A Time for Reflection and a Look Ahead to a Bright Future
The Christmas and holiday season is a time of celebration, and the New Year a time of reflection. Although we are looking forward to the 2023 legislative calendar and to tackling the critical issues confronting our Nation, I wanted to take a moment to update you on my office’s efforts on your behalf these past twelve months.
Working for You
While my D.C. office handles the legislative issues I tend to in the House of Representatives, as well as my responses to your legislative inquiries, my four District offices are located in Harrisonburg, Staunton, Lynchburg, and Roanoke. There, my staff assists constituents in communicating with federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Internal Revenue Service. My office and I also handle congressional nominations to one of four United States Service Academies, in addition to an array of other services carried out by my D.C. and District offices, such as offering Capitol flag sales, D.C. tours, and more listed on my website.
My team and I have worked hard to serve Virginia’s Sixth District, meet with constituents, answer questions, and provide assistance, and the results in 2022 speak for themselves:
73,745 constituent letters, calls, and emails answered
9 in-person Town Halls were held across the district
43 events attended across the district
32 businesses toured across the district
15 schools visited
2,116 constituent cases with federal agencies completed
92 Mobile Office Hours held for constituents to meet directly with my staff
In serving on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees, my office was committed to ensuring taxpayer dollars were spent in the best interests of the American people. During the Appropriations full committee mark-up hearings, I offered a total of 15 amendments to improve 7 of the 12 spending bills, and had my language adopted 3 times throughout the process.
Throughout the 117th Congress, I was proud to introduce 13 bills, 8 of which were bipartisan. Of that, 3 bills where I served as the lead Republican were passed and signed into law, either as standalone legislation or as part of a larger legislative package:
H.R. 1651 – COVID-19 Bankruptcy Relief Extension Act of 2021 extends existing provisions that provide relief to debtors in bankruptcy, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
H.R. 7494 – Small Business Reorganization Technical Corrections Act modifies provisions related to small business reorganization bankruptcies, provides that a small business debtor includes a debtor that is an affiliate of certain publicly traded companies, and authorizes the bankruptcy trustee to operate the business of the debtor if the debtor ceases to be a debtor in possession.
H.R. 8017 – VA Workforce Investment and Expansion Act expands the VA workforce by enhancing VA hiring practices and incentives to better recruit and retain healthcare professionals, and strengthen Veteran access to quality VA healthcare.
Additionally, I cosponsored 301 bills that focus on a wide array of issues including, but not limited to, Veterans, healthcare, pro-life, government reform, education, the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and agriculture. One of the bills I was most proud to cosponsor and secure a provision in — regarding bolstering VA healthcare hiring practices and expanding access to care, especially for rural areas like ours — was the historic PACT Act. This legislation finally brought justice for, and expanded benefits to, Veterans and their families who were burn pit victims sickened in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to Vietnam Veterans exposed to toxic chemicals.
Lastly, this year I joined 167 letters pursuant to Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility to ensure Federal agencies are working for the American people. Further, I led and was joined by my colleagues in sending 8 letters to the Biden administration demanding accountability, from ensuring Congress’ allocated infrastructure funds are spent on core roads and bridges first rather than Green New Deal priorities, to soliciting immediate answers as to how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will solve the crisis of the near 50,000 illegal immigrants released in six months who received ‘Notice to Reports’ but failed to re-check in with authorities. Finally, I led in writing to the National Park Service to call for the prioritization of our troops, Veterans, and Gold Star families in accessing some of the most exclusive and scenic views of our national parks, as they earned such privileges.
While what’s largely seen on national news platforms centers around the hearings and votes on Capitol Hill, a representative’s work in his or her district is the most vital part of the job. The district is where we interact with constituents, local leaders, and small business owners to be able to represent their views in Washington. It’s where both the constituents we represent and our loved ones reside. It’s the place we call home.
First, ahead of the 2023 Farm Bill, I hosted two farm tours in our district. Virginia’s Sixth District is the largest agriculture district in the Commonwealth, where farming is the number one industry. I enjoyed speaking with farmers, agriculture industry leaders, and workers in the northern part of the district in the spring, and in the southern part of the district this past fall.
Additionally, I held my annual Higher Education Roundtable at Blue Ridge Community College’s Weyers Cave Campus. VA-06 houses more institutions of higher education than almost any other Congressional district in the Nation. These colleges and universities offer a variety of vocational, undergraduate, and graduate programs for students in Virginia and across the country who come to the Sixth District for their education. College and university presidents and leaders joined me there to discuss successes and challenges in higher education, including the need to ease the costs of higher education, without non-college grads bailing out the student loan debt of others.
Engaging with our Nation’s future generation of leaders is always a favorite opportunity of mine, whether it be reading to students, talking to government classes, or speaking at school events. I was proud to visit 15 schools throughout the district this year, and look forward to meeting more of our incredible young people this coming year.
One of my privileges as your Representative is to highlight the incredible achievements of VA-06 residents on the House floor. Whether it be high school or college sports championship wins, volunteer and charitable recognitions, or paying tribute to those who have served, I have been proud to recognize constituents’ many accomplishments this year.
Visiting small and large businesses across the district serves as a reminder that government must not obstruct but foster economic growth. This past year, I had the opportunity to tour 32 local businesses up and down VA-06, like BWXT Technologies in Lynchburg and Modine Manufacturing in their newly renovated Rockbridge facility. All of our hardworking businesses are critical to job creation and economic growth, and I’ll continue fighting in Washington to ensure they can thrive.
One of my greatest honors is meeting with Sixth District Veterans. Whether it be in local VFWs or in large gatherings, such as for Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and 9/11 remembrance ceremonies, it is always a privilege to thank, recognize, and fight for those who fought for us.
Meetings with Constituents in Washington
Engaging with constituents in the people’s House of Representatives and hearing their concerns is always a great reminder of why I came to Washington. I enjoy listening to constituents’ views on the issues that are most important to them, and hearing how I can best represent and advocate for their priorities in these very halls.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.