As the New Year approaches, I always look forward with optimism and excitement for what the year will bring. Whether you resolve to set aside more time for daily devotion or finally complete that household project, the New Year is a time to set new goals and renew commitments. As we begin 2014, I will remain committed to serving you and our community. Serving our community well means providing top-notch constituent services and being accessible to hear your needs, thoughts and concerns.
Over the past year, I’ve hosted nearly 100 public meetings in the district, responded to 30,000 letters, and helped over 1,500 constituents through casework. From hosting the student Congressional Art Competition to expediting passports to helping folks who are having problems with federal agencies, I believe the work I do through constituent service and casework is the most important part of my job.
My offices in Washington and North Carolina are here to serve the needs of the people of North Carolina’s Eighth Congressional District. Recently, a 90-year-old WWII veteran contacted my office looking for help dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The veteran previously applied for benefits in 2011, but was denied because several documents were not reviewed correctly by the VA. My staff was able to work directly with the VA to get this veteran what he truly deserved. In addition to VA casework, we have also been able to help others with Social Security or immigration issues.
As we begin a New Year, I look forward to renewing my commitment to serving you. What can we help you with in 2014?
• Help with a Federal Agency: If you can’t get an answer from a federal agency in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, my office may be able to help. Here is a brief list of examples that involve government agencies and programs:
- IRS and tax matters
- Social Security and Medicare benefits
- Passport services
- Immigration matters
- Veterans’ benefits
- Federal worker injury compensation
- Student loans
• Service Academy Nominations: If you’re a high school student and would like to be nominated to one of our nation’s service academies, contact my office to go through the application process.
• Tours of Washington: If you’d like to visit our nation’s capital, please reach out to my office to arrange a tour of the U.S. Capitol and other national attractions. This year, my office guided more than 1,000 of our citizens on tours of the U.S. Capitol!
• Flags: You can purchase an American flag through my office and you may also request that your flag be flown over the U.S. Capitol. Flags can be flown for a specific person or event on a specific date with enough advance notice.
• Congressional Art Competition: Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Students can submit entries to my office, and a panel of judges from the district will select the winning entries. The winning works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol.
It is truly an honor to serve you in the U.S. House of Representatives. I promised to be accessible to our community in 2013, and in the coming year, I will continue to work just as hard. As we begin a New Year, please don’t hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. I wish you and your loved ones a new year that brings blessings and joy, and I thank you for giving me the privilege of being your Congressman.