I have had the pleasure of spending the month of August traveling around Arizona’s First Congressional District visiting with constituents and officials, getting the opportunity to spend time with them, and listening to their concerns. The challenge is covering a district that is 58,000 square miles. Here are some of the highlights from the month.
I started with a Joint Town Hall with New Mexico’s Congressman Steve Pearce (in Eagar, Arizona to discuss the Wallow Fire and its aftermath).
Nearly 400 residents from eastern Arizona and western New Mexico offered their ideas and expressed their frustrations with past federal forest policies. We discussed H.R. 2562, the Wallow Fire Recovery and Monitoring Act, which puts forth an expedited, but sound environmental process for the removal of hazardous, dead and dying trees in the areas affected by the Wallow Fire.
I also touched on a long-term forest health
solution in the works, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI). The 4FRI proposal calls for the Forest Service to partner with private industry to restore our forests, ultimately reducing damaging wildfire impacts, while providing forest jobs, markets for wood products, and ecological restoration.
I also visited Miami-Globe where I met with constituents, business leaders, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle. I was pleased to find broad support for HR 1904, the Southeast Land Exchange Act of 2011, which is moving swiftly through the House.
This legislation, which I sponsored, means over 3,700 Arizona jobs at little to no cost to the American taxpayer. The legislation has passed out of committee and should be brought to the House floor for a vote in the near future.
While visiting Springerville I toured the Springerville Generating Station and visited with some of the 200-plus employees. During the tour I was shown the First Solar System, in a state of the art renewable energy system.
I believe that our district can be a national model for energy-driven economic recovery. I and my colleagues on the House Committee on Natural Resources are committed to an all-the-above energy strategy which includes the responsible development of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, hydropower, and biomass. Solar development can create jobs and diversify our state’s energy portfolio.
The work also included a visit to Winslow, where I attended and spoke at the Winslow City Council meeting. Additionally, I met with business leaders in Prescott, held an open town hall in Prescott Valley, and met with city officials in Safford.
While in Flagstaff, I met with the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, city and Coconino County officials and with a wide variety of constituents during open office hours in my Flagstaff office.
We discussed growing the local economy, infrastructure needs, forest health, and the current Schultz Fire efforts. The county and city of Flagstaff have been encouraged by the action and help they have received from the Forest Service since I brought Chief Tidwell to visit the affected area.
I am honored to serve as your member in Congress. By listening to your concerns and talking about common sense solutions, together we can make our Arizona’s First Congressional District a thriving community and great place to work and live.
Please take time to reflect on the task at hand of rebuilding this country one community at a time. America deserves our undivided attention in our ideas, our prayers and work.