Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement after Secretary Arne Duncan and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Washington State was awarded a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant that will provide up to $60 million to fund its early childhood education programs:

“I congratulate leaders from the Washington State Department of Early Learning on this incredible achievement. A high-quality early childhood education is the foundation for a successful future and is paramount to building stronger communities and a strong economy. This was a competitive process, and to be chosen from 35 applicants around the country speaks to the quality of their ideas and commitment to the students they serve.

“I applaud Washington’s education leaders on this accomplishment and look forward to the implementation of these programs and working towards their success.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Col. Tommy Brittain, Washington State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond and King County Councilmember Julia Patterson made the following statements after U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $15 million TIGER III grant to fund the I-5 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Area Congestion Management Project and a $10 million TIGER III grant to fund the South Link Lightrail Extension Project:

"Helping secure funds for projects that improve transportation throughout our region is one of my top priorities,” said Congressman Smith. “These grants will help alleviate traffic for military personnel and communities around the JBLM corridor and save commuters time and money. They will also improve freight traffic, benefiting our local economy while adding hundreds of jobs to our region. These are significant wins for our district and I thank Congressman Dicks, along with Senators Cantwell and Murray for their longstanding support.”

"We're grateful for the efforts of everyone involved to address the growing traffic congestion that has affect JBLM and our neighboring communities,” said Col. Tommy Brittain. “We have worked very closely with local communities, regional and state agencies, and federal and state legislators, to develop strategies that mitigate the congestion brought about by growth in Pierce and Thurston Counties, as well as our growth here at JBLM. This grant is yet another indicator of the positive, cooperative relationship we enjoy with our neighbors, and we look forward to continuing to work together to find solutions to regional challenges."

"A true partnership is bringing about transportation improvements in the JBLM corridor," said Washington State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. "Our state delegation in D.C. helped win these federal dollars, and we have partners at the base and in Pierce County and local cities. With this grant money, we can make transportation investments in this critical corridor that will have an immediate impact on reducing some of the congestion."

"The South Link Project provides South County residents increased mobility to get to and from work, helps protect the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road, and provides huge opportunities for economic development around the station area,” said Sound Transit Board and King County Councilmember Julia Patterson. “I offer my congratulations to all our partners in this effort."

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the conclusion of the Iraq War:

“I am pleased to see that President Obama has followed through on his pledge to responsibly redeploy United States combat forces from Iraq by the end of the year. Over the last 8 years, our troops have done a tremendous job protecting U.S. national security and supporting the Iraqi people as they seek to establish a stable, prosperous nation. I want to applaud our troops for their hard work and thank them for their sacrifice. 

“The United States is concluding a long, difficult conflict in Iraq and this announcement initiates a new chapter in U.S-Iraqi relations. Iraq is a newly emerging democracy, and there will be tough times ahead, but we will continue to work with our partners in the region and through our diplomatic resources to support the Iraqi people as they transition from a period of conflict, to a period of peace.

“Over the last few years, we have witnessed the removal of multiple terrorist leaders, including Osama Bin Laden and the disposal of a tyrant in Libya. The concluding of this conflict continues to build on the Administration’s foreign policy successes and I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration as we work to ensure U.S. national security. ”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement after the House passed the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act:

“Today marks another milestone in our work to support the men and women of our Armed Services and I want to thank Chairman McKeon, all members of the committee and staff for their hard work and commitment to bipartisanship. Producing this bill has been a truly bipartisan effort. I also would like to thank all of my colleagues in the House for the work they put into creating this piece of legislation.

“Overall, this bill prioritizes our troops deployed in Afghanistan, and around the world by ensuring that they have the tools and resources they need to do their job and protect national security. It also provides our troops and their families with the benefits and support that they deserve, including a 1.6 percent pay increase.

“It continues to make counterterrorism a priority and makes significant investments in all branches of our Armed Services, ensuring that our military is prepared to meet the threats of today as well as the future. It supports our troops as they continue to fight overseas, invests in new technologies for the future, and protects vital military equipment production capacity here at home.”

