As November kicks off, we have an important privilege in America and I want to encourage you to exercise your right to vote today.
While Congress remains out of session until Nov. 13, I have been traveling throughout our region, meeting with civic groups, local business leaders, students, leaders in the fight against drug abuse, veterans and seniors.
I shared a legislative update with the Rockcastle Chamber of Commerce, the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce, the London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce, as well as community leaders in Bell and Martin Counties to explain how decisions on Capitol Hill could affect Americans in the new year. With the country’s debt totaling $16 trillion, combined with the looming potential for sequestration, large tax increases and the expiration of tax cuts for small businesses, our government faces a fiscal cliff.
I joined Operation UNITE for several events and celebrations in October. Most recently, on Oct. 29, more than 400 people and I braved the snow storm for UNITE’s Bluegrass Policy Forum on Substance Abuse at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. On the panel, I joined Gov. Steve Beshear, Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, State Sen. Robert Stivers, State Rep. Rocky Adkins and State Sen. Brandon Smith for a discussion moderated by KET’s Renee Shaw. Keep reading.
We also celebrated the UNITE Pill Dragon’s one millionth destroyed pill during a “Clean Your Medicine Cabinet Out” event in Owsley County. I also helped deliver a Med Return Box to the Owsley County Sheriff’s Department and to the Somerset Police Department where residents can safely dispose of unwanted or unused prescriptions during business hours.
One of the highlights of my travels was at Highland Elementary School in Johnson County, where students from every grade created a “Hal Rogers Hallway” to welcome me for a drug-free pep rally. I was impressed with their creativity and hard work.
NEWS ON THE HILL
October’s 7.9 percent national unemployment rate is further proof that we need to get Americans working again. No question, the Administration’s “War on Coal” has ruined thousands of jobs and small business opportunities for southern and eastern Kentuckians.
Last month, I spoke directly with top officials at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the unjustified delays in mining and construction permits. These delays are strangling communities in the heart of our coalfields, which was evident during my visit to the Booth Energy Center in Martin County earlier this week. We can’t afford to lose these talented workers or the homegrown energy resource under our feet.
As you know, on Sept. 11, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed during a coordinated terrorist strike against our U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Statements from senior White House officials suggested this was the result of a spontaneous protest, rather than what it truly was — a premeditated al Qaeda terrorist attack on the United States.
I’ve joined other senior members of Congress in condemning these attacks and calling for a full briefing on the notable security lapses. Al Qaeda and Islamic extremism pose a serious threat to our nation’s security and Americans deserve to know the truth of what happened on the anniversary of 9/11.
Finally, my staff and I are receiving regular updates on the response and recovery by Americans along our eastern seaboard to Hurricane Sandy. As a region prone to flooding and highwaters, our hearts go out to those affected by this deadly super storm. Cynthia and I extend our deepest sympathies to those fellow Americans who are displaced, still without power, or grieving the loss of a loved one.