J. Randy Forbes

J. Randy Forbes


Forbes to Host Free Seniors Seminars in Chesapeake and Chesterfield


Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) announced today that he is hosting two free seniors seminars in the Fourth District in October. The seniors programs, held in Chesapeake on October 14th and in Chesterfield on October 15th, are open to all senior citizens and other interested residents of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District.

“Many seniors take five or more medications -- whether over-the-counter or prescription drugs -- to manage different health issues, often taking multiple medications at a time,” said Congressman Forbes. “In some instances, patients are prescribed too many medications due to different healthcare providers working independently of each other. Since seniors typically take more medications than younger patients, they are often at greater risk for adverse drug reactions.  It is my hope that these upcoming seminars will help inform not only senior citizens, but also family members and other caregivers about the potential risks of polypharmacy, while providing the opportunity to hear from an expert on how to address this issue.”

WHO: Congressman Randy Forbes, senior citizens and other interested residents of Virginia’s Fourth District, and guest speaker: Emily P. Peron, Assistant Professor of Geriatrics at VCU’s School of Pharmacy

WHAT: “Polypharmacy; A discussion on Prescription Medications and Seniors.”

This seminar provides an opportunity to discuss the benefits, risks, and disadvantages of using multiple medications at once -- both over-the-counter and prescription drugs -- on the quality of life, mobility, and cognition of seniors.

 *No personal consultations or medical advice will be offered at this program.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015 |  10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 15, 2015  |  11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Chesapeake Central Library
298 Cedar Rd, Chesapeake

Tylers Retreatat Ironbridge
12001 Iron Bridge Rd, Chester

Registration for the event is not required. For questions or inquiries, please call Joan Fallon in Chesterfield at (804) 318-1363, or Curtis Byrd in Chesapeake at (757) 382-0080.



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Forbes Introduces Legislation Protecting Pay of Military Personnel and Defense Civilians


Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, introduced the Defending our Defenders (DoD) Act (H.R. 3616) to ensure that U.S. military personnel, DoD civilians, and support contractors continue receiving paychecks in the event of a funding lapse or the expiration of the statutory borrowing limit.

“Our military and Defense Department civilians and their families devote their lives to serving our country, often at great personal risk,” Congressman Forbes said. “With continued fiscal uncertainty in Washington, these patriots should never have to worry about how they will pay their bills, educate their children, and keep food on the table. The Defending our Defenders Act will give them the peace of mind they have earned and ensure that those who dedicate their lives to the United States will never be held hostage by Washington politics.”

Key provisions of the Defending our Defenders Act include:

  • Authorizing emergency funding to ensure Active Duty members of our Armed Forces (including reserve components) receive their pay and allowances without delay in the event of a federal government shutdown;
  • Authorizing emergency funding to pay DoD civilian personnel and contractors so they can continue supporting our warfighters at home and overseas;
  • Prohibiting the furlough of DoD civilians and contractors working to support a strong national defense in our shipyards, maintenance depots and at other critical facilities; and
  • Requiring the Treasury to prioritize the payment of our military personnel, DoD civilian personnel, and contractors in the event we reach our statutory borrowing limit.






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Forbes: China Becoming Destabilizing Force in International System


Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and Co-Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, released a statement in advance of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival in Washington:

“As President Xi comes to Washington, China’s international behavior continues to be a profoundly destabilizing influence on the global system. From this week’s harassment of a U.S. military aircraft to extralegal land reclamation in the South China Sea to support for rogue regimes around the world, Beijing has exhibited a pattern of behavior indicative not of a responsible stakeholder but rather of a disruptive actor opposed to the peaceful international order that has prevailed since World War II. President Obama should use this week’s State Visit to express, in no uncertain terms, the United States’ opposition to behavior that threatens a free, prosperous, and peaceful international system.”

