Notes from the Road
As your Representative in Congress, my job is to listen to the people I represent and take your concerns back to Washington to make sure our district has a voice. This happens in many ways: letters, phone calls, emails, Facebook messages and even Twitter posts. But, my favorite way to communicate is in person, visiting one-on-one with constituents to answer questions and talk candidly about the issues facing our country.
I'm grateful for the opportunities in the Congressional schedule that allow time to travel throughout the 2nd Congressional District and meet with those I represent at home in their communities. This District Work Period, I was able to take meetings and make stops in Andalusia, Dothan, Evergreen, Eufaula, Greenville, Millbrook, Montgomery, Prattville, Tallassee, Troy, Wetumpka and other places along the way.
Wherever I go, I always try to offer a legislative update, hitting some of the “highlights” and “low lights” of Congressional business, particularly on issues that directly impact local communities. One of the main highlights people were pleased to hear about is the recently enacted five-year highway funding bill, a significant accomplishment for our local and state governments. For years we have been operating on short-term fixes, leaving local leaders without the certainty they need to plan for local infrastructure projects.
Another positive highlight was the recently passed bill finally replacing “No Child Left Behind” and sending education decisions back to the states and local governments where they belong. Our educators have needed relief from these burdensome policies for some time, and I was proud to play a part in passing a new law that ends the federal coercion of education decisions.
Both of these bills – the highway funding bill and the education bill replacing “No Child Left Behind” – are good bills critical to supporting economic development. This is how Congress is supposed to work, delivering policies that take the power out of Washington and allow communities to prosper.
Of course, there was one major “low light” to report, and that was the passage of the final Omnibus spending bill, which I opposed. As someone who worked hard all last year to craft conservative appropriations bills, it was disappointing to say the least that much of our work was discarded in the final bill.
I voted against the Omnibus because it failed to adequately curb federal spending and use the “power of the purse” to change the Obama Administration’s behavior on major issues of concern. It was the opposite of regular order and a good example of why the process matters.
I appreciate everyone who shared their thoughts with me, and I encourage more input and feedback as we go along. As always, I carry your views, concerns and frustrations with me to Washington where I continue to fight for conservative solutions on your behalf.