Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in support of the First Step Act, bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation which passed the House today by a vote of 358-36.

“For too long, our broken criminal justice system has harshly condemned those who have offended and served their sentences to failure. Draconian sentencing practices disproportionately hurt communities of color and have led to mass incarceration. Today, with passage of the First Step Act, we are beginning the long-overdue process to correct these historical wrongs and ensure everyone is treated equally under the law.  

“This bill provides retroactive relief under the Fair Sentencing Act, giving a path to freedom for thousands of people serving excessive sentences on crack cocaine charges. It draws upon aspects of the Second Chance Act, prioritizing funding for reentry programs that have been proven to reduce recidivism and lead to better outcomes for those released from prison. Additionally, the legislation will prohibit the solitary confinement of juveniles in federal facilities as called for in the Mercy Act.

“The First Step Act provides a foundation for Congress to enact greater reforms to improve our criminal justice system. Congress must build upon this legislation to push for restorative justice programs at both the federal and state levels in support of a fairer criminal justice system.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith sent a letter to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell urging the agency to implement guidance in response to Section 1044 of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Smith secured this provision in the legislation to allow Highline School District to qualify for over $14 million in Airport Improvement Grant (AIP) funds that the school district was promised in 2002.

“Highline School District needs the FAA to implement guidance my amendment calls for so that the district can apply for the funding that it was promised in 2002 and that Congress clarified the FAA should provide. My hope is that the FAA acts quickly and that both Highline High School and Des Moines Elementary can finally apply for funding to finish critical construction projects that will allow the school district’s students to have quiet learning environments free from distraction and noise annoyances.” 

Sea-Tac Airport is located in the center of Highline School District and many of the district’s schools are impacted by airport noise. A 2002 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Port of Seattle, the FAA, and Highline School District outlined noise mitigation for a number of Highline School District schools. Since the MOA was signed, the Port and the Highline School District met their portion of the funding obligation. During that time, the noise contours around the airport changed, leaving the two schools in areas where they did not qualify for the previously agreed upon funding.

The bipartisan and bicameral amendment that clarified the FAA’s ability to provide the funding promised in the 2002 MOA was incorporated into the FY 2019 NDAA and was signed into law.

The full text of the letter can be found below.  

December 20, 2018


The Honorable Daniel K. Elwell

Acting Administrator

Federal Aviation Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation

800 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20591


Dear Acting Administrator Elwell:

As you work to implement the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, I urge you to swiftly provide guidance related to implementation of Section 1044 of that Act, which clarifies the reimbursable allowed costs of FAA Memoranda of Agreement.

Section 1044 is a provision that affects seven public schools in the congressional district I represent. In 2002, the Highline School District entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Port of Seattle. This agreement was for noise mitigation at several schools in the Highline School District, which are located near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac). Of the fifteen schools identified in the original agreement, eight have already been funded.

Due to changing noise contours and delayed construction by the school district, the FAA raised questions about the continued eligibility of the remaining seven schools, putting at risk critical federal and Port funding at a time when the Highline School District had passed a bond levy and began construction at two of the schools.

Section 1044 was negotiated on a bipartisan, bicameral basis to help resolve this issue and provide Highline School District with the critical funding eligibility needed to foster a safe and healthy learning environment for the students of those schools. In order for the Port of Seattle and Highline High School District to apply for the remaining AIP funding needed to begin construction at these two schools, guidance by the FAA must be issued.

I encourage the agency to act quickly on the direction from Congress and provide guidance pursuant to the implementation of Section 1044 of the FY 2019 NDAA, so that the Port of Seattle and Highline School District may apply for the funding that was agreed to in the 2002 MOA.

Thank you very much for your consideration on this matter.


Adam Smith 

Member of Congress 


Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Adam Smith’s (WA-09) legislation designating the post office at 4301 NE 4th Street in Renton, Washington as the James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix Post Office passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent following its previous passage in the House of Representatives. The legislation was supported by both Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), as well as each member of the Washington State Delegation in the House. The bill now heads to the President’s desk for signature.

“I am honored to join in paying tribute to rock and roll icon and Seattle native Jimi Hendrix with the renaming of the Renton Highlands Post Office as the James Marshall ‘Jimi’ Hendrix Post Office Building. This designation will further celebrate Hendrix’s deep connection to the Puget Sound region and help ensure that his creative legacy will be remembered by our community and inspire future generations.” said Congressman Adam Smith.

“Jimi Hendrix is one of the most influential American artists of all time. This Seattle native son, is truly one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. In honor of his memory and service to our country, it is truly fitting that we move forward in naming the United States Postal Service located at 4301 Northeast 4th Street in Renton, Washington, as the James Marshall ‘Jimi’ Hendrix Post Office Building. The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle strongly supports this effort and applauds Congress for reminding those that patron this facility that his legacy lives on and his memory is etched in the fabric of our country and community,” said Michelle Merriweather, the President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.

“The Northwest African American Museum fully supports the renaming of a local post office to bear the name of Seattle's most recognizable native son, Jimi Hendrix.  His legendary artistic genius chartered new territory within world music.  While his reach was international in scope, his roots trace back to Seattle and we are proud to richly celebrate his legacy as part of his hometown community. This bill, led by U.S. Congressman Adam Smith, will provide a fitting tribute to a Seattle-born global icon whose humility, generosity, musical giftedness, and timeless brilliance will inspire for generations to come,” said LaNesha DeBardelaben, the Director of Northwest African American Museum.

“Today, I voted in support of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, legislation that is also commonly known as the Farm Bill. This legislation provides critical nutrition assistance to individuals and families who rely on help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Washington’s Basic Food Employment and Training Program (BFET). Seniors, low-income families, children, veterans, and those with disabilities participate in these programs to help ensure they stay healthy and have access to food. Local food banks across Washington state count on the availability of these benefits to service communities in need.

“I am also pleased that the Conference Report did not include dangerous environmental provisions and harmful changes to SNAP. Congress has a responsibility to ensure that our farm policy supports nutritional assistance for those that are food-insecure, and that farming is done sustainably with minimal harm to the environment. This bill makes meaningful investments in nutrition programs and avoids disastrous cuts to environmental programs that would have taken our farm policy backwards.”

“I continue to strongly question the deployment of U.S. military servicemembers at our southern border. Furthermore, the decision to extend this deployment to the end of January 2019 is not a responsible use of Department of Defense resources and is the completely wrong approach to the situation. To date, there has not been adequate justification for the use of our military personnel in this way, which is why I have questioned this decision from the beginning.

“The President’s dangerous rhetoric referring to people seeking asylum as an ‘invasion’ deeply misrepresents the situation and needlessly ramps up tension. There is no question that we face a challenge with a rise in the number of people seeking asylum. However, the response should not be deploying troops to our border, but instead increasing resources to process asylum applications, including additional judges and asylum officers.

“Additionally, the continued practice of detaining asylum seekers is inhumane and the cost is overwhelming. It’s abhorrent that there are over 40,000 people in custody in detention centers across the U.S. when we know alternatives to detention are proven to be effective at ensuring compliance with immigration proceedings, and drastically less costly than detention.

“Directing military servicemembers to ‘harden the border’ and provide vague support to Customs and Border Protection misses the point entirely. These people are fleeing violence and persecution to seek asylum. They are turning themselves in, not circumventing our laws. This continued expansion of the use of Department of Defense resources and personnel to fulfill the misguided immigration agenda of this administration, which is not part of the mission of the Department of Defense, must come to an end.”