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Benjamin Franklin’s Lesson on Leadership


As I look around Washington today, I can’t help but be reminded of a story I once heard about Benjamin Franklin. While often regarded as one of our nation’s earliest, greatest minds, at the beginning of his career Franklin was also known for having an enormous ego.  He sometimes interacted with a reverend named Cotton Mather who had very different views than Franklin. Franklin once went to visit Mather at his library. As they stepped out of the library, Mather called out to Franklin, “Stoop! Stoop!” Franklin didn’t hear or understand Mather’s command and hit his head on a low beam.  Not wanting to miss a moment for instruction, Mather looked at Franklin and said, “You are young, and have the world before you; stoop as you go through it, and you miss many hard thumps.”

Years later, Franklin recounted the visit in a letter to Cotton Mather’s son, writing, “I often think of it when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by carrying their heads too high."

Benjamin Franklin and Cotton Mather’s personalities were quite different. They didn’t agree on many things; they would sit on “opposite sides of the aisle,” to borrow a term from today’s politics. But in his writings later in life, Franklin credits his interactions with Cotton Mather as some that helped soften his ego and lead him to a different style of leadership.

Today, we’ve grown accustomed to a particular way of leadership in Washington. It’s a way of pride that digs its feet in the ground, too often focused on power, rather than on principle. I won’t discriminate in this claim, because it happens regardless of ideology or political persuasion. Frustration with this type of arrogance and the deaf ears of big government is a refrain I hear echoed over and over when I talk with people back home, whether it’s in the aisle of Home Depot or while having dinner at Olive Garden with my wife, Shirley.

I think this is because too often leaders in Washington get so used to hearing the sounds of their own voices or the voices of other leaders’ around them that they forget to listen to the voices of the people that matter most – the people whom they represent and serve.

Early on in my time in Congress, while working in my office in Washington, I looked up and noticed all of the photos that had accumulated over the short time I had been there that people had given me. I saw framed pictures of me shaking hands with ambassadors, dignitaries, and other government leaders. Each photo represented an important interaction or conversation, but in that moment I realized how easy it is for Washington to deceive someone into thinking it’s all about them, to become so consumed with yourself and lose sight of why you are there in the first place.

So I replaced the photos. Now, a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence hangs on the largest wall in my office, surrounded by individual portraits of the 56 signers. It serves as a daily reminder of the magnitude of the responsibility we have here in Congress and as American citizens. It's a visual representation of the shoulders upon which we stand.

Today, I seek to apply this same principle by making it a priority to cultivate conversations and create avenues for listening -- whether it’s through conducting tele-town halls, holding office hours around the District, soliciting feedback through weekly polls, or engaging in real time updates via emails, Facebook, and Twitter. Utilizing all of these channels to facilitate as much communication as possible is not just important, it is part of the job description as your representative.

I believe our nation needs leaders who don’t just hear the American people, but are listening to them.  That requires putting ego aside. That requires humility. If Benjamin Franklin had been listening as he walked out of the library, he might have been able to hear Mather tell him to stoop. Instead, he was so focused on other things – perhaps himself and his own agenda – that he wasn’t able to hear the voice that was most important: the voice that saw things he didn’t.

The lesson Benjamin Franklin learned is one Washington would do well to take heed of. Humility in leadership must be expected, not the exception – just as listening is not optional, it’s the only way for our model of citizen-centric government to remain operational. This is the type of leadership that helped shape this country. And it is the type of leadership we need to move this country forward.

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Forbes Issues Statement on Passage of Key Japanese Security Legislation


Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and Co-Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the passage of legislation in the Japanese Diet loosening restrictions on Tokyo’s self-defense capabilities:

"Japan is a responsible stakeholder in the international system and our alliance is a pillar of stability in the Asia-Pacific. This legislation is an appropriate response to the growing threats we face. I welcome its passing and the further strengthening of our collective security.”

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Forbes Leads Bipartisan Letter to President on China’s Violation of International Law in South China Sea


Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and Co-Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, led a bipartisan letter to President Obama urging the United States to reject China’s extralegal effort to assert a 12-nautical mile limit around their artificial formations in the South China Sea and to conduct freedom of navigation operations within that limit.

