Good to have spent time out of office

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, January 31, 2018

By Rep. Bradley Byrne

I always appreciate the opportunity to get out of Washington, D.C. and spend time with the people I represent in Congress. Our most recent District Work Week was unfortunately cut short by the frivolous government shutdown, but thankfully I was still able to get back to Southwest Alabama for a number of town hall meetings and other important events.

It was a real treat to be able to celebrate my 100th in-person town hall meeting by holding a “100th Town Hall Tour” with stops in Chatom, Grove Hill, Jackson, Creola, East Brewton and Frisco City. These town hall meetings are always a fantastic opportunity to hear directly from the people I represent in Congress.

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Many people were concerned about illegal immigration and what to do about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. I made clear my interest in boosting border security to cut down on illegal immigration, and I recommitted my promise to never support amnesty.

I also heard from a number of individuals who want to see the House Intelligence Committee release a classified memo about potential abuses in some of our intelligence programs. I support the release of the memo, and I have written a letter to the Intelligence Committee asking that they make the memo public for the American people to read and evaluate for themselves.

Various road and infrastructure projects also came up at the meetings, and I shared the positive news that President Trump plans to make rural projects a key part of his upcoming infrastructure package. Social Security, Medicare, the VA, rural hospitals and national security were some other hot topics.

We were fortunate to have Bob Grip from Fox 10 News with us for our stops in Washington, Clarke and Mobile counties. He will be doing a story highlighting my 100th Town Hall Tour, so I encourage you to be on the lookout for that story soon. As you may know, Bob recently announced he will be retiring at the end of the year, so I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with him.

Last week, I was also able to visit some of the outstanding Pre-K programs in our area. Studies have shown that Pre-K programs increase education outcomes for students, and Alabama’s Pre-K program ranks as the best in the entire nation. So, it was very helpful to spend time in a few classrooms and see the programs in action.

First, I visited the Crossroads Head Start and Pre-K programs in north Baldwin County. After a quick tour of the facility, I sat down with the kids to read a book and answer some of their questions. It did not take long for me to realize how sharp the students are and how committed their teachers are to helping the kids learn.

Next, I visited Rachel Patterson Elementary School in Atmore. After a quick meeting with education leaders from Escambia County and the State of Alabama, I visited two classrooms to spend time with the students. I was able to play games with one class while reading the Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Place You Will Go” to the other class.

As you can tell, it was a very eventful and productive few days back in Southwest Alabama. I have always made it a priority to get around the First Congressional District to hear directly from the people I represent and better understand the challenges they face. Ultimately, it is the people in Alabama – not those in Washington – that I work for and represent.

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