Letter from Congressman Sam Graves
For a lot of folks in North Missouri, 2019 was a tough year. We saw destructive floods along the Mississippi, Chariton, and Grand rivers—and record-setting flooding on the Missouri River that officially began in March, lasted more than 7 months, and is definitely not over as some areas are still underwater.
In total, we saw hundreds of thousands of acres flood across North Missouri—inundating not just farmland, but businesses, homes, and even entire communities. Dozens of levees broke along our rivers, leaving families little time to gather belongings before being forced to flee their homes, and farmers helpless to move livestock, grain, and machinery ahead of the advancing floodwaters.
Even folks between these major rivers weren’t spared from the devastation of this Spring’s flooding—and many farmers across our state got hit particularly hard. Nearly 1.4 million acres in Missouri went unplanted this year—many of these fields left to lie fallow because of flooding and constant wet weather that kept many farmers out of the field.
Through these trials and tribulations, we emerged battered, but strong—as friends, families, and neighbors came together to help each other and continue to do so to this day. Our flood recovery challenges are far from over and I’ll continue fighting to ensure that folks get the help they need, whether that means making sure levee repairs are completed in a timely manner or helping folks get the assistance they deserve.
Despite these struggles, 2019 was not a year without a few small victories. I was proud to lead the House in passing both much-needed disaster assistance, as well as disaster assistance reforms. As Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I was also proud to help move the Resilience Revolving Loan Fund Act forward, which would give local communities more tools to fight back against future floods.
Likewise, I was pleased to successfully advocate for the replacement of 40 rural bridges across North Missouri, as well as the replacement of the Rocheport bridge on I-70 which will help free up funds for more transportation projects in North Missouri. Additionally, many of our rural airports are already seeing much-needed upgrades and more rural folks without high-speed internet will have access to 21st century speeds thanks to efforts made over the last year.
And, despite numerous difficulties in 2019, American farmers finally got some good news with the passage of the USMCA in the House and the announcement of phase one of a comprehensive trade deal with China—the first part of a future all-encompassing trade agreement that will finally push back on China for cheating American farmers, workers, and businesses for decades.
That said, there’s clearly much work to do in 2020. We still need to make flood control our top priority, both in how we manage our rivers and how we spend federal dollars on our rivers. We still need to finalize the USMCA and we still need to secure more good trade deals that truly put America first. No matter what challenges we face here at home, it’s truly an honor to serve as your voice in Congress and I look forward to working together in 2020 to ensure that North Missouri continues to be the best place to work and live.
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