The letter notes that the signatories are “concerned to read media reports that the U.S. Navy has been prohibited from conducting freedom of navigation patrols on the sea and in the air in close proximity to China’s artificial formations.” Further, the letter states that to deter China’s aggressive behavior “the United States must make clear that it is fully committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.”

The text of the letter can be found below:


September 17, 2015


President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Secretary Ashton B. Carter

Department of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, D.C.


Dear President Obama and Secretary Carter:

As you know, China’s reclamation of nearly 2,000 acres of artificial formations in the South China Sea has destabilized the region and undermined key components of the international order that has prevailed in East Asia since the end of World War II. Among these fundamental principles are freedom of navigation, the peaceful resolution of territorial disputes, and adherence to international laws and norms. China’s willful disregard of these precepts, which have done so much to ensure peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific, must be met with a firm response from the United States and its allies.

Although its claims are unprecedented in scale and ambition, China is not the first state to make excessive claims to international waters. For decades, the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard have conducted freedom of navigation operations to demonstrate to all watchers that the United States supports the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and air to all nations. As the Department of Defense recently noted in its first Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy, “the importance of these operations cannot be overstated.”

We are therefore concerned to read media reports that the U.S. Navy has been prohibited from conducting freedom of navigation patrols on the sea and in the air in close proximity to China’s artificial formations. While we appreciate the Department of Defense’s statements reserving the right to conduct such operations, we are concerned that the continued failure to actually exercise that right could be interpreted as de facto acceptance of Beijing’s destabilizing behavior. The longer the United States goes without challenging China’s unfounded claims to sovereignty over these artificial formations—and to territorial waters and exclusive economic rights in the surrounding water—the greater the consequences will be for regional security.

Although China claims to have halted its reclamation efforts, there are many indications that China is in fact simply moving on to the next steps in a campaign to change the “facts on the ground” and establish de facto, if not de jure, control of the South China Sea. The 10,000-foot runways under construction on these artificial formations are clearly intended to accommodate military aircraft, and it seems highly possible that China will militarize its artificial features and deploy weapons systems to enable China to better project power and control these crucial waters. In a further step to consolidate its authority in the South China Seas, it seems China may declare an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), as it did in 2013 over the disputed Senkaku Islands. Just this week, a Chinese admiral told the audience at an international naval conference that the South China Sea “belongs to China.”

In order to deter these actions and prevent the further erosion of stability in the region, the United States must make clear that it is fully committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. We believe that a firm response from the U.S. government, including the highly symbolic passage of American ships and aircraft through the waters and airspace illegitimately claimed by China, is needed to reinforce and sustain the international community’s opposition to extralegal claims.

While we appreciate the enormous complexity of U.S.-China relations, we believe that the United States must stand by the principles that it fought to enshrine and uphold throughout the 20th century. China has repeatedly ignored the international community’s objections to its provocative behavior. It is our belief that the Defense Department should act immediately to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to freedom of navigation and the rule of law.

Yours Sincerely,

J. Randy Forbes
Member of Congress

William “Mac” Thornberry
Member of Congress

Madeleine Z. Bordallo
Member of Congress

Bradley Byrne
Member of Congress

Trent Franks
Member of Congress

Rich Nugent
Member of Congress

Doug Lamborn
Member of Congress

Steve Knight
Member of Congress

David Schweikert
Member of Congress

Vicky Hartzler
Member of Congress

Jackie Walorski
Member of Congress

Dr. Joe Heck
Member of Congress

Joe Wilson
Member of Congress

K. Michael Conaway
Member of Congress

Ryan Zinke
Member of Congress

Mike Rogers
Member of Congress

Mo Brooks
Member of Congress

John Kline
Member of Congress

Jim Bridenstine
Member of Congress

Rob Wittman
Member of Congress

Chris Gibson
Member of Congress

Brad Wenstrup
Member of Congress

Martha McSally
Member of Congress

Sam Graves
Member of Congress

Frank A. LoBiondo
Member of Congress

Darrell Issa
Member of Congress

Paul Cook
Member of Congress

Michael Turner
Member of Congress

Duncan Hunter
Member of Congress

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Combat Boots and the Price of Freedom


