Marking the End of the 115th Congress
2018 has been packed with important debate, deliberation, and compromises as well as many successes. My Republican colleagues and I have worked hard to deliver on our promises to the American people and to uphold President Trump’s America-first agenda. While perspectives are diverse among the 435 Members of the House of Representatives, each of us play a significant role in serving our unique portions of the nation. Over the past year, and throughout the 115th Congress, it is important to reflect on some of the major accomplishments that lead us into the next Congress.
House Republicans have fought hard to protect American interests and values. From upholding pro-life policies to fostering a stronger economy, we have kept our promises. The House passed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and we also directed Title X funds away from Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics. We made significant changes to Dodd-Frank regulations to give much-needed relief to our small and community banks. Our tax code received its first major overhaul in over 30 years, setting our sights on better outcomes for small businesses, families, and Americans across the board. And as the Representative of a district many active duty and retired servicemembers and veterans call home, I was proud of all the House accomplished to reform the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to better serve our nation’s patriots. The VA Mission Act was signed into law this past June, generating major revisions to the functionality of the agency and providing accessible, timely care for our heroes. The VA Mission Act is a tremendous triumph for millions of military veterans across the U.S.
After extensive debate on policy that impacts countless Kentuckians in the 1st District, we passed a 2018 Farm bill that helps serve the needs of rural America. After I was selected to serve on the influential Farm Bill conference committee, I knew there was much work to accomplish on behalf of farmers and producers back home. We crossed the finish line and passed a Farm Bill that fully protects crop insurance and provides certainty to our farmers, makes significant improvements to rural broadband, and implements key changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Of course, seeing the provision to remove hemp from the controlled substances list was a great accomplishment along this journey. Working with Leader McConnell to de-schedule hemp and set it on the path to be an important agricultural commodity is a significant win within the 2018 Farm Bill. The impact of this is already being realized, with the recently-announced investment of $40 million and creation of 80 new jobs by a Kentucky hemp company in Graves County.
All this work is made possible through hearing important insights and feedback from my constituents. To that end, providing excellent constituent services is always my top priority as the Representative for Kentucky’s 1st District. My casework team, based out of Tompkinsville, works tirelessly with my constituents to help resolve an array of issues with federal agencies like the VA, State Department and Social Security Administration. We work with the VA to help veterans like Richard, of Burkesville, who had been trying for eight months to get a medical reimbursement. With our help, Richard received a full refund for his service-connected expenses. We worked with another agency to help Brenda, of Tompkinsville, receive a set of her late father’s war medals. Brenda can now share the memory of her father with others by displaying these well-deserved medals. Finally, we had the privilege of assisting Father Saju, of Campbellsville, who requested help with his Green Card. Working as a liaison to help cut through government bureaucracy, we helped Father Saju obtain his new Green Card so that he can continue contributing to his community. As the 116th Congress approaches, my team and I remain committed to working toward positive outcomes for all constituents we assist with casework.
In addition to our casework successes, in the 115th Congress my field representatives conducted a total of 128 Community Office Hours in all 35 counties. I also take every available opportunity to travel the entire district. In the past year, I have made a total of 340 visits to the 1st District and increased my town hall total to 47 town halls. I also had a total of 1,558 constituent meetings throughout the District and D.C. since taking office in November of 2016. One of these meetings even included a House Oversight and Government Reform Field Briefing in Eddyville to explore the federal, state and local government efforts to control and eradicate Asian carp from our waterways, an issue that I continue to work on.
Looking back at what has been accomplished in the 115th Congress, I am proud to be working toward the goals President Trump outlined for our nation: strengthening policies that uphold American values, enforcing border security and immigration laws, and fighting for a more pro-growth economy. I remain grateful to the people of the 1st District whom I serve, and I am eager to head into the 116th Congress to fight for policies that will help our communities grow and prosper.
Rep. James Comer is a United States Congressman for the 1st Congressional District, which spans from south central Kentucky to the river counties of far western Kentucky. Contact him with any questions or concerns in his Washington D.C. office at (202) 225-3115, in the Tompkinsville Office at (270) 487-9509, in the Paducah Office at (270) 408-1865, or schedule an appointment in the Madisonville Office by calling (270) 487-9509.