The Lewis Letter
By U.S. Representative Ron Lewis
Reflections on my 14 Years in Congress
In less than three weeks Kentucky voters will go to the polls. For the first time in 14 years my name will not appear on the ballot. As my congressional career draws to a close, I would like to take a moment to thank you for allowing me this unique opportunity to serve in public office. Together, we have worked to achieve many important objectives to strengthen the security and prosperity of our families and local communities.
I first came to Congress in 1994 as part of the Republican Revolution. We fought for lower taxes, less regulation, and more common sense in government. While I am proud of what we accomplished, many complex challenges still remain.
During my tenure, I learned that Congress was at its best when we worked across party lines to achieve important objectives on behalf of those we represent. One of my proudest accomplishments was leading the effort in the House to pass the 2005 tobacco buyout. This was a perfect case of elected officials working together in a bipartisan manner to achieve a favorable outcome for the future of U.S. agriculture. Many farmers are diversifying and thriving today, in part, because of that success.
I was also proud to have played an integral role to ensure the future viability of Ft. Knox and Ireland Army Hospital during Base Realignment and Closure Commission proceedings. The new jobs and development generated from the base will shape the economic vitality of surrounding communities well into the future.
One of my most important obligations in public office has been to assure the highest quality of care for veterans and their families. I worked hard to highlight the need for localized patient care services during a series of meetings with former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson. As a result, new community based outpatient clinics have opened in Daviess County and Grayson County, offering clinical services to thousands of veterans who reside in the area and would have otherwise needed to travel long distances for medical care.
Throughout my career, I have tried to do all that I could to provide funding assistance for responsible projects in my congressional district. I am proud of the difference these federal dollars have made to the quality of life of my constituents.
Through this process, I have secured over $2 million in federal funding to combat methamphetamine use and production in Central Kentucky. These revenues have assisted federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in their efforts to fight and win the war on drugs in our communities.
I was also fortunate to have worked with local officials and medical professionals to provide $4 million in federal support for plant-based pharmaceutical research at the Owensboro Cancer Research Program. These funds have provided the center with new resources to better understand, treat, and prevent cancer and have positioned Owensboro as a leading center for future biotechnical innovations.
Another special project that I have had the privilege to support from its creation is the Small Business Incubator at Western Kentucky University. Federal funds have helped the center provide technical assistance, counseling, and business expertise to entrepreneurs opening businesses across the region.
I've been pleased to partner with community leaders to advance infrastructure initiatives including the Heartland Parkway project and the designation of the Audubon and Natcher Parkways as future interstate spurs. These developments will provide an important opportunity for local communities to attract new industries and enhance future economic growth.
When I took over the Second District seat following the death of my predecessor William H. Natcher, I knew that I had big shoes to fill. Congressman Natcher's constituent services were second to none in all of Congress. I have strived each day to ensure that my office maintains those same priorities.
Though I have likely cast my final vote in Washington, I will continue to make it my priority to represent the interests of the Second Congressional District each and every day until my successor is sworn in on January 3rd.
Finally, I want to thank each of you who I have had the privilege to represent. I am humbled each day by the trust you have placed in me to serve your interests in Washington, D.C. I would like to add a special thanks to my wife Kayi, our children Allison and Brent, as well as my friends, colleagues, community leaders, and countless others for supporting me through this journey. It has been the greatest honor of my life.