Before we start a new year, I always take time to reflect on the year that has passed. 2017 has been a year for the history books. As your congressman, I made a promise that I would work hard to advance policies that strengthen our economy and bring more jobs to the 8th District. I also promised I would be as accessible as possible and strive to represent you and our community’s priorities. On both of those counts, I think we had a successful year.
Right here in North Carolina, we saw close to 100,000 new jobs in 2017. Nationwide, the economy has added millions of jobs, the stock market is at the highest it has ever been, and our unemployment rate is at a historic low of 4.1 percent. That’s the lowest rate in nearly 17 years, due in large part because we have rolled back 22 regulations for every one that has been added.
While this is incredible news for our economy, we are just getting started. We closed out 2017 by passing the most comprehensive tax reform in over 30 years. We will see the full impact of this law manifest in more jobs, higher wages and more money in your pocket in the coming year.
Under President Donald Trump’s leadership, we have strengthened our national security and restored confidence in America. We have taken steps to rebuild our military, ISIS has lost nearly all of its territory and its stronghold in Iraq and Syria, and we have bolstered our border security
In the House of Representatives, we passed 477 bills – including four of mine (of which one made it into law), with a total of 97 signed into law. Unfortunately, 378 of those bills got log-jammed in the Senate. While I am disappointed in the slow work of the Senate, we concentrated on issues important to the 8th District and the American people. We passed bills to address Veterans Affairs inefficiency, combat human trafficking and to continue to address the opioids crisis.
By far, one of the most important parts of my job as your representative is taking care of your needs. As our district changed this year to include Moore, Hoke and Cumberland Counties, I opened offices in downtown Fayetteville and at Sandhills Community College to increase my accessibility. This year, we’ve helped hundreds of folks with problems with federal agencies like Social Security and the VA. We’ve helped veterans get service medals that were long overdue and fire stations get grants for more firefighters and equipment. I also introduced legislation to name the Spring Lake post office after Howard B. Pate, a World War II veteran and the town’s longtime post master.
Last but not least, we passed what was described by AWR Hawkins as the “biggest guns rights boost since the ratification of the Second Amendment” this year with the passage of my concealed carry reciprocity legislation in the House. This legislation will ensure that law-abiding citizens can protect their families across state lines.
2017 has been a great year for North Carolina’s 8th District, and I’m looking forward to what this new year has in store. I will continue to work for good-paying jobs, a strengthened economy and commonsense government. My wife Renee and I wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.