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12-23-2016 Rokita Report
Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the work of the 114th Congress. I trust this finds you and your family well, as we work together to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington.
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In this week's Rokita Report
Another Congressman Gets a Lump of Coal - And Celebrates Fossil Fuels
In Mooresville, I was presented with a lump of coal for Christmas from Carolyn whose father was a coal miner.
During my Thank You Tour, I visited Ralph and Ava's Café in Mooresville and was given a bag of coal. Children may get coal when Santa knows they haven't been well behaved in the course of a year, but I recognize the value of coal and other fossil fuels.
Coal is Indiana's primary energy source. More than three-fourths of our electricity comes from coal-powered plants and nine of our state's ten largest power plants are coal-fired. It is a local energy source too with about 60% of the coal we burn coming from Indiana. We use other fossil fuels for our electrical and transportation needs - including natural gas, oil, and propane.
Because fossil fuels are an important part of our lives, I support smart policies on their use. I have opposed the Clean Power Plan because it would drive up electric prices by 16% per year. They also represent an important component for all of the above energy policy - coal is abundantly found in Indiana. I am excited that next year, we will have a pro-coal administration. President-elect Donald Trump has made clear his support for fossil fuels.
Bill of Rights Day
On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was adopted. The Bill of Rights consists of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments were written by James Madison and provide constitutional protections for individual liberties and places specific prohibitions on government power.
On Bill of Rights Day, I was reminded of the news from Knightstown, Indiana. Hoosiers in Knightstown are witnessing an attempt to undermine our constitutional protections. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued the town over a cross displayed on the top the Christmas Tree. The First Amendment is meant to protect the practice of religion, not hide it. This lawsuit is ridiculous. The accurate meaning of the First Amendment must be reapplied in our schools and civic institutions.
The text of the amendment says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The return of the cross to the three this week is a positive step, but the ACLU continues to prevent the cross from being displayed at the top of the tree.
The Knightstown Christmas Tree before the ACLU sued to remove the cross.
As part of Bill of Rights Day, I took my Thank You Tour to Fort Liberty Firearms in Avon. Our Second Amendment states that "a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." In fact, I read our Second Amendment on the floor of the U.S. House in January to remind Washington that the Second Amendment protects a right that cannot be taken away by an executive pen. The crowd at Fort Liberty Firearms was ready for President-elect Donald J. Trump to work with a Republican Congress to defend the Second Amendment.
Thanks to Doug Hunter, owner of Fort Liberty Firearms, for hosting me on Bill of Rights Day.
Indiana Thank You Tour
On Thursday, I visited Hendricks and Morgan Counties as part of my Thank You Tour. The Thank You Tour included stops in 16 cities, covering over 626 miles of travel within Indiana’s Fourth Congressional District. At each stop, I met with Hoosiers to take their questions and thank them for the opportunity to continue representing and serving them in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Representing Hoosiers as a Member of Congress has been the highest honor of my life, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue serving them. As an elected official, I get my marching orders from my constituents, and meetings like those on this tour are a great way to hear the needs and thoughts of Hoosiers from across the district.
Thank You Tour Stops
Be sure to keep up with the Rokita Report to find out about upcoming public meetings in 2017.
Office Open House for the 115th Congress
On Tuesday, January 3, 2017, I invite you to celebrate my swearing-in to the 115th Congress. I will be hosting an Open House in my Washington, DC office. Light refreshments will be served.
Swearing-In Open House
Hope to see you there!
Thank you for your continued interest in Congress and for supporting my efforts to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington. Take care.