Dear Friend,

I hope you already have your calendar marked to join Governor Beshear and me on August 31st at 1:30 p.m. at the Hazard Community and Technical College's First Federal Center for the ground-breaking celebration of Eastern Kentucky's Super I-way (aka KentuckyWired). This is the first major project launched by SOAR - Shaping Our Appalachian Region, that has the capacity to transform the future of our region. Learn more about our efforts to bring high speed, high capacity broadband access to every county in Kentucky >>>


Other ongoing SOAR-related efforts include a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-based program to improve our workforce by creating opportunities for teachers in Eastern Kentucky to receive National Board Certification and more STEM-based learning options for students. The educators pictured above are a few of the 64 teachers who have already started the program. Governor Beshear and I also announced a new dental loan forgiveness program aimed at recruiting dentists who will dedicate their talents to working in our region and promoting sustained oral health and well-being.


As flood relief efforts continue in Eastern Kentucky, I led the Kentucky delegation in requesting an expedited review of Governor Beshear's request to the President for a Major Disaster Declaration for Carter, Johnson, Rowan and Trimble Counties. As a result of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) initial work with local leaders to assess the damage in our region, it is clear that federal assistance will be needed to help our families and communities recover. We mourn the loss of four Eastern Kentuckians who did not survive the flash flooding in Johnson County, and continue to pray for their loved ones, as well as the dozens of victims who lost their homes. I applaud our brave first responders who saved countless lives on July 13th and 14th, as well as the overwhelming volunteer response for donations and assistance for those in need. For updated disaster information, visit the Kentucky Emergency Management website at kyem.ky.gov
View photos from my visit to Flat Gap>>> 

The Federal Bureau of Prisons released the final Environmental Impact Study for the location of a federal prison in Letcher County and suggested a 584-acre site in the Roxana community for construction of a new facility. The progress for this project is a testament to the local grassroots efforts of the Letcher County Planning Commission and I applaud their persistence in bringing hundreds of much-needed jobs to the region. Read more >>>

Several important federal grants have recently been awarded for Eastern Kentucky projects this summer as well: 
  • The U.S. Department of Education awarded $270 million for TRIO Student Support Services Programs across the country to help low-income college students with academic and other services they need to succeed in college. I was happy to support an increase of $1.5 million to help fund those programs this year. Nine colleges and universities in Eastern Kentucky were awarded funding, along with several others across the state, including: Ashland Community and Technical College, Union College, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Hazard Community and Technical College, Morehead State University, the University of Pikeville, Eastern Kentucky University, and Somerset Community College.

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded grants through the Federal Aviation Administration to four airports in our region, including $42,390 for the Tucker-Guthrie Memorial Airport in Harlan County for replacement perimeter fencing; $385,000 for the Wendell H. Ford Airport to rehabilitate 280 feet of existing taxiway pavement; $50,000 for the Monticello-Wayne County Airport to design a 15,000 sq.ft. hangar on site; and $682,392 for the Lake Cumberland Regional Airport in Pulaski County to construct a new 11,550 sq.ft. hangar.

News from Capitol Hill 

Much of my time this summer has been spent in Washington, D.C., passing important legislation to protect our homeland, improve our infrastructure, meet the needs of veterans, rein in job-killing regulations from the Obama Administration and eliminate waste. As House Appropriations Committee Chairman, I'm proud that we also kicked off the earliest start to the Appropriations process since 1974, and received approval for all 12 federal spending bills from both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for the first time in eight years. Visit the House Appropriations website to learn more about our federal spending bills. 

Click the links below to read more about how Kentucky is impacted by our work in DC. 

News Releases: 

Thanks to all the folks who stopped by my office in DC during summer vacations to our Nation's Capital. I always enjoy visiting with Kentucky friends and I encourage you to contact my office anytime you are on The Hill. Visit my new Instagram page to see photos of visitors. 

Left to right: Chase Wagers, Floyd Co. Schools Superintendent Henry Webb, and Madyson Hutchinson  

If you would like to receive more frequent updates on what's happening in Washington, please send me an email, join my Facebook pagefollow me on Twitterview photos on Instagram, or subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thank you to everyone who has dropped by to share your opinion -- let's keep the dialogue going!