Vol. 51, No. 3

In this edition

Earlier this year, I was having a conversation with two veteran GOP lobbyists, and, like so many other conversations in Washington these days, the topic turned to the political environment and the air of uncertainty that has descended upon this town.

The American Military: At the Tipping Point

The U.S. military is in a crisis. Decades of underfunding and continuous employment have taken their toll. Just three of the U.S. Army’s 50 combat brigades and only half the Air Force’s fighters and bombers are fully ready for a major conflict with a serious adversary.

The American Military: It is not too small. Rather, its responsibilities are too many.

Military retrenchment is not popular in the Republican Party. But America’s coming financial infirmity may allow no other course.

Suitcases Full of Propaganda for the Digital Age

Nearly 30 years after the end of the Cold War, Russian efforts to undermine the transatlantic alliance represent a clear and present threat.

A National Crisis Needs a National Response

The drug epidemic is gripping America, with West Virginia one of the hardest-hit states. But no community is immune from the suffering.

The Virginia Bellwether

The stakes are high in Virginia, where the GOP is trying to win back the Governor’s mansion, and the Democrats are running against Donald Trump.

A View from Dubuque County, Iowa

Dubuque County does not neatly fit into the standard media picture of Trump Country. In a county with fewer than 70,000 total registered voters, Democrats hold a roughly 10,000 voter edge over Republicans in terms of registration.

A View from Northampton County, Pennsylvania

At first glance, Northampton County, Pennsylvania might not seem like “Trump Country.” Despite some remnants of the steel industry that once dominated the local economy, there are few obvious indicators of the Rust Belt settings that were at the heart of Donald Trump’s electoral triumph in 2016.

A View from Trumbull County, Ohio

Trumbull County is very much a working class microcosm of Ohio. To that end, perhaps the most important thing to know about presidential politics in the Buckeye State is that Ohioans always sell their 18 electoral votes to the highest bidder.

A View from Macomb County, Michigan

Macomb County has an interesting and important history in American politics. Located northeast of Wayne County, home of Detroit, Macomb was a destination beginning in the 1970s for many white blue-collar workers who were tied to the automobile industry.

A View from Kenosha County, Wisconsin

While Kenosha County has reflected the Republican trend, there is continuing Democratic support. Trump carried the county by less than 1,000 votes. By contrast, Barack Obama in 2012 had a vote margin of nearly 10,000. Notably lower voter turnout in 2016 helps explain the difference.

The “OT’s” … the Obama-Trump Counties

A chart of the 208 counties won by Donald Trump in 2016 after they were won by Barack Obama in 2012 & 2008.

Great Expectations

As Donald Trump reaches the six month mark of his presidency, the media predictably is focused almost solely on the short term. But Republicans need to look through a different lens and play a smarter long game if they are going to be successful.

Ripon Profile of Bill Cassidy

The physician and Louisiana Senator discusses his priorities on Capitol Hill and the challenge facing the residents of his home state that he is working to address.

A National Crisis Needs a National Response

Every day, we see another headline about a deadly overdose, a family ripped apart by addiction, or an officer exposed to drugs during an arrest. The drug epidemic is gripping our nation, with my home state of West Virginia one of the hardest-hit places in the country. But no community is immune — addiction doesn’t discriminate based on geography, income, education level, or occupation.

A national crisis needs a national response, and that’s what I’ve been working on in Congress. West Virginia has more deaths per capita from opioid overdoses than any other state, but we are also making strides in innovative drug treatment and responses. I pushed legislation through the West Virginia Legislature to outlaw synthetic cocaine and marijuana and strengthen prescription monitoring to stop illegal pill mills.

In particular, I’ve been working to respond to a heartbreaking crisis that hasn’t received as much attention – babies born exposed to drugs during pregnancy.

No community is immune — addiction doesn’t discriminate based on geography, income, education level, or occupation.

This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), and it’s affecting more newborns across West Virginia and the nation than ever before. Every 25 minutes, a baby is born in this country with NAS. Until you see a baby suffering from NAS, you cannot truly understand just how painful this condition is. These babies begin going through withdrawal as soon as the umbilical cord is cut. They are sensitive to light, noise, and even touch. Their tiny bodies shake with tremors, and they scream in pain. It is difficult even just to comfort them; they are suffering too deeply.

Before coming to Congress, I worked closely with health care and community leaders in my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, to start Lily’s Place. This center provides specialized care for NAS newborns in a nurturing environment, while also offering support, education, and counseling services to families and caregivers.

Last year, Congress came together to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which is making a real difference in our fight to stop the drug epidemic and help break the cycle of addiction.

This law includes my legislation, the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act, which focuses on NAS babies and will improve our understanding of how to treat these babies and help them get the healthy start in life that all newborns deserve.

Money authorized by CARA and appropriated by Congress is already flowing into our communities to support treatment, rehabilitation, education, and law enforcement.

Money authorized by CARA and appropriated by Congress is already flowing into our communities to support treatment, rehabilitation, education, and law enforcement. As we begin work in the House Appropriations Committee on the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bills, I will make sure that we are spending responsibly while also providing our states with the resources they need to combat this crisis in their communities.

Now is also an opportunity for us to build on the good work CARA will do in our states by looking ahead to future legislation. I worked together with Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio to introduce the Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies (CRIB) Act in May. The CRIB Act would build on the best practices of Lily’s Place in Huntington for treating babies born exposed to heroin, opioids, and other drugs. It would also make it easier for similar centers to open across the country by cutting regulatory red tape.

I’m committed to providing West Virginia – and all of our states – with the resources they need to address the drug crisis, provide treatment, and stop drug trafficking. To get our communities back on track, it will take all of us working together.

Evan Jenkins represents the 3rd District of West Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives.