“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.” - Abraham Lincoln, 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation
Despite the fruitful fields, America was divided. We were in the middle of the Civil War and President Lincoln’s words were needed to unite us in country and spirit. That Thanksgiving, President Lincoln prayed for “the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”
At a time when the news is filled with stories of division and anger, of hurt and discontent, it was especially important to gather this Thanksgiving and be thankful for the many blessings that sustain us. As I have done every year since childhood, I was lucky enough to spend this time with my family. Whether first hosted by my grandmother or eventually my mother, Thanksgiving for me has always been a day filled with eating, playing games and enjoying the company of family until well after midnight. This year was no different and I enjoyed every minute of spending time with those that I love. It was also a time to reflect and continue to give thanks to God for our freedom, for the brave men and women who fight so valiantly to preserve it, for the health and well-being of my family, and for the community that we are all so fortunate to call home.
Our area is one of the most generous places in the country, and at no time is that more evident than during the holiday season. On Thanksgiving Day, beyond the parades, stuffing, and football, churches like The Missing Peace Church in Park Hills and the First Baptist Church in West Plains were looking after those in need by providing free turkey dinners with all the trimmings to anyone who visited. Volunteers at Shared Blessings Homeless Shelter in Bonne Terre were hand-delivering 1,000 meals to those in the community. And with Christmas right around the corner, Jefferson Elementary School Student Santas are already preparing to host 300 people for a Christmas dinner in Cape Girardeau. These are just some of the hundreds of examples around our great district of individuals and organizations working this time of year to help families put food on the table and toys under the tree. It is an inspiring reminder of the sense of community we have right here at home.
This year, as in years past, our offices will be participating in local food drives to help those in need. Offices in Cape Girardeau, Farmington, Poplar Bluff, Rolla, and West Plains will serve as drop off points for different food collections going on in their communities this holiday season. Please stop by any of those offices if you would like to make a donation.
Let us always, with one heart and one voice, share our blessings and serve our neighbors; it is the true meaning of the season.Read More
Congressman Jason Smith Announces Canned Food Drive
Donations welcomed at Farmington District Office from Nov. 30 – Dec. 7
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jason Smith announced that his Farmington Office is joining the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce Christmas Tree Contest. His tree in Farmington will be made of canned goods donated by the community.
“The folks in our district have the biggest hearts in the country,” said Congressman Smith. “This Christmas season it’s nice to take a step back from the holiday hustle and bustle and do something special for our neighbors.”
Congressman Smith invites his Farmington-area constituents to bring canned food items to his office at 22 East Columbia between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Nov. 30 through Dec 7. Donations will be used to build the tree and given to the Farmington Ministerial Alliance and St. Vincent de Paul food pantries to help local families.
The Christmas tree will be judged on Dec. 7. For more information, please contact the Farmington office at 573-756-9755.
The terror attacks last week in Paris served as a wakeup call to all of us.
Of extreme alarm is that one of the terrorists was found to be carrying a Syrian refugee passport. This discovery clearly points to the fact that we need to get a better grasp on the origin, background, intentions, and makeup of the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the Middle East, specifically places like Syria.
The Obama administration has announced it will increase the number of worldwide refugees accepted into the U.S. each year from 70,000 to 100,000 by 2017. I have serious concerns with the administration’s ability to ensure Americans’ safety by properly vetting the current refugees entering the U.S., let alone a dramatic increase. What has become evident is that these terrorists are set on exploiting the serious humanitarian crisis of women, families, children, and students fleeing the war-torn regions these same terrorists created.
Officials from the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI have expressed the same concerns to Congress. Terrorists and foreign fighters are looking to take advantage of the situation in order to get into the United States and cause harm. FBI Director James Comey told Congress back in October that the federal government lacked the ability to conduct the thorough background checks needed to vet the Syrian refugees the president wants to let in.
It is the number one job of the federal government to provide for the defense and security of the American people. That is why this week the House of Representatives passed legislation I helped sponsor to put a stop to the president’s proposal to bring more refugees into this country. The American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act passed the U.S. House with an overwhelming show of bipartisan support – more than 45 Democrats joined with Republicans to provide a veto-proof majority – ordering the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to put the brakes on bringing in any more refugees to the U.S. The administration needs to certify to Congress that these individuals are not a threat to national security. The bill wasn’t about pushing Republican ideas, it wasn’t about pushing Democrat ideas, it was about Congress coming together to keep Americans safe, and the best way to do that is to provide no doubt that there are no terrorists entering this country.
Additionally, I sent a letter to Governor Nixon this week urging him to end any immediate plans to bring Syrian refugees to Missouri. We need to do what is necessary to keep Missouri families safe. In the letter I noted that “the president’s plan to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States poses a genuine threat to the American people.” This week, I also sent a letter to President Obama urging him to immediately halt admissions of refugees from Syria and Iraq onto American soil, and demanded that his administration notify Congress before any refugee policy changes.
This is not about being uncompassionate towards the refugees of Syria, but about keeping Americans safe and keeping the residents of Missouri safe. We cannot let terrorists exploit our country’s long-standing tradition of compassion by posing as refugees from Syria or any other country.Read More
Missouri's Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon says screening refugees is the federal government's job and is calling for safeguards following deadly terror attacks in Paris.
Nixon in a Monday statement didn't say he'd block Syrian refugees from settling in Missouri.
Republican gubernatorial candidates suburban St. Louis businessman John Brunner, former Navy SEAL officer Eric Greitens, former state House speaker and U.S. attorney Catherine Hanaway and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder want Nixon to do so. They cited safety concerns.
Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster, who has said he'll run for governor, says Missouri should pause relocations. Koster said in a statement, “I believe it is prudent to pause the admittance of refugees from Syria to allow the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and our other national security agencies to re-evaluate the screening processes to ensure we are preventing terrorists from entering our country.”
About 20 Republican state senators, including Republican Sen. Dan Brown, of Rolla, and dozens of state representatives also as of Tuesday have asked Nixon not to cooperate with relocation efforts.
State Rep. Jason Chipman, R-St. James, Tuesday evening expressed his disapproval of accepting Syrian refugees into Missouri and submitted a letter to Nixon, stating such.
In a statement, Chipman said, “I, along with many of my colleagues, also co-signed a letter from House Speaker Todd Richardson to Governor Nixon urging him to join a bipartisan group of 27 governors who had opted not to participate in the refugee resettlement efforts at this time.”
In the letter addressed to Chipman stated, “Prudence dictates that caution must be foremost on our minds. Rushing into an endeavor such as this immensely increases the opportunity for bad actors to gain a foothold they would not otherwise get.” Chipman said the federal government's inability to guarantee the vetting process is reason enough to deny the refugees entry to Missouri. “Our embassy in Damascus has been closed for almost four years. Our intelligence organizations have failed to fulfill their primary mission in the region.,” Chipman stated. “We have no idea who these refugees are or if their intentions are noble.”
Chipman said he is “all for voluntary efforts we may take as a state to help send humanitarian aid to those in need.” The state representative for the 120th Missouri House District, said he also is in favor of providing support to get refugees back to their homes.
“Please consider, first and foremost, the safety and security of the people for whom you swore your oath,” Chipman stated.
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, of Missouri’s 8th Congressional District, along with five other Missouri Congress members, also sent a letter to Nixon urging him to halt plans to bring Syrian refugees to Missouri.
“It’s clear with the recent tragic events that refugee screening has been insufficient,” said Smith. “We need to take a step back and do what is necessary to keep America and Missouri safe.”
The congressional letter signed by Smith as well as U.S. Reps. Blaine Luektemeyer, Ann Wagner, Billy Long, Vicky Hartzler and Sam Graves, highlights the report that “at least one of the terrorists had a Syrian passport and entered Europe with the waves of migrants fleeing the Syria Civil War.”
The letter says the “president’s plan to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States poses a genuine threat to the American people.”
Smith also has sponsored H.R. 3999, the American SAFE Act, to require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security verify that refugees prove that they are not a threat to national security before they can settle in the U.S. Smith also sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to immediately halt admissions of refugees from Syria and Iraq into the U.S. According to a federal database 29 Syrian refugees settled in Missouri so far this year. The executive director of the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates group says the state should welcome refugees fleeing violence. Immigration experts say under the Refugee Act of 1980 governors cannot legally block refugees.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jason Smith, along with five other members of the Missouri Congressional delegation, sent a letter to Governor Nixon urging him to halt plans to bring Syrian refugees to Missouri.
“It’s clear with the recent tragic events that refugee screening has been insufficient,” said Congressman Smith. “We need to take a step back and do what is necessary to keep America and Missouri safe.”
The letter highlights the report that “at least one of the terrorists had a Syrian passport and entered Europe with the waves of migrants fleeing the Syria Civil War, we believe that the president’s plan to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States poses a genuine threat to the American people.”
Congressman Smith has taken additional action to halt Syrian refugees. He has sponsored H.R. 3999, the American SAFE Act to require the Department of Homeland Security to verify that refugees prove that they are not a threat to national security before they can settle in the U.S.
He has also sent a letter to President Obama urging him to immediately halt admissions of refugees from Syria and Iraq onto American soil, and demanding the Obama administration notify Congress first of all policy changes, and provide all information used to justify admission for each refugee to the House and Senate Intelligence, Judiciary, and Homeland Security Committees and satisfy the concerns of those Committees.
If Washington was more like Missouri, America would be a lot better off. This is something I have always thought, but over my first couple years in Congress it has become more and more true. Here in Missouri, things like family, liberty, personal and fiscal responsibility, and good ol’ common sense are held true, yet they are simply missing from our nation’s capital.
I was lucky enough to grow up right here in southern Missouri. As a Salem native, early on I learned values such as hard work and perseverance – cutting brush, hauling hay, picking up rocks, mowing lawns, and scraping parts at my dad’s auto shop – if you didn’t have blisters on your hands you weren’t giving it your all. That type of hard work shaped me into the person I am today.
While now my job takes me out to our nation’s capital – I always try for the first flight home and the latest flight back to D.C. each week so that I can spend as much time as possible talking with the folks I am honored to represent. On Sundays I enjoy attending my home church, Grace Community, and seeing the same faces I have come to know over the years; it’s a true sense of home. I have never felt comfortable in Washington and I am not sure I ever will. I will never call Washington home and each night there I sleep on an air mattress in my office so that I can work late, rise early, and return to my true home as soon as possible.
Sitting in a Congressional hearing, reviewing legislation, or casting a vote on the House Floor I am always mindful of the folks back home. How will this law affect them? How would their lives change? Are we enhancing their freedoms and liberties as an American? The people of southern and southeast Missouri are family-focused, hardworking, and they just want the government off their back and out of their business. They are the machinists, nurses, farmers, and teachers I meet when I travel throughout the district. I was recently in Dexter, Missouri, speaking to business leaders about topics including the confusing tax code, burdensome regulations, and the persistent war on small business and rural America. They all just want Washington to stop interfering, get out of the way, and let them grow their businesses and communities.
Simply put, we need Washington to function a lot more like Missouri – a balanced budget amendment, looking each other in the eye, and having someone’s word and handshake be binding. Washington has lost its way. We have a record high debt, freedoms are being eroded, and folks wonder if America is ever going to get back on track. Across the country American’s worry about stagnant wages and finding a job. Every day, families are struggling to keep up with rising health care, food, and energy costs.
In the Show-Me State, we are taught that if we put hard work, living within our means, and taking care of family in focus and in our hearts, we can be proud of the life we lead. I hope that during my time in Washington I can instill some of those same lessons and values in the leaders I serve alongside – helping correct the direction of Washington and the dysfunction in your government.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Jason Smith brought Congress to the classroom, speaking with freshman American Government students at West County High School. Congressman Smith took questions from students on a variety of topics and shared his personal story in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of leaders.
Pictured: Congressman Smith takes questions from students
"Students don’t always understand how much legislation affects them," said Smith. "Issues like social security or student loans will have a major impact on them in the years to come."
One of the youngest members of the House of Representatives, Congressman Smith connects with students during frequent “Congress in the Classroom” discussions, both in person and via video chat.
“It’s about inspiring the next generation of leaders. I want them to know that it doesn’t matter if they come from a small town or humble beginnings. They can still accomplish anything with hard work and perseverance.”
Congressman Jason Smith spoke with 7-12th grade students at Summersville High School November 9 and talked about everything from policy to political ideology.
Jason Smith said, “Great to see the kids at Mountain Grove Middle School! These kids are leaders already. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”Read More
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, visited with sixth-graders Friday at Scott City Middle School, where he stressed the importance of staying up-to-date on decisions made by legislators and answered questions from students.
At the beginning of his visit, Smith asked the students whether they followed decisions he made during the previous week, and many responded, "No."
He then asked how they would feel about going to school year-round. The students were quick to start shouting and shaking their heads.
"What if I told you that we passed a bill this week that is now sitting on the president's desk about whether you're going to go to school year-round," he asked, and the students continued to shout, "No."
"So, why weren't you paying attention to what I was doing last week? Because that bill drastically affects you all on a daily basis."
The sixth-graders breathed a sigh of relief when Smith said he was joking about the bill.
He used the example to tell students they are more affected by the votes he takes in Congress than their parents, he said, because it's going to affect them longer.
"Whenever we deal with Social Security, it's going to affect you all greater than it will your parents and grandparents," he said. "Because that's how it's going to be in 30, 40, 60 years, rather than in 10 or 15. So, I think it's important to watch, whether it's taxes or going to school year-round."
