Each August, the House of Representatives goes out of session and members of Congress spend time back in their home state for a District Work Period.
While these District Work Periods are sometimes known as “recess,” that does not mean members of Congress are on vacation. Instead, some of the most valuable time I have comes in August when I travel throughout Southwest Alabama and engage directly with the people I represent in Congress.
I kicked off the District Work Period last week with a “Better Way to Fight Poverty” tour in Mobile and Washington counties. I toured organizations in Fruitdale, Chatom, and Mobile that are leading the way in the fight against poverty. I also held a joint roundtable discussion to talk about what works and what does not work in the war on poverty.
In addition to our roundtable on poverty, I will also hold roundtable discussions with economic developers, our local school superintendents, and the leaders of our colleges and universities. These roundtable meetings help me to better understand issues facing our area, but they also allow for the sharing of ideas and collaboration among the other attendees.
Another important way I spend the District Work Period is visiting local businesses to listen to their ideas and concerns. It is so helpful to spend time on the production line or behind the scenes to see how businesses operate and learn more about the various challenges facing their industry.
August also gives me an opportunity to visit with local organizations and civic clubs. For example, last week I spoke to the Southwest Mobile Chamber of Commerce in Tillman’s Corner. We had a great discussion about the economic progress in our area and ways we can continue to move Southwest Alabama in the right direction.
Later in the month, I will be speaking to other groups ranging from farmers to school groups about ways they can be a part of our area’s impressive progress.
I also want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to share their concerns with me, so we have scheduled a number of town hall meetings. These meetings give you an opportunity to ask me any questions you may have or to share your concerns. This August, my town hall meetings will be in Citronelle, Grand Bay, Stockton, and Summerdale. We will also have more town hall meetings throughout the year.
Later in August, my wife, Rebecca, and I will host our annual “Women’s Forum.” The theme this year is “Charting Your Own Course,” and the event provides networking opportunities for women in our area. I am especially excited this year’s event will include a special appearance by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, the highest ranking woman in Congress.
At each of these stops and events, I am talking about the Better Way agenda, which offers an alternative to the big-government policies that have become all-too-common over the last eight years.
My hope is to share the ideas of the agenda with you, so I can get your feedback about what you like and what you disagree with. That way, when I head back to Washington in September, I can share your feedback with my House colleagues.
You elected me to serve as your voice, and in order to do that, I must hear from you. That is why the August District Work Period is so important. I hope to see you around this month!
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Bradley Byrne is a member of U.S. Congress representing Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.