Provisions within the National Defense Authorization Act include:
  • $519 million for military construction projects in Washington State
  • 1.6 percent pay increase for troops
  • $1.683 billion for military family housing
  • Required enhancements to psychological health, military suicide prevention and post-suicide response programs
  • Significant enhancements to Department of Defense sexual assault and harassment policies
  • Six year reauthorization of the Small business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer

Download the National Defense Authorization Act conference report.

Download the National Defense Authorization Act
conference report summary.

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Senator Patty Murray, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Governor Christine Gregoire have launched a campaign to ensure that Fairchild Air Force Base becomes home to the next generation of aerial refueling tankers. As part of that campaign, Washington state’s full congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley to outline the exceptional assets Fairchild has to offer the new fleet. The letter was sent in conjunction with efforts by Washington state legislative leaders who also voiced their support for tanker placement at Fairchild.

"Fairchild Air Force Base has been a historic part of our nation’s aerial refueling effort and is well suited to achieve global-level reach to the emerging Asia-Pacific theater,” the delegation members wrote. “Fairchild provides an exceptional quality of life for its airmen and the local community has embraced the base. The Spokane community has a rich history with the military and embraces military personnel, their families, and retirees through programs and events that have drawn numerous military recognitions awarded to the community.”

The KC-46A is intended to replace the U.S. Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers which has been the primary refueling aircraft for more than 50 years. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft.

The full text of the letter follows:

Michael B. Donley
Secretary of the Air Force
1690 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330

Dear Secretary Donley,

On behalf of the State of Washington, we would like to thank you for the service and sacrifice made by the men and women and their families of the United States Air Force on behalf of our nation. It is with that gratitude that we write to you today in support of the KC-46A aerial refueling program and the Air Force’s strategic basing process. As you know, the KC-46A will play a critical role in the United States’ global strategy. Mission successes will rely heavily on the strategic basing determination process and the effective and efficient use of these aircraft.

Fairchild Air Force Base has been a historic part of our nation’s aerial refueling effort and is well suited to achieve global-level reach to the emerging Asia-Pacific theater. The base is a strategic staging platform supporting the rapid worldwide global mobility mission with access to a number of aerial refueling routes while minimizing transit fuel consumption.

Fairchild is also home to a classic association of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing with the Air National Guard 141st Air Refueling Wing. The association marries the best the active duty and reserve component have to offer, providing for world-class aerial refueling, airlift and aeromedical evacuation capabilities while fostering innovation and efficiency in operation. Together, the integrated ARWs deliver a full spectrum of capability with one of the largest, most experienced organizations in the Air Force today.

The Air Force continues to recognize Fairchild’s assets and has invested over $400 million in base infrastructure over the last several decades. Accommodating the new KC-46A will require a modest investment in infrastructure as the Air Force has already improved the 14,000 foot runway and has plans to build a new Wing Headquarters and improved SERE facilities.

Fairchild provides an exceptional quality of life for its airmen and the local community has embraced the base. It is a strongly desired duty station and is the second-most requested Air Force assignment in the United States. There are also 1000 Air Guard members who reside in the community with additional retirees who choose Spokane as their home following their military careers.

The Spokane community has a rich history with the military and embraces military personnel, their families, and retirees through programs and events that have drawn numerous military recognitions awarded to the community.

The Spokane community has developed a white paper by “Forward Fairchild,” a coalition of Spokane businesses and community advocated that further detail the benefits associated with Fairchild Air Force Base, the Spokane community and Washington State. We have enclosed it for your review.

We look forward to your consideration of Fairchild Air Force Base as a home for the new tanker fleet.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Patty Murray
U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell
U.S. Representative Jay Inslee
U.S. Representative Rick Larsen
U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler
U.S. Representative Doc Hastings
U.S. Representative Norm Dicks
U.S. Representative Jim McDermott
U.S. Representative Dave Reichert
U.S. Representative Adam Smith