Press Releases

Today at a reception for the top 15 student submissions, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced the winners of the Congressional Art Contest from the Ninth District.  Jonathan Bachus of Yelm was awarded first place for his linoleum block print titled “Matt,” second place went to Kandis Fries of Spanaway for her watercolor “Washington’s Coastline” and Yelm’s Kourtnee Vanneman received third place for her “Iguana bi Night” linoleum.

“It is always wonderful to see the art and creativity of the students of the Ninth District.  The Congressional Art Contest allows us to show off their talents to the rest of the county and to encourage them to strive for even greater heights with their art,” Congressman Adam Smith said.

Every year for the last 21 years, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have held art competitions in their Congressional districts.  Members bring the winning piece from their district back to Washington, D.C. to be displayed in a corridor of the U.S. Capitol.  

This year, Congressman Smith convened a judging panel consisting of Benjii Bittle, member of the Tacoma Arts Commission, Neil Watson, chief curator of the Museum of Glass, Miriam Barnett, visual artist and chair of the WA State Arts Commission, Marilyn Mahoney, visual artist and member of Tacoma Art Commission and Michael Johnson, visual artist professor at the University of Puget Sound and member of Tacoma Art Commission.

In addition to having his submission displayed at the U.S. Capitol, first place winner Jonathan Bachus will be flown to Washington, D.C. compliments of Southwest Airlines to participate in the opening of the 2002 Congressional exhibition.  In the past, representatives of the arts community participating in the opening celebration have included Tom Cruise, Dean Cain, Billy Baldwin and Sarah Jessica Parker.  Jonathan will also receive a $12,000 scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design, as well as a year’s membership to both the Seattle and Tacoma Art Museums.  His art teacher, Gordon Kells-Murphy, will receive free admission for their class to the Tacoma Art Museum.  Mr. Kells-Murphy is also the teacher for third place winner Kourtnee Vanneman.

Second place winner Kandis Fries and third place winner Kourtnee Vanneman will have their pieces exhibited in Congressman Smith’s district office for one year after the event, where visitors from throughout the Ninth District will be able to view the art.  Both artists will also receive a year’s membership to the Seattle and Tacoma Art Museums.  The top 15 submissions will be exhibited at the Washington State History Museum from May 7 through May 13.

Tomorrow, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) will host a town hall meeting in Puyallup with interested district residents to talk about health care issues in the state.  All district residents are invited join him for an open dialogue on other important community issues in addition to health care— including energy, the economy, tax cuts and education.

Saturday, May 11th — Puyallup 
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Puyallup Public Library
324 South Meridian, Puyallup

Staff from Congressman Adam Smith’s District Office will be on hand to help with any specific problems related to the federal government. Any questions about the Town Hall Meetings should be directed to the Congressman’s District office in Tacoma at (253) 593-6600.  For a recent audio statement from the Congressman on the Medicare reimbursement rate problem in the state, visit our website at

Late tonight, the House passed the Defense Authorization Bill for fiscal year 2003.  The following is a statement from Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) in support of its passage.  

“As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I strongly support HR 4546, the FY03 Defense Authorization bill.  Along with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I worked hard to craft this bill that improves the Montgomery GI Bill benefits (MGIB), addresses our operational needs, helps ready our military for the war on terrorism and improves the quality of life for our servicemembers and veterans. 

“This legislation includes important Montgomery GI Bill improvements for reservists.  This measure increases from 10 to 14 years the time during which reservists can use their educational benefits.  I’ve worked a great deal on this issue and, earlier this year, I introduced the ‘Military Education Extension Act,’ would extend the time limit for use of MGIB benefits to 15 years for both active duty servicemembers and reservists.   While there is clearly more work to do on this issue, I believe this is a step in the right direction.  I’m committed to working with the DOD, the military associations and my colleagues in Congress to enhance education benefits for those who serve our nation.

“The authorization bill helps ready our nation to fight terrorism by providing $7.3 billion for DOD efforts to combat terrorism, including counterterrorism, force protection, counter-intelligence, and anti-terrorism programs, and help stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 

“This measure also makes a great deal of progress in improving the quality of life for our men and women in uniform. First, HR 4546 provides a 4.1 percent military pay raise, with larger pay increases for mid-grade and senior noncommissioned officers and mid-grade officers, reduces out-of-pocket housing costs for military personnel by increasing housing allowances to cover 92.5 percent of all housing costs and provides $500 million more than the President’s request, for military construction and family housing projects.

“Finally, the FY03 authorization bill addresses ‘concurrent receipt’ by eliminating the current offset that causes military retirees who are eligible for veteran’s disability compensation to have their retirement pay reduced. The bill establishes a payment transition program to compensate retirees who are 60 percent or greater disabled until fiscal year 2007, when all such retirees will receive their full retirement and disability compensation.  

“While no bill is perfect - for example, I’m not pleased with the environmental exemptions for the Department - I am confident that HR 4546 provides an effective, comprehensive blueprint for our military.  I believe that this legislation not only does right by our servicemembers, but enhances our military’s capacity to battle terrorism now and in the future.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) spoke on the House floor today regarding Trade Adjustment Assistance.  The following is a short excerpt from his statement followed by the link to his statement online.  

“I rise today to urge the Senate to pass the strongest possible Trade Adjustment Assistance package.  Workers desperately need help dealing with the new economy.  It is the land of opportunity for all of us but there are also challenges.  Workers must continually have access to training and education to update their skills...

“I am a strong supporter of trade.  As a New Democrat, it is one of our top priority issues to open trade throughout the world and give us access to other markets.  Connected to that however, we have to help the workers of our country deal with the challenges and opportunities that come along with that...If the Senate were to put together that type of package, and pass a Trade Promotion Assistance bill with a strong Trade Adjustment Assistance piece, I am very confident they would be able to pass it in the House and they would move forward on two critical policies for this country.”

For more information on Congressman Adam Smith’s position on Trade Promotion Authority, please visit for additional press releases and an audio file of this statement from the House floor.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) praised the extension of the time limit for use of Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits to 14 years at the House Armed Services Committee mark-up of the Defense Authorization Bill this evening.  In doing so, the Committee moved forward on a central component of a bill recently introduced by the Congressman.
“I am pleased that my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee join me in recognizing the value of providing better and more competitive education benefits to our Armed Forces.  Obviously this is a step in the right direction – making the Montgomery G.I. Bill more valuable and useful to our men and women in service,” Smith said.  “But we can, and must, do more.  I am committed to making sure that we maintain the most intelligent and highly-skilled fighting force in the world and I will continue to work with my colleagues to reach that goal.”

Smith recently introduced two bills to improve the quality of life for the U.S. military through increased access to education.  The first bill, H.R.4213 “Expanding Education for Military Families Act,” would allow for full portability of Montgomery G.I. Bill (MGIB) benefits to the family members of enrollees in the MGIB program.  His second bill, H.R.4214 “Military Education Extension Act,” proposes extending the time limit for use of MGIB benefits to 15 years for both active duty servicemembers and reservists.   

For more information on Congressman Adam Smith’s Montgomery G.I. Bill legislation, visit