A pair of old combat boots from the Korean War sit on display at the National Museum of American History. The half-century old boots are made of brown leather with a double strap and buckles. The toes are faded, dirt and wear etched into the leather. An army of eyelets run up and down the boots showing signs where the laces once cinched them tight. They bear the signs of years of hard work – difficult training, daily sacrifices, and combat. What experiences they must have seen as the person who wore these shoes stepped out onto foreign soil to defend the causes of freedom.

There is something powerful about seeing old shoes like these on display. Maybe it’s the journey motif. Maybe it’s the empathy it evokes (walk a mile in another man’s shoes, as the proverb goes).  I think it’s because they hold a story. These shoes have been places. They’ve followed a path, been on a journey; the shoe is symbolic of the individual’s contribution to a larger purpose. Physical hardship, camaraderie, sacrifice, peace, bravery, loyalty and pain.

The path of our nation is tread by people who have worn many different shoes, but some stand out above the rest. Like the old combat boots at the National Museum of American History that once belonged to an American soldier, our military men and women put a lot of miles into their boots, from the rolling grassland of Gettysburg, to the beaches of Normandy, to the jungles of Vietnam, to the deserts of the Middle East. We are overcome with gratitude when we see shoes worn by those, for instance, behind the scenes like the Army Nurse Corps in World War II as they cared for wounded warriors.  This weekend, we remember the attacks of September 11, 2001. We will see pictures of the gear the firefighters wore - the boots, the helmets, the jackets - as they stormed head-first into the towers.

These artifacts evoke powerful emotion. Why? Because they are  reminders that freedom isn’t free. It comes at a high price.

Today our nation faces considerable national security challenges, from the brutality of ISIS, to Russia’s recklessness in Eastern Europe, to China’s continued military advancements. Historically, our military has been key in helping our nation tread a strong path. Now, more than ever, we need a strong defense to maintain the strong path heading into the future. Our military, while not perfect, has always had the determination and courage to answer the call to defend freedom throughout the world.  But the question that keeps me up at night is whether our military has what it needs to do what we must do to protect and defend America.

Congress has a Constitutional directive to provide for the common defense. At the heart of today’s most critical debates is what is driving our defense decisions: short-term, haphazard policies, or a long-term investment in the security of our nation. I believe this is one of the most important discussions we can have. The commitment we make today towards our national defense impacts our own national security, as well as the security of our friends and allies, far into the future. The level of our commitment to building our national defense today will determine our level of preparedness for decades to come.

As Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, I’ve made it a top priority in Congress to defend our defenders and make our national defense a priority.  I’ve pushed our leaders in Washington to make strategy-driven budget decisions that allow our military to adequately train and prepare, and that make it possible for services to plan for the future.  I’ve supported legislation mandating a full audit of the Department of Defense to allow us to better ensure accountability and that the agency meets its core goal of protecting our national security. When we get rid of wasteful spending, we can prioritize spending towards what is most important for our warfighters.  I’ve pushed our military services to continue investing in research and development to bring new innovation to our military technology, the same way innovative thinking brought us stealth technology, advanced satellites, and guided missiles.

Our national defense is a key gear in the machinery of America and it is worth fighting for. But ultimately, our national defense is dependent upon the men and women who choose to get up every morning, put on their boots, and fight to defend America. They have tread a path of freedom for the United States throughout history, and I won’t stop fighting for them. Read More

Why I Won’t Support the Iran Deal


Back story: Recently, Iran and a U.S.-led coalition of six nations reached a nuclear agreement after years of negotiations. The deal lifts stringent U.S. economic sanctions currently in place on Iran in exchange for certain concessions over Iran’s development of nuclear capabilities.

