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December 14, 2018 Vicky's View from the Capitol

December 14, 2018
Newsletter
 

Dear Friend,

Please read to the end of my newsletter this week for some personal news from me.

We Have a Farm Bill

After months of working with fellow conferees on behalf of rural America, I was pleased to sign the 2018 Farm Bill that provides much needed certainty for producers and consumers both in Missouri and across our nation.

We have a Farm Bill! On Wednesday the House passed a finalized conference report, which I have worked on for over the last four months, that will provide our farmers and ranchers with much needed economic certainty. The bill ensures consumers continue to enjoy the safest, most abundant food supply in the world by improving public/private risk management programs and supporting local, national, and international efforts vital to protect and promote American agriculture. Significant investments in rural broadband, trade promotion, research and development, and conservation initiatives will positively impact rural America for years to come.

While we did not achieve all that we wanted in the final version of the bill, this legislation is a good bill for farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and consumers. I am pleased to see many of my priorities for MO-04 included in the legislation. The Farm Bill does the following things, which are items on which I specifically worked:

  • Expands access for guaranteed loans under the Community Facilities Program to communities with populations of 50,000 or less.
  • Includes language I authored to increase minimum speed requirements for rural broadband and recognizes the importance of expanding rural broadband.
  • Maintains crop insurance and improves insurance options for dairy producers, while also strengthening and providing flexibility for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs.
  • Invests and streamlines conservation initiatives for farm families to continue to improve and protect our natural resources and includes language I authored to allow grazing on CRP lands.
  • Enhances integrity of the SNAP program by improving education and training programs at the state level, reducing monthly work requirement exemptions from 15 to 12 percent, eliminating the ability for participants to receive benefits in multiple states.
  • Includes language I authored to increase private investment in rural broadband, modifying Rural Utilities Service (RUS) broadband programs to include loan guarantees in addition to existing direct loans.
  • Promotes American exports by enhancing and permanently funding trade promotion programs necessary for producers to secure additional markets.
  • Improves clarity and consistency for small meat processors by including language I authored requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to report on the effectiveness of existing regulations for small meat processors.

 

The Farm Bill 2018 is good for rural America.  The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 also:

  • Prioritizes funding for opioid prevention, treatment and recovery facilities in rural communities.
  • Ensures agriculture is on the cutting edge of technology and innovation by investing over $600 million in funding for agriculture research, extension and education.
  • Establishes new programs and funding to protect the health of our nation’s livestock while also creating a feral swine eradication pilot program.
  • Improves assistance for specialty crops and reduces fraud in organic imports.
  • Helps beginning farmers and ranchers establish themselves in agriculture and provides support for youth to get engaged in agricultural careers.
  • Recognizes the hardship currently facing farm families by reestablishing the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network to help combat farmer suicides.

 

The President is expected to sign the 2018 Farm Bill into law next week.

 

Commemorating a MO-04 Hero

I am pleased to share good news: the President has signed into law my bill to name the downtown Columbia post office in honor of Army Specialist Sterling Wyatt, who was killed in action in July of 2011 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Specialist Wyatt was born and raised in Columbia and graduated from Rock Bridge High School in 2009. As a youngster and teenager, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, a first-degree black belt in taekwondo, and certification as a Certified Nurse Attendant. His military awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Combat Infantryman Badge.

I initially introduced the bill to name the Columbia post office in his honor after receiving letters from Columbia constituents asking me to do so and after meeting Sterling’s parents, Randy and Sherry. There will be a formal ceremony in Columbia to dedicate the downtown post office to Spc. Wyatt on a future date to be announced.

Having Sterling’s name on the Columbia Post Office will inspire future generations and commemorate his patriotism forever.

 

On Track in Sedalia

Last week I had the privilege of announcing a $10.09 million grant the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded to the City of Sedalia to extend its existing railroad tracks to the new Sedalia Rail Industrial Park. This grant funding will help keep the Sedalia Rail Industrial Park on track to become the largest, exclusive rail-served industrial park in the Midwest. It will also expand the current network of railroad tracks to the site of Nucor Steel’s new steel rebar micro-mil facility that is estimated to bring 250 new jobs to Sedalia.

The city has worked hard alongside the Sedalia-Pettis County Community Service Corporation, whose Executive Director Jessica Craig applied for the grant, Pettis County, Senator Blunt, and my office to obtain the funding. The project will create even more good-paying jobs for hardworking Missourians in the Fourth District, and I’m pleased Sedalia received this important grant.

 

Meet the Interns

The Hartzler Office interns, from L-R, clockwise: Jaclyn McLean, Austin Bruce, and Max Beckert.

