Congressman from Boeing to retire

Norm Dicks, the prominent Congressman from Boeing who made winning the KC-X contract for Boeing the “highlight” of his career, announced today he is retiring.

Dicks has one of the safest Democratic seats in the State of Washington. His retirement will be a big loss for Boeing in Congress.

27 Comments on “Congressman from Boeing to retire

  1. No it won’t. No matter who gets elected to fill that seat, Democrat or Republican, they will be a big supporter of Boeing, and the rest of their district.

    But, Norm Dicks is one of the very few Democrats I liked.

  2. Norm’s work in Congress is finished.
    And his earning potential there is limited.

  3. I’m not so sure I’m really in favour of having what for lack of a better word could be termed a “Boeing seat” (or an any other company seat, for that matter) in any elected body.

    When you have somebody that is an outspoken proponent of any given company, company policy/targets become political, and there’s a certain danger of reason going out of the window because that MP/congressman/whatever has effectively made it their policy to advance a certain company’s goals for better or worse.
    (Which in a way makes their statements predictable, too – “MP Miller said that we should order from company C” – “He would say that, though, wouldn’t he?”)
    Quite frequently, business and politics become too entangled that way. Campaign donations from the company in question hardly have people raise their eyebrow any more. At the end of their tenure as elected public officials it’s not that uncommon, either, for people to move into lucrative positions as advisors or members of the board of the company they supported all those years. So it becomes very hard to tell – even for the people involved – whether they really are thinking about the best for their electorate when they beat a certain company’s drum – or just the best for their own good.

    All the above is completely regardless of what company or country we’re talking about, by the way. There are plenty of examples of this in Europe as well. The German Federal President just stepped down because he had a hard time separating personal and political favours. Also see e.g. Franz Josef Strauß’s passion for Airbus, government ministers moving to electric utility companies, many German politicians’ love for the car industry, or many UK politicians’ unquestioning support for the City of London.
    I just responded to this post about Norm Dicks because there seemed to be a certain sense of dolour in Scott’s article that an outspoken Boeing proponent had resigned.

    So in conclusion – Scott often states that the less political influence there is in EADS the better. I would add to this that the reverse is also true: the less company influence there is in politics, the better.

    • afromme, Boeing doesn’t have a seat in Congress, no company or political party “owns” any seat in the Congress. They are the people’s seats.

  4. Well Norm always made sure the warfighter got the best, requirements/ selection wasn’t tailored to specific companies, everybody got a fair chance and weapon selection and job creation stayed far away from each other. Kudos for that.

    • Exactly what the late Senator from Boeing, Henry “Scoop” Jackson, used to do. Always looking out for the warfighter. 😉

  5. Yes, he always did that, I liked, and miss Senator “Scoop” Jackson.

  6. This news made my day! I personally know Norm and this is long overdue.

  7. Norm is my congressman, he has supported the navy installations in our area tremendously. I feel he has not always voted for the troops in the field to tow the D line, there were also a lot of Q’s with respect to Jack Murtha but he is one of the few D congressmen that I support. There used to be a lot of congresmen and senators from both parties that believed in a strong defense, now the ranks are thin. Jackson, Magnusson, Gorton, and Dicks all hailed from WA.

    I am a little surprised that he waited until now, he indicated he wanted to help get good district boundaries, which he did but now people are scrambling to field a replacement.

  8. Just one Question…
    Did the senator from Boeing object or support the Charleston adventure?

    • He was pretty silent about it, previously he has sided with the Union in nearly all cases, in particular as his base is in WA not that Right to Work state of the south.

      • Correct, he had the good sense to stay out of that mess. BTW, Norm Dicks is a Congressman, not a Senator.

    • Congressman then… if he supports the unions over Boeing, should’t he be the “congressman from IAM” (even rhymes better)

  9. I think Norm needs a real good replacement in the coming yrs to make sure Boeing gets all the support it needs.

    The 777-x is still 7 yrs out, 787 will remain a money absorber for some time and the airlines aren’t stumbling over each order to sign up to the many MAX “commitments”.

