Announcing Russell B. Sugarmon Post Office Becoming Law
December 14, 2018
This week, I announced that my bill to name the post office on Autumn Avenue for Judge Russell B. Sugarmon has been signed into law. I also questioned Google’s CEO about protecting free speech; voted to pass a Farm Bill which protects important food assistance, animal protection and conservation programs; expressed my concern about developments in the Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation; visited with students at Hamilton High School's pre-K program, welcomed new American citizens, noted that open enrollment for HealthCare.gov policies ends this Saturday, December 15; remembered Shelby County Election Commissioner O.C. Pleasant Jr., offered Capitol Historical Society 2019 calendars and made a health tip about preparing for wintry cold snaps. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see more updates as they happen.
Announcing Russell B. Sugarmon Post Office Becoming Law
On Monday, I announced that my bill to rename the post office at 1325 Autumn Avenue for Russell B. Sugarmon, the civil rights leader, lawyer and judge, had been signed into law. No one deserves this honor more than Judge Sugarmon and I look forward to dedicating this monument to a great man’s achievements soon.
On Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before the House Judiciary Committee on which I serve and took questions about baseless claims of bias against conservatives in its search functionand concerns about privacy and tracking people’s physical locations. I asked Pichai to make it easier for people to understand and adjust privacy settings on their smart phones and asked him what Google is doing to limit the effectiveness of bots that use algorithms to stifle the free speech of humanitarian and democratic activists in authoritarian countries. See that exchange here.
On Wednesday, I voted for and the House passed a five-year Farm Bill that protects food assistance, conservation and animal welfare policies that are priorities for residents of the 9th Congressional District. We successfully blocked efforts by the Majority to impose punishing work requirements for food stamp recipients and preserved the Conservation Stewardship Program, which encourages farmers to strengthen conservation efforts on their farms.I am also pleased that two bills I cosponsored to protect animals, the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act (H.R. 909) and the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act (H.R. 1406), were included in the final bill. The Farm Bill also provides permanent funding for programs promoting local farmers markets and organic farming.
All week, I have been concerned about mounting evidence in support of allegations that the President directed his lawyer to violate campaign finance laws with illicit hush-money payments to two women during the 2016 campaign and what impact that might have on the future of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in our elections. I talked to MSNBC’s Alex Witt about those concerns on Sunday. The day before, I talked with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart on “AM Joy” and with the network’s Richard Liu. And last Friday night, I spoke to Lawrence O’Donnell on the network’s “The Last Word.”In print press interviews, I’ve suggested tying legislation protecting the integrity of Mueller’s probe to spending bills whose deadlines are looming. I am a cosponsor of the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act (H.R. 5476) which I hope we can pass before the 115th Congress ends later this month.
I am scheduled to talk with MSNBC’s the Reverend Al Sharpton on Saturday at about 4:30 p.m.
On Friday morning, I visited the Hamilton High School Pre-Kindergarten program for a holiday party and to deliver and read a book to encourage literacy. I talked to the students, staff and parents about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP, or food stamps) program reauthorized in the Farm Bill and about my support for early childhood education and Head Start. I told the kids to make good grades, stay in school and to enjoy being kids.
While at Hamilton, I was pleased and surprised to meet football coach Cedrick Wilson, the former Melrose High School quarterback and University of Tennessee and NFL wide receiver. He is an iconic football player who will both teach and inspire.
On Monday, members of my staff attended the naturalization ceremony for 59 new American citizens from 32 foreign countries, including Yemen, Mauritania, Congo, Mexico, India, China, South Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Ethiopia and Peru and Ukraine. Federal District Judge Sheryl Lipman administered the oath and shared a story about her family which originated in Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire. Her family fled the anti-Jewish pogroms at the end of the 19th century and settled in Memphis. It was a struggle but there was much hope because America offered religious freedom, had separation of church and state, and had a democratic form of government that offered opportunity to all. On Sunday night, her family celebrated Chanukah as they have for a hundred years here in Memphis. I’m proud to have recommended Judge Lipman to President Obama, who made her the first federal Jewish judge in Tennessee history. These naturalization ceremonies are always a moving experience as many of these new Americans have waited years to become citizens. It’s a good reminder that we are a nation of immigrants.
Open enrollment for 2019 HealthCare.gov insurance plans ends tomorrow, Saturday, December 15. Listen for my public service radio announcement that encourages signing up.For more information on signing up for health care, see Healthcare.gov.
I was saddened this week to note the passing of my old friend O.C. Pleasant Jr., the longest-serving member of the Shelby County Election Commission. O.C. and I became friends when we were elected as delegates to the 1977 Tennessee State Constitutional Convention. We got to know each other well during the five months of the convention and we maintained that friendship over the next 40 years. He was a stand-up member of the County Election Commission who served with great distinction and heroism, and was noted for speaking truth to power. I extend my sincere condolences to his wife Barbara, his children and his many friends. He was a good man and his was a life well lived.
My office has a limited number of 2019 U.S. Capitol Historical Society calendars available. If you would like to receive a calendar, please complete this form on my website. Due to the rules of the House, I can mail calendars only to residents of Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District. Please feel free to share this email with other residents of the 9th District who may be interested in receiving one but who do not receive my e-Newsletter.
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Each week, I share a health tip in the hope of promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents of the 9th Congressional District. As always, it is best to check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine or lifestyle.
Rainy and windy conditions this week are likely get colder as the Mid-South transitions from fall to winter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers advice about getting prepared for wintry weather by repairing leaking roofs at home, having your furnace inspected, and being prepared for emergencies in your car by having booster cables, blankets and flashlights available. See all the CDC’s advice here.
The Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division inspects gas appliances with its ongoing Pilot Safety Inspections that are free to those over 60. See details including how to make an appointment here.
“You want to know something? I’ll tell you what: I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck…I will be the one to shut it down – I’m not going to blame you for it.” – President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday during a meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer about a Homeland Security spending bill.
Note: Trump campaigned on a pledge to build a southern border wall and to make Mexico pay for it.
As always, I remain