This week, our team took aim at one of the major problems confronting our economic recovery -- unemployment. Our second annual Job Fair in Lebanon attracted forty employers to Ozarks Technical Community College. These employers looking to hire were kept busy by a steady stream of prospective employees sitting down for initial interviews and offering resumes. This truly was a one-stop shopping experience for both employers and job seekers.
I have said many times that government cannot create jobs, it can only assist job creators as they do the heavy lifting in addressing unemployment. It was rewarding to play a small role in helping connect people looking to advance their careers with job creators in the area.
The July unemployment rate for Laclede County stood at 9 percent, compared to 7.1 percent for our state. Many of Laclede County's unemployed citizens want to find work, but have not come into contact with ready-to-hire employers. I am pleased that we were able to bring together the job providers with the job seekers to do our part to help put out-of-work citizens back to work.
You were no doubt saddened when you learned of the severe storms and flash flooding that recently struck much of our state, resulting in the tragic deaths of a mother and her child in Pulaski County. This week, I visited Waynesville and was honored to meet with several of the first responders and emergency personnel who put personal safety aside to assist flood victims. These brave men and women are true heroes. I am so proud of all they have done and continue to do in service to their community.
In an effort to bring relief to the good people who suffered through the flooding, I wrote a letter to President Obama, asking him to approve a request for a major disaster declaration for our state. I was pleased to have been joined by other Members of Missouri's Congressional Delegation who signed onto that letter.
Preliminary Damage Assessments found $18.3 million in public response and infrastructure costs and damages in addition to more than 380 homes and 130 businesses damaged as a result of the storms.
While no amount of federal assistance can ease the pain and sorrow of the family and friends of the victims of this tragedy, any aid that is forthcoming will be welcome help to citizens whose homes and businesses were badly damaged by this severe weather.
On another matter, as hardworking Missourians enjoy the last long weekend of summer, I would like to share with you some of the services available to you through your Fourth District Congressional offices.
I am always interested in constituents' views on topics of interest and pieces of legislation being considered by the House. Citizen Cosponsor, on my website at www.hartzler.house.gov is a communications platform that creates a more open, visible and participatory legislative process by enabling citizens to follow the status of the bills I have sponsored as these bills move through the legislative process.
Citizens can take a look at the bills I am sponsoring at http://hartzler.house.gov/legislative-work/become-citizen-cosponsor and, if they wish, can become Citizen Cosponsors and voice their support. Opening the channels of communication between citizens and their government is a priority of mine. I believe Citizen Cosponsor will prove to be a valuable tool as I represent the interests of Missouri's Fourth District in Washington.
Our website contains all kinds of useful information. There is information on internships, tours of the U.S. Capitol, and U.S. Service Academy Nominations. We can even help people order a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol.
Any constituent service needs -- which might include issues with Social Security, Medicare, or Veterans Affairs -- can be addressed by contacting our offices in Columbia, Harrisonville, Lebanon, or Sedalia. The locations and phone numbers for the offices can be found on our web site. My team and I are ready to be of service to the citizens of our district. We look forward to hearing from you.
Have a great week.