Tornado recovery efforts have been impressive across the region and I have received good reports about FEMA's response and financial assistance in each county over the first two months. Total federal disaster assistance approved for Kentucky survivors stands at more than $18.6 million so far.
If you haven't registered for FEMA disaster assistance, time is running out. The registration deadline is Monday, May 7th. The first step for help is registration. Even if you think you are not eligible, I encourage you to apply so FEMA and the Small Business Administration (SBA) can outline all available options. For more information about disaster assistance (FEMA-4057-DR) and the registration process, click here.
I want to commend all of the students across southern and eastern Kentucky who sent in their artwork for the 2012 Congressional Art Competition. Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District winner will be announced on Monday, May 7th. The winning artwork will hang in our nation's Capitol for one year, representing our region. Click here to visit my photo gallery and view some of the artwork submitted for this year's competition.
Artwork "Entranced" by Jeffery Couch, Knott Central High
On Thursday, May 3rd I invite you to join me, Operation UNITE, the Partnership at Drugfree.org, and the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy for a drug abuse panel discussion following Outside the Wire's presentation of The Dionysus Project. It starts at 1:00 p.m. on the Manchester campus of Eastern Kentucky University in the Stivers Building at 50 University Drive in Manchester, Kentucky.
Coming up on May 23-24, I will be the keynote speaker for the 2012 Tennessee Valley Corridor's Summit on America's Energy Security at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky. I will be joined by national leaders such as Congressman Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Energy's Director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory, Dr. Anthony Cugini. For more information about the Summit, click here.
NEWS ON THE HILL
It's no secret that in order for our nation to thrive, southern and eastern Kentucky needs a highly-skilled workforce and real, small business job growth opportunities. Through my role in Washington, I am working to accomplish these goals and reverse some startling trends.
In April, I supported an important measure aimed at reducing future student loan interest rates and a separate bill helping small businesses keep more of their earnings for reinvestment and job creation. The Interest Rate Reduction Act (H.R. 4628) prevents the current 3.4% interest rate on new federally-sponsored student loans from rising to 6.8%. Student debt can be crippling to recent graduates and returning students. H.R. 4628 makes college debt repayment more affordable.
I also supported legislation that helps out small business owners and investors. H.R. 9 offers companies with less than 500 employees a sizable 20% tax cut. The Small Business Tax Act of 2012 gives these business leaders and entrepreneurs a financial tool to grow their companies, retain more capital, reinvest earned income, and create more jobs.
For too long, high tax policies, big government solutions and costly red-tape have hindered job growth and opportunities in our region. Many businesses flounder and kids forego college, because of failures in Washington. I'm working to reverse this trend and help our young people see their bright future in southern and eastern Kentucky.
If you would like to receive more frequent updates on what’s happening in Washington, please send me an email, join my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, or subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thank you to everyone who has dropped by to share your opinion -- let’s keep the dialogue going!