Press Releases

Today, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) appointed Norma Kelsey as his delegate to the White House Conference on Aging, to be held in Washington, DC from October 23 – 26, 2005. The White House Conference on Aging occurs once a decade to make policy recommendations to the President and Congress, and to assist the public and private sectors in promoting dignity, health, independence and economic security for current and future generations of older Americans.

“I’m pleased that Ms. Kelsey has agreed to serve as the delegate to the White House Conference on Aging for the Ninth District of Washington,” said Smith. “Ms. Kelsey’s many years of advocacy work on behalf of older Americans is a testament to her enthusiasm and tenacity in ensuring equality and thoughtful public policy for everyone in our local community.”

Ms. Kelsey served for 12 years as president of her local union, Office and Professional Employees Local 8. She has served on the boards of the King County Labor Council, El Centro de la Raza and the King County Association for Retarded Citizens. She is currently a member of the board of the Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans.

U.S. Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement calling for the creation of a bipartisan taskforce on ethics:

"Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives had the opportunity to create a bipartisan task force with the responsibility to restore public confidence in the ethics process and to report its findings to the House,” said Smith. “I’m concerned that decisions have been made with regards to House ethics rules on a partisan basis, without proper consultation from both sides of the aisle. I’m disappointed that the majority of my Republican colleagues did not join me yesterday in taking action to ensure that the ethics process in the House is fair and that public confidence can be restored.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith made the following statement today concerning bankruptcy reform:

“Our current bankruptcy system should be reformed. As a matter of personal responsibility, people should, whenever possible, pay off the debts that they have incurred. However, the bankruptcy bill that was before the U.S. House of Representatives today was a missed opportunity to create a reform bill that both promoted personal responsibility and was fair and balanced,” said Smith. “This bill failed to close troubling loopholes, like the homestead exemptions which allow wealthy Americans to shield money in real estate and the creation of trusts where people can hide assets that can’t be touched during bankruptcy proceeding. I’m am also troubled by the growing trend in which credit card companies are actively marketing their products to those who can least afford to take on additional high-interest credit.  This legislation does little to discourage this damaging practice. The Republican House leadership failed to allow any Democratic amendments that could have offered balanced solutions for closing loopholes, protecting consumers and bolstering personal responsibility. Instead, partisan politics shaped this flawed bill and it was because of these flaws I voted against its passage today.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement today on the death of Pope John Paul II:

“The world has lost a visionary leader with the passing of Pope John Paul II. He was a man who possessed empathy for people around the world and whose diplomatic efforts helped bring about the end of the Cold War. He will be remembered as a man who led efforts to help the poor in numerous nations and on all continents and was an inspiration to us all. I join with my fellow Americans in this time of sorrow in remembering a man of compassion and integrity.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) will be traveling today to Thailand and Japan to attend a series of meetings and a forum on global sustainable development initiatives, trade, and global poverty. Smith, a member of the House International Relations Committee, has a strong interest in sustainable development issues and how these tie into the broader picture of global security and poverty.

Smith will participate in the Trade and Poverty Forum (TPF) in Nagoya, Japan. The TPF is a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and is an independent group of prominent citizens from some of the world’s leading developing and industrialized democracies including the U.S., Europe, Japan, India, Brazil and South Africa. The goal of the forum will be to advance concrete, consensus-based trade reform proposals, particularly on agriculture, that could form the basis of an agreement in the current round of World Trade Organization (WTO), the Doha Round.  Smith will serve on a panel called “Trade Reform – State of the Doha Round: Agriculture and Beyond”.

Smith will also be visiting with officials in Thailand to discuss bilateral economic relations and learn about Thailand’s efforts to combat poverty and promote sustainable development. Some of the officials Smith will meet with in Thailand include the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Thai Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand and members of the American business community in Bangkok.

“The ability to travel and meet with officials and NGOs fighting the global war on poverty first-hand is critical to my understanding of the issues,” said Smith. “I can receive briefings in my District and in Washington, D.C., but you learn so much more when you’re on the ground and meeting with people who work on these issues every single day. Global poverty is a force that is very destabilizing to the global economy, but it also has far reaching consequences for global health and security. Global poverty is directly linked to conflicts throughout the world. Through sustainable development initiatives, we will be able to reduce poverty levels in developing nations and work to create a safer and secure global environment.”

Smith will be returning at the end of the Spring Congressional recess.