Jul 28 2020
It has been a welcomed sight to see Little League fields and other sports complexs full of healthy, energetic, aspiring young athletes who are finding some normalcy in the midst of the national COVID-19 pandemic this summer. It is both unhealthy to live in fear and unhealthy to live without taking commonsense precautions for the safety and well-being of our loved ones. I applaud our businesses, organizations and churches that have taken extra steps to protect our communities as much as possible.
Thankfully, our Eastern Kentucky PRIDE volunteers teamed up with the staff at the Cumberland Falls State Park and implemented safety measures to move forward with the annual Cumberland Falls Cleanup. Volunteers removed 110 bags of trash below our beautiful Cumberland Falls, along with two freezers, two propane tanks, two televisions and three barrels. We must continue to educate our communities about proper disposal options and the impact of massive litter collecting around our amazing natural wonders and tourism hot spots. The job is never finished, and I appreciate all those who take incredible personal pride in keeping our environment clean.
While most summer camps have been cancelled this year, Operation UNITE hosted the first-ever Virtual Camp UNITE experience. Each middle school camper received a box full of camp supplies, including a Camp UNITE t-shirt and mask, a basketball, drug-free educational materials, and more. Last week, I spoke directly to Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the rapid rise in opioid overdose deaths during the pandemic. The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics recently reported a 6.3% increase in opioid overdose deaths nationwide for 2019, and anecdotal reports indicate overdose deaths may increase by 20% in 2020. So, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent and treat substance use disorders during this pandemic. Our future depends on our continued work. Click here to watch my video message for all the virtual campers.
Dr. Redfield and Congressman Rogers
2019 National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit
Congratulations to all of the students across Southern and Eastern Kentucky who were selected for the 2020 Rogers Scholars, Rogers Explorers and Entrepreunurial Leadership Institute (ELI) youth programs. Due to social restrictions with the COVID-19 pandemic, each of those youth programs shifted to online opportunities, which included powerful messages from leaders across the state. This year's winning group for the ELI Business Concept Competition created a mask prototype with a silicone tubing and wire system to help mask users avoid fogging up eye glasses. The winning team members included Tanner Morrison from Knott County, Karaline Melton from Leslie County, Caleb Rose from Harlan County, and Logan Morrison from Knott County. Each student received a provost scholarship offer from Eastern Kentucky University totaling $16,000. You can learn more about what these rising young leaders are doing online at centeryouthprograms.com and on Facebook @centeryouthprograms.
ON CAPITOL HILL
FUNDING RELIEF FOR COVID-19: In Washington, DC we're also conducting business largely by video conferences and voting for legislation in smaller groups on the House Floor. We're currently working on another massive COVID-19 relief package to address the need for additional benefits, assistance for employers to keep workers on the payroll, support for schools to safely reopen this fall and much more.
FUNDING FOR POLICE REFORM: While Democrats dangerously pursue policies for a lawless, socialist nation and echo cries to defund the police, we need to focus on rooting out bad actors with badges and rapidly reform weaknesses in our law enforcement agencies to help protect our citizens and our communities. That's why I cosponsored the JUSTICE Act, which would provide the most significant police reform in 25 years through increased training, accountability and transparency. Click here to learn more.
FUNDING FOR COAL COMMUNITIES: Unfortunately many of the effective programs that this Congress needs to fund have been high-jacked by House Democrats and enveloped into larger bills that do greater harm than good. For instance, I was disappointed to see the RECLAIM Act used as leverage in the Democrats' "My Way or the Highway" infrastructure bill. I have long championed the RECLAIM Act for reclamation and economic development funding in coal country, but not at the expense of the far left-wing liberals' Green New Deal. Democrats also included funding for my Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot Grant Program in a hyper-partisan appropriations package, which I simply could not support when it came to the House floor. I'll continue working to find a path for RECLAIM and the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot Program, but not by way of supporting a radical socialist spending spree.
Despite House Democrats' attempts to side-track progress, the 2020 AML Pilot Grant Program for Kentucky is accepting applications through August 1, 2020. Click here to learn how to submit a project application for your community.
FUNDING OUR MILITARY: The U.S. House and Senate are working together to pass the 60th annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We've managed to find a common path for the NDAA over the last six decades and I am hopeful that the final legislation will provide the progress we desperately need to keep our nation safe, along with strong support for our troops and military families. The legislation needs to deter and respond to Chinese threats in the Pacific and around the world, and ensure the U.S. leads the way with rapidly emerging technology. Click here to learn more about the NDAA and the work yet to come.
IN MEMORY OF REP. JOHN LEWIS: This week, Congress honored my friend and colleague Rep. John Lewis, who lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda July 27-28. I’ve had the distinct honor of serving in Congress with some incredible leaders, but Rep. Lewis set a higher standard for courage, perseverance and compassion when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986 for Georgia's Fifth Congressional District. His historic march for civil rights, justice and equality started long before his voice thundered through the legislative chambers on Capitol Hill. While this nation mourns the loss of such a spirited champion for unity and equality, his storied life will continue to resonate in the victories yet to come.
If I can be of assistance, please contact my office toll-free, at 1-800-632-8588. It is always an honor to represent the remarkable people of Southern and Eastern Kentucky.