Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
Congressman Mark Meadows took a break from Washington politics to catch Game 5 of the World Series with President Donald Trump. For the first time in franchise history, the Washington Nationals went on to be crowned World Series Champs over the Houston Astros.
“The Nationals made a great comeback – and along the way, did the impossible and united Washington D.C. for a few days,” Meadows commented.
Last week, Meadows introduced legislation to recognize First Responder’s Day, a measure he believes should be an easy decision for his colleagues.
“Our first responders deserve to have their efforts and sacrifices recognized,” said Meadows. “Having met with many of our own emergency personnel here in Western North Carolina and from around the country, I’ve had a chance to see firsthand their dedication to our communities and our country, and the outstanding job they do to keep us safe. They’re the best of us. And, so many of those services come on a volunteer basis. From a federal standpoint, I think the least we can do is set aside a day to honor their work and give them the kind of recognition they deserve.”
Meadows’ First Responder’s Day legislation is a small piece of the overall picture in terms of the things Meadows currently has in the works in Congress and for Western North Carolina.
“We’ve hit the ground running with several weeks of session since the August district work period, so much of the last few months have been in Washington, D.C,” said Meadows. “Unfortunately, most of our Congressional time these days is occupied with impeachment interviews and depositions – we’ve had a different deposition almost every day the last month or so. I’m on the Oversight Committee, one of the Committees of jurisdiction, so it’s important for me to take advantage of the chance to be in these interviews, asking questions, getting information, and evaluating the evidence. But beyond that, we’re still making time for work that matters more locally to our folks – jobs, lowering drug prices, helping our agricultural workers, and more.”
Although Congress has been weighed down with the impeachment, Meadows has prioritized several visits to the district, as constituent services remain on the forefront of his reason for serving in office.
“For me, the day-to-day of this job is all about making sure that Western North Carolinians have direct access to their government and an effective voice in Washington D.C. that advocates for them first and foremost,” said Meadows. “If I can deliver on those things, then it’s a good day – and the kind of face-to-face visits are a critical part of that goal. It’s about listening to local needs from farmers, small business owners, medical facilities, first responder teams, and others – bringing them back to D.C. to see what we can do to make their lives easier.
From there, voting in Washington, D.C. becomes far easier, because you remember who you’re voting on behalf of. I’ve often said it, and it’s true: even though my voting card has my picture on it, it belongs to NC-11. Their vote and their voice is what’s most important during the official day in Congress.”
To help focus on constituent services within the district, Meadows has five full-time district offices in Hendersonville, Waynesville, Price Pine, Lenoir and Morganton, with a total of eight district staffers. Each staffer attends events on a regular basis when Meadows is unavailable or in D.C. for official duties. With 17 counties spread throughout the district, Meadows’ communication team works diligently to keep local communities informed of his efforts in Congress. Weekly newsletters and frequent comments and press releases are sent from Meadows’ office to all area news outlets to help citizens stay informed and current.
Meadows just completed his stint as chairman of the Freedom Caucus, Congress’ most conservative voice. After serving the two-year term with the caucus, Meadows stayed on a few additional months to help in the transition of a new chairman.
“It was an honor to serve the caucus in that role and we’re now well-represented with the new Chairman, Andy Biggs from Arizona,” said Meadows. “I’m excited to continue working with them.”
The last few months haven’t all been partisan politics in D.C. Both Democrats and Republicans came together last month to honor Maryland Democrat, Elijah Cummings, who passed away. As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings led investigations of the president’s government dealings, including probes in 2019 relating to Trump’s family members serving in the White House. Despite being on different sides of the aisle, Meadows spoke fondly of Cummings and his impact on the country.
“There was truly no stronger friend or better advocate than Elijah – he was a joy to serve with,” said Meadows. “I miss him dearly every day.”
Moving toward the future, Meadows says his top priority is to bring the 11th Congressional District into the 21st century by aggressively developing strategies to address rural broadband.
“This is actually a top priority for our office and we’ve been having frequent discussions with the administration about how we can get better service in rural areas,” said Meadows. “We’re hopeful for some exciting updates in the near future – for now, NC-11 can know that the president and his administration see this as a serious need we need to deliver on.”