Vicky Hartzler2-2016

View from the Capitol

Honoring our Fallen Heroes

As you read this, Americans from coast to coast have enjoyed the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the summer vacation season. As we enjoyed time with family and friends, let us not forget to take the time to honor the brave men and women in uniform who have fought and died to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. So many of these heroes gave the last full measure of devotion and we must never forget the sacrifices they have made. We thank them and their families for their sacrifices and pray for the men and women who are protecting us today, asking God to watch over them and comfort them as they perform their duties on our behalf.

I had the honor of again meeting with some of our veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War as they boarded an Honor Flight from Missouri to visit Washington, D.C. and their respective memorials. It is such a privilege to meet these heroes when they visit the Nation’s Capital. I look forward to seeing many more of these brave veterans in the years to come and to thank them for their service to all Americans.

The Epitome of Executive Overreach

As I have spoken with you, and as my office hears from you, it is clear you are as concerned as I am with the guidance issued by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice on May 13, 2016. The Obama Administration sent a letter to every public school district in the country mandating restrooms, locker rooms, classes, athletic programs, housing and overnight accommodations and other activities be based on a student’s chosen gender identity rather than his or her biological sex.

This is the definition of intrusive overreach by the federal government. As a mother and former teacher, I am deeply concerned for the safety and wellbeing of students. As a citizen, I am appalled, but not surprised, the Obama Administration would think schools are best governed by the federal government and not state and local school boards, and further, that denying federal funds on this basis protects the rights of our children. Mandates such as this do not improve access or level playing fields; they only treat our children as pawns in this extreme political game where political correctness is placed above sound policy.

Joined by the chairman of the House Values Action Team (VAT), Congressman Joe Pitts from Pennsylvania, and fellow VAT co-chair Congressman John Fleming from Louisiana, I sent this letter to the President expressing our concerns, the failure of the Administration’s guidance to provide supporting evidence of its “interpretation” of current laws, and the ludicrous nature of threatening lawsuits and removal of funding from public schools who choose not to comply. The letter asks the Administration to withdraw this guidance and hold the Education and Justice Departments accountable for wrongly expanding Title IX and exceeding their authority by creating policies that were not intended by the legislature and reinterpreting federal law.

VA Hospitals are not Disneyland

It was disheartening to hear President Obama’s VA Secretary comparing VA healthcare waiting lists to waiting in line for attractions at Disneyland. This indignity is unacceptable from anyone – let alone the VA Secretary. Many veterans have died while waiting to receive the care they have earned and their wait is clearly not comparable to a visit to “the Happiest Place on Earth.”

Our veterans deserve much better from those who should know better than to serve up careless and callous comments. He owes all our veterans an apology.

Veterans Resource Fair

The truth is we can all do more for our veterans, and I am hoping to offer a small service to them next month as I host a Veterans Resource Fair at Hickman High School in Columbia. Veterans will be provided with information on education and career opportunities as well as information on VA options and services. Veterans service organizations will be available to share the assistance they can provide. I invite all veterans and their families to attend.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, June 18, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon in the main lobby at Hickman High School, 1104 North Providence Road, in Columbia. I look forward to seeing many veterans there and getting them in touch with the services and benefits they have earned.

National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month, and I was pleased to join Members of Congress from across the country as I paired up with a young lady, Dashley Barnes from Waynesville, for the annual Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day, where foster youth participants shadow Congressional members for a day. As a member of the Foster Care Caucus, I am committed to supporting these young people and encouraging policies that enable every child to find the love and stability of a permanent family.

Dashley’s story is a testament to how challenges can be overcome and lead to great things. She has risen above a number of obstacles and is on track to go to college to get a degree in Psychology and Social Work. Dashley is a very bright young lady and I wish her all the best as she pursues her dreams.

Have a good week and happy Memorial Day,

Vicky Hartzler

Member of Congress