The Importance of Rural Broadband
It was a busy week in Washington, as we tackled important topics ranging from improving rural broadband to the F-35 program in numerous committee hearings. Outside of Washington, the nation also saw an end to a trial in Minnesota which many have followed closely.
Our justice system is at the foundation of America’s freedoms, and it has delivered a verdict in this case. It is important to recognize that Derek Chauvin does not represent the vast majority of our law enforcement who are law-abiding individuals dedicated to serving and protecting our communities. I hope that this trial’s conclusion may provide peace and closure, allowing America to come together for the betterment of our nation.
Please see below for the full scope of my activities this week.
Highlighting the Importance of Rural Broadband
On Tuesday, I highlighted the rural broadband problems facing Missourians and other communities throughout our nation at a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee.
We have to get our country up to speed – literally and figuratively – when it comes to internet access. This begins with making smart investments in our telecommunications industry rather than using massive spending bills to throw money at the problem without meaningful solutions. To help, I recently introduced the Flexible Financing for Rural America Act which will permit entities with a Rural Utilities Service loan to refinance and capture the lower interest rates available today. This will allow our rural electric co-ops to recoup some of the losses they’ve incurred due to unpaid bills during COVID, and also have more capital to bring rural broadband to their customers.
I’m hopeful this will be helpful and look forward to more positive solutions to enable more Missourians to have access to rural broadband.
Putting Missourians Back in Charge of School Lunches
Throughout our nation and here at home, schools seek to provide nutritious lunches for our children at affordable prices. We know students learn best when their fundamental needs are met. But if our state is forced to comply with burdensome federal regulations which increase costs, our children may be priced out of their current food program, creating unnecessary waste and hungry children. That’s why I introduced the School Lunch Affordability Act which permanently puts the folks who know our kids best back in charge of their school lunch prices: Missourians — not Washington.
This legislation amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to allow our local school districts who are operating in the black to continue serving school lunches at affordable prices, free from federal government burdens which would hamper the success of the program.
It’s time to stop Washington’s one-size-fits-all mandates and return local control back to local schools where it belongs.
Congressional Art Competition Winners
I am pleased to announce the winners of the 39th annual Congressional Art Competition for Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District. Thirty-three local high school students from across our district submitted artwork which was judged at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. This year’s theme was centered around Missouri’s bicentennial.
Buffalo High School senior Grace Mayton placed first in the competition with her acrylic and oil painting entitled, “Early Bird.” It features Missouri’s official state bird perched on a hawthorn branch which is Missouri’s official state flower.
Second place was awarded to Cairo native Emily Decoske of Northeast High School for her watercolor and ink artwork titled, “Fishing Trip.”
Jalynn Buell, a senior at Leeton High School, finished in third place with her pencil portrait of Missouri native and former U.S. President Harry S. Truman.
The People’s Choice Award was awarded to Tipton High School student Erica Harkins for her piece entitled, “It’s all in Missouri: Rails & Roads.”
Artwork from the first-place winner will be featured in the tunnel connecting the House Office Buildings to the U.S. Capitol, along with winners from our nation’s other congressional districts. Second and third place pieces will be displayed in our congressional district offices located in Harrisonville and Columbia. Finally, the People’s Choice winner (chosen among constituents on Facebook) will be placed inside my Washington office.
Over 650,000 high school students have participated in the Congressional Art Competition nationwide since 1982 and it has been a pleasure to see our district’s great talent each year. Thank you to all who participated and congratulations to the winners!
Service Academy Appointee Reception
Congresswoman Hartzler speaks at the service academy appointee reception in Warrensburg, MO.
Each year, I have the distinct honor of nominating students from our congressional district to all five service academies. Each of these elite institutions educate and develop military leaders for our nation at no cost to students, with a requirement to serve five years on active duty and three years in the reserves.
This year, three outstanding young men from our district received appointments. I was able to recognize them last weekend with a reception in Warrensburg for their achievements.
University of Missouri freshman Shawn Berrios who received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.
Shawn Berrios, who received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, is currently a cadet in the ROTC program at the University of Missouri. In high school, he was a member of the National Honor Society and the Waynesville High School Marching Band. He was also an accomplished JROTC cadet and varsity athlete on both the swimming and tennis teams.
Camdenton High School senior Eli Griffin who received an appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
Camdenton High School senior Eli Griffin, who received an appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, was a participant in the Math and Science Club and was also appointed a junior member of American Legion Boys State. He is also a member of Camdenton United Methodist Church and an accomplished athlete on the Camdenton High School varsity football and track teams.
University of Missouri freshman Samuel Ridgeway who received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Samuel Ridgeway, who received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy, is currently a cadet in the U.S. Air Force ROTC program at the University of Missouri. In high school, he was a member of the National Honor Society and Future Farmers of America (FFA). He was also an accomplished athlete on the New Franklin High School varsity cross country and track teams.
I am very proud of this talented group of students not only for their achievements, but their commitment to serving our country. I wish them the best and thank them for their service to our nation.