5-12-2017 Rokita Report

May 12, 2017 Issues: Congressional Issues, Education

Dear Fellow Hoosier,

Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the work of the 115th 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

  • President Trump Protecting Voter Integrity
  • Congressional Art Competition Winner - Liberty
  • Teacher Appreciation Week
  • Removal of FBI Director Comey


President Trump Protecting Voter Integrity

The American public must have faith in the integrity of elections in our country.  It is fundamental to our entire system of self-government.  Voter fraud is real.  We've seen it in Indiana.  It is not a victimless crime.  As Indiana’s former Secretary of State, I fought to protect the integrity of every Hoosier’s vote and implemented Indiana's photo identification law, defending it successfully all the way to the Supreme Court.  Indiana's law serves as a model for other states--and the state level is where election laws should be made.

This week, President Trump signed an Executive Order establishing a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.  I am pleased to see President Trump follow through on his promise to look into voter fraud issues and the integrity of American elections with this commission, and that he has chosen Vice President Mike Pence to head this commission.

As Secretary of State, I created a statewide voter file with safeguards to catch false registrants.  In that office, we pursued multiple reforms to combat voter fraud, such as updating voter registration forms to include an affidavit to be signed by anyone assisting or submitting a form for someone else.  We spearheaded efforts to fight voter fraud across the state, including the rampant voter fraud in East Chicago.  This led to a special election where I personally oversaw the voting procedures on that day. Three years later, I was invited by local candidates in Lake County to oversee the 2007 Primary Election in Gary and East Chicago.  In 2008, I led an investigation into false registrants coming from ACORN, a voter registration group, prompting actions to secure the registration process.  Because of our efforts, Indiana can serve as a model for the nation.

Congressional Art Competition Winner - Liberty

Every year, the Congressional Art Competition provides a chance to highlight the best young local artists from across the country.  My office is proud to participate and I am excited to unveil this year's winning work.

The winning piece is Liberty by Abigail from Tri-County Jr. Sr. High School in Wolcott.

Abigail's piece will be displayed in the United States Capitol complex for a year, along with the winners from other Congressional districts.  The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 and over 650,000 high school students have participated across the country.


Teacher Appreciation Week

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, I want to thank our teachers for their dedication, especially during Teacher Appreciation Week.  This week is a chance to honor all teachers who work tirelessly to inspire students and guide them through life.

I have been fortunate to meet with some great Hoosier teachers.  Among the many great Hoosier educators that I have met, I will always remember cheering for Indiana's 2015 Teacher of the Year Kathy Nimmer, from Harrison High School, at the White House when she was one of four National Teacher of Year finalists.  Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to meet with Indiana's 2017 Teacher of the Year, Jitka Nelson of Logansport High School, and Joseph Ruhl of Jefferson High School, who was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

Because I believe in Hoosier teachers, I believe in empowering parents and the local communities.  They, not Washington bureaucrats, are at the front lines of education.  I coauthored theEvery Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to put decision-making back to the local level and I authored a resolution that President Trump signed in to law to repeal a Department of Education (DOE) regulation that would have grown, not shrunk, the DOE.  The Wall Street Journal called ESSA the largest devolution of federal power in a quarter century.  We designed ESSA as such because our communities, with their great teachers, know best.


Removal of FBI Director Comey

This week, President Trump made a decision to dismiss James Comey, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  This decision came following a review of Director Comey's performance.  While much has been said about the dismissal, there is nothing unprecedented, or exceptional, about President Trump’s decision to fire Director Comey.  President Clinton fired an FBI Director in 1993.

The FBI Director serves at the pleasure of the President of the United States.  It is unfortunate to see many who turned a blind eye to Hillary Clinton’s scandals and demanded Comey’s firing back then now feign outrage and demand investigations to advance their political agenda.  I am confident President Trump will nominate an FBI director with the managerial skills, demonstrated track record of objectivity and commitment to the rule of law necessary to move the FBI beyond the political controversies of the previous year.

With grave security threats at home and abroad, I hope President Trump and the Senate move quickly to nominate and confirm Comey's successor and help the FBI keep America safe.


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


Todd Rokita