Behind every well-functioning Congressional office is a group of helpful and chipper interns, helping operations run smoothly. The Hartzler Office is no different. As such, I would like to introduce you to the great group of interns who are currently helping out in my offices: Max Beckert, Jaclyn McLean, and Austin Bruce.

Our interns answer phones, run errands, research legislation, attend hearings and briefings, draft responses to constituent letters, help with casework, and support staffers on various projects. In the process, they learn about the legislative system, the state of Missouri, and the many other functions of a Congressional office.

Max Beckert came all the way from New Zealand to intern with us, so if you call into the Washington office and are greeted by a friendly voice with a New Zealand accent, you’ll know who you are talking to!  He is finishing his Bachelor of Laws and Commerce degrees, and he learned of the Washington internship through his networks with the New Zealand Embassy and the NZ-US Council. Max is an athlete and avid sports fan, and he has competed in cycling competitions domestically and internationally. He also enjoys hiking, hunting, skiing, and surfing.

Jaclyn is from Arlington, Texas, and she has been with my D.C. office since August. She found out about this internship through her sister, who works on Capitol Hill, and she is working to complete her degree in American Sign Language Interpreting and Global Studies. Jaclyn is a college softball athlete and enjoys adventures in the outdoors, working with her hands, and design and construction projects.

Austin Bruce, who interns in my Columbia office, hails from the small farming community of Unionville. He learned of our internship through the Handshake platform at the University of Missouri, where he is studying psychology. Austin enjoys traveling, attending live music events, reading, studying other cultures, and hiking in Columbia’s parks with his dog. He hopes that his experience here will help him positively impact his community and his future career.

If you would like to apply for an internship, you can visit my website at hartzler.house.gov, hover over “Serving You,” and select “Internships.” You will then be required to answer various questions about your academic history and submit a cover letter and resume. My staff will review your submission, and depending on the volume of applications they receive, they may call you to conduct a follow-up phone interview to determine if our office would be a good fit for you.

 

Supporting Our Veterans and Servicemembers

This week I was pleased to support a bill the House passed to improve the way we serve our veterans and servicemembers. The bill includes many provisions from stand-alone legislation the House passed earlier this year.

Specifically, S. 2248, the Veterans Benefit and Transition Act of 2018, would ensure that students using their GI Bill benefits to go to college are not penalized if the Veterans Administration is late making payments to their school. The bill would also allow service members who are deployed or relocated to cancel their television and internet contracts without being penalized by local providers. Additionally, the legislation would authorize the VA through 2024 to allow the burial of spouses and dependents of veterans in national cemeteries.

I’m pleased to see common-sense reforms for our nation’s veterans move forward. This legislation makes practical changes to strengthen the way we care for those who have served and those who still serve our country today. It is expected to be voted on by the Senate before the year’s end and be sent to the President to become law.

 

Weekly Dose of Good News

A $3.5 million grant is headed to Katy Trail Community Health, a local health program with clinics in several Missouri communities, including Sedalia, Versailles, and Warsaw. I was pleased to support this grant, which Congress authorized in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. The money will allow Katy Trail’s Community Health Centers to continue providing health care services to Missouri communities, especially those with increased poverty and fewer physicians. Their clinics are cost-effective, saving the national health care system an estimated $24 billion a year by reducing emergency, hospital, and specialty care - all of which are very costly. Katy Trail Community Health, which employs 126 people, will continue to provide high quality care to improve the health of many of the most vulnerable people in central Missouri thanks to this grant.

 

Photo to Share

 

I was honored to participate in the Reagan Defense Forum at the Reagan Library a week ago, looking at ways to build “Peace Through Strength in an Era of Competition.”  It was a unique opportunity to hear from leaders from the Department of Defense, the defense industry, Congress, and civilian leaders.

 

Some Personal News

On Tuesday, my Daddy, Ted Zellmer, went to heaven after suffering a massive stroke a week ago. It was a shock, as he was only recently out chopping wood and running the combine during corn harvest. He spent his life raising livestock, crops, a church, and two daughters who love God, love others, and love our country. He served his country in the U.S. Army Reserves and was a leader in his church. He lived his life to honor God and was a good neighbor. He made a difference and his legacy lives on through the many lives he impacted. 

This time has been bittersweet - filled with sadness over losing him but also with gratitude to God for allowing me to be his daughter. My sister and I feel truly blessed to have had such a wonderful father for so many years, and I was thankful I got to spend his last days with him. What a gift.  

I also appreciate the many condolences my family and I have received since his passing. Thank you. It’s a blessing to not only represent this district in Congress, but to also experience the love and goodness of the people who call MO-4 home. May God bless each of you and may we all be inspired to live our lives with as much meaning and heart as my father.

 
Yours in service,

Vicky Hartzler
Member of Congress

 

  

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