The first week of August has come and gone, and many of you are soaking in the last few weeks of summer. As our families prepare for the start of a new school year, the last thing they need to worry about is a sluggish economy, dwindling paychecks and rising bills. But according to a recent Wall Street Journal survey, 60 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the state of our economy, and over 70 percent believe our nation is headed in the wrong direction.
Now more than ever, our families, our students, our workers and our veterans need real solutions. Unfortunately, Washington is making life more difficult – at the hospital, in the job market and at the gas pump. You know what’s best for you and your family, not a government bureaucrat who has never stepped foot in our district. That is why it’s so important that I hear from you about your top concerns, your most pressing needs, and your bright ideas – ideas that can root out the waste and steer decision-making power back to North Carolina and away from Washington.
This week, I’ve had the privilege of working and traveling in the district to hear what’s on your mind. We are fortunate to have a variety of quality small businesses and manufacturers in our district that drive our local economies and provide unique services. One of the businesses I toured was the 2013 winner of Stanly County’s Small Business of the Year - Seven Oaks Doors & Hardware in Oakboro. The commercial hardware manufactured here is used in schools, universities, hospitals, and other manufacturing facilities across the Carolinas and Virginia. Not only does this business supply our region with unparalleled products and services, it also provides workers specialized, high-skilled jobs.
I also had the chance to visit K2 Solutions in Ellerbe. Did you know our district is home to one of the leading canine detection training and research facilities in the nation? Among other defense services, K2 Solutions provides law enforcement and military personnel with trained explosives detection canines. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation Security, I’m a huge proponent of these highly-effective canine teams as part of the risk-based approach to security. The capabilities that the dogs are learning at K2 Solutions are exactly the tools we need to respond to growing threats, protect our nation’s transportation system and keep passengers safe.
Another business that is essential to the economic success of our district and our state is Concord Regional Airport. In total, the airport has contributed $176 million to the local economy and supported nearly 2,000 jobs. In 2012 alone, Concord Regional had almost 60,000 landings and takeoffs and nearly 4,000 commercial flights. The number of passengers boarding has increased 3,000 percent in the last four years. Last year I worked with my colleagues to prevent devastating cuts to contract control towers that would have severely hampered growth at the airport. I’ll continue to fight against bad policies that hurt our local economy and will push for new opportunities to expand.
Finally, this week I had the opportunity to view the new Carolina’s Healthcare facility in Anson county that provides access to quality healthcare for folks throughout our district. This new hospital is engaging directly in the community to address long term health issues and bring qualified specialists directly to Anson so that families aren’t forced to travel long distances just to get the care they deserve. By utilizing new technologies, providing mobile access, and co-locating family practice and hospital services, the Anson facility is changing healthcare for the better.
These productive discussions made clear to me that we need real solutions that get government out of the way and empower our local communities. Since being sworn-in as a Member of Congress, I have passed three bipartisan bills out of the U.S. House of Representatives. In a town wrecked with partisan gridlock, I am very proud of this accomplishment. I will continue my work to ensure an economic-friendly environment where they can grow and create jobs.