U.S. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler | E-Newsletter
District Update | April 16, 2016 Click here if you have trouble viewing this email
U.S. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler
Addressing problems at Portland-area VA to speed up health care for veterans

It’s my job to make sure the men and women who have sacrificed to serve and defend our country receive the care they’ve earned. Problems are still plaguing the Vancouver VA, causing veterans to wait 30-plus days for health care appointments. One specific problem: many staff vacancies are difficult to fill because of the VA’s very long hiring process. 

In the 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, I successfully inserted a directive that would require the VA evaluate the hiring process and make it more efficient. I authored additional accountability measures to investigate factors causing long wait times, delayed care, and VA care giver vacancies. Congress needs to hold the VA accountable so that it provides better service to our military heroes. Read more about my directive here.

Recognizing the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force

Last week, I recognized the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force for its outstanding service to our community.  The task force was created in 1987 and has proven to be a vital resource in helping to combat drugs and crime that travel along the I-5 corridor. I fought to maintain a strong Byrne Grant Program, which supports drug enforcement efforts in our communities.

During our meeting in Kelso, the men and women of this task force shared stories of some of their extremely hard work keeping Southwest Washington safe. I am impressed by the dedication of the officers on the task force and thankful for their service. Read more about the task force here. 

Cleaning up marine debris

Last week, I visited Long Beach to help commemorate the 10 year anniversary of NOAA’s Marine Clean-Up Debris Program. This program has been essential in keeping our beaches clean from debris that comes from all over the Pacific Ocean to our shores, and in protecting our ecosystem from invasive species.

Just last year, my marine debris bill that I had been leading with Congresswoman Bonamici (D-OR) was signed into law. Our legislative solution makes NOAA’s Marine Clean-Up Debris Program more flexible so it can quickly target communities facing severe marine debris events—like a tsunami.

1st Annual Youth Leadership Summit

This week, I hosted my First Annual Youth Leadership Summit at WSU Vancouver for more than one hundred high school students from all over Southwest Washington.  These students were identified by participating high school faculty as having strong leadership potential, and this event was aimed at helping them tap into and maximize that potential. Our guest speakers were Ernie Kent, Head Coach of WSU Men's Basketball; Mason Walker, President of Audigy Group; and Kristi Kingma, former UW Women's Basketball star.  They all shared their inspiration and wisdom with our youth leaders!

The students also participated in Q&A sessions with two panels made up of local leaders. The “Life After High School” panel featured Steve Valenta of The Mighty Bowl food trucks, Sgt. Alex Schoening of the Clark County Sheriff's Office, Melia Stewart of Clark College, Max Ault of the CREDC, and Sean McClain of AbSci.

The “Impacting Global Community” panel included Lisa Scott Gilliam of Shared Hope International, Bola Majekobaje of WSU Vancouver, Dr. Jonathan Purnell of the Bob and Charlee More Institute for Nutrition and Wellness, and Sam and Sharnessa Sanden from the ONE Campaign.

WAHKIAKUM COUNTY EAGLE: JHB recognizes Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force for crime control

CHRONICLE: Congresswoman's Southwest Washington Job Fair Set for May 2

PEOPLE: Congresswoman's 'Miracle Baby' Born Without Kidneys Finally Gets One-from her Dad

CHINOOK OBSERVER: Earthquake early warning system: Stirred, not shaken

OPB: Beachcombers Still Finding Likely Tsunami Debris More Than 5 Years After Disaster


The fortification of wheat flour with folic acid was considered a major step forward in the prevention of deadly birth defects nearly two decades ago. Since folic acid has been added to flour, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report a 27 percent reduction in the rate of birth defects in infants across the United States. I recently led an effort with my colleagues in Congress urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow folic acid to be added corn masa flour, too, that is commonly used in corn tortillas and corn chips.

This week, the FDA announced that folic acid can be used to fortify corn masa. I commend the FDA’s swift action on this issue and I am proud to have worked with many to further this cause to reduce preventable infant fatalities.

Read more about my efforts here.
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