I enjoyed my recent trip across district

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2015

By U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne

At least once a month, the House of Representatives goes out of session and Members of Congress are able to spend time visiting with constituents in their districts. Last week was one of these District Work Weeks. I wanted to briefly update you on some of the highlights from last week.

We started things off with visits to some of our local schools. I had the opportunity to speak to sixth graders at Fairhope Intermediate School, government students at Foley High School, and a great group at St. Ignatius Catholic School in Mobile. I always enjoy visiting schools because it allows students to hear firsthand how their government works. In each of these visits, I always encourage the students to stay engaged with their local, state and federal governments.

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On Tuesday afternoon, I attended a town hall meeting in Mobile hosted by the Gulf Coast Veterans Health System. There was a packed house, and I was disappointed to hear a lot of complaints from veterans. From poor care to long wait times to lacking customer service, serious problems remain in the VA system. I will continue working to increase veterans’ access to private care and pushing for more accountability at the VA.

I hosted my annual Workshop for High School Leaders on Wednesday at the University of South Alabama. We had close to 600 students from Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia, Monroe, Clarke, and Washington counties. The students heard from South Alabama Head Football Coach Joey Jones, in addition to unique jobs and working media panels. I held a question and answer session with the students to conclude the event. These are the leaders of tomorrow, and I enjoyed spending time with them.

On Thursday, I hosted the Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank, Mr. Fred Hochberg, in Mobile. We kicked the day off with a Global Access Forum, which is an event to educate local businesses on ways they can increase exports. Next, we toured Xante, a local printer manufacturer that benefits from the Export-Import Bank’s resources. We wrapped up with a tour of the new Airbus Final Assembly Line project. I am continually impressed by how quickly that project is coming together, and I remain excited about the economic potential Airbus brings to Southwest Alabama.

I headed up Highway 31 to Atmore on Friday for a day full of events. I started things off with a visit to Escambia Drug Store to meet with the Coffee Club and present Mr. Ken Barnett with a certificate honoring the Drug Store’s 103 years of operation. Next, I stopped by Muskogee Technology to learn more about their expanding capabilities and meet some of their employees. Muskogee is a true asset to Escambia County and our entire region.

I also held a meeting with Escambia County Superintendent John Knott and Assistant Superintendent Beth Drew. After grabbing lunch at Busters with Mayor Jim Staff, I filmed an interview with Pastor J.T. Guyton at Destiny Television. We wrapped things up with a visit to Pepsi Cola Bottling in Atmore. I spoke to a group of employees and heard how overregulation is hurting their industry.

These District Work Weeks offer an excellent opportunity to hear directly from the people I represent before heading back to Washington. Whether its touring a local business or meeting with a group of students, these visits help me better understand the real world impact of policies being put forward in Washington.

No matter if it’s in Washington or Southwest Alabama, I want to hear from you. Never hesitate to mail me a letter, send me an email, give us a call, or comment on my Facebook page. My door is always open.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne represents the 1st Congressional District of Alabama, which includes Escambia County.