With the House of Representatives out of session during the month of August for a District Work Period, I used the time to travel all across Southwest Alabama listening to the people I represent and seeing the challenges and opportunities facing our area firsthand.
Despite what some may believe, the August District Work Period is an incredibly busy and important time. In fact, I held over 75 separate events and meetings over the course of the month. From Monroeville to Atmore to Citronelle to Bayou La Batre, my focus was to spend time in every corner of the First Congressional District.
I wanted to share some of the highlights from my busy August with you.
Visiting local businesses and meeting with their employees is always a top priority for me. These visits allow me to better understand how policies in Washington are actually impacting our local people and businesses. I held a roundtable discussion with local restaurant owners, toured the BASF facility in McIntosh, visited the Steiner Construction shipyard in Bayou La Batre, and met with individuals from the construction industry.
Just last week, I hosted Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in Mobile to showcase some of the great educational opportunities for students. We visited the new ACCEL Day and Evening Academy, the AIDT Maritime Training Center, and Council Traditional School. She was very impressed by the positive momentum in Southwest Alabama.
Throughout the month, I held six town hall meetings to listen to the ideas and concerns of people in Southwest Alabama. I have now held 94 in-person town hall meetings since being elected to Congress, and I will continue to hold these public meetings all across our area. Top concerns raised by the attendees were repairing our health care system, fixing the VA system, and immigration.
I also had the chance to visit with many senior citizens in our area with stops at senior centers in Robertsdale, Semmes, and Mobile. I reaffirmed my strong support for protecting Social Security and Medicare and pledged to continue looking out for our nation’s seniors.
We had a number of positive developments in August. For example, we broke ground on the new VA outpatient clinic near Tillman’s Corner, we celebrated the grand opening of the UTC Aerospace expansion in Foley, and we paid a visit to the impressive new Citronelle High School.
I also always appreciate the opportunity to speak to local organizations and groups about legislation under debate in Congress. This month, I spoke to groups ranging from the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce to the Baldwin County Chapter of Military Officers Association of America to the Propeller Club in Mobile.
All throughout August, I highlighted the fact that the House has been surprisingly productive in the first part of the year, passing over 295 bills dealing with a whole range of important issues. Sadly, our productive year has not gotten the attention it deserves, but I used my time at home to help spread the word about our aggressive, conservative agenda.
The House will be back in session during September, and there are no shortage of issues in need of attention. For example, we need to pass a government funding bill, address the deal ceiling, reauthorize the flood insurance program, and likely provide assistance to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
As I head back to Washington to work on these and other issues, I will be better able to represent you after spending the last month hearing directly from the people back home. At the end of the day, it is the people of Southwest Alabama – not those in Washington – who matter the most to me.
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Bradley Byrne is a member of U.S. Congress representing Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.