    SW seems solid (but cheap), the others all have their own question marks; Lion (financials), Norwegian (scale) AA (Chapter 11). Where’s UA/Co, DL/NWA, Ryair and the Chinese/ Japanese?

    • keesje, a US Congressman, or US Senator has very little influence on sales of commerical aircraft from Boeing, if they have any at all.

      UA has yet to order anything to replace their older and decriped A-320s. UA has yet to release an RFI or RFP for their NB fleet, and are still taking deliveries of the B-737-800s. The same with Japan, China, and Korea. DL placed an order last year for about 100 B-737-900ERs, and won’t need to place another NB order for some time. FR painted themselves into a corner, Airbus won’t sell to them and Boeing doesn’t need them. They might be able to buy some C-Series, C-919s or Russian aircraft. Maybe they might talk about the E-190?

      JT looks good for now. In 2009 they carried some 21 million passengers, in 2010, that jumped by some 30% to about 27 million passengers carried. Seeing that all Indonesian airlines combined carried some 53 million passengers in 2010, that means JT carried almost 50% of them. In 2011, they carried some 85,000 passengers per day (average) for a new total of more than 31 million. Their growth looks good, at least for now.

      • UA is to place an order for its narrow-body fleet as early as this month or next. It received proposals in December.

  10. Yes, Norm Dicks did a very good job, especially for Boeing, when he ap-
    parently was directly involved with the last minute reversal of the expect-
    ed very large order for KC-30 T/T’s for the US Airforce.
    Good as that contract is for Boeing, I was always concerned that protect-
    onism can be and often is, a very dangerous thing to do, because it works
    both ways!
    Now, I just received the March TEAL GROUP CORPORATION newsletter,
    dated February 2012, from our mutual friend Richard Abaulafia, which
    reads, in part:
    Dear Fellow International Relations Fans,
    Times have changed. Foreign aircraft manufacturers, fleeing draconian
    defense budget cuts in their home countries, are clearly finding a less hos-
    pitable reception. Foreign aircraft primes seeking to enter the US market
    have suffered a recent series of unpleasant reversals.
    And of course there was Airbus’s KC-30 tanker cancelled KC-X contract,
    producing the greatest transatlantic spleen venting since 1812.
    Every contract death tells a story. But epidemiologists point out that a
    cluster of deaths tells a more interesting story. Looking closer at each
    contract death (and ignoring the cluster they create) produces a series
    of understandable fates.
    What’s important is perception. To foreign companies, the US defense
    game has gotten protectionist. Foreign company executives feel they can’t
    win, even if they use a US partner (all of the dead programs involved a
    US partner).
    They are starting to vent their anger .

    There’s another problem. The recent deaths were accompanied by a well-
    meaning but potentially dangerous US Government initiative.
    Also in February, the US Ex-Im Bank, in conjunction with Citibank and
    Boeing, announced a $740 million fund to help small businesses that pro-
    vide Boeing with civil jetliner parts.
    In times like these, helping small businesses is a populist vote grabber.
    But for those of us international relations majors out there, this initiative
    also reeks of local jetliner con- tent promotion, which is illegal under the
    WTO’s Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft (ATCA) treaty.
    This is also the kind of industrial policy the Europe likes to mess around
    The line between “let’s create a level playing field” and “let’s enjoy the
    benefits of a job-creating industrial pol- icy that favors domestic producers,
    just like the Europeans do” isn’t really that thick.
    In short, the US has five foreign aircraft contract deaths, which are on their
    own quite explicable and justifiable. We’ve got a US jetliner content support
    program that looks irresistible to export promoters and the aerospace in-
    dustrial base.
    But add it all up, and the US has a growing international aero- space image
    In a time when US aerospace is more dependent on exports than ever,

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