PRESTONSBURG, KY -- U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) gave a legislative update during a regularly scheduled monthly meeting of local leaders of the Big Sandy Area Development District (A.D.D.) on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at the Big Sandy A.D.D. headquarters. Rogers commended local leaders for their diligent efforts to recover and rebuild over the last year since several deadly tornadoes swept through the region last March.
"Through your leadership, our students missed very little school, dozens of displaced families were provided with immediate housing, businesses quickly re-opened, and you paved the way for new opportunities and job creation after the storm and I applaud you," said Rogers. "I applaud your leadership in working with local, state and federal agencies through the recovery process and I'll continue to stand by you through your long-term efforts."
During the meeting, Rogers explained why the House voted last week to repeal ObamaCare for the 37th time since the Affordable Care Act passed three years ago.
"We're already losing jobs across the country and employers are finding it will be cheaper to pay the penalties than to provide health insurance for every single employee," explained Rogers. "We simply can't afford ObamaCare. I'm most concerned about our young workers who could see a 200% increase in premiums, according to the Congressional Budget Office."
Rogers recently co-sponsored the Coal Jobs Protection Act (H.R. 1829), which would automatically approve 404 coal mining permits if the Environmental Protection Agency fails to respond within 90 days.
"In the last 18 months, Kentucky has lost 5,700 coal jobs and all but 200 of those were Eastern Kentucky coal miners," said Rogers. "I have grilled leaders of the EPA time and again, slashing the federal agency's budget with unprecedented cuts along the way, yet this administration has been relentless in its attack on coal. We must be diligent in helping these laid-off miners find employment and work to get our coal mines back on line. And Congress needs to pass the Coal Jobs Protection Act."
Shifting from the war on coal, Rogers commended local leaders for their tireless efforts in the war on drugs. Thanks to private donations, Operation UNITE kicked-off the "I Am UNITE" Scholarships for high school seniors on the non-profit organization's tenth anniversary. Nineteen students from across the region will receive a $1,500 scholarship this year.
"Some of these students have already helped their own families members and friends get help for drug and alcohol addictions. They are already changing lives with their bold efforts at school and at home. We wish them the very best as they go one to college," stated Rogers.
The PRIDE Spring Cleanup campaign wrapped up at the end of April and Rogers delivered some of the in-coming results from the region's successful volunteer efforts. Rogers presented "Outstanding Volunteer Recruitment Certificates" to Ella Clay who recruited 587 volunteers in Floyd County, Lillian Wheeler who recruited 68 volunteers in Johnson County, and Frankie Collett for recruiting 333 volunteers in Magoffin County.
Rogers also announced PRIDE's Volunteer of the Month for June is the Upper Chloe Improvement Club, led by Kenneth and Gerrie Kinder. The club collected 1,341 bags of trash, filled four dumpsters and removed 30 old tires across ten miles.
"Volunteers are the backbone of PRIDE and each year we are inching toward the milestone of removing one million old tires from our hillsides and streams," said Rogers. "There is nothing as beautiful as the canopy across our Eastern Kentucky mountains and I'm proud to be part of this great organization that reminds us to have PRIDE in our beautiful region."
Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit http://halrogers.house.gov/ or follow Rogers on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/RepHalRogers or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/CongressmanHalRogers.
PHOTOS: (left to right): Rogers with UNITE Scholars; Rogers with Ella Clay; Rogers with Lillian Wheeler; Rogers with Frankie Collett; Rogers with Upper Chloe Improvement Club; Rogers speaks at the Big Sandy A.D.D.
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