BottomlineThe Iran deal 1) does not effectively prohibit nuclear weapons research, enrichment research, miniaturization or delivery work 2) does little to impose actual accountability, and 3) does not dismantle all of Iran’s current nuclear infrastructure.

At its core, the President’s deal is a gamble: a gamble that Iran will uphold its end of the bargain, and that in 10-15 years we will see a gentler, kinder Iran. It’s a gamble that gets Iran what it wants, and leaves America and our allies with the short end of the stick. That’s not a gamble I’m willing to take.

Top 10 Reasons I Won’t Support the Deal:

1. Iran is a U.S.-designated state sponsor of terrorism, and has proven repeatedly that it cannot be trusted. To imagine this deal will change Iran’s fundamental anti-US and anti-Israel foreign policy is either willfully blind or dangerously naive. (All you need to do is look at their own words: Iran’s Supreme Leader called for “Death to America,” the day after President Obama pleaded with Iran to seize this “historic opportunity” for a nuclear deal. He’s called the U.S. an “excellent example of arrogance,” and a tweet attributed to the Supreme Leader read: “We welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but if any war happens, the one who will emerge loser will be the aggressive and criminal U.S.” He has been known to refer to the U.S. as the “Great Satan.”)

2. It leaves current Iranian nuclear infrastructure largely intact and allows Iran access to advanced technologies to build a nuclear weapon. Iran doesn’t have to dismantle all its centrifuges or close any of its enrichment facilities. Over 5,000 centrifuges will keep spinning at Natanz (the others only placed into storage), while its Fordow facility will continue to function as a “physics and technology center” – according to the White House.

3. Iran will be able to continue developing ballistic missiles. After Iran’s Supreme Leader declared such restrictions, “a stupid, idiotic expectation,” it became clear that this deal does little to limit Iran’s development of longer range and more accurate ballistic missiles -- which could be used to strike Israel, Europe, and perhaps eventually even the United States. 

4. It puts Israel -- historically one of our staunchest and longest standing allies -- at risk, as well as the rest of the region. In the view of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, “This deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world, and would threaten the very survival of the state of Israel.”

5. It rewards the terrorist regime in Tehran with billions in unfrozen assets, which will likely be used to fuel Iran’s efforts to destroy Israel, to expand its terrorist activities worldwide, and to significantly increase its missile, naval, air defense capabilities, and ground power. Learn more, here.

6. There are no “Anywhere, Anytime” inspections. Instead, the deal includes only “managed access” to suspect nuclear sites. This means inspectors must appeal to Iran, Russia, and China in a bureaucratic process that could take 24-days, potentially allowing Iran time to cover-up. Inspectors should get 24 hours notice – not 24 days.

7. It allows Iran to investigate itself, which is like putting a fox in charge of a chicken coop. President Obama and Secretary Kerry claim to be “satisfied” and “confident” with the secret side deals that Iran has made with the IAEA. But, according to documents seen by the Associated Press, those deals would permit Iran to inspect itself. Personally, I am neither confident nor satisfied – learn more about why, here.

8. It does nothing to ensure the release of Americans being held hostage by the Iranian governmentThose hostages include Pastor Saeed Abedini, Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and former FBI agent Robert Levinson.

9. The strict economic sanctions that the U.S. has had in place on Iran for decades, once lifted, will be difficult to put back in place. Sanctions cannot be turned off and on at the flip of a switch. Once foreign companies sign contracts in Iran, those contracts take years to unwind. So in essence, President Obama has agreed to dismantle the sanctions regime – potentially permanently. In return, Iran is agreeing to slow the development of its nuclear program – only temporarily.

10. It leaves the Middle East less stable and makes conflict more likely – not less. In the face of Iran’s expanding nuclear capabilities, nervous countries in this already volatile region are likely to demand the same nuclear capabilities as a means of self-preservation.  As the former Chief of Saudi Intelligence stated publicly, “Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too.”

