Turn on the evening news and you can’t help but recognize it has been a trying few weeks for our nation. The senseless Boston Marathon attack reminds us of our vulnerabilities and gives us reason to be grateful for our first responders, often the first to rush into these horrific scenes and now in pursuit of those responsible. I’m standing with others to #PrayforBoston and against these acts of terror. Our hearts are also heavy for the families of West Texas, reeling from the deadly fertilizer plant explosion and in our own region, the spring rains have put communities on high alert over safety concerns. As we know, when violence, crime, catastrophic accident, or natural disaster strikes communities must pull together.
Our area has locked arms together time and again to overcome tough challenges, be they economic, drugs, or high waters. Recently, we’ve weathered problems like leaky Wolf Creek Dam. But today, I have good news, the Corps of Engineers is closing out a six-year emergency infrastructure project at Lake Cumberland. The days of lower water are over. After a half-decade of low summer water levels, The Corps plans to raise the lake level 20 feet which will help revive tourism in and around the lake and will undoubtedly put several local entrepreneurs back in business. I know this has been a tough time for the Lake Cumberland region, but I’m convinced the traffic and excitement on the lake will rebound.
Col. DeLapp, BG Burcham and Rogers chat about the Wolf Creek Dam Completion Replica
THE FDA and THE NATIONAL Rx DRUG ABUSE SUMMIT
Earlier this month Operation UNITE hosted the second National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in Orlando, Florida with nearly 1,000 attendees from 49 states and two foreign countries. Headliners included U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske; Dr. Margaret "Peggy" Hamburg, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY); U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL); and U.S. Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA); and many others.
Congressional Panel at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit
One major success partially resulting from strong support at the Rx Summit, was the recent decision by the FDA to block the original, crushable OxyContin from returning to U.S. markets without abuse-deterrent formulations. This is a huge win for our region and for the thousands of families who have seen painkillers become pain makers. The FDA undoubtedly saved our nation from another deadly tidal wave of oxycodone abuse and overdoses.
OBAMA'S TAX DAY
Across the region, folks are beginning to do spring cleaning around the house and joining PRIDE Spring Cleanup efforts to get rid of litter along our hillsides and streams. With tax season now at hand, hardworking Americans are also cleaning out their wallets, paying thousands of dollars to Uncle Sam, a brutal reminder that our tax code is broken. Unfortunately, based on President Obama's budget request, he doesn't think we're paying enough taxes. Obama announced that his new budget proposal raised $580 Billion in taxes, when in fact the real number exceeds $1 Trillion over the next decade.
Time and again, I've stressed that the way to fiscal sanity is to get control of the federal checkbook and cut back on spending, not take away your ability to make financial decisions for you and your family. Not only are you and I shelling out extra funds to Uncle Sam this year, but the President has no plan to eventually balance the budget. We need to halt the tax increases and rally for a fairer tax code to strengthen our economy, which will lead to more jobs, more take-home pay and more opportunity.
Dr. Ramsey announces U of L scholarships for Rogers Scholars
Finally, let me applaud Dr. Jim Ramsey, President of the University of Louisville, for extending scholarship opportunities to the University of Louisville for eligible Rogers Scholars. Not only did UofL keep the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship title in Kentucky, but they'll be getting some great ambassadors from our region in 2014 and beyond. Thanks UofL for being a shareholder in the future of southern and eastern Kentucky.
APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION (ARC) MINI-GRANTS
Rogers speaks at ARC Mini-Grant Announcement Event
The Center for Rural Development and the ARC have worked diligently on a mini-grant program to provide funding for strategic planning in our distressed counties across the region. On Thursday, March 28th, they announced ten more mini-grants worth up to $10,000 each. Not only did we get to hear about vision of each community, but communities that received funding last year reported back on the work that was accomplished as a direct result of the funding support. Keep up the great work! Keep reading >>>
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