Column: Hearing from the 6th District

Statement

By:  Joe Barton
Date: Sept. 14, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

When the House adjourned on August 3rd, I had the opportunity to spend several weeks in the 6th District and catch up with the people I have the privilege to represent. While most of my colleagues have let in-person town halls go the way of the rotary phone, I still believe that public servants should give their constituents the chance to voice their opinions in person.

I held eight town halls and attended several different events to give you a chance to tell me what is on your mind. Your biggest concern is no surprise. With our nation $16 trillion in debt and an employment rate stuck above 8%, the state of the economy is the biggest worry for most Texans. I'm worried as well. Federal spending is out of control, and rather than cutting back and budgeting like you do every day, the federal government continues to spend money it doesn't have on things we don't need. We discussed the need to come up with solutions now, not in 5 or 10 years. I'm fully in support of balancing the budget in order to tackle our economic problems, and I think many of you agree that it's long past time to rein in our out-of-control spending.

During the town hall meetings, I also discussed our top spending programs. We spend more money on Defense, Social Security, and Medicare than the tax revenue the federal government takes in. I support these programs and their beneficiaries, but our present level of spending is simply unsustainable. At the current rate, they will run out of money in less than 30 years. It is irresponsible to not address these concerns with tough reforms that are fair to everyone. I've always said that it is possible to do tough things as long as everyone has a little skin in the game.

I heard from folks all across the District, from Tarrant County to Houston County and from Mexia to Kerens. I understand that you're worried about the state of the economy and the irresponsible inaction coming from Washington. Republicans in the House are working hard to repair the damages. Our pro-growth agenda will address our economic challenges, foster innovation and investment, and help job creators without raising taxes on working families and small business owners. It is imperative that we put Americans back to work and create a stable future for our children and grandchildren.

Keeping in touch with you is my top priority. Knowing how my constituents are doing here in Texas helps keep things in perspective in Washington. I'm grateful to all those who came out to see me, and I'm looking forward to working with you to put America back on track towards a bright, secure future.

If you would like to attend a future town hall, please visit my website at www.joebarton.house.gov or follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repjoebarton.