What I Stand For:

  • America’s top priority must always be protecting Americans, and America’s best interest. Period.
  • The United States’ message to the rest of the world must be crystal clear: We will never turn our back on Israel or our other allies.
  • Our word must be taken seriously. Wavering over redlines and deadlines, and continually making concessions have put us in a position where our allies no longer respect us and our enemies no longer fear us.
  • We must set a higher bar for our foreign policy. Under this Administration, our goal has been no longer to have winning strategies, to get the best deal possible, or even to get a good deal – instead, we settle for simply getting a deal that is not as bad as it could be. This is unacceptable. (Watch more of my remarks on this topic at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, here).

 Facts to Know…

  • Iran has been officially designated a state sponsor of terrorism since January 19, 1984.
  • The United States has imposed restrictions on activities with Iran under various legal authorities since 1979, following the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. For a comprehensive timeline of US-Iran relations, click here.
  • The U.S. intelligence community assesses that Iran has developed the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East, according to the Congressional Research Service.
  • A recent survey by Defense One found that 2/3rds of national security experts  “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” that the Iran nuclear deal is a good deal for the United States.
  • Under the deal, Tehran will benefit from the release of roughly $150 billion of its money that has been frozen in overseas accounts (about a third of its GDP). For some perspective, these billions could cover their entire defense budgetfor over ten years.
  • In the years ahead, as oil sanctions are lifted, the Iranian economy could be boosted by tens of billions more through a surge of oil revenues.

 What Happens Next:

  • Congress has until September 17th to vote on a yes-or-no resolution over whether or not to approve the deal and lift Congressional mandated sanctions on Iran.
  • The House will begin consideration of the Iran nuclear agreement on Wednesday morning, and likely finish voting on the deal by Friday. For a visual overview of how the process works, and what is needed for the resolution to pass, click here.
  • The House schedule for the week is available, here. The Senate schedule is available, here.
  • On Thursday, the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Obama Administration’s deal with Iran and its implications for missile defense and nonproliferation. You can watch the hearing live, here.
  • For real time updates on what’s happening this week, like my Facebook page.


Source: Washington Post, September 3, 2015

 Your Voice:

  • On September 4, 2015, I asked: Do you believe Israel is put at risk with the Iran nuclear deal? 86.2% said yes.
  • On July 2, 2015, I asked: Are you concerned that the Administration’s continued nuclear negotiations with Iran put the U.S. in a position of weakness? 86.5% said yes.
  • On April 10, 2015, I asked: In light of tensions over nuclear negotiations with Iran, should the United States continue its traditional support for Israel? 88% said yes.
  • On March 4, 2015, I asked: Do you support the Administration’s negotiations with Iran over a nuclear deal? 82.2% said no.
  • Your voice is a big factor in my decision making as I seek to represent you well while fulfilling my oath to uphold the Constitution. To email me your thoughts and opinions on the deal and upcoming vote, click here.


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Tomorrow: Forbes to Chair Hearing on Air Force Long-Range Strike


Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, will chair a hearing on “The Future of Air Force Long-Range Strike: Capabilities and Employment Concepts” on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM.

“Like the rest of our military, the Air Force’s long-range strike capabilities must be reinvigorated to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world,” Congressman Forbes said. “While we await the fielding of the next generation of long-range strike systems, it is essential that we discuss the capabilities and concepts of operations needed to meet future challenges, particularly in the contested and denied environments that are likely to characterize future conflict.”

WHAT: House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee hearing on “The Future of Air Force Long-Range Strike: Capabilities and Employment Concepts.”

: Lt. Gen. Robert J. Elder, Jr., Ph.D., USAF (Ret.), Faculty, George Mason University; Mark Gunzinger, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments (CSBA); and Dr. Rebecca Grant, Ph.D., President, IRIS Independent Research.

: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM.

WHERE: 2212 Rayburn House Office Building.

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The Power of Work and American Values


When I was a boy growing up in Chesapeake, I often worked odd jobs during the summer, even if it was mowing a neighbor’s lawn, white washing fences, or earning coins by collecting and recycling old Coke bottles tossed along the roadside. My parents encouraged it. They said they wanted me to learn how to be a good citizen (although I suspect they also wanted me to do something other than play baseball and sit out on the front porch playing Parcheesi with friends). My summer jobs eventually taught me to value hard work and rest.

