(February 1, 2016) -- Last week was a tumultuous week in Congress. And this time, I am referring to the weather rather than the D.C. dysfunctionality.
Snow fell on the nation's capital, reaching up to 2 feet, but that didn't stop the citizens' work from being done.
Thankfully, I was able to secure a meandering flight on Monday which allowed me to participate in an important announcement in Washington, D.C. -- the announcement of the winning design for an additional World War I memorial in Washington, D.C. Keep in mind, I am slightly attached to our own WWI memorial ... the National World War One Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. It is the only national museum dedicated to preserving the experience of the Great War. It holds some of the rarest artifacts and collectables of the history of WWI. But with a history such as that; the sacrifices, the struggle, the honor, why wouldn't we want a second?
Commemorating the centennial of WWI has been a labor of love for me since I first entered Congress 12 years ago. Over that time I have worked closely with Congressman Kevin Yoder, Congressman Ted Poe and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton on establishing a national memorial to honor the veterans of World War I and to create a commission tasked with commemorating the war throughout the United States. In the same legislation, we were successful in getting the Liberty Memorial designated by Congress as the National WWI Memorial and Museum.
This past week, myself and the World War One Centennial Commission (WWICC), announced the winner of a new WWI design. The WWICC choose the design, "The Weight of Sacrifice" by architect-in-training Joseph Weishaar and artist Sabin Howard for the new WWI project. Imagery of "The Weight of Sacrifice" can be found at www.ww1cc.org/selection.
The WWICC goal for the completion of the WWI memorial in Pershing Park in Washington, D.C., is 2018.
Back here at home, I had the opportunity to meet with constituents in Higginsville, MO during an Open House, January 22, 2016. I was proud to introduce our newest member of the team, Lexington, Mo., native Kelli Montgomery. Kelli is the new rural development coordinator in our Higginsville congressional office. It was a pleasure catching up with residents from my 5th district counties.
At the Open House, I mentioned the passing of the omnibus spending bill and among some of the pluses of that bill, was an allowed tax credit for the purchasing of farming equipment.
I am also working on a major housing initiative in the three rural counties in my district. Workforce housing is needed for Missouri towns such as Marshall, Higginsville, Richmond, Slater, Sweet Springs and Lexington. We are working with the Department of Agriculture's Rural Development organization in Missouri to make the building of new houses and senior-living houses a reality in these towns.
Sadly, my friend Shermaine Riggins, wife of William (Bill) Riggins of Marshall, Mo., died. She was a wonderful woman who touched my life and the lives of many more. I was able to attend and speak at the celebration of life at the Martin Community Center in Marshall on Jan. 22. Please join me in praying for the family as they deal with this heart-aching loss.
I think we can set a workforce housing model for the rest of the country. Some of those towns have not seen new housing for over ten years.
So stay with me on this journey. We have a lot of work to do. Now, I will return to the tumultuous Washington, DC and face the real storm. This time, I'm not speaking of the weather.