Fourth District Congressman Looks Back, Ahead

January 2, 2016

I am honored by the trust you have placed in me to serve as your representative in Washington, D.C. It is a privilege that I do not take for granted.  Reflecting on my first year in Congress, I have had many remarkable experiences, and a couple stand out as highlights — like attending the president’s State of the Union speech.  It was fascinating, just looking around the House and walking through Statuary Hall is amazing. The Capitol is truly a majestic building and a landmark that all Americans can be proud of. I especially remember that night because I had a chance to speak briefly with John Lewis, a congressman who has been a hero in the civil rights movement.

I also remember when my colleagues and I set about to read aloud the Constitution as a way of bringing it to the forefront of our debates. It was a tremendous feeling to read my section of the Constitution and to know that I was doing so representing your voice. Congressman Lewis participated as well, and of course, he read the amendment to abolish slavery. It was a powerful moment for me and one I will always cherish.

When I ran for Congress, I made one promise to the people of Michigan’s 4th District — that I would not be intimidated by old-school politicians in Washington and that I would work as hard as I could every day to listen to and work on the issues that are most important to you. No doubt, there’s lots of work to do, but I’m pleased with the progress of this past year. Here are some of the highlights of the work we got done:

Looking Back

I voted against Common Core.

I voted to pass an education bill that prohibits the federal government from coercing states into adopting Common Core. This bill repeals federal mandates and returns power to parents and teachers to do what is best for their students’ success. The Senate subsequently also passed this bill. President Barack Obama has signed it into law.

Refugee Background Checks

The House has passed legislation that will require the Obama Administration to collect the intelligence necessary to complete stringent refugee background checks. This is to ensure that terrorists are not using the refugee program to enter the United States. Defending the American people from threats abroad is the federal government’s primary  responsibility and one I take very seriously in my role as a public servant. This legislation upholds our values as a compassionate nation and defends our citizens against a possible threat.

Looking Ahead

Next year I will be campaigning for re-election. And 2016 is also a presidential election year. I have endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio for the Republican nomination for president. I believe Marco is a generational leader with a bold vision for creating jobs in the 21st century. Marco’s plan for a new American economy is exactly what Michigan and our country needs and I will do everything I can to help elect him.

I am optimistic about the future of America. All of us realize that radical terrorism must be dealt with quickly and effectively. I am confident that a Republican president will do exactly that. I look forward to bringing jobs to Michigan, replacing Obamacare with a patient-centered health care plan that the people of Michigan want, and continuing to work on the issues that are important to the people of the 4th District.

Republicans believe in the American dream — the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life. As Speaker Paul Ryan said recently — the fundamental question that must be answered is: What kind of country do we want to be? All Americans want our nation to be confident again. Americans need to be confident that if they don’t have a job, they can find one and that it will pay well.

It’s important our young people understand that their education, and the debt that goes with it, will be worth it.  Our seniors need to be confident that their years of hard work, and years of paying taxes, will be rewarded and that Medicare and Social Security will be there for them.

Perhaps the most important part of America being confident again is on the world stage. We know that our nation stands for freedom — we must continue to show the world what we stand for. And when our veterans return home they must be confident that they will return to a grateful nation, and that our country will provide all of the benefits that they were promised.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful wrap up of 2015 and a terrific New Year.