Press Releases

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith offers his congratulations to the Oppong family as they celebrate their long-awaited reunion with sons, Samuel Jr. A reception will be held at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church on Sunday, February 25, 2001 at 12:00 p.m..

When Samuel Jr. Oppong was one year old, he came down with malaria two days before he was to leave with his parents for the United States. He did not recover until ten days after his visa expired. His parents, Samuel and Irene, have been desperately trying to ensure the arrival of Samuel Jr. to the United States for over four years.

Finally, after an exhaustive process and with the assistance of a committee formed by Lake Burien Presbyterian Church coupled with the help from Congressman Adam Smith's office, Samuel Jr.arrived on January 31, 2001.

"I am very pleased to be a part of the process that allowed such a happy reunion," Smith said. "Although it has been a long procedure, I am encouraged by the community effort on behalf of the Oppongs by Lake Burien Presbyterian Church. The Church saw a problem and formed a committee to help the Oppong family follow the legal steps to bring their son home to them. The Church also moved to act to help other children on Ghana avoid malaria by making beds tents to send to Ghana. The congregation both recognized the broader issue that lay behind this family's separation and made a contribution to solving that problem. I applaud them for both support of the Oppong family and for their outreach to Ghana."

The reception will be help at 15003 - 14th Avenue SW in Burien.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will visit the East Side Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Pierce County Thursday, February 25, 2001 to help celebrate the opening of their new computer lab. Smith made a request on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club to General Service Administration (GSA) for 24 computers. GSA, the government agency that handles all excess government equipment, granted the request.

"I am very pleased that I have been able to help facilitate the donation of these computers to the Pierce County Boys and Girls Club, which provides important services to the Pierce County community," Smith said. "I believe the Boys and Girls Club is a great example of communities coming together to improve the lives of children."

The East Side Branch computer lab is now serving approximately 40 youth a day with educational programs including an after-school program called "Homework Help". The lab also serves as a meeting place for Boys & Girls Clubs of Pierce County Technology Club, a club recently formed by some high school students who are excelling in technology and were seeking an opportunity where they could be challenged

"We are very pleased to have our new computer lab complete with 24 computers, thanks to the tremendous support of Congressman Adam Smith," said Gary Yazwa, President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Pierce County.

The ceremony will take place from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. at the Eastside Branch of the Pierce County Boys and Girls Club located at 614 E 64th Street, Tacoma. Congressman Smith will be there from 3:00 to 3:45. Press is welcomed to attend.

"I am very excited to join my House and Senate New Democrat Coalition colleagues in the introduction of the Three R's bill.

As someone who has been working for more flexibility, less bureaucracy, and results-oriented accountability in our K-12 public education system for several years, I couldn't be happier to see this idea take hold in more and more Senators and House members and, in particular, President Bush. Consolidating federal programs, reducing red tape, targeting funding to those school districts most in need, and demanding results is a framework for a better federal role in the K-12 education system that I hope a majority of Democrats and Republicans will coalesce around.

While our ideas are similar, there are differences between our approach and President Bush's approach. We believe in sending the majority of federal dollars to local school districts instead of routing it all through the state governments. We think it's important to preserve Title 1 dollars specifically for disadvantaged students, and we believe in strong and swift action to turn around failing public schools instead of sending money to private schools through vouchers.

However, I am very hopeful that we can bridge these differences and enact meaningful, comprehensive reform of the Elementary and Secondary Act this year. I look forward to working with my congressional colleagues and the White House in the year ahead."

Ninth District Congressman today applauded Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) for re-introducing the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation in the Senate. Smith will join House sponsors Chris Shays (R-Connecticut) and Marty Meehan (D-Massachusetts) in introducing a similar version in the House by the end of the month.

"The legislation would make common sense reforms to the campaign finance system," explained Smith. "Most importantly, it would ban soft money. Soft money contributions are the unlimited and unregulated amounts of money that are given to political parties and then funneled to candidates. It's a loophole that allows big contributors to exceed federal individual contribution limits and public scrutiny."

Although the House passed the Shays-Meehan bill in the last session, supporters in the Senate failed to get the requisite 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. In the 2000 election, five Republican incumbents who opposed McCain-Feingold were defeated by Democrats who support the bill, and Republican Senator Thad Cochran announced his support this year.

"It looks like we've finally secured the sixty votes we need in the Senate," said Smith. "I support Senators McCain and Feingold in their push to see an early vote in the Senate, and I hope that House leadership will follow suit. I look forward to finally seeing this bill become law."

After a meeting today with Governor Gary Locke, a group of state legislators and leaders from the local business community, Congressman Adam Smith (D-09) pledged to continue his work to establish the Technology Institute at the University of Washington-Tacoma.

"In order to maintain and expand our vibrant economy, there is a clear need to establish a technology institute — I will do everything I can to make sure the institute becomes a reality," said Smith. "Given the strong support from all parties at this meeting, I'm very encouraged that we will realize this goal. We are developing a very robust partnership that would bring to bear federal, state and private funding to initiate the Institute."

Smith is working closely with Congressman Norm Dicks, Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and other members of the Washington congressional delegation to identify and secure federal support for the institute. The private sector and the State of Washington have also made substantial investments in the development of the Institute concept.

Recently, Smith spoke with Army Secretary Louis Caldera in an effort to secure $500,000 from the Army to fund a study of the institute. Last week, Smith and Rep. Norm Dicks sent a joint letter to the Secretary in support of planning funds for the institute.

The planning process would develop a strategy for defining the role of the Army in the development of the institute and establishing linkages to industry, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and the University of Washington-Tacoma. Smith believes the institute would provide an incubator and a proving ground for some of the Army's advanced technologies that will be central to the success of ongoing Transformation efforts. Also, the program will offer educational and professional opportunities that will assist the Army in recruitment and retention of personnel.

Should the partnership go forward, it would provide a forum for collaboration among the U.S. Army, Washington's cutting edge tech companies, UW's leading computer science department and the Pacific Northwest National Labs. In the coming decade, the Institute could result in up to 1,000 new technology graduates per year.

Throughout his career in Congress, Smith has worked on behalf of economic development in the South Sound region, particularly on bringing high-technology jobs to the area. He has convened two technology summits focused on workforce development, education and other technology issues.