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Jackson Cit Pat: Making jobs a top priority is critical for America

October 19, 2015
Opinion Editorial
As your representative, I always strive to be accessible and accountable to the people I have the honor of serving in Congress. Listening to your commonsense concerns and solutions helps me advocate more effectively for your priorities.

So far this year, I've held more than 30 coffee hours and town halls in every corner of the district.
Some of the areas of concern vary depending on the latest headlines, but there's one issue that I consistently hear about everywhere I go: jobs.

It's no secret why jobs and the economy are on the forefront of people's minds.

In the last six years, Americans have experienced the weakest recovery since World War II.

The median household income is at 1989 levels, which means wages are stagnant.

The labor force participation rate is at 1977 levels, which means millions of Americans have simply given up hope and stopped looking for work.

These sobering statistics are more than numbers — they represent real people who I hear from that are struggling to find work or are living paycheck to paycheck.

To increase opportunities for these hardworking families to get ahead, the House is focused on empowering local communities and small businesses instead of the top-down, Washington-centered approach that has stifled wages and job creation.

Some of the most onerous mandates facing small businesses are a result of the president's health-care law, which has made it harder to hire and forced employers to cut back hours for their employees.

In addition to voting to provide relief from many of these regulations, I helped introduce and pass the Save American Workers Act to restore the traditional 40-hour work week under Obamacare.

The House has also taken steps to simplify and create certainty in the tax code by making permanent the Research and Development tax credit, supporting small business expensing, and repealing the death tax so families can pass down greater opportunity to the next generation.

Ultimately, we need to reform the entire tax code, but these are important first steps toward a fairer, simpler tax code which will incentivize innovation and increase America's competitiveness.

The House is also working to boost responsible energy production here at home, a leading driver of jobs and economic growth.

From fighting to build the Keystone XL Pipeline to pushing back against the EPA's regulatory overreach, securing America's energy future will bring tremendous benefits to our economy.

In the 21st Century Workplace, job seekers need to be equipped with the right skills to find the right job for them.

We have begun to address this by passing the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and we will continue working to modernize the nation's worker training programs and give states greater flexibility to eliminate ineffective programs and expand the successful ones.

These are just a few examples of the work underway in the House to focus on the people's priorities to accelerate job creation and boost take home pay.

As I continue my travels across the district, I remain committed to listening to your concerns and advancing bipartisan solutions to build a healthy economy and create a better future for our children and grandchildren.

- U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, represents the 7th Congressional District, which includes Jackson County. This column originally appeared in the October 19 edition of the Jackson Citizen Patriot.