U.S. Rep. Jason Smith hears constituents concerns at meeting in Mountain Grove - Mountain Grove News-Journal : News

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U.S. Rep. Jason Smith hears constituents concerns at meeting in Mountain Grove

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Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 3:21 pm

U.S. Representative Jason Smith visited with members of the community Friday when he appeared at a Mountain Grove Chamber of Commerce event at the Missouri State University Fruit Experiment Station.

The best way to represent a district is to not have a filter and go directly to the constituents for their comments.

In his initial remarks, Smith stated that it is sometimes difficult to explain to other legislators the issues facing rural districts. Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District is one of only 100 predominately rural districts in the House of Representatives’ 435 districts.

The representative pointed out that this problem many times is a factor in explaining a rural district’s position in relation to such things as how regulations affect the constituents of the rural district.

A lot of time it is not a Republican-Democrat issue, but a rural-urban issue, he said.

He also pointed out that the Eighth Congressional District is the 18th poorest district of the 435. He pointed out that he felt it was important having people representing the district that know the status of the people and understand their problems and concerns. He related that his background is somewhat unusual for a representative. His father was a mechanic and preacher and his mother was a factory worker.

Smith opened the session to questions from those attending. Issues addressed included:

...a question was asked concerning federal regulations dealing with wood burning stoves/furnaces. Smith stated that in his district there are 27,000 households that burn wood for heat. He explained that there is a bill currently in the Senate to unfund the regulations, and it has passed out of the House of Representatives. He explained that he felt one of the best ways to deal with regulations is to restrict funds for the regulations implementation. Smith stated that he believes in clean air and water, but that when an agency goes too far, it is necessary to take strong measures to respond. He feels regulations may be better implemented at the local and state level.

...a question was asked about the change in leadership in the House of Representatives. Smith stated that the current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan moves more from the bottom up and that former speaker John Boehner governed more from the top down.

...a question was also asked about the Assistance to Fire Fighters Grant Program sunsetting in 2016. It was indicated that the program has been of assistance to fire departments in the areas of equipment, staffing and fire prevention. Smith stated that he was unfamiliar with the program, but would be looking into the issue.

...a question was asked on the potential outcome of the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email use. Smith stated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation and the Justice Department will decide if charges are filed, and we’ll see what happens.

...a question was asked concerning conceal and carry reciprocity.

...a question was asked concerning a flat tax.

Smith stated that the U.S. has one of the largest tax rates in the industrialized world. He stated that he would support just about anything that makes for a flatter and fairer tax. They are trying to work on comprehensive tax reform, but it won’t be simple, Smith said.

...a question concerning broadband capability in rural areas and cell phone service and that it was a huge disadvantage to attract business.