Press Releases

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will speak at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 17 at the Auburn commuter rail station at 23 A Street SW, Auburn at the inaugural run of the Puget Sound’s first regular rush hour rail transit in more than 60 years.

“I am very excited about the Tacoma to Seattle rush hour Sounder trips,” said Smith. “The train gives South Sound residents a viable option in their daily commutes.”

The Sunder’s two weekday, rush hour 55-minute trips go from Seattle to Tacoma and stop in Sumner and Auburn. Service will expand throughout the Ninth District, going to Kent in November, Puyallup in February, and Tukwila in September.

“Since coming to Congress in 1997, transportation funding has been a top priority to me and the rest of the Washington delegation,” Smith said. “It’s very exciting to see the results and to know that they will make a real difference in our region’s transportation problems.”

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith today voted to override President Clinton’s veto of H.R. 8, legislation to repeal the estate tax, of which he is a co-sponsor.

“The estate tax hurts countless family-owned farms and businesses,” Smith said. “Too many family farms and businesses are sold before they can be passed to the next generation or must be dismantled, mortgaged, or liquidated in order to pay the tax bill. That hurts employees, not just employers, and costs jobs.”

Smith, a co-sponsor of H.R. 8, has had a longstanding commitment to estate tax relief. Last year, he authored his own estate tax bill which would have immediately repealed the estate tax for all family-owned businesses and farms.

“Under current law, only the first $675,000 of a decedent’s estate is exempt from estate taxes. Beyond that, the value of the estate is taxed at rate ranging from 18 to 60 percent. This is extremely burdensome to family-owned businesses and farms, because while a business or farm may hold assets greater than $675,000, rare is the company or farm that has the kind of liquid cash necessary to pay the high tax bill,” Smith explained. 

On June 9, the House passed H.R. 8. Last month, President Clinton vetoed the the bill. The House was unsuccessful in its attempt to override the veto by a 274-157 margin (290 votes were necessary to override the veto).

“Unfortunately, we came up short,” said Smith. “However, I do believe that the closeness of the vote demonstrates to the President that there is a substantial number of Members of Congress – including Democrats – who believe that estate tax relief is needed, and I am still hopeful that we can make progress on this issue as we negotiate the budget this fall.”


Saying it will improve soldiers’ quality of life and continue modernizing the Army, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith is leading efforts to bring the Army’s on-line learning initiative to Fort Lewis as a pilot project.

“eArmyU will ensure that our Army Personnel have access to educational opportunities,” said Smith. “What’s more, it provides a real service to the men and women serving in the Army and will bolster our recruitment and retention efforts.”

eArmyU is an innovative new program announced by Army Secretary Louis Caldera at Fort Lewis earlier this year that expands Army soldiers’ access to education through on-line distance learning. 

eArmyU will offer educational opportunities from a diverse consortium of colleges, universities and technical schools linked by computer technology. “Soldiers would be able to access on-line courseware anytime, anywhere,” explained Smith, “so that deployments overseas would not interfere with progress toward a degree.” Each soldier will be issued a tech package consisting of a laptop computer, printer, Internet access and technical support. eArmy U has a six-year price tag of $550 million with $50 million in FY01. 

On Monday, Smith spoke with Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera to urge Fort Lewis’s selection as a pilot site. “Secretary Caldera was very positive, and he assured me that our proposal would be closely looked at,” said Smith. “He also noted that community support, from county and city leaders to businesses to Fort Lewis personnel, would be an instrumental factor.”

Last week, Smith convened a meeting attended by leaders from throughout Pierce County. Supporters of bringing eArmyU to Fort Lewis include the Port of Tacoma, Lakewood Mayor Bill Harrison, the Washington State Software Alliance, the Frank Russell Company, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.
According to the Army, the two or three pilot sites will be selected based on a number of factors including:

An adequate number of qualified soldiers;
An adequate Internet and telecommunications infrastructure; and
Portability: soldiers that are on rotations oversees.
The Army has also indicated that site selection would occur on or about September 8.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith and HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Cardell Cooper, announced today two major economic development grants for Washington State.

The City of Tukwila will receive over $4 million in economic development funding for Tukwila Village, a mixed use development between a private developer, the McConkey Development Corporation, and the City of Tukwila.

The project will create a town center featuring a neighborhood public services building, two three-story buildings with office and retail space, restaurants, 24 affordable condominiums, a 214 space parking deck and public plaza. The project is expected to create 181 new jobs.

“This is a good example of the direction economic development needs to go in our area,” said Smith. “The Puget Sound has been blessed with a great deal of economic prosperity, but that economic development has not been spread evenly throughout the region. This funding will help to spread some of that prosperity so that South King County isn’t stuck with airports and garbage dumps for its economic development.”

Specifically, Tukwila will receive a $455,000 Economic Development Initiative (EDI) Grant, as well as $3,630,000 in Section 108 loan guarantees. Section 108 loan guarantees provides communities with a source of financing for economic development, housing rehabilitation, public facilities and large scale physical development projects. The EDI funds will pay for interest during the first two years of the Section 108 loan repayment.


Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will present a donation of $500 to the Des Moines Senior Center on Thursday, August 24th, at 12:00 p.m. at the Des Moines Senior Center.

The $500 is from Smith’s congressional pay raise. Although he voted against the pay raise, it became law. As he has done with past Congressional pay raises, Smith promised to donate it to local community and education programs. The $500 donation will allow the Des Moines Senior Center to purchase new tables for their daily program activities. 

“The Des Moines Senior Center is a vital part of our community, and offers a variety of excellent services to seniors,” Smith said. “I am very pleased to donate part of my pay raise to the Center and look forward to having lunch with constituents at the newly purchased tables.”

The Des Moines Senior Center’s mission is to provide a full monthly calendar of programs, services, drop-in activities, special events, classes, and a hot lunch five days a week.