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With Congress out of session in August, I had the opportunity to travel throughout Missouri’s 3rd District to meet with constituents and visit hospitals, first responders, farms and small businesses, just to name a few. There is a misconception that while not in Washington, D.C., Congress is not working — that “recess” equates to nothing getting done. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

District work periods are the most meaningful and rewarding aspects of representative government. This time allows me to stay connected to our communities by speaking directly with the families who are affected by the actions of Washington. The information I learned and people I met over the last month will be invaluable as I head back to Washington to work on your behalf.

For far too many months, historic flooding has been the talk of the town in communities across the great state of Missouri. The Mississippi and Missouri rivers remain susceptible to flooding, and last month, I met with various stakeholders to discuss ways to avoid repeated disasters for those who live near the rivers. Without better river management and cooperation between state and local officials, we will be facing the same realities for years to come. I can assure you I will continue to advocate for my constituents to ensure they receive the resources they need today and the promise of better flood plans for the future.

I had the opportunity to meet with farmers from across the 3rd District of Missouri to discuss the resources they need to grow. Throughout my meetings, the highest priority for our farmers was ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement. I understand how hard our farmers work day in and day out to provide for their families and put food on tables around the world. That’s why we need a 21st century trade agreement to serve their interests. Americans across the nation deserve a more balanced trade agreement that works for our 21st century economy, and I hope we will have the opportunity to ratify the agreement soon.

As your Congressman, ensuring the health and safety of Missourians is one of biggest responsibilities, and it is always a great honor to meet with the people who are working hard to help our communities. I spent an afternoon with the Wentzville Fire Department at their training facility, learning more about the many things these hardworking heroes are doing to keep our community safe. I also had the opportunity to visit the Siteman Cancer Center on the campus of Barnes-Jewish St. Peter’s Hospital, where I was blown away by the dedication and expertise of their staff. They emphasized the importance of continued funding for the National Institutes of Health, which is something I have continually fought for as the NIH’s research directly impacts my district and Americans who are suffering from diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Successful local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and it’s always a pleasure to meet with the hardworking men and women behind their successes. In August, I had the opportunity to tour a Menard’s Distribution Center and have a discussion with employees from the 3rd Congressional District. It was a pleasure to see the investment this company has made in Sullivan. I also visited Jahabow Industries in Owensville. It is important to see what federal programs work here in Missouri, and success stories like Jahabow Industries help me understand how the federal government can best support our rural communities as they grow.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., shares his perspective each week on national issues, including ones that affect Missouri. He represents the state’s 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 635-7232.

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