Throughout the month of October, Congress continues to be in its Fall District Work Period. Over the past three weeks, I have been able to meet with numerous constituents, attend events throughout the district, and authored a letter asking for more action to address the West Nile Virus outbreak in Texas and across the country.
Over the last month, additional information has been made available regarding the Obama administration’s mishandling of the tragic terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. This attack, which cost the lives of four Americans, was a brutal and coordinated assault by terrorists on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
We now know the administration blatantly neglected security while an al-Qaeda affiliate was growing its presence in Libya. This alarming new information directly contradicts the previous statements made by both the president and his administration as to who is responsible for the lack of proper resources and ultimately, the terrorist attacks.
Downplaying the gravity of the situation, the administration originally said that these attacks were escalated from protests against an internet video. We now know that this was no less than a planned and coordinated attack, and that facts regarding the growing al-Qaeda presence were actually known by the Obama administration prior to the time of the attack.
It deeply troubles me that repeated warnings about a worsening security situation appear to have been ignored by the administration. Not only did the administration reject requests for increased security despite escalating violence, but they also systematically decreased existing security to dangerous and ineffective levels. A decision was made to accelerate a reduced presence in Libya at the cost of American lives.
I, as well as many Americans, remain concerned and frustrated about how the president and his administration have handled the response to the attack. Of additional concerns are the inconsistencies between the information provided to Members of Congress in late September during a classified briefing and the new information that continues to be uncovered regarding what was known at the time of the attack.
The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi is a tragic loss for our nation. Americans deserve straight answers from the president and his administration, as they are directly responsible and accountable for the assessment of this attack, any security lapses, and the loss of American lives.
New District Director
Last week, I announced the hiring of Timothy (Tim) Head as the new District Director for the 17th Congressional District. Tim is a native of Waco and received Bachelors, Masters, and Law degrees from Baylor University.
Tim is a great addition to our outstanding district team that is committed to serving the constituents of the 17th Congressional District. I am confident that his leadership, experience and professionalism will provide the skills needed to oversee the operations of our three district offices and to serve as the chief liaison to our constituents. He will be a tremendous asset in our efforts to serve our communities.
Tim is replacing former District Director Edward Getterman. Edward has left the Flores Team to pursue a career in the private sector. He helped set up and establish our district offices and ensured that our constituent services were done in an effective and timely manner. I am grateful for the service that Edward provided to Congressional District 17.
West Nile Virus Vaccines
Two weeks ago, I, along with 20 of my Texas Congressional colleagues and both Texas Senators, sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden, asking for more action to address the West Nile Virus outbreak in Texas and across the country.
Texas is the epicenter for vaccine development in tropical disease, arbovirus research, and high-containment laboratory capacities. Texas researchers also have one of the few long-term study populations under observation to follow the progress of West Nile Virus in affected patients.
In the letter, we stated that we believe that the Texas A&M Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) is currently prepared to work effectively with the federal government and industry to pursue promising West Nile Virus vaccines and countermeasures once mobilized by Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Texas A&M University was recently awarded a contract by HHS and CDC for one of three national CIADM’s for quick response vaccine development and production. It is our hope that we can get a handle on the outbreak of the virus in a timely manner using the outstanding resources that are readily available in Texas.
National Association of Manufacturers Award
On Monday, I was honored to receive the Manufacturing Legislative Excellence award from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) at an event hosted by NAM member Owens-Illinois (O-I), Inc. in Waco. The award was presented to me because of my support of the policies identified by the NAM as critical to the success of manufacturing in the U. S. As a former entrepreneur and business owner, I am committed to easing the overreaching regulatory burdens being placed by the Obama administration on our nation’s job creators. I remain committed to promoting certainty and growth of American jobs and our economy through my support of the GOP’s Plan for America’s Job Creators.
City of Bryan Officials
On October 19, I visited with the City of Bryan Community Development Team and other elected city officials. The City of Bryan Community Development Team exists as the mechanism to receive, allocate, and administer funding provided to the City by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through its Community Development Block Grant Program and its H.O.M.E. Investment Partnership Program. It also has a great tradition of helping the Bryan community, such as providing annual funding to local non-profits that provide health and social services. The team works to facilitate the development and preservation of affordable housing, promotes neighborhood integrity, and creates economic opportunities in the community.
|Congressman Flores meets with the City of Bryan Community Development Team to discuss community development.|
|Congressman Flores meets with City of Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski to discuss community development.|
On October 10, I had the honor to participate in the presentation of the Legion of Valor’s Bronze Cross of Achievement to Joshua High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) Cadet Remington Reimer. Cadet Reimer has excelled as an outstanding student and proudly serves as the Naval Junior Reserve Executive Officer for the Joshua High School NJROTC. As a member of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M, I know firsthand that the ROTC experience can have a long-lasting and positive effect on young Americans.
|Congressman Flores and Texas State Representative Rob Orr congratulate Cadet Remington Reimer on his Legion of Valor Bronze Cross Achievement.|
Congress is scheduled to reconvene on November 13. Until then, I will continue to make my way through the district attending various events, updating constituents, and listening to their concerns regarding the future of our country.
As always, I encourage each of you to continue praying for our country during these challenging times, for our brave military men and women, and for our first responder personnel who selflessly serve to protect us each day.
With great respect,
Member of Congress