Dear Friend,

As we begin 2016, I'm excited about the upcoming opportunities for economic development and innovation in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. I look forward to working with Governor Matt Bevin as the new co-chair of SOAR to help shape the future of our communities. 

It was a pleasure to join the recent homecoming celebration for Harlan County superstar, Jordan Smith after winning Season 9 of NBC's The Voice. I presented Jordan with a framed copy of a tribute from the U.S. House of Representatives that I placed in the Congressional Record. We are proud of his accomplishments and the positive light he has directed toward our region. I look forward to following his career in the music industry. Congratulations to Jordan on his monumental win and his recent engagement!

Good news for high school students: The Congressional App Challenge deadline has been extended until January 21, 2016. High school students in Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District can submit their innovative applications as individuals or a team of four. The challenge is designed to promote ingenuity in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The winning app from Southern and Eastern Kentucky will be displayed in the Nation's Capitol for one year. Click here for details.

On Capitol Hill, we are starting off the new year with a busy week. I will be voting to dismantle Obamacare and to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood. We will also be addressing President Obama's planned executive action on gun control. The rights guaranteed to Americans under the Second Amendment of the Constitution have been reaffirmed by the Supreme Court time and again, and the protection of these cherished rights is the very reason that the Constitution also limited executive power. Read more >>>

Kentucky will see a number of benefits as a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act that will fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year. It provides $1.149 trillion for critical programs and services, yet cuts spending on wasteful, inefficient, unnecessary programs to save taxpayer dollars, and holds federal agencies accountable for their funding. In Kentucky, some of the federal dollars will support the mission of SOAR, fund programs proposed in the POWER Plus Plan to revitalize our coal communities, and will expand vital job creation opportunities in our region. Click here for a full overview of benefits for Kentucky.

Before the end of the year, we also passed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, giving each state more flexibility and discretion in accountability, goal setting and intervention for low-performing students. It revises the highly controversial Common Core principles that emerged from the No Child Left Behind Act and allows Kentucky to opt out of unsuccessful programs. Kentucky, along with all other states, will now have more control over the improvements that are implemented at the local level. Read more here>>>

SBA Loan Deadline Reminder: February 1, 2016 is the deadline for private non-profit organizations to submit Economic Injury Disaster loan applications for damages caused by severe storms, tornadoes, flooding, landslides and mudslides on April 2-17, 2015. Apply at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.


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