This weekend signals the final days of summer. The whole nation seems to take a pause –a deep breath before an exhale into a new season of work, the return of school schedules, and shorter days. During this time, I’ve been reflecting on the meaning of work.

As I traveled across the Fourth District this month, I shook hands with many business owners and I listened to dedicated employees. I spoke with hardworking parents raising their children. I talked with leaders of congregations and classrooms. They were eager to tell me about their jobs. But almost without fail, they didn’t talk about what they did on a day-to-day basis. They spoke about their families and the people they support.

We work to earn money, but work is so much more than a paycheck. To work is to give a part of yourself to a mission. If you work on an assembly line, it's towards the mission of building a product. If you run a business, it's towards the mission of your industry or your customers. Even if you don’t particularly like your job, earning the paycheck gives you the satisfaction of supporting something bigger. A family. A home. A cause you support. A dream for something different.

Work is a silver thread throughout the American character. Throughout history, it has been individual Americans who have helped our nation burst through economic sluggishness. Contrary to what many leaders in Washington believe today, it is not the government that powers America. It is the individual. One job feeds a family. One job helps build the next school.  One invention brings the next medical breakthrough. One new employee adds to the growth of the company. It's the power of one, but it's the collective power of the American workforce that drives America to greatness.

I am an optimist. I believe in the greatness of America and I believe our greatest days are ahead of us. But I am impatient optimist. I am restless to leave our kids and grandkids an America as great as the one in which I was blessed to grow up. I’m eager to return to a government that empowers Americans, not Uncle Sam’s purse strings, and therefore stretches the reach of our economy.

Some common sense reforms can return us to a work ethic that empowers the individual, thrives on American responsibility, and shrinks the size of the federal government: a zero-tolerance policy for government waste and excessive spending, scrapping the current tax code and starting over, balancing the budget, preventing Americans from being taxed twice,  and making it easier for businesses to invest  and grow.

These are just a few policies we can enact today; they are things I’m fighting for everyday. If you have ideas, I want to hear them too. I encourage you to join the conversation on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/randyforbes. Our collective efforts will help put the power back with the individual.

Let us remember what Ronald Reagan once shared on the observance of Labor Day: “I would match the American worker against any in the world. The people whose labor fuels our industry and economy are among the most productive anywhere…Let us tap into that well of human spirit…Our destiny is not our fate; it is our choice.”  Read More

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Contact Information

2135 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6365
Fax 202-226-1170

Committee Assignments

Armed Services


Placed prominently on the wall of Congressman Randy Forbes’ Washington office is a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence surrounded by portraits of the fifty-six founding fathers who signed the document asserting our nation’s freedom. Frequently when Randy is in our nation’s capital, he can be found personally escorting constituents through his office to tell the story of how this powerful document and its signatories serve as reminder of the sacrifices that were made during birth of our nation and the weight of responsibility on elected officials to preserve the freedom for which so many have fought and died.

Since his constituents elected him to Congress in 2001, one of Randy’s key priorities has been to protect and defend our nation. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Randy is responsible for the research, development, acquisition, and sustainment of Navy and Marine Corps programs as well as the Air Force’s bomber and tanker fleets. Randy’s position is central in developing the nation’s long-term strategies to meet our future security needs. As a result of his work on behalf of our military, in 2009, Randy became one of only a few individuals to have been honored with the highest civilian award offered by both the United States Army and the United States Navy.

In a time of broken government and stale ideas, Randy has focused on legislative solutions that have proven to be refreshing alternative to the status quo. His much-hailed New Manhattan Project for Energy led the Wall Street Journal to ask: “Why is Randy Forbes all alone? … The surprising thing is that there aren’t 100 Randy Forbes out there, issuing similar calls to arms to seize this moment and finally cure the country’s oil addiction.” The Virginian Pilot, similarly, commented: “Outrage won’t solve the nation’s energy troubles, or safeguard jobs. For that, you need something else, something Forbes is displaying: Leadership.”

