08-14-15 - Rokita Report - Helping Farmers and Veterans

Aug 14, 2015 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Veterans

Dear Friend,

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.

For daily updates, please take a moment to "Like" my Facebook page by clicking here  or follow me on Twitter if you prefer  @ToddRokita.


In this week's Rokita Report

  • Help for Hoosier Farmers
  • Protecting the Unborn
  • Rokita - Voter ID Laws
  • Weekend Plans - Veterans Airlift Command


Help for Hoosier Farmers

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the State of Indiana's request for disaster declaration following heavy rains earlier this summer.  Fifty-three of Indiana’s ninety-two counties were granted a disaster declaration. The approval is important because Indiana farmers sustained a significant amount of crop damage due to the severe weather.

This is a positive step forward to help ensure that Hoosier farmers can get back on their feet. This much needed assistance will make emergency loans available to help producers replace or restore essential property, pay production costs associated with the flooding, pay essential family living expenses, help reorganize farming operations, and refinance certain debts.

Earlier this summer, I personally visited farms and saw for myself the negative impacts the rain waters had on the land and on the agriculture industry. However, I am confident Hoosier farmers will bounce back thanks to their strong work ethic and resiliency.  Agriculture is an important asset to the Hoosier economy and I am glad to see so many farmers are now able to receive the assistance they need.

Touring Flood Damage with Governor Mike Pence

The approval came shortly after I spoke with farmers about when to expect the USDA’s approval and what the approval entails at an event organized by the Indiana Soybean Alliance.

The disaster declaration provides low-interest emergency loans that can be used to offset some of the costs incurred due to the flood damage earlier this summer.  The fifty-three counties with a disaster declaration, and contiguous counties, are eligible for emergency loan assistance.  If you are interested in applying for an emergency loan, please contact your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office for details or visit the FSA's Indiana website.


Protecting the Unborn

Life is a precious gift from God that we must protect from the moment of conception.  Recent video tapes have revealed the horrific disregard that Planned Parenthood has for the unborn, as workers for the organization negotiate prices for the organs and limbs of aborted babies without blinking an eye.  Children are the most vulnerable in our society and we have a duty to protect them.  Hoosiers know better and we are leading the fight to protect unborn life.

As your Representative, I have cosponsored the Protecting Life and Taxpayers Act and the Defund Planned Parenthood Act. These bills would keep federal funds from going to organizations that perform abortions.

Earlier this week, Governor Pence signed two bills that protect life. House Enrolled Act 1093 will provide parents and medical providers with positive information following a prenatal diagnosis. The other bill is Senate Enrolled Act 329 which established rules for the dignified handling of aborted babies.

On Saturday, the 'I choose Life News and Views' radio program hosted by Indiana Right to Life will hit the airwaves.  Tune in to hear my discussion on how we can do more to protect life.


Rokita - Voter ID Laws

Indiana has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure the integrity of the ballot box.  As Secretary of State, I implemented Indiana's landmark voter identification law which I successfully defended in numerous court battles and all the way to the United States Supreme Court in 2008. 

Recently, the White House has expressed opposition to Voter ID laws.  Having seen the positive results of Indiana's laws, I was dismayed and set the record straight by speaking with John Gizzi at NewsMax.

The purpose of Voter ID laws is not to keep people from voting, but to protect the integrity of their vote.  Without safeguards - it is possible for people to register multiple times or to vote on behalf of someone else. 

As I told John, in 2000 and 2004, before Indiana enacted our voter ID law, the average turnout in the primaries was 21 percent of eligible voters and the average turnout in the general election was 57 percent.  Two Presidential elections have been held after the law was enacted, in 2008 and 2012. The average turnout in the primaries was 31 percent and in the general election it was 60 percent.  People want their vote to matter and are more confident when they know that the proper safeguards are in place to ensure that it does.

No Hoosier was denied a chance to vote.  As Secretary of State, I made sure that identification was available for free to help those in financial need.  These ID's are still available through the Secretary of State's office.

As the President asks Congress to consider changing legislation that sets guidelines for voters, I will share with my colleagues the successes we had in Indiana by going on a different path - one that made sure Hoosiers knew their vote counted.


Weekend Plans - Veterans Airlift Command

This weekend, I will be flying for Veterans Airlift Command (VAC).  VAC helps veterans by connecting them with free flights provided by the general aviation community.  In the past, I have helped parents and spouses reach loved ones and flown veterans to hospitals where cutting edge medical innovations are available for them.  Volunteering my time on these "missions" is a very rewarding experience.

My upcoming flight will be to assist Army Green Beret and West Point graduate MAJ Darren Baldwin's parents visit him as he receives care.  When MAJ Baldwin was on his third tour in Iraq, he was hit with two major IED blasts nine days apart.  Upon returning stateside, he began to experience problems with his balance and was initially diagnosed with MS.  However, a brain scan showed more than twenty-six lesions on his brain - the result of the blast injuries.  Darren’s condition has slowly declined and he now struggles with his communication and mobility.  Darren’s wife Bianca and family are preparing to take him for treatment.  Before he travels for treatment, his mother and her husband would like to see him.

I am honored to fly MAJ Baldwin's family so they can be by his side and hope you join me in praying for his recovery and for his family.


Thank you for your continued interest in Congress and for supporting my efforts to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington. Take care.  



Todd Rokita