By Dennis Minich
Since taking office in 2010, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler said she has constantly worked for the best interests of her Fourth District and the State of Missouri. Speaking recently between campaign stops, she outlined what she thinks have been some of her key achievements in her eight years in office.
“My first year we were able to get the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to back down on a plan that would have destroyed 1,200 homes around the Lake of the Ozarks. They felt the homes were below the shoreline and needed to be destroyed, but we intervened and no home or structure had to be removed,” she said.
The 58-year-old Hartzler serves on two key committees in Congress, the committee on agriculture and the committee on armed services. She serves as chairman on the armed services subcommittee on oversight and investigations.
“The military has a major presence in the Fourth District with Whiteman Air Force Base and Ft. Leonard Wood. We have worked to increase the funding for the military to get it back to the level it needs to be effective,” she said.
On the agriculture side, she said a current goal is increasing funding for broadband in rural areas.
“We are dedicating $600 million to rural broadband efforts. An amendment I offered requires they be of a speed to be ready today and in the future. Currently, students in rural areas are at an extreme disadvantage because they don’t have the speed to work online that kids in the city have,” Hartzler said.
Hartzler said she has a special concern for students. She spent 11 years as a teacher and said lessons she learned there she still carries with her.
“There is also a need to focus on the drug crisis in our district. We have held 13 high school assemblies where we bring in special speakers, parents who have lost children to drugs,” Hartzler said. “When I took office, seven of the 24 counties didn’t have drug courts. Now five of those seven do. We need more drug enforcement and recovery efforts to try and change the drug trends.”
Also, in the war on drugs, Hartzler is working on legislation to give the Drug Enforcement Administration more tools.
“We are working to allow law enforcement to go after drones that drug gangs are using to get drugs across the border. We need to do these things because it helps the country and helps the district by getting drugs off the street.”
Hartzler is a graduate of Archie High School. She got her bachelor’s degree from MU and a master’s degree from Central Missouri State (now University of Central Missouri.) She and her husband, Lowell, have a daughter, Tiffany.
Some of the other issues Hartzler said she has worked hard on include:
- Fixing how FEMA administers funds to individuals and communities following emergencies.
“We watched how they reacted to flooding in the district a couple of years ago and they did a terrible job. There was a lack of communication between officials and it delayed people getting funds for over a year. Hopefully, the changes we made will help in states recently affected by the hurricane,” Hartzler said.
- There is a severe problem with sex traffickers and we have to go after the drug traffickers.
- Address infrastructure and immigration.
- She filed an Americus brief to the Supreme Court in support of protecting religious liberties.
In a new term, Hartzler said her priorities would include getting many of these efforts across the finish line.
In addition, she said Congress must act on health care reform.
“We need a responsible reform. We need to go after the cost drivers. We need to cut the costs on the medical side. Allow insurance sales across state lines and increasing competition,” Hartzler said. “We need to return control back to the states, but we have to make sure that pre-existing conditions are covered.”
She noted the fix is not as easy as it may sound.
“Universal Medicare sounds great but it would destroy the whole system. It would reduce choices, it would eliminate company plans and would cost $32 trillion in 10 years. The best way to drive down costs is through competition,” she said.