Randy has rejected Washington political rhetoric and has instead focused on solutions-based leadership to tackle issues such as economic recovery, health care, tax reform and government spending. In health care, Randy has introduced proposals to protect seniors and individuals with preexisting conditions from health insurance cancellation, to harness the potential in ethical stem-cell research, and to double the investment the federal government is making in research to cure diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. His work has earned him the award, “Guardian of Seniors’ Rights.” In addition, Randy has introduced legislation to improve efficiency in government agencies, and he has been named a “Hero of Taxpayers”. Instead of abandoning sound fiscal policy in the face of economic challenge, Randy was one of only 17 Members of Congress to vote against each stimulus and bailout package under both the Bush and Obama Administrations.

Randy founded and chairs the Congressional Prayer Caucus and has led this group of bipartisan Members in national efforts to protect prayer and our nation’s spiritual history. He is known as a skilled orator on the Judiciary Committee and, as the former Ranking Member of the Crime Subcommittee, Randy is often called upon to lead the debate on national issues such as gang crime or immigration reform. As founder and chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, Randy has introduced legislation to combat Chinese espionage and is frequently tapped as a national commentator on Sino-American relations. Groups as diverse as the US Chamber of Commerce, the NAACP, the National Taxpayers Union, and the American Farm Bureau Federation have all recognized the work Randy has done in Congress – a testament to Randy’s independent problem-solving and focus on bipartisan solutions.

While Randy’s legislative proposals have received significant national and local attention, Randy’s commitment to improving quality of life for his constituents has been the hallmark of his career in Congress. Randy places a high-priority on partnering with community leaders and elected officials of all political persuasions to bring about greater economic prosperity, increased educational opportunities, safer communities, and improved local transportation and infrastructure for the Fourth District. His work to position Fort Lee through the last BRAC round led to the arrival of nearly 12,000 jobs in the Chesterfield/Tri-Cities area and his work as founder and chairman of the Congressional Modeling & Simulation Caucus has elevated Hampton Roads as a premier destination for high-paying tech jobs.

Working in Washington has not changed Randy’s enthusiasm for serving those that elected him. Richmond Times Dispatch noted Randy has “earned a reputation for constituent service” for his ability to cut through red tape and for his unparalleled constituent communications. Randy publishes a weekly email newsletter with over 85,000 subscribers that includes commentary and as well as factual information on the issues before Congress.

Randy has long worked under the belief that transparency is a key condition of good government. In addition to his unparalleled work to inform and solicit input from his constituents, Randy was one of the first members of Congress to publish appropriations requests to his website, causing the Richmond Times Dispatch to call him, “an admirable example for openness.” His website was selected by the Congressional Management Foundation as one of the best websites in Congress and was specifically commended for offering constituents a “clear understanding of his work in Congress”.

A life-long resident of Virginia, Randy began his career in private law practice helping small and medium-sized businesses and ultimately became a partner in the largest law firm in southeastern Virginia. From 1989-2001, he served the Commonwealth of Virginia in the General Assembly. As a member of the House of Delegates, he served 7 years, quickly establishing himself and serving as the Floor Leader until his election to the State Senate in 1997. One year later, he became the Senate Floor Leader. He served in the State Senate for 3 1/2 years, until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Randy graduated from Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake in 1970. He was valedictorian of his 1974 class at Randolph-Macon College. In 1977, Randy graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Randy attends Great Bridge Baptist Church, where he has taught adult Sunday school for over 20 years. He was born and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia where he still resides with his wife Shirley. He and Shirley have been married since 1978 and have four children: Neil, Jamie, Jordan, and Justin.

Serving With

Rob Wittman


Scott Rigell


Robert Hurt


Bob Goodlatte


Dave Brat


Morgan Griffith


Barbara Comstock


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