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Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, my friend from Washington State.
This is so exciting to get to be here tonight, to get to visit with the American people about what it means to be a Republican woman, and I am honored to represent Missouri's Fourth Congressional District, and as I share with people about the great district that I get to represent, it's a story of the heartland.
Missouri's Fourth District, we are just made of small towns and farms, and we work hard and we hunt on weekends and go to church on Sundays, and we just want the government to leave us alone. And basically, what we have seen over the years is Washington getting bigger and bigger and pushing out the private enterprise and threatening our basic freedoms. And so that's what we have to push back against and restore America's greatness.
Who I am and the reasons I align myself with the Republican Party is a reflection of my background and experiences that I've had over the years. I wanted to share just a few of those things with you.
I grew up on a farm near Archie, Missouri, and my mom and my dad and my sister and I, we raised corn and soy beans and had a lot of hogs and had a cow/calf operation. And one thing that strikes me as very pivotal to my life is my parents in January would sit down and take several days cash-flowing the year, projecting forward what they thought the yields on the crops were going to be, the prices on the crops, looking at the expenses, the payments that we had, seeing if we'd be able to make it all work. And after a few years, my mom and dad called my sister and I over and said, you need to sit here with us and learn this process.
Well, I can tell you, as a little kid, that wasn't the most exciting way to spend our evenings, but it was a wonderful experience because we learned how hard it was to make everything work and to pay for everything and to live within your means. And I learned that you can't spend more than you take in. I learned fiscal responsibility that is so much a part of the Republican Party, and what we're here trying to do is to restore that because Washington keeps spending money that it doesn't have, and we can't do that at home. We don't do it on our farms. We don't do it in our businesses, and it's time that Washington learned some lessons from the heartland and from ordinary families like mine.
Something else I learned on the farm is that hard work pays off usually. Of course there are a lot of things dealing with weather and other things that you can't control. But one thing lately that you can't control is the amount of government regulations that are threatening agriculture. Now the EPA is trying to regulate dust. Well, I still live on a gravel road. And I have news for people at the EPA: If you farm, if you drive down a gravel road, you are going to get dust. So don't try to fine us or tell us that we can't have that. That's just a lack of common sense. So Washington needs to listen to us ordinary people and not do that.
Something else I learned growing up was a love of our country and a respect for our military. My dad served in the U.S. Army Reserves. That really made a huge impression on me, that he was willing to serve his country. And all of those brave men and women who today are putting their lives on the line for us deserve our highest respect. According to the Constitution, there are only a few things we're supposed to do, and one of them is to provide for the common defense. And I'm so honored to sit on the House Armed Services Committee, where I can work hard for those men and women and keep our country strong and safe and secure.
I grew up and became a teacher, and I taught home economics. Now they call it "family and consumer sciences.'' I love that. I chose that profession because I believe in the family, and I want to make it as strong as possible, and I love young people. One thing I taught was a class dealing with finances in the home. I taught the kids how to balance a checkbook, and kids got it. I would say, You can't spend more than you take in. They understood it. And I don't understand how come Washington doesn't understand that same principle. So that's what I'm trying to bring here, how we need to have a balanced budget. And that is one thing the Republicans are fighting for.
I also taught a class called food services. It was a vocational class where we actually--I trained them in how to have a job. And a lot of food service jobs are beginning career opportunities for young people, and they can move forward. But I taught them, if you work hard and you do an excellent job and become skilled in what you do, you can move forward in life. And in America, anything is possible. I want that to still be the mantra that we share with our young people today, and make sure we preserve the opportunity that we had.
Later I was a State representative. And then after that, the Governor appointed me as chairman of the Missouri Women's Council, and I enjoyed that for 2 years. In that council, as an agency in the Department of Economic Development, we helped women connect with and meet their economic goals, and that's jobs. You know, Mr. Speaker, women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men, which amounts to 400 new businesses every day that are started by women. And women-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the United States economy. There are 10.6 million businesses owned in the United States by women that employ over 19 million American workers, and women-owned businesses generate some $2.46 trillion in revenue each year. Women are smart. They're able to own their own businesses, and we here in Washington need to help them meet those goals, not provide hindrances for it. And clearly from the last speaker, you see that President Obama's plan has failed. Throwing money at something does not create jobs. There is a better plan.
I'm also a small business owner now. My husband and I own a company where we sell farm equipment. We employ about 50 people, have three stores. So I know the challenges of day-to-day operating a small business in America. Most jobs in America are created by small business owners, the same people that President Obama is trying to tax. What he doesn't understand is that if you tax job creators more, they're not going to have money to be able to hire a worker. It doesn't make sense. We've got to change course here.
A couple of stories, quickly, I wanted to share with you from businesses in my district reflect how the policies here in Washington are killing jobs. One is, when I was on the campaign trail a couple of years ago, I met with a business who told me that they wanted to open up a second location. Things were going pretty well. They had about 30 employees at the time. But they asked about this new health care bill that was being debated, that the President was pushing through. And they said, If this passes, our business will fold. We provide health care for our employees as much as possible. We provide them a stipend so they can go buy their own policies. But if this bill passes, we can't afford that. So they told me they have decided not to open up a second location because of the government's takeover of health care that Washington was forcing down the throats of Americans. That is tragic because in this town, there are hundreds of people out of work. And it broke my heart that what is going on here in Washington was directly causing people to be unemployed back home.
Another example: I've been visiting with a lot of companies in my district that manufacture goods. And thank goodness we still have a lot of manufacturing jobs here in America. But as I visit with them, they share with me the hurdles that they're having to overcome just to stay open because of Washington's policies of high taxes and regulations. Their competition is overseas. And they've told me, Vicky, we do not want to move to China. We do not want to take those jobs there. But yet if we move there, we're not going to have to pay near as many taxes, and we don't have to live by these awful regulations from EPA and all these other government agencies. So we're going to try to stay here as long as possible. But please, please help us get government off our backs. And I assured them I certainly would do everything that I can because, you know, as House Republicans, we know how to create jobs, and that's what we're putting forward.
We're putting forth a plan to lower taxes. We're putting forth plans to push back on these government regulations that are out there that are killing jobs, hurting our farmers. We are promoting trade overseas and want to get these trade agreements passed--and we're also getting rid of that huge uncertainty of debt that is hanging over our country and promoting a balanced budget, like my mom and dad did around the kitchen table at home, like I taught my kids at school how to do.
But the last thing that influences me is being a wife and mother. And that is what inspires me to continue to fight for faith, family, freedom, and our future. That's what we're all about.
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