This past week, I've enjoyed being able to spend each day in America's First District meeting with great folks. These "constituent work weeks" are valuable times that enable me to visit folks at their places of work or to meet with visitors at my local offices. The clear perspective that one gains by spending time on Main Street America is one that cannot be gained in Washington, D.C. I truly believe that the best ideas for resolving our country's problems come from places like Montross, Fredericksburg, and Yorktown, not Washington, D.C.
After spending Easter Sunday with family, I spent Monday meeting with various groups and individuals in the lower end of the First District. The topics of discussion were widespread. Some folks were concerned with proposed increases to the TRICARE Premiums that veterans pay for their health insurance, and others simply wanted to discuss the way Congress can't seem to get anything done. The comments on TRICARE are especially timely, as the next National Defense Authorization Act is set to be considered soon. I believe strongly that we must not change the benefits promised to those men and women currently serving or those already retired, and I will continue to fight to protect those benefits. I valued each of these discussions and I appreciate all of the insight and comments that each of these folks provided.
Tuesday and Wednesday were also spent interacting with folks and visiting various organizations and workplaces throughout the First District. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to speak to the senior class at York River Academy on Tuesday morning. Our discussion ranged from the duties associated with my role as their representative to more specific topics such as the best approaches to foreign policy in the Middle East. These smart and talented youth asked great questions, and I can tell that they all have bright futures ahead of them. Engaging with these students reinforced to me just how imperative it is that Congress addresses this country's unsustainable fiscal path so that these young people and their children aren't saddled with our debt. On Wednesday, I was also honored to speak with the Langley Civic Leaders Association in Hampton, to discuss issues on defense, veterans and national security.
Thursday brought another great event in Hampton; I was honored to take part in the dedication of the National Institute of Aerospace's (NIA) Research and Innovation Laboratories in Hampton. The NIA's efforts to harness new technologies and expand our existing knowledge of science and engineering are truly inspiring. At the same time, the aerospace industry as a whole is critical to our region's economy; in 2009, Virginia's aerospace industry contributed $7.6 billion in economic output and directly or indirectly supported over 28,000 jobs, according to a study by the Virginia Department of Aviation. The presence of organizations like NIA and NASA-Langley Research Center have truly made our region a hub of aerospace and aeronautics, and I was proud to be a part of this occasion.
Every single person I encounter during my travels throughout the First District is affected in some way by the policies that come out of Washington, and I believe it is critical to understand the true impacts of these policies on individuals in real America. This is why I drive home every night to my home in Montross, and it's also why I've valued the opportunity this week to interact and engage with so many of the great folks who reside in Virginia's First District. From discussions with constituents in Fredericksburg to meeting with the great folks at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester the following week, it was truly a productive constituent work period. Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to meet with me this week. If I didn't see you during this constituent work period, I'd still love to hear your thoughts and comments on what you'd like to see happening in Washington. Please keep in touch via telephone at (202) 225-4261, through my website (www.wittman.house.gov), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RepRobWittman), or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/RobWittman).
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the First District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee where he is the Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.