Wow, it’s hard to believe 2013 is coming to a close. In many ways, this was one of the most challenging years of my life, but it was also one of the most rewarding. As you know, this year has had its share of ups and downs. We’ve seen sequestration take effect, the political targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, a 16-day government shutdown, and the effects of a fumbled foreign policy through the threat of nuclear weapons in Iran and chemical weapons in Syria. Perhaps most upsetting to me is the unprecedented level of partisanship plaguing our political system right now.
However, as trying as this year has been for many, we have also seen great accomplishments in North Carolina and the 8th District. We’ve seen a unified N.C. delegation that has worked hard on issues ranging from protecting our children to creating jobs right here at home; we’ve saved the Concord airport from the Administration’s political games; we’ve maintained and strengthened a relationship between NASCAR, an industry vital to North Carolina, and our armed forces that allows us to recruit and retain some of the most patriotic Americans; and we are holding the line with the ongoing trade negotiations to protect our beloved textile jobs and keep manufacturing in North Carolina. We also saw this legislative session end with a bipartisan agreement on the budget — a budget that funds the government, reduces spending, tackles our deficit, and protects our national security from the damaging effects of sequester. While the budget agreement wasn’t perfect, and I would have liked to see deeper cuts, it reduces the deficit and provides stability — something our country desperately needs.
This year, we have hosted nearly 100 public events in the 8th District, held 10 telephone town halls, responded to 30,000 letters from folks throughout the district, helped over 1,500 North Carolinians through casework, and guided more than 1,000 of our citizens on tours of the U.S. Capitol. Providing top-notch constituent service is the most important part of my job as your Representative and I will continue to work just as hard as we move into 2014.
As I wrote a few weeks back, the holidays, for me, have always been a time for reflection — a time to look back over the events of the past year — and a time to be thankful. It’s also a time to look forward and to set new goals. I am hopeful for a very productive second session in Congress. In addition to my goals of creating jobs, reducing our national debt, finalizing a 5-year Farm Bill, and repealing/replacing Obamacare, I’m working hard to see the legislation I authored to reform TSA’s acquisition process and save taxpayer dollars pass the Senate and become law. I am proud of the tremendous support this bill received in the House, and I am optimistic it will be made law in 2014.
As the New Year begins, you can rest assured that I will continue to be a strong voice on behalf of our communities. I will continue the fight to cut wasteful government spending and put our country back on track. There’s a lot of work to be done, but I truly believe it’s not too late to make things right. I wish all the best for you and your loved ones in 2014, and I thank you for giving me the privilege of being your Congressman.