmer lives with his wife, Jen, in Gig Harbor. They’re expecting their first child later this month.

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