Congressman spends downtime meeting constituents

By Kaitlin Newkirk

Congressman Patrick McHenry has been discussing legislation at town halls throughout his district, including Mount Holly, in recent weeks. (MIM file photo)

MOUNT HOLLY – U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry just finished six town hall meetings and wants to continue helping the community.
“I am here, and I am available,” McHenry said.
McHenry wanted his constituents to know that whether you’re Republican, Democrat or don’t care about politics, he will make it his priority to help you.
After all, his job is to be the voice of the 10th District when he goes to Washington.
McHenry is serving his fifth term in Congress. He serves as the deputy Republican whip, working to ensure the party has the votes for its legislative initiatives.
McHenry is also a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and a member of the House Financial Services Committee, where he chairs the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. In this position, McHenry oversees several financial institutions such as the Federal Reserve and Treasury.
He said people’s main concerns now are more national than local. He is being asked about healthcare, border patrol and economy issues.
He wants to answer people’s concerns about healthcare and why there is a failure to enforce laws involving the border control. McHenry said people want a stronger economy, and questions to why these concerns haven’t been answered.
When he gets these concerns, he calmly tells constituents what he is going to do step by step to be the voice of the community.
In recent weeks, McHenry has been consumed with legislation and hearings.
He just finished a bill that would change the 2008 law concerning border patrol and will ensure that we treat other countries the same as we do Mexico and Canada. It will also ensure that when a child appears at the border, they will be safely returned to their families and border patrol will be able to work on federal land.
He was involved with two hearings: one involved Operation Choke Point and the other was about discrimination claims against a government agency.
“It took a lot of work to get all of that hashed out,” McHenry said. “The last two weeks in session were just about the busiest that I have ever had.”
McHenry said people at his six town meetings had positive responses to the border patrol legislation but they wanted to see it in action.
“All I can do is answer for my own actions,” McHenry said.
While the national issues are important, he also takes pride in what he can do locally.
His staff has made itself available to meet with constituents with issues involving federal agencies including Social Security, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service.
Recently, a shelter for troubled youths lost funding. McHenry is working closely with the shelter to ensure the money that the government has available can go toward helping the organization, With Friends.
McHenry also helped a Gaston County family with their adoption procedure.
The family was trying to adopt children from the Dominican Republic of Congo, and there were problems with the children being released to the family. McHenry stepped in to help and the family’s adoption process was completed.
His role in making phone calls and writing letters actually led to legislation trying to clear up the blurred lines involved in international adoptions.
In the past two months, McHenry has visited multiple businesses in his district to see what the constituents need.
“One of the benefits of my job is that I get to go out into the field and meet the people,” McHenry said.
McHenry enjoys being hands-on with his constituents because he can get a better understanding of what is happening in the community rather than just base it off of statistics.
“My job is to be this district’s voice to Washington,” McHenry said. “I think it is really important that I am out talking to the community.”
His main focus until he is back in session in September include helping the government stay open and making sure funding is appropriately allocated.
McHenry wants to let the community know he is willing to listen.

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