Today marks one month since a deadly tornado outbreak ripped across our region. I want to commend the people of southern and eastern Kentucky who have spent countless hours and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to tornado recovery efforts. Thanks to you, hope is abundant and the cleanup process is moving forward with full steam.
I recently toured portions of our tornado ravaged region. The devastation left me speechless, but the outpouring of support from neighbors and friends was truly inspiring. I am impressed with the progress that has been made in a short amount of time and it proves once again that our people are resilient. I have spoken with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate several times over the last few weeks and I am pleased with the agency's efforts in Kentucky thus far. We will continue to be in contact as we move into the next phase of recovery. To see photos from my tour, click the photo above.
With tornado debris piled up, it is perfect timing for the April PRIDE Spring Cleanup. This year marks the 15th Anniversary of the PRIDE Spring Cleanup and volunteers certainly have their biggest challenge ahead in counties with storm damage. Volunteers made record-setting efforts over the last two years, and in light of the tornado damage, we certainly need everyone out in full force once again this April. To participate or organize a cleanup, visit kypride.org.
The 2012 Congressional Art Competition for high school students is underway and the April 20th deadline is just around the corner. For more information on how a student can submit artwork and have a chance to represent the 5th Congressional District in our nation's Capitol Building, click on the photo of the winning artwork from last year.
NEWS ON THE HILL
This month marks the two year Anniversary of the government takeover of healthcare. Like many Americans, I am concerned this legislation will increase healthcare costs, trigger hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, and threaten to take away seniors' access to quality healthcare. My colleagues and I have voted to repeal, defund, or dismantle provisions of President Obama's healthcare law 26 times and last month the Supreme Court heard arguments on its validity. I voted in favor of the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, which would repeal a provision of Obamacare that created an unelected board to recommend potential cuts in Medicare services. This legislation also helps rural areas attract well-trained doctors through changes in medical malpractice lawsuits. Repealing these regulations restores economic confidence by ensuring that the United States remains a country of opportunity and not one restrained by government red tape.
Last week we took important steps forward in combating the epidemic of prescription drug abuse which has taken havoc on lives throughout my region by introducing the ID MEDs Act. This important piece of legislation paves the way for secure prescription data exchange so that doctors and pharmacists around the country will be able to make informed decisions about prescribing these powerful drugs, and law enforcement can more easily root out corrupt drug dealers. As Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse I believe this legislation is a big step forward in the fight to save lives and prevent others from falling victim to the scourge of drug abuse.
Next week, I will join members of the Caucus and Operation UNITE at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit. We will focus on every angle of the war on drugs, from law enforcement to treatment to the financial burdens associated with the epidemic. I invite you to join us at the Summit. For more information, visit www.nationalrxdrugabusesummit.org.
Last, but not least, I want to wish the best of luck to the Kentucky Wildcats in the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Game tonight! Go Cats!
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