The students have been studying the Constitution and the role of government, so Smith described what it's like to be a U.S. representative -- from sleeping on an air mattress in his office in Washington, D.C., to how he travels throughout the district during his time in Missouri.
Smith also told the students, even if they're from a small town, they can do anything they want to accomplish.
Smith's father was an auto mechanic, he said, and his mother worked at a factory.
"I come from a family where my parents weren't politicians, and they weren't in government," Smith said. "The last thing they thought was their son would be in Congress, representing 750,000 people.
"I say that to you all, because whatever you want to do, you can achieve and you can do it. It doesn't matter where you come from or how you're raised, just if you believe in it and you get the proper education and work hard."Read More
Since 1775, our brave military men and women have fought for freedom and democracy. On this Veterans Day we remember our service members that have bravely faced the challenges of a dangerous world from the Revolutionary War to today’s War on Terror. Like so many, military service has been a part of my family. My uncle courageously fought in Vietnam earning a purple heart. Because of the selfless service of many like him, my commitment is to ensure that our veterans are treated with respect and receive the benefits they earned.
Recently, I have worked to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs. I sponsored the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, legislation to provide much needed assistance to the heroes of our nation who were exposed to different chemical toxins while sacrificing for our country during the Vietnam War. I also worked to get veterans living in rural areas better access to care. It has been more than a year since we learned that at least 40 veterans died while waiting months and even years for care in the VA health system. Veterans should be able to see the doctor they want, close to home. There’s no excuse for bureaucracy obstructing our veterans from getting the care they were promised when the rest of the health care industry is innovating and finding ways to help more patients with shorter wait times.
We also are working to root out fraud and abuse at the VA. This week, the House Veterans Affairs Committee subpoenaed VA employees who abused the relocation payments in the department – abuse found by the VA’s own inspector general. It also was discovered that the VA paid $23 million to people on leave, and had no tracking mechanism. This is unacceptable and our veterans deserve better.
Meeting and helping our heroes is one of the best parts of my job, and twice this year I was honored to meet members of the Greatest Generation when they visited their WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. Those veterans from southeast and south central Missouri, along with many of their children and grandchildren for the first time saw how the nation was honoring their service. Additionally, I sponsored a bill that would pay tribute to those who served in the Korean War, a war in which 945 Missourians lost their lives.
When I talk with veterans, some are surprised to learn that my office can help with VA problems. If you are a veteran having trouble, please contact one of my offices for help. You can find all of the offices listed on my website at www.jasonsmith.house.gov. We can help you navigate the VA bureaucracy, get the benefits you have earned, or replace lost or stolen medals.
Join with me this Veterans Day in remembering and thanking those who served our country so honorably. As Ronald Reagan said, “We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need.”Read More
1118 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Jason Smith is a seventh-generation Missourian, a citizen-legislator, and a champion for the rights and values of rural Missourians.
Jason was raised in Salem, Missouri, where he still owns the same family farm that was started by his great grandfather. He attended Salem High School, where he was an active member of FFA. At the University of Missouri-Columbia, Jason earned degrees in Agricultural Economics and Business Administration. After receiving degrees from both programs in three years, he attended law school at Oklahoma City University before returning home to serve his community. Back home in Missouri Jason began running the family farm and practicing law. It was during this time that he recognized the harm that the overbearing government was inflicting on Missourians and our economy. This inspired Jason to run for office himself so he could begin to undo the damage.
Jason was elected to the Missouri General Assembly in a special election in 2005.
In the General Assembly, Jason fought to shrink the size of state government, eliminate burdensome rules and regulations, increase government transparency, protect property rights, require drug testing for welfare recipients, and defend Missouri agriculture. Thanks to his efforts, Jason’s colleagues selected him to serve in leadership: first as the Majority Whip and then as Speaker Pro Tem—one of the youngest in state history.
During a special election in June of 2013, Jason was elected to represent Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. He was re-elected in November 2014.
As a member of the 114th Congress, Jason serves on the Ways and Means Committee. In Washington Jason has made a name for himself as a strong defender of rural Missouri and all of rural America. Jason is committed to fighting intrusive government regulations, increasing markets for farmers and ranchers, and protecting his constituents’ rural way of life.
Jason has earned 100% ratings from the American Conservative Union and the Chamber of Commerce; he is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, pro-life and supports traditional values.
Jason attends Grace Community Church in Salem.
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Today's Capitol Report reflects on great work orgs and individuals are doing in our community this time of year! https://t.co/luBA19A4vP
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