Check The Latest Communiqué From Kansas City Congressman Cleaver!!!
In his latest EC from D.C. Newsletter, Kansas City Congressman Cleaver addresses
* President Obama's Inauguration
* Support For Survivors Of Domestic Abuse
* The Ongoing Fight Against Drunk Driving
INAUGURATION DAY, 2013
The morning was breezy and very chilly in Washington. I have seen many crowded days in our nation’s capital, as tourists hustle from one revered monument to the next, but Inauguration is always something very special. And the 57th Inaugural ceremony was no different. This year, as my wife, Dianne, and I headed out to watch President Barack Obama take the oath of office for his second term, we couldn’t help but take a deep breath and let it all sink in.
Our nation has come a long way together in the last four years. We are ending wars and bringing our sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers home. Slowly, but surely, we are digging our way out of a tremendous economic slump. And there are signs that political leaders will reach across the aisle and work with one another.
But there is still much work to do. Our country hangs precariously on the edge of long-lasting, financial problems as the debt ceiling and sequestration remain issues that need immediate and responsible action. We need to continue to grow and sustain jobs so our economy keeps rebounding. We must pass a long-lasting, comprehensive farm bill so hardworking middle class families can stop worrying about whether Congress is truly working for them. The list goes on and on.
So, as the balloons took to the skies and the crowds began cheering – I silently lifted my eyes upward as well. My hope is that the next four years will be filled with civility, compassion and cooperation as we move forward together – as a nation.
SERIOUS SUPPORT FOR SURVIVORS
This week, with the leadership of Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers and Congresswoman Gwen Moore, the Violence Against Women Act has been reintroduced. I am a proud cosponsor of this proposal, which will extend and strengthen VAWA’s existing provisions, and expand protections to LGBT Americans, immigrants, and Native Americans. The legislation already has support from Senators on both sides of the aisle, including key Republican women in the Senate.
Passed 19 years ago, this landmark legislation focused the resources, time, and energy of federal, state, and local law enforcement on the task of preventing and stopping domestic abuse, while providing victims of violence with critical services and assistance. Since VAWA became law, the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped more than 50 percent – and reporting of domestic violence has increased as much as 51 percent. VAWA has successfully encouraged communities and law enforcement agencies to coordinate their responses to violence against women and provide effective, long-term support for victims.
Women struggling to break the cycle of abuse are in need of help from organizations like Hope House, whose professional services help survivors navigate the court system, and rebuild their lives safely away from their abusers. Last September, I was proud to join MaryAnne Metheny, CEO of Hope House, in announcing a half million dollar federal grant for Hope House, an organization that works to help survivors of domestic abuse. With this funding, Hope House will be able to continue their civil legal program for the next three years. This program serves hundreds of local domestic abuse survivors each year, providing aid to those in our community who need it most.
I have pledged to continue doing all that is possible for those who are trying to free themselves of abusive situations that are threatening their lives, and the lives of their children. The legislation represents a firm promise: no woman should ever be forced to feel unsafe or insecure in her own home and no woman should ever suffer in silence in the face of domestic violence. VAWA has taken domestic abuse out of the shadows; it has protected millions of women; it has saved lives.
Last year, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA, with key provisions strengthening the law, by a vote of 68 to 31. However, the House refused to bring this bipartisan bill to the floor, and VAWA failed to secure reauthorization in the last Congress. Failure to enact this bill again would deprive women, children, and families of vital protection against abuse and law enforcement of essential tools to combat violence. We must now act quickly to get the job done. Lives are quite literally on the line.
RECOGNITION FOR FIGHTING DRUNK DRIVING
While underage drinking and drunk driving fatalities are at record low levels it is important to recognize there is still more that can be done. This week, I was grateful and honored to have been recognized by The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. They presented me with a 2012 Leadership Award. This award is to honors Members of Congress and other elected officials who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the ongoing fight against drunk driving and underage drinking. I am pleased and proud to be a leader in this on-going effort.
The Century Council is a leader in the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision making regarding alchoholic beverages. Founded in 1991 and funded by distillers, they are a national, independent, not-for-profit organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. An independent National Advisory Board comprised of distinguished leaders in education, medicine, government, business, and other relevant disciplines assist in the development of programs and policies. The Century Council believes that collective action brings about lasting change. I am eager to continue working with them and all members of the community – law enforcement, public officials, educators, parents, and students – in our fight against drunk driving and underage drinking.
Here's the online version.