Election’s over. Now what do we do?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 16, 2016

By Rep. Bradley Byrne

Last Tuesday, the American people went to the polls to elect the people they want to lead our country, and the outcome of the election was pretty clear.

Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, and Republicans will continue to control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Complete Republican control of the federal government has only happened 16 out of the past 100 years.

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After years of divided government, it is important we take advantage of unified government and push forward with major reforms. Trump really struck a chord with the American people by talking about putting America first and looking out for the American worker, so I hope our agenda follows those principles.

One of the first items on the agenda should be to address Obamacare. I am optimistic we will be able to get a bill through Congress and signed into law that repeals Obamacare once and for all. Just getting rid of Obamacare won’t be enough though. We need to follow up with patient-centered health care reforms that actually lower costs and improve care, while ensuring every American has access to health care.

Another item toward the top of the agenda will be securing our border. I look forward to working with Trump to increase border security and crack down on illegal immigration. We must also end amnesty policies and ensure our immigration policies reward immigrants who follow the system to enter our nation legally.

There are also a number of commonsense reforms we can push through early in the Trump Administration to cut back on overregulation. Trump will be able to quickly end some of these actions that were implemented through executive orders, but other changes will require Congressional action.

For years now, I have heard from countless small business owners and employees who are drowning in red tape. By cutting out the bureaucratic mess, our businesses will be able to grow and expand. This benefits every single American in the form of a stronger economy.

Rebuilding our military will also be a top priority under Trump. We need to rollback harmful cuts to our military and ensure each branch of the military has the tools and resources they need to get the job done. We must restore the strategy of peace through strength.

I also think a number of our local priorities stand to benefit under Trump. First, I look forward to working with the Trump Administration to finally get us back to a regular red snapper season in the Gulf. Trump has said he wants to do away with unnecessary government regulations, and ending ill-advised regulations on our fishermen should be on the list.

We have a number of important transportation projects in southwest Alabama, including building an I-10 bridge over the Mobile River. I really look forward to learning more about Trump’s major infrastructure plan because it could certainly help move some of our local projects forward.

Finally, Trump’s plan to boost our military should be music to the ears of those at the Austal shipyard in Mobile. Trump has said he supports a 350-ship naval fleet, and we cannot get to that large of a fleet without the Littoral Combat Ship, which is built in Mobile.

Ultimately, the most important step is for our country to unify behind Trump. I know not everyone supported Trump, but in his victory speech he promised to be the president for every single American. I hope everyone will take Trump at his word and give him the opportunity to lead our country.

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