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Rebuilding the American dream for those who seek it

Intelligencer Journal - 11/2/2020

Serving in Congress and representing the 11th Congressional District has been a privilege and an honor. In seeking a third term, I am enormously proud of what we have accomplished to improve the lives of the people in our district, and I know we have much work ahead of us.

I ran for Congress because I believe every individual deserves the opportunity to succeed and live their American dream, regardless of race, gender or ZIP code.

You may know that I was born Amish. I was one of 12 children and the first in my family to receive a high school education. I paid for my tuition at a Christian school by hanging drywall in the evenings. When I graduated, I purchased that small drywall business for $1,000. Over 25 years, I grew that business to be a regional leader that employed more than 150 people in our community. I have lived the American dream and want to ensure that our children and grandchildren have the same opportunities to succeed.

From the start of COVID-19, I have recognized the historic need to support our community. That is why we passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and Paycheck Protection Program that saved an estimated 100,000 jobs right here in the 11th Congressional District. In that same legislation, we provided those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 an additional $600 a week in unemployment, $523.8 million to Pennsylvania schools to ensure safe learning continues, and $5.2 billion to support our health care system to ensure that the medical professionals in our community have access to testing, protective personal equipment, and the ability to treat those who are sick. We appropriated funds to provide free testing and additional funding for Pennsylvania, local governments and the U.S. Postal Service.

In Congress, I have prioritized workforce development and training, budget reform and controlling spending, and supporting our small businesses and entrepreneurial spirit. I serve on the Higher Education and Workforce Development subcommittee and have introduced legislation to increase apprenticeship opportunities to fill our country’s skills gap. Some individuals in our country need support to reach the first rung of the ladder of success, and often that is achieved by providing education and apprenticeship opportunities.

We also know that some individuals have fallen off the ladder and landed in the justice system. They can achieve success and lower recidivism when they have the skills and fulfilling employment. I voted for criminal justice reform like the First Step Act, and I sponsored the Workforce Reentry Act to promote innovation and improvement in the reentry programs.

I have also worked in a bipartisan manner to focus on controlling the deficit and rein in out-of-control government spending. Congress must balance a budget, just as our families and businesses do. I recently joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to call on the House to restore congressional accountability for decreasing the federal deficit. We cannot continue to kick the can down the road to our kids and grandchildren.

Supporting our small businesses and entrepreneurial spirit is crucial to rebuilding the American dream. Through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we cut taxes by 20% for small businesses and alleviated tax burdens for those companies so they can increase their wages for employees. Just last year alone, U.S. median family income grew by nearly 7%, which is 50% more than it grew during the Obama-Biden administration. We have seen record low unemployment across the board.

The differences in the vision for the future of our country could not be starker, and this election will shape the futures of our children and grandchildren. The truth is, some of my colleagues in Washington, D.C., are so focused on reversing the 2016 election that they have allowed partisan gains to interfere in progress. We won’t read the LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board complimenting or recognizing the work we’ve accomplished for the 11th Congressional District. On Election Day, I am confident that the 11th Congressional District voters will once again vote their values and the issues important to them.

I’m proud to represent a place where I grew up, a place where you can work hard, play by the rules and succeed. We don’t rely on government for the solutions because we know the value in individual rights and the freedom to make choices that affect our families, businesses and communities. I humbly ask for your vote and support once again to continue serving you in Congress as we continue to rebuild the American dream.

Lloyd Smucker, a resident of West Lampeter Township, is a Republican seeking his third term in Congress.

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Crédito: LLOYD SMUCKER | Special to LNP | LancasterOnline