Honoring the Memory of Senator John McCain
This week, I paid tribute to the heroism and dignified public service that the late Arizona Senator John McCain rendered to our country. I also commemorated the 55th anniversary of the historic March on Washington at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech; attended the swearing-in ceremony for new Shelby County Major Lee Harris, the county commission and other elected county officials; thanked two U.S. Senators for their efforts to prevent injury to Tennessee Walking Horses; announced a major investment in affordable housing; praised California for being the first state to end money bail as a condition of pretrial release in criminal cases; talked with our troops at a base in Honduras; remembered Aretha Franklin; planned to host a Military Service Academy Day next month and offered a health tip. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see more updates as they happen.
Honoring the Memory of Senator John McCain
Commemorating the 55th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington
Attending the Swearing-In of New Shelby County Officials
Working to Prevent Injury to Horses
Announcing $14.2 million Federal Investment to Support Affordable Housing
Praising California State Lawmakers for Ending Cash-Bail System
Talking with Our Troops in Honduras
Remembering the Queen of Soul
Hosting Military Service Academy-Senior ROTC Day
Signing Up for “Congress On Your Corner” and this e-Newsletter
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week
Since the announcement of his death last Saturday night, the country has been in mourning while at the same time celebrating the amazing life of Senator John McCain, a true military hero, a Senator who stood up to our current President who he felt, as I do, is a threat to democracy, and a larger-than-life figure in our country’s history. His example of decorous respect for our traditions, and his insistence that there is more that unites us than divides us, will remain his never ending tribute to our country. I was pleased to hear former Vice President Joe Biden extol his old friend’s virtues at the memorial service in Arizona Thursday and to watch the moving ceremony from the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Friday. I look forward to the eulogies to be offered Saturday at the National Cathedral in Washington by McCain’s former rivals for the presidency, Barack Obama and George W. Bush. McCain’s service to our country, as a Naval aviator, prisoner of war, Congressman, Senator and noble citizen won’t be forgotten. I agree with Senator Chuck Schumer that the Russell Senate Office Building should be named in his honor. I extend my deepest condolences to McCain’s family, his colleagues and his many friends, including Fred Smith, who will be a pallbearer.
On Tuesday, I noted the 55th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that brought a quarter of a million people to the National Mall to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial while millions more watched on television. On that hot day in 1963, the March on Washington brought together the nation’s greatest civil rights and labor leaders to demand an end to racial discrimination. Many tens of thousands heard labor leader A. Phillip Randolph, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leader and future Georgia Congressman John Lewis, Roy Wilkins of the NAACP and others address the need for federal legislation guaranteeing civil and voting rights. The day’s triumphant and dramatic climax was Dr. King’s unforgettable “dream” of one day living in a land where his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” It’s a message as relevant now as it was then as we continue working to achieve that dream and remember this important anniversary.
On Thursday, I went to the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts after receiving personal invitations from County Mayor-elect Lee Harris and Commissioner-elect Tami Sawyer to witness the swearing-in of Mayor Harris, the county commissioners and newly elected Circuit Court Clerk Temiika Gipson, County Trustee Regina Morrison Newman, County Assessor Melvin Burgess, County Clerk Wanda Halbert, Register of Deeds Shelandra Ford, Criminal Court Clerk Heidi Kuhn, Juvenile Court Clerk Janis Fullilove and Probate Court Clerk Bill Morrison. My office works closely with county government at all levels and I was there to assure the newly elected representatives that that seamless cooperation will continue.
Also on Tuesday, I commended Senators Mike Crapo of Idaho and Mark Warner of Virginia for their recent letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting the department vigorously enforce the Horse Protection Act and prevent the intentional injury to horses participating in the ongoing Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville. The Senators’ letter interceding on behalf of horses and horse lovers asked Perdue for a vigilant inspection regimen at this year’s Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration to assure the cruel practice of horse soring does not occur. Unfortunately, some participants in the past have used various painful techniques, including acid, to make the gait of Tennessee’s iconic Walking Horses more dramatic in an effort to win prize money. USDA inspectors are critical to the prevention of these practices, and I join the Senators in calling for their active review. I am the lead sponsor of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 1847) introduced in March 2017 and have been a leader on legislation to prevent horse soring since I arrived in Congress. The primary opposition to the humane treatment of horses has come from Congressman Marsha Blackburn, who has long favored those inflicting these horrific cruelties over the suffering of the horses.
On Thursday, I announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is investing $14,254,835 in federal funds to combat homelessness and support affordable housing programs and facilities for vulnerable populations throughout Memphis. The funding comes through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) HOME Investment Partnership program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, Community Development Block Grant program, and Emergency Solutions Grants program. Access to affordable, quality housing is a staple of health, happiness, safety and success. These federal funds are needed in Memphis and Shelby County, and they will help to further develop and maintain affordable housing throughout the Ninth Congressional District.
On Wednesday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will eliminate the cash-bail system for pretrial detainees, leaving pretrial release of defendants up to state trial judges. The bill reforms the pretrial release system so rich and poor people are treated the same and it is expected to reduce the pretrial jail population for those who have not been convicted of a crime. The No Money Bail Act (H.R. 1437) I have cosponsored would create incentives for states to make similar reforms. California has taken a step the rest of the nation should follow, and I commend its lawmakers for this thoughtful move.
I have just returned from a trip to visit our troops in the Southern Command at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras. There I talked with service members, including several from Tennessee, and thanked them for their sacrifice. I especially appreciated my opportunity to meet with U.S. Army Sergeant Aaron Wright of Memphis, a Craigmont High School graduate, about his unit’s mission in Central America. We also talked about Penny and the football season and his football coach father. It was a good visit.
On Friday, the nation turned its eyes on Detroit for the final sendoff of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. From her humble origins – she was born at 406 Lucy Street in South Memphis -- to her consistent place atop the Billboard charts, Aretha Franklin was one of a kind. It was nice to see the star-studded assembly swaying to the Gospel songs she sang from earliest childhood in her own inimitable style and to feel the deep R-E-S-P-E-C-T she was shown by the people of our country and music lovers the world over. Rest in Peace, Aretha Franklin.
On Saturday, September 29, I will host the annual Military Service Academy-Senior Reserve Officer Training Day at Crosstown High School, 1365 Tower Avenue, from 9 a.m. to noon. Appointments to one of the five military service academies – for the Navy, Air Force, Army, Merchant Marines or Coast Guard -- are life-changing events and lead to preparation of future military officers while chosen students get an excellent education and a ticket to a bright future. I look forward to seeing some aspiring applicants at the Crosstown Concourse. The high school is on the fourth floor. For more information, contact Jeremy Jordan in my Memphis office at (901) 544-4131 or Jeremy.Jordan@mail.house.gov
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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.
Pancreatic cancer, the disease that claimed the life of Aretha Franklin, is one of the deadliest cancers with the lowest survival rate at just 9 percent and its incidence has been rising each year. Unfortunately, it has only vague symptoms that can be confused with other abdominal or gastrointestinal issues and the cause of pancreatic cancer remains unknown. Tobacco use is considered a likely risk factor and African Americans are at a slightly higher risk for the disease. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan.org) acts as a support system for those who need it. More information on pancreatic cancer from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can be found here.
“We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.” -- John McCain’s Final Statement, released Monday.
Have a safe and happy Labor Day. I’ll be at the AFL-CIO Labor Day Picnic on Monday.
As always, I remain
Member of Congress