Hearing from you is an important part of my job. The two-week district work period was a productive time. I traveled to 13 of the 22 counties of the First Congressional District. At diverse venues, I consistently heard the same message: you are ready to see legislation that will grow the economy, drive down healthcare costs and strengthen our national defense.

Over the two weeks of working in the district, I heard firsthand your stories of making tough choices because of government red tape. For many business owners – large and small – expansion is not possible. They spend so much time and money on paperwork when they could be investing in their companies, making more products and adding jobs. Legislation already passed by this Congress to roll back job-killing regulations has made progress, saving $18 billion annually, but to really get the economy on track, tax reform is needed.

As Congress begins the work of crafting new tax policies, I will be supportive of proposals lowering taxes for businesses and individuals and simplifying the tax code. Easing the burdens on small businesses and families will result in new and better-paying jobs and allow you to keep more of the money you have earned.

You also told me healthcare reform is needed to give you more insurance options while keeping premiums affordable.

The American Health Care Act will give control of healthcare back to the states and individuals, abandoning the failed one-size-fits-all policies of the current law. By expanding consumer choices and empowering patients, healthcare policies will allow you to have access to what you need, not what someone in Washington thinks is best.

The ability to protect our nation continues to be a concern as we face rising threats around the world. During my time in the district, you told me our military must remain the most powerful in the world.

I couldn’t agree more. I will continue to work with my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee to get more funding for our national defense. This will improve our readiness levels and put more planes in the air, ships at sea and tanks on the ground.

Our service men and women must have the tools to keep our nation safe at home and abroad.

Whether it’s seeing you while I’m in the district or your contacting my office by phone or email, I always want to know what issues are important to you and your families.

Much work remains to be done, but I am proud of what the House has already achieved, and I am optimistic that more will be accomplished as the work of the 115th Congress progresses.

TRENT KELLY is a U.S. representative serving Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District. Readers can connect with Kelly through his website www.trentkelly.house.gov or by calling (662) 841-8808.

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