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Originally published Friday, July 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

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Derek Kilmer or Bill Driscoll to replace Rep. Norm Dicks

The Seattle Times editorial board endorses state Sen. Derek Kilmer, Democrat, and businessman Bill Driscoll, Republican, in the primary election to fill the seat of Rep. Norm Dicks in Washington's 6th Congressional District.

Seattle Times Editorial

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IN the race to replace U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, who has served 18 terms in Congress and is the Democrats' strongest voice on military matters, two candidates stand out among the seven primary contenders: state Sen. Derek Kilmer, Democrat, and businessman Bill Driscoll, Republican.

Kilmer, 38, of Gig Harbor, earned a doctorate in social policy from the University of Oxford. He worked at McKinsey & Co., management consultants, and is now vice president at the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County. Kilmer is chairman of the Capital Budget Committee in the state Senate, where in the last session he promoted a bill for the state to create jobs by borrowing for public construction.

In the state Senate, he represents about one-fifth of Dicks' 6th Congressional District. Kilmer can be a partisan Democrat. He was head of the party's Senate campaign committee and he stuck with his party on the state budget while three of his Democratic colleagues did not. But he broke with his party on several business-climate issues that relate to his economic-development work. He supported a bill to strengthen evaluations of teachers and to tighten up on workers' compensation.

Kilmer has never been in the military but promises to be an advocate on behalf of those serving. On foreign policy, his views are similar to that of the Obama administration.

Driscoll, 49, of Tacoma, is a great-great-grandson of Frederick Weyerhaeuser. He earned a master's degree in management from Northwestern University's Kellogg School and served a hitch in the Marine Corps. He worked at Weyerhaeuser as manager of sales and marketing for a packaging plant in Longview and set up a factory in China. He is a director of two timber companies: Potlatch Corp., Spokane, and Greenwood Resources, Portland. He bankrolled his campaign with $500,000, matching the money already raised by Kilmer.

Driscoll has never held public office, but his work abroad in business and the military give him global experience. In 2006, he rejoined the Marines and served in Anbar province in Iraq and in Helmand and Farah provinces in Afghanistan. He says he would be a strong advocate for the troops while being wary of other foreign wars. "We need tighter control of the use of the military," he says.

Driscoll is conservative on spending and debt, but unlike many Republicans he favors abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

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