Pennsylvania is a world leader in agriculture, a critical industry to both our national security and national economy. Maintaining this position requires that our elected officials do whatever they can to ensure farmers have all the resources they need to do their job effectively.
Today’s farmers face many difficult challenges. Overregulation is probably the one I hear most about.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s overregulation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, especially the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirement, is problematic for farmers. These regulations are designed to limit certain materials from ending up in the Chesapeake Bay. As is too often the case, the EPA has not taken into consideration the economic impact of their regulations on the agriculture community.
The federal government has also imposed new regulations and mandates that regulate transportation on the farm the same way we regulate a cross-country trucking company. This is simply unnecessary. Intra-state agricultural transportation should not be treated the same as interstate federal highway transportation. This distinction should be codified so that farm trucks used to pull trailers or farm implements are not subject to the same requirements as cross-country drivers.
Our nation’s dairy program needs reform to ensure that Pennsylvania farmers remain globally competitive. Dairy is the largest segment of our state’s agricultural industry and we need to have a strong risk management program in effect for farmers, especially when feed prices are high.
Congress must also continue to fight for rural education dollars. Students need a quality education so they can learn the skills necessary to succeed in life. I continue to support our state and local governments in ways that provide all of today’s students with a quality, well-rounded education regardless of where they live.
America needs a better energy policy. All you have to do is look at what you pay at the pump today compared to the $1.79 you paid for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in January of 2009 to see why.
Congress must adopt policies that make the United States less dependent on foreign oil, allow for the responsible exploration of domestic sources of energy, and rein in federal overregulation.
In Pennsylvania, we have large deposits of coal and natural gas. As long as we continue to harness these resources safely, ensuring that the lessons of the past are never forgotten, we will have the opportunity to improve our economy, create thousands of jobs for Pennsylvanians, and lead the nation in energy production.
As the mayor of Hazleton, I introduced the Illegal Immigration Relief Act (IIRA) in 2006. This first-of-its-kind legislation cracked down on businesses who knowingly hired illegal immigrants and landlords who knowingly provided refuge to them. This legislation went on to serve as a blueprint for state and local governments across the country.
After signing this legislation, Hazleton was immediately sued in federal court. At that time, I swore to take this fight all the way to the Supreme Court if I had to and that’s exactly what we did.
On May 26, 2011, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to create and enforce their own anti-illegal immigration policies. Shortly after that, the high court overturned the lower court rulings that prevented the City of Hazleton from enforcing the IIRA, and ordered them to re-hear the case.
When I was first elected to Congress, I promised to continue this fight in Washington. That’s exactly what I have done and will continue to do.
Simply stated, I am Pro-Life. I believe that innocent life should be protected at every stage of development. I support the restoration of legal protection for innocent human life. I will oppose the efforts of some to increase or expand the protection or establishment of legal euthanasia, abortion, and human cloning. As Congress begins to tackle the issues of Medicare and health care reform, I will never support a program that results in rationing of life-saving procedures to those covered under those programs.
As a gun owner, recreational shooter, and an NRA member, I understand the meaning and significance of the Second Amendment. I believe in an individual right to keep, own, and use firearms.
Our forefathers were very clear in their intentions when they framed the Second Amendment. They declared that each law-abiding citizen has a constitutionally protected absolute right to firearms, which obviously extends to ammunition and firearm accessories.
Gun control advocates believe that the best way to stop crime is to limit your rights. I disagree.
I will continue to fight to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens on every front. I will always vote to protect and support your right to own and use firearms, including the protection of gun shows, hunting, and other conservation efforts; reciprocity for concealed-carry permit holders; range protection; and the ability to defend yourself, your family, and your property.
I will always be vigilant in the defense of the Second Amendment.
From the minutemen at Lexington and Concord in 1775 through to the battles raging today, men and women have worn the uniforms of this nation and stood up against tyranny, against oppression, and for liberty.
This is a legacy our veterans can be proud of. Veterans served our great nation with dignity and pride. For some that service was in the jungles of Southeast Asia, the mountains of Tora Bora, the shifting sands of Iraq and Kuwait, the tranquil fields of modern Europe, the cold desolation of Korea, or the beaches of Normandy or Guadalcanal.
Others served here at home, on American soil.
No matter where they put their boots at night, this nation owes all veterans a debt of gratitude. We owe our veterans the best benefits we can provide.