August District Work Period
I was honored to participate in Tuesday's groundbreaking of the world’s first blind baseball park in Frankfort, Kentucky! This park will be dedicated to the game of Beep Baseball Kentucky - an adaptive version of America's favorite pastime for the blind, visually impaired and legally blind.
This is not only a great opportunity for the visually impaired to connect to the game of baseball, but it presents a huge economic potential for our local economy as people will come from all over the world to participate in this fun, rewarding game.
Please click here to see more pictures from this event.
I enjoyed visiting with the team at Clark Material Handling Company and remain impressed by their strong commitment to the safety of their product and employees. I was glad to tour their state-of-the-art facility and discuss my work to promote a healthy economy and job creation. We discussed my support for several tax provisions that the House recently passed to increase certainty for American businesses by making permanent certain incentives that encourage businesses to grow, invest and hire. These bills are currently sitting on Senator Harry Reid’s desk awaiting action.
I had the opportunity to take a tour of EnerSys in Richmond and see firsthand how they manufacture industrial batteries. I enjoyed speaking with all of the employees there about my support for policies that will allow them to remain one of the most innovative leaders in the industry. Thank you for taking the time to show me around!
Agriculture is a vital part of the Sixth District's economy and I enjoy regularly meeting with and hearing from farmers and members of my Agriculture Coalition throughout the district. On Wednesday night I gathered with Kentucky Farm Bureau members from across central and eastern Kentucky to discuss issues facing the industry, including how crop insurance policies will be structured under the new farm bill and the potential the industrial hemp industry holds for job creation and economic growth.
As a father of two little girls, I understand the importance of protecting those who are most vulnerable. Last Monday, I was glad to visit GreenHouse17, formerly the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program in Lexington, to tour their facility and discuss ways to continue working together to end abuse in our families and the community. I supported the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to provide victims of abuse the best resources possible and I hope prevents more needless tragedies.
It’s important that we come together to support safe havens like GreenHouse17 so that no one has to deal with the pain and terror from these horrific crimes alone.
Thank you to all the staff and volunteers for taking the time to share more about your important work. Carol loves the flowers grown on site by the residents sold as part of your fundraiser!
Please click here to see more pictures from my visit to GreenHouse17.
I was honored to meet such a strong young man in Paxton Bloyd and to see my former colleague, his mother and tireless advocate for childhood cancer research, Jamie Bloyd. Paxton is 5 years old and fighting hard against the Stage 4 Lymphoma attacking his body. Paxton, his parents and I had a great discussion about my membership in the Childhood Cancer Caucus and our mutual support for the bipartisan Gabriella Miller 'Kids First' Research Act, which is going to invest millions of additional dollars into research to learn more about pediatric cancer and how it uniquely affects children. This type of high-risk, high-reward research has the potential to transform the lives of children like Paxton who are suffering from many different diseases and disorders.
While I may have lost a couple of rounds of video games to Paxton, I will continue to advocate on his behalf – and on behalf of all of our children.
I was glad to speak to the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and update them on my work to promote a healthy economy. It was great to see everyone and I appreciate the chance to answer questions from attendees.
Thank you to Phil Gray and the team at St. James Place for an informative tour and productive discussion on ways in which my role on the House Committee on Financial Services can assist organizations like theirs in helping more homeless and veterans access affordable housing and supportive life skills programs.
Thanks to the great team at Vermont Castings Group in Bourbon County for taking the time to show me around their operation on Thursday. I enjoyed learning more about how they produce various hearth products, wood stoves and grills. I look forward to continue working with Vermont Castings Group and supporting policies that will protect the jobs of hundreds of Kentuckians who work there. After the tour, I was honored to speak to their employees and take their questions on important issues like immigration reform, tax reform and several other topics.
Please click here for more pictures from my visit.
It was great to join WVLK's Jack Pattie in studio Thursday morning for our monthly hour-long show where I answer questions from callers. This month, I was glad to be joined by Representative Susan Westrom to discuss our work on H.R. 3775, the bipartisan Karen Tufts Military SAVE Act. This important legislation is gaining traction and I hope you will consider signing on as a Citizen Cosponsor by clicking here!
The Sixth Congressional District has a great company in Belcan - founded by a fellow University of Kentucky alum. They are growing quickly and we discussed ways in which we can assist from a federal level to ensure they continue that growth. I was also pleased to see the excellent partnership between such a great company like Belcan and the University of Kentucky College of Engineering.
I visited the Citizens Guaranty Bank in Berea on Friday and enjoyed being a “Teller for a Day” and getting a first-hand look at the kind of hard work being done by community bankers here in Berea and across Kentucky. Our community banks are a critical resource for Kentuckians looking to responsibly gain access to the credit they need – including credit to purchase a home, pay for higher education, or even invest in their business.
