Rep. Derek Kilmer’s Flip-Flop on Social Security Is Unacceptable in a District Where 24% of the Population Is on Social Security

June 22, 2020
Contact: Justin Nemon‬,

— Rebecca Parson, candidate for Congress in Washington’s District 6, issued the following statement in response to
recent news that Congressman Derek Kilmer signed a letter backing legislation to cut Social Security, before backtracking under pressure from his own constituents:

“There are 3 options: Rep. Kilmer didn’t read the letter he signed, he doesn’t know about the history of bipartisan efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare, or he's trying to have his cake and eat it, too: publicly praising Social Security while privately trying to cut it,” said Parson.

“Whether he signed the letter due to negligence, ignorance, or doublespeak,” Parson added, “it's clear he shouldn't be representing Washington's 6th District, where 20 percent of our residents are over 65. This isn't hard. No increases in the retirement age. No so-called ‘chained-CPI.’ No reducing the money our people need to survive. No joining with conservatives to undermine the greatest anti-poverty program in our history. That's unacceptable to the grandmother in Tacoma I spoke with who’s living on $750 a month and paying $650 in rent, and it's unacceptable to all seniors in the district.”

The Intercept reported on June 16: 

Kilmer, chair of the corporate-friendly New Democrat Coalition, was among the 30 House Democrats who joined Republicans in signing a letter calling for cuts to Social Security benefits earlier this month… The lawmakers also asked leadership to address the “pressing issue of the national debt.” One of their policy recommendations — Sen. Mitt Romney’s TRUST Act — has been described as “a plot to gut Social Security behind closed doors”

But Kilmer, who’s facing a primary challenge in August from progressive Rebecca Parson in Washington’s 6th Congressional District, which covers most of Tacoma, has been trying to walk back his support for the letter and the attack on Social Security in letters to constituents who had contacted him with concerns about the policy recommendation.


District 6 extends from Tacoma to Aberdeen and Neah Bay to Bainbridge Island.
20 percent of the district are seniors, and 24 percent of the district is on Social Security.

  • Rebecca Parson’s Congressional campaign has raised over $195,000, more than all of Rep. Kilmer’s challengers — from all parties — in the last three cycles combined.
  • With four Republican challengers in the race, in a district that has been blue for 55 years, Parson is in a strong position to qualify in the August 4 primary for the November 2020 general election.
  • Parson is a working-class, LGBTQ candidate for Congress running on a platform to protect and expand Social Security, end homelessness, and guarantee a job and healthcare to all.
  • She believes the district has faltered under Kilmer’s leadership, and that by signing a letter calling for Social Security cuts, Kilmer has shown how out of touch with the district’s needs he is. As the only Washington Democrat to sign the letter, Kilmer has demonstrated how out of step he is with our region.

Parson has received endorsements from Tacoma City Councilmember Chris Beale, Port Angeles City Councilmember Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, Chimacum School Board Director Sarah Martin, the Washington Stonewall Democrats, and the Washington Democrats’ Progressive Caucus.