Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler spoke at the Sedalia Rotary luncheon Monday, covering a wide range of topics from the surprise announcement of University of Missouri system president Tim Wolfe’s resignation earlier in the day to the election of Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House of Representatives among issues of concern to her constituents.
“It was very disheartening to hear the news from MU,” Hartzler said. “As alumni of the university it was disappointing that it has come to this.
“You can’t change people’s hearts and minds and at this time we need to come together and respect one another as individuals,” she added. “It is an age-old rule and it has served as well; it comes to down to basic respect for one’s fellow man.
“When I thought about my remarks for today, I thought I could give you an update about everything that is wrong in the country today,” Hartzler said. “But I didn’t want to discourage you.
“Instead at this time of year I think we all have reason to be thankful and we should think of the positive things that are all around us,” she added. “Especially as we observe Veterans Day on Wednesday and as we look forward to Thanksgiving.”
Hartzler commented during her remarks and prior to the luncheon to the Democrat about the importance of the country’s veterans and military service men and women.
“We are the land of the free because we are the home of the brave,” Hartzler said. “We owe everything to these brave individuals.
“I was honored to meet with the most recent Honor Flight from Pettis County when they were in Washington D.C. in October,” she continued. “I was able to meet each one and thank them for their service to our country.”
Hartzler said former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger recently called this period in American history the most dangerous time the country has faced since prior to World War II.
Hartzler, who is a member of the Armed Services Committee, agreed with Kissinger’s assessment.
“We are in a continual fight with ISIS, and we must be vigilant to all threats against the United States and our allies,” Hartzler said after her remarks. “We need to take these threats seriously whether they come in the form of transportation threats or financial threats to the United States.”
Hartzler told those gathered that the House had recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act which would be a benefit to both Whiteman Air Force Base and Ft. Leonard Wood, both in the 4th Congressional District.
“I am pleased to say that as part of the act a 79,000-square-foot building to house the entire operations systems for the B2 Stealth will be built at Whiteman,” Hartzler said. “It will eliminate some of the smaller structures on the base and make the program more secure.”
As part of the measure, the A-10 defense system was also preserved.
Congress also passed a six-year highway bill Hartzler said will help address some of the nation’s and Missouri’s infrastructure concerns.
“We have 4,753 bridges in our state,” Hartzler said. “Twenty-two percent of them are deficient or obsolete; this legislation will help to address some of those areas.”
Hartzler said she was excited about working with newly elected Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
“He is a visionary and I think he will help the country move forward,” Hartzler said. “He is a very competent individual and a man of great character.”
Hartzler was not prepared to endorse a candidate for president at this time, she told the Democrat prior to the meeting.
“I think the Republican Party has a lot of good, qualified candidates running,” she said. “I will let the process narrow down the choices before I endorse a candidate but I am confident that we will win in November.”
When asked about the Keystone pipeline after her speech, Hartzler used that as an example of why she feels it is important for the Republicans to win control of the White House again.
“I was extremely disappointed when President Obama chose to veto the Keystone legislation,” Hartzler said. “His veto cost the country 10,000 jobs to America and hurt our partner to the North.
“I am extremely hopeful that with a Republican president in office we will be able to secure those jobs and the pipeline project.”
Prior to Hartzler’s remarks, two new members were initiated as Rotarians. Democrat publisher Denny Koenders and Democrat editor Tim Epperson were introduced by Judge Donald Barnes and welcomed as the latest members of the Rotary Club.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484