Press Releases

The following statement by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) follows his recent trip to Iraq over the past weekend:

“I recently returned from a trip to visit our troops in Iraq.  I met with our military’s top leaders in the region and I was also able to meet with some of the soldiers, Marines and airmen from Washington state. They are doing a great job and we should make every effort to support them.

One common thread that I heard over and over again is the strain that is being placed upon our troops as their deployments stretch out longer and longer. This is a strain on both our troops and their families back at home. We need to take action to reduce the enormous strain that our operations in Iraq have placed on our service members, including those in the Guard and Reserve.  As I have witnessed first hand in Iraq, we have a dramatic need to increase the number of troops in our active duty military. If we’re going to continue to be actively engaged around the world, we must make sure we have enough active duty members to support our missions.

We also cannot afford to abandon our reconstruction efforts in Iraq. In order to ensure that Iraq will not reemerge as a destabilizing force in the Middle East, we must establish security there and help Iraqis build the foundations for a democracy. To pull out of Iraq at this point would leave a shattered country in the hands of whichever militant group is able to establish control and suppress the Iraqi people. As we have seen in Afghanistan and elsewhere, unstable countries in which people lack basic freedoms are the most likely to become breeding grounds for terrorism. Without question, leaving Iraq in this condition would create an even graver threat to our security and that of our allies in the region.

In my role on both the House Armed Services and International Relations Committees, I will continue to support our mission in Iraq and will keep working to make sure we effectively address the challenges that arise in its reconstruction. First and foremost, though, we must continually remember ours sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors who are on the front lines, throughout the world in this War on Terror. They deserve our constant attention and we must show them all of the support that we can offer.”

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) announced that Katie Kuciemba will be his new scheduler and office manager in his Washington, D.C. office and Scott Heinze will be a new field representative in his district office in Tacoma, Washington.

Kuciemba joins Smith’s office after working at Quinn Gillespie & Associates where she was the executive assistant to Jack Quinn. Prior to her move to Washington, D.C., Kuciemba worked in the Office of Community Outreach for Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. She has also served as the legislative assistant to Washington state Senator Jeri Costa. Katie, a native of Federal Way, is a graduate of the University of Washington.

Heinze joins Smith’s District office in Tacoma after recently working as the assistant director of outreach for Kent Youth & Family Services. Prior to this position, Heinze worked as a consultant and coordinator in the Parks & Recreation field and as the executive director of a non-profit organization.  He also has spent six years working as a park officer for the City of Spokane and as a police officer for the City of Tukwila.

Heinze will primarily focus on education, law and justice issues, the environment and health care. Heinze is a graduate of Eastern Washington University.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) issued the following statement on the passing of President Ronald Reagan:

I am saddened to hear about the passing of President Ronald Reagan. He was a leader at a time when America needed someone who possessed firm determination and a commitment to liberty. He had a vision that engaged the world and led to the end of Soviet Communism and of lifting the iron curtain across Eastern Europe.

My deepest sympathies go to Nancy Reagan and the entire Reagan family. These last few years have been long and hard, but we will always remember the lasting and positive contributions Ronald Reagan left to the free world.

Today, Washington state Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced that he will vote for the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement (USAFTA). 

“As a leader of the New Democrat Coalition in the House, I understand the importance of trade,” Smith said.  “A trade agreement with Australia will certainly help the U.S. economy, but particularly, it will be an economic boom to the Puget Sound region.  Washington state leads the nation in trade with Australia with more than $2.6 billion in exports. The agreement will have the greatest benefit for Washington’s manufacturer employees and ports.”

The free trade agreement will provide for a two-way trade in goods and services between both countries totaling $28 billion annually, while supporting approximately 12, 500 jobs in Washington state alone and more than 270,000 nationally.  The USAFTA would result in immediate duty-free treatment of 99% of U.S. exports of manufactured goods to Australia when the agreement goes into effect

“Expanded trade with Australia will have a significant impact on our region’s manufacturing employees, such as Boeing workers,” said Smith.  Nearly 95% of Qantas Airways’ operating fleet, Australia’s national carrier, is comprised of Boeing aircraft. Boeing projects a $20 billion market for its commercial airplanes and parts in Australia.

Because the Australian and U.S. economies are both modern and industrialized and are at similar levels of development, with similar average wage levels and environmental standards, labor and environment issues have not been a cause of bilateral trade friction.

“Australia’s labor and environmental standards are amongst the strongest in the world,” Smith noted.  “In that regard, it’s a very similar country to the U.S.”

Sixty days from now, President Bush must submit a preliminary list of U.S. laws that would have to be changed in order to comply with the agreement. After entering into the agreement, but within no specific time frame, the President then can submit a draft of the agreement, the implementing legislation, and statement of administrative action to both Houses of Congress. The Congress then has a total of 90 legislative days in which to act. Under trade promotion authority the amount of time for debate on the agreement in both Houses is limited and the vote is strictly a yes or no vote with no amendments.

“If we want to level the playing field and allow our companies and workers to compete in the global economy, we have to negotiate with other countries to get their tariffs and other trade barriers down,” said Smith. “I strongly believe that trade is critical to economic growth.  The United States must be a leader in the world and we need to be aggressively negotiating with the rest of the world.”

As a co-chair of the House New Democrat Coalition, Smith will be working to whip the Democratic vote for the trade agreement.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he has secured $1 million for the National Defense University pilot program. This project has the basic premise that information technology is the keystone for military transformation and network centric warfare.

“As a Member of the House Armed Services committee, it is important that we understand the best way to utilize technology on the battlefield,” said Smith. “The funding of this program gives us information on new uses for information technology for new missions such as stabilization and reconstruction operations and homeland security.  Also, many of these new technologies that form the basis for transforming our military are vulnerable to disruption in various ways which could adversely affect US military capabilities. We have several projects designed to analyze this problem and to suggest possible solutions.”

As a leading proponent of technology, Smith sees the usefulness of this study. The projects will also focus on how we stay ahead of potential military competitors when it is the commercial sector that is driving most of the innovation in this area because competitors have access to the same commercial technology. The program is pursues several projects designed to allow the U.S. military to acquire more efficiently and more quickly new innovative technologies coming out of the commercial IT sector. Finally, the projects will show us the best way to share information technologies with our allies, who are playing an increasingly important role in combat operations.

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Defense Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year