This was the second of two consecutive in district work weeks and I took advantage of the time in Missouri's Fourth Congressional District to host three business roundtables to hear views from businessmen and women on what needs to be done to clear the path for businesses to begin hiring again, increase wages for the hardworking people of our district, and to get our economy steadily moving forward. Our events in St. Robert, Marshfield, and Versailles attracted a lot of good people expressing a lot of good thoughts.
A recurring theme in these roundtables was that government must get out of the way and stop impeding businesses.
I heard from one businessman who shared that new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules have made it difficult for plumbers without special certification to work on wells. Another told of how an overly broad interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has caused every hotel to have to install a permanent wheelchair lift on every body of water they operate - including separate expensive lifts for the pool, the kiddie pool, and the hot tub. These types of regulations are very expensive to implement and are costing businesses a lot of time and money.
I also heard concerns expressed over the sequester cuts that are impacting civilian workers at Fort Leonard Wood. I assured them that the budget passed by the House aims to restore defense funding starting with the fiscal year 2014 budget. I have said many times that the federal government has few responsibilities -- with one of them being to provide for the common defense. And we need to do it.
Sequestration was bad public policy and I opposed it from the beginning. We cannot allow our tanks, ships, and planes to go without much-needed repairs and we must never force our men and women in uniform to forego crucial training because of the Obama Administration's poor choices. I am committed to fighting to restore defense funding and making sure that Fort Leonard Wood and military installations across the country have the resources they need to continue to defend America.
During a tour of the Emerson Electric facility in Lebonon I was honored to receive an award from the National Association of Manufacturers, which thanked me for my support of America's manufacturers.
With more than 17 million jobs supported by the manufacturing industry and nearly 12 million Americans employed directly in manufacturing, this is a vital sector of our economy. I am pleased to support our hardworking employees and companies involved in manufacturing and will continue to do all I can to support "Made in America."
This week's travels included a visit to the Moniteau County Nutrition Center in California, where I enjoyed meeting with senior citizens and listening to their concerns. The Center has been up and running since 2003, serving nutritious meals to seniors. The Center also hosts daytime and evening activities for area senior citizens. For more than a decade, I served on the council which oversaw a similar center in Harrisonville. I love and respect senior citizens and am a big supporter of these programs. I appreciate the important role they play in the lives of seniors across the country and commend the local communities and volunteers who make the centers possible.
As a former school teacher who taught for eleven years, I look forward to opportunities to visit schools in our district and to meet with teachers, administrators, and students. I sat in on several elementary school classes in Sedalia, Buffalo, and Harrisonville this week, talking to and reading children's stories to the students. It was a delight.
The teachers are wonderful and the children so precious. They are our future and a good reminder of why what goes on in Washington matters. It is their future that we are fighting for. We need to ensure they have the brightest opportunities possible. Each deserves as good a life as we have had and, hopefully, better. I look forward to going back to Washington next week empowered with the common sense ideas of our people, encouraged by the accomplishments of our hardworking employees and businesses, and inspired by our teachers and children. It is an honor to represent you and our amazing district.
Have a good week.