That is why I introduced a bill that would fix the flawed Dodd-Frank law and give the discretion and judgment back to local community bankers. Folks like those here at Citizens Guarantee Bank are in a much better position to judge their neighbors’ character and creditworthiness than unaccountable Washington bureaucrats.
Click here to read more about my visit to Citizens Guaranty Bank and my legislation, H.R. 2673, the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act.
Thank you to the Galls Executive Team and staff for all that they do to protect our military and law enforcement personnel. I enjoyed my afternoon with the entire staff-especially the employee Q and A where we discussed Veteran’s issues and the debt crisis.
There is nothing better than talking policy in the Ashland Garden located on Henry Clay’s Estate while sipping on sweet tea! Thank you to the Garden Club of Lexington for inviting me.
I was so pleased to have had the opportunity to visit JENNMAR in Winchester and learn more about their products that make mining, tunneling and civil construction safer and more efficient. I was glad to tour their state-of-the-art facility and discuss my work to protect Kentucky’s signature manufacturing and coal mining industries. I was disappointed to learn that the Obama Administration’s anti-coal agenda has prevented JENNMAR from creating even more jobs given the company’s impressive record of safety, quality, and continuous improvement.
I was glad to share that I have fought to rein in Washington’s ability to impose burdensome taxes and regulations that would increase the cost of doing business for job-creators like JENNMAR, and will continue to support policies that protect our manufacturing and mining industries, promote a healthy economy and spur job creation.
Thank you to the team at Link-Belt Construction Equipment Company for taking the time to share their stories of how burdensome federal regulations coming out of Washington are inhibiting their ability to grow and create jobs. Link-Belt has been an employer in the Lexington community since 1975 and I will continue to work with them to ensure they are able to grow and create even more jobs right here in central Kentucky.
It was an honor to stand before so many outstanding service men and women and their spouses at the Military Officers Association of America luncheon on Wednesday. We had a great discussion with General Les Beavers and the group about the VA, recent House legislation supporting our military and the global conflicts impacting our national security.
Wednesday evening, I had a productive meeting with myKentucky Sixth District Veterans Coalition. These regular meetings provide an opportunity to relay policy decisions made in Washington to the veterans of our district and solicit input and policy recommendations from our vets. During the meeting, I was glad to provide more information about H.R. 3230, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which includes many of the important provisions I have promoted in the past and will provide these veterans greater flexibility and choices in gaining access to timely healthcare.
Thank you to all of the members of the Coalition who participate in these meetings which allow me to share important information with the people it affects and to address concerns about veteran-related issues. If you would like more information on how to become a member of this coalition please contact my district office (859)219-1366.
I was glad to meet with several Lexington-based researchers form the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to discuss the importance of the National Institutes of Health. The scientists described how the basic research funded by the NIH yields discoveries that create cures and improve lives, and how funding interruptions can cause the US to lose entire research areas to foreign competitors.
I attended the Eastern Kentucky University Veterans Picnic. This was the second year in a row that I was able to spend with the military veteran students and the ROTC program at the university. It was great to see these veterans using their earned G.I. Bill benefits to continue their education. This picnic exemplifies the fortitude and commitment of the men and women who have and will serve in our military. The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, which was signed into law with my support, contains a provision that will require public colleges to provide in-state tuition to veterans and eligible dependents in order for the school to remain eligible to receive G.I. Bill education payments.
While I was not able to make it to my Clark County Coffee with your Congressman event at The Cairn in Winchester Friday morning because I was held over in Washington, D.C. for votes, I was glad to be able to video chat with those who came to the event! We had a great discussion about how I was in Washington working to pass a solution to the humanitarian crisis at our border.
The Powell County Farmer-Banker Field Day has been a time-honored tradition that emphasizes the importance of my work in Congress in support of community bankers and farmers to combat regulations handed down by Washington bureaucrats that limit access to credit for Kentucky farmers.
As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, addressing the unique borrowing needs of farmers has been one of my top priorities. I spoke with the attendees about the unique borrowing needs of farmers, something that the Dodd-Frank Act fails to adequately address. Local community bankers should be allowed the opportunity to craft loans that are specifically tailored to the business model of farmers, such as balloon loans. I was glad to provide them with an update about my legislation, H.R. 2673, which would provide relief from Washington rules that prevent non-traditional borrowers, like farmers, from having access to the credit they need.
I will continue to promote this legislation that recognizes that local community bankers know their customers – and certainly know their customer’s needs – better than Washington bureaucrats do.
I was honored to attend the Welcome Home Veterans Rally in Clay City. The Vietnam Traveling Wall was displayed at the rally, serving as a reminder that America's freedom is only possible because of the sacrifice and bravery of our veterans.
