This past week, I was pleased to help host our fourth annual Eighth District Federal Contracting Symposium. The event brought together entrepreneurs seeking to expand their businesses through federal contracts with agency decision makers so that companies in our region will have better access to the procurement process. I feel that it is not only important that we continue the fight to get government spending under control, but that we must also make every possible effort to ensure that what money our government does spend goes to American-owned businesses who play by the rules and keep jobs in this country.
Business owners, workers and folks who are looking for work all tell me the same thing. All they want is fair shot, a level playing field, a chance to succeed by virtue of their sweat and skills and brains. Policy makers owe that fair chance to the people they represent. The only way to rebuild and grow a viable, sustainable, national economy is to rebuild the American manufacturing sector and support and encourage the growth of small businesses. Government’s role in that process is to create an environment in which businesses can grow, help protect them from cheaters and foreign predators, and then get out of the way and allow the American entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic to do what they have done for centuries: lead the world.
It takes courage and vision to assume the risks and obligations associated with opening a business. Doing it well and becoming successful is difficult enough without government’s constant impediments. Government owes the people fairness, consistency and the decency to keep its promises. Much of my time and energy in Washington these past four years has been spent fighting the political and policy-making system that is driven by and caters to special interests, selective patronage and an agenda for our future in which American citizens and businesses are repeatedly asked to take a back seat to the interests of foreign nations, overseas companies and global corporate and financial giants.
We all remember the first time we applied for a job, our first day at work, and our first pay check. Those are coming-of-age milestones in the life of nearly every American. I take every opportunity I can find to see that those moments of anticipation and pride remain an expectation for the coming generations in our district. If a federal contract for a small business is what it takes to make that happen, I will do everything in my power to bring it about. If fighting a bad trade deal or supporting sanctions against international trade cheater nations such as China is what it takes to keep a mill or factory in business, I will be the first to take on that task.
America’s strength is in its people. Everything good about this great nation has come from the people, often after a period of great resistance from government. In my capacity as your Congressman, I have taken every opportunity to bring government and its agencies around to the realization that they work for “WE, the people,” and should answer to us. The top priority of the United States government should be the well-being of our citizens. This does not mean the government should take care of us, it just means government should take care not to do us harm.
The availability of good paying jobs is at the heart of the American dream and the American way of life. Our economy, and our government policies, must be based on allowing businesses to create those jobs. The only way to create the millions and millions of jobs needed to fully recover our economy, and to maintain our rightful place as a global economic powerhouse, is through small business expansion and the rebirth of American manufacturing. Without work and jobs and salaries and wages, none of our other national interests or ambitions can be achieved. Charity, the arts, education, national defense, advances in science and medicine and even the support of our cherished, faith-based organizations all depend, on some level, on the profitability and productivity of the American economy and the availability of good paying jobs for our people.
The work of turning government around and having it serve the people and the national economic interest is not glamorous, but it is rewarding. The fight to oppose and repeal unfair trade deals is gaining momentum. And the acceptance of the common sense idea that taxpayer dollars should be spent on American made products each and every time it is possible is gaining ground in Washington, despite that town’s natural instinct to reject anything that makes sense. One common sense way to get government on the side of the people is to bring together those who spend our tax dollars with those who can provide efficient services and quality goods, keeping our money in our economy and giving American workers and businesses a fair chance to compete. Our people deserve nothing less than that; I will continue to do all I can do to see that opportunity and industry are once again a rightful expectation for our people.