VICKY'S VIEW: I Have Great News!
I Have Great News!
This week, I had the privilege of making a major announcement at the Whiteman Base Community Council luncheon. The Air Force selected Whiteman Air Force Base - located in our district - as a permanent location for the new B-21 Raider. The B-21 represents the next generation of our nation’s stealth global strike capability, and will build on the B-2 Spirit’s admirable legacy, eventually replacing both the B-2 and the B-1 Lancer. I look forward to continuing to work with the Air Force to ensure our nation is able to deter threats and project power through the vital missions at Whiteman.
I was honored to announce that Whiteman Air Force Base will host the B-21.
Enough is Enough...Human Trafficking Must End Now
Human trafficking is a horrific crime. And while Congress has taken steps by passing legislation to combat this atrocity, we must do more to make Americans aware of how this crime is going on in communities, like yours and mine, across the country.
Increasing awareness of the problem is critical. To that end, I was pleased to host a Human Trafficking Summit this past Monday at Battle High School in Columbia. I was joined by a panel of special presenters that included Nanette Ward, Chairwoman of the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition; Emily Russell, Victim’s Advocate with the Missouri Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force; Keaton Strong, Human Trafficking Task Force Investigator with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office; Jessica Joy Neely, a porn industry survivor who now advocates for human trafficking awareness; and Tatianna Cruz, a human trafficking survivor who works with the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition.
We are making progress in this battle. The House passed my legislation, The Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act, HR 2480, which opens up more Department of Justice grant funding so law enforcement can fight sex trafficking on the demand side, arresting the perpetrators purchasing sexual acts from abused women and children. Just recently the President signed into law the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. This bill, which I co-sponsored, targets websites which allow for the facilitation of traffickers who advertise the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims. As of today, dozens of websites like Craigslist have either shut down their “personals” sections or shut down their websites entirely. And the infamous website Backpage.com, the largest online sex trafficking marketplace in the world, has been seized by the federal government.
It is easy to think of human trafficking as something that takes place only in big cities or in other countries. The simple truth is that this appalling crime is taking place right here in our own backyard in Missouri. I pray that this well-attended symposium will help bring greater awareness to human trafficking and will generate ideas on how to combat it.
It was inspiring to share the stage with a panel of experts fighting human trafficking. Left to right are: Jessica Joy Neely, a porn industry survivor; Emily Russell, Victim’s Advocate with the Missouri Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force; Keaton Strong, Human Task Force Investigator with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office; Tatianna Cruz, a human trafficking survivor who now works with the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition; and Nanette Ward, Chairwoman of the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition.
Thanking Our Police Officers
I have so much respect for our men and women in blue, and it was my great pleasure to stop by the Lebanon Police Department, this week, to honor members of both the Lebanon Police Department and the Laclede County Sheriff’s Office. Each of the officers and support staff were presented with certificates thanking each of these individuals for the work they do and to let them know how much their efforts are appreciated.
As we have seen all too often, our police officers have become targets of those who would harm our protectors and think nothing of harming anyone else in society. It is the least we can do to thank our police officers who protect and serve.
It was a privilege honoring the Lebanon Police Department and Laclede County Sheriff's Office.
Honoring Our Veterans and Supporting Our Troops
I had the honor this week of taking part in a dedication ceremony for a house, in Lebanon, that will soon be the home of a veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and his or her family. The two-story house was bought and renovated by Lebanon resident Rich Seibert to honor his son, George Byron Seibert, a veteran who returned from duty overseas, suffering from PTSD, and committed suicide.
I am grateful for Rich Siebert's dedication in bringing light to this disease that plagues far too many of our veterans. His work to keep his son's memory alive is enshrined in this beautiful home.
All of our men and women who serve are susceptible to PTSD and suicide. It is critical that peer and faith-based support groups and crisis mental healthcare are available to them. We cannot allow the bravest among us to fall through the cracks when they come home from facing the grim realities of war.
The plight of our men and women who have served was a main topic of discussion as I met with veterans at Camp Valor Outdoors in Johnson County on Wednesday. This tremendous facility provides fishing, hunting, archery, and other competitive activities to injured and wounded members of the military – past and present – and their families.
It was an honor to visit with these heroes at Camp Valor Outdoors.
Camp Valor Outdoors gives wounded veterans an opportunity to heal in the great outdoors and with those who understand.
I also had an opportunity, this week, to visit Fort Leonard Wood to witness the Foxtrot Company 701st Military Police Battalion Graduation ceremony. These brave young MPs are now ready to take their positions preserving law and order at U.S. military facilities around the world.
Back to School
Finally, I visited Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia to speak to students from three government classes and one communications class about such issues as school safety, immigration, and jobs. We had a great discussion.
Such a receptive audience from young people interested in issues and looking for solutions to problems can only make older generations positive about the future of our state and country.
It was a pleasure to spend time with students at Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia to discuss issues ranging from school safety to immigration to jobs.
The Good News about Tax Reform