I had the pleasure of joining the Mt. Sterling Kiwanis Club for their gala. It was great to spend time with this organization that supports over 32 annual projects that benefit youth and elderly.
I was honored to participate in Wednesday's exciting announcement of a $20 million grant for new research that will help Kentucky expand its use of technology to truly incorporate an “all-of-the-above" energy policy.
I have always supported funding for the program that made possible this exciting project, which will help accelerate the growth of the emerging bioeconomy within Kentucky.
The extent of this statewide multi-institutional, interdisciplinary collaboration demonstrates the important role of the Commonwealth’s public higher education system in providing an educated workforce for the industries of the future. This grant will bolster our research infrastructure and capacity, spurring the development of new, potentially transformative technologies while supporting 150 jobs for faculty, student and staff researchers.
Simultaneously, it will prepare our students for careers in an increasingly diverse and competitive manufacturing sector that demands skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The STEM-based framework intrinsic to this project fosters the sort of innovations that will develop an attractive environment for entrepreneurs to establish the high-tech startups that are poised to revolutionize our economy and create skilled, well-paying jobs right here in Kentucky.
It was great to see Senator Mitch McConnell, Governor Steve Beshear, UK President Dr. Eli Capilouto, EKU President Michael Benson, KSU Interim President Raymond Burse, and BCTC President Dr. Augusta Julian.
Thank you to Glenn Jennings, CEO of Delta Natural Gas Company, Inc. and the leadership team in Berea for meeting with me to discuss the numerous opportunities for natural gas in America. As a member of the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus, I know how important it is that we take advantage of our rich energy resources so we can achieve a true “all-of-the-above” energy policy that will lead us toward American energy independence.
I visited the Lexington Fire Department Headquarters to show my appreciation for the service these men and women provide to our community. Last year, the Lexington Fire Department responded to 33,510 EMS calls and 9,008 fire calls. I appreciate all the firefighters taking the time to show me around and help me better understand the various issues that affect firefighters in our region so that I can continue to advocate on their behalf in Washington.
Thank you to the Kentucky Medical Equipment Suppliers Association for inviting me to speak with them on Wednesday. We discussed several important issues, including the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) audits and my cosponsorship of HR 1717, the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies Market Pricing Program Act. This bill improves the delivery of home health care equipment to seniors by replacing the current, flawed system for identifying qualified suppliers of certain medical equipment, with a new system that is financially sustainable, more accountable, and which provides seniors access to the care they need.
I will continue working to replace Obamacare with real reforms like the American Health Care Reform Act, which is a full alternative proposal that replaces Obamacare with reforms that will actually lower healthcare costs and give American families more choices in meeting their healthcare needs without the unworkable mandates and billions in taxes.
I met with the Georgetown Lowe’s store manager, Jason Pickrell. This was a great opportunity to learn more about how this small hardware store grew into the second-largest home improvement retailer worldwide that it is today. I enjoyed interacting with employees and customers while learning about product placement and day-to-day store operations.
I joined constituents from Menifee County for a “Lunch with your Congressman” event at the Cornbread Café to discuss various issues and concerns. Events like these offer the opportunity to sit down and share thoughts and ideas about how to make our country stronger.
I was up early last Sunday to be a part of the 43rd annual Fly-In Breakfast at the Mt. Sterling-Montgomery County Airport before joining Carol and the girls for church. A special thanks to Danny Hill with the Montgomery County Airport as well as all of the local officials for the great pancakes and sausage.
Another event that I've held during this August work period was "Lunch with your Congressman" at Galvins in Georgetown. During the meeting, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to present Clarence Craycraft with the medals he earned during his 21 years of service in the United States Navy. For over 43 years, Mr. Craycraft tried to obtain his service medals with no success. He most recently inquired two separate times with the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), which never responded to him.
Once my office was notified, we were able to work with NPRC to obtain his medals in just a few short weeks. Following the presentation I was able to speak to "Lunch With Your Congressman" attendees about their concerns and how I can best represent them in Washington.
You can read more about this event in the Georgetown News-Graphic article, Barr: VA controversy, economy trouble voters.
On Monday, I also spent some time in Mt. Sterling visiting Nestle -- the Hot Pocket Capital of the World! This massive facility in Mt. Sterling employs over 1,000 people from Montgomery County and many surrounding counties as well. It will soon be the sole producer of every Hot Pocket distributed throughout the world!
I stopped by WSKV in Stanton to talk with Angela during Bluegrass Breakout. We discussed various issues facing our nation, including my proposal to help lower the debt limit, Obamacare, my work to ensure the best care possible for our veterans, and the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.