From the Front: US Congressman Steve Womack
To start off this week's From the Front... I would like to thank all of the Arkansans who stopped by my Washington office during their visits to our nation’s capital, including Robin Miller of Rogers, Miranda and Michael Redzich from Rogers, Sandra Jones of Western Grove, and the McFadin family from Siloam Springs. Safe travels back to the Natural State.
I’m thrilled to announce that the Womack family continues to grow. I am now a grandpa of three boys! Welcome to the world, baby Luka. We are exceptionally blessed!
I began my week in Arkansas's Third Congressional District with a visit to Pea Ridge Primary School. I had a wonderful time and was able to surprise my grandson Kaden for lunch! It brings me so much joy to watch him learn and grow. We then headed to his kindergarten classroom for storytime. The kids had a great time reading together.
Schools should always be safe environments where students can thrive. I sat down with school superintendents from Pea Ridge, Bentonville, Siloam Springs, and Rogers to discuss school safety and other education policy issues. It was great to hear their thoughts, learn about the challenges facing our schools, and get updates on the work being done in the classroom.
Meetings like this help me to better understand what Congress can do to further support our local schools and help students succeed.
Small businesses strengthen our communities by providing jobs and promoting economic growth.
It was great to hear directly from several Pea Ridge business owners and managers for a roundtable meeting. We had productive discussions on tax reform, infrastructure, and regulations!
Amazing to hear how historic tax cuts have provided them with the opportunity to invest in their workers and companies and further pursue their American dream. Small business optimism is strong, and the proof is in our roaring economy.
Thanks to Mayor Crabtree and all of the small business owners and entrepreneurs for their time and thoughtful conversation.
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to address the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce at the Excellence in Business Awards. These awards are given to investors who exemplify excellence in best business practices and dedicate themselves to the growth and success in our community. Congrats to this year’s honorees.
I then stopped by Central States Manufacturing in Lowell to tour their facility and hear more about the company’s culture of employee ownership. They manufacture metal roofing, siding, and associated building components.
As an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) business, Central States Manufacturing enables employees to own company stock.
They discussed how this type of model allows for every person on their team to be personally invested in their work. It was great to get a tour of their facility and learn more about how their unique structure drives their success.
One of the best parts of being your Congressman is being able to meet remarkable people from our district. It was a privilege to present WWII veteran and Bentonville resident William “Pat” Patterson with a Congressional Gold Medal to honor his service with the Office of Strategic Services. The OSS was America’s first spy agency and played a pivotal role in helping the U.S. and its allies defeat Axis forces.
During WWII, the OSS handled a variety of roles, including establishing secret intelligence networks and supporting resistance forces throughout Europe and Asia. Lt. Patterson served behind enemy lines in China in the Cryptographic and Message Center. The organization eventually developed into our modern-day CIA and U.S. Special Operations Command.⠀
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor that Congress can bestow, and Lt. Patterson and all the patriots of the OSS earned this recognition. We owe our Greatest Generation a debt that can never be repaid.
Their heroic actions will forever be engrained into the memory of our nation. On behalf of a grateful country, God bless Lt. Patterson and thank you for your service. A special thanks to his family and two of his friends who were also WWII veterans for being part of this special presentation.
On Thursday, I headed to Fort Smith for another busy day! It was great to be with the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce for their annual meeting, where I received an update on business growth and workforce development in the area. There is lots of economic development and opportunity in our region.
We want to keep building on that momentum and strengthen our competitive advantage. Our pro-growth, pro-business agenda in Congress will continue to support these goals.
My next stop was to the new Applied Process facility. After strong results, they invested in their infrastructure and expanding capacity in Fort Smith. They highlighted how the robust workforce in AR-3 has allowed them to be competitive, productive, and efficient.
I also got a firsthand look at their manufacturing process. The company produces products for a range of companies, including those in the aerospace, automotive and railroad industries.
I was honored to receive the "Friend of the Farm Bureau" award from the American Farm Bureau. Farmers and ranchers are a vital part of our state and national economy. They help feed and fuel Americans and ensure the safety and security of our food supply.
I will always work in Congress to advocate for policies that support them. A big thank you to Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach and all of the Arkansas farmers and ranchers who took time out of their hectic days to present me with this recognition!
This morning, I stopped by Northwest Technical Institute's open house. There were lots of motivated and engaged high school students ready to learn about programs and workforce development opportunities.
Through technical training and skills education, these young adults will create their own paths to success.
Some good news to end the week: The U.S. economy grew at 3.5% in the third quarter, beating expectations. Strong consumer confidence and pro-growth policies continue to produce a booming economy!