Dear Friend,

Here are a few updates on events from this past week in Washington as well as a COVID-19 update.  Thank you for subscribing, and please consider recommending this resource to a friend — as many of you already do! 

Supporting an Extension of Disaster Assistance for Producers Impacted by Hurricane Isaias

Hurricane Isaias inflicted severe damage in Southeastern North Carolina in 2020, resulting in $29 million in agricultural losses not covered by insurance for which agricultural producers have had no assistance with recovery. 

I’m pleased the House Agriculture Committee came together in a bipartisan fashion this week to advance the 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act.  Extension of this program is critical for our farm families who suffered losses due to a disaster event in 2020 and 2021 — under current law those farmers who suffered losses in those years are not eligible for assistance under this program.  Hopefully both chambers of Congress will be able to pass this legislation to provide an extension of that disaster program so that producers hit hard by Hurricane Isaias can get assistance. 

Speaking of disasters related to hurricanes, be aware of “Know Your Zone,” a new system of coastal evacuation zones launched in 2020 for North Carolina’s coastal counties which are most vulnerable to impacts from dangerous hurricanes and storms.  Please review your zone here and share these important resources with a friend or neighbor.

The Border Crisis is Fueling a Public Health Crisis

While everyone seems to be fixated on masks, the real issue is all the positive COVID-19 cases crossing our southern border, which is getting worse by the day.  There have been more than 1 million illegal border crossings this year and a 900% increase in the number of migrants testing positive for COVID-19 — and that is just what we know about.  

In communities along our southern border, COVID-19 cases are surging and spreading to cities across the United States.  Open borders mean more COVID-19 infections.  The Biden Administration needs to reverse their border policies immediately.  With detained migrants being sent to cities all across the country, Biden’s Border Crisis is directly fueling a public health crisis.

COVID-19 Update

This past week, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper updated the state’s COVID-19 guidance due to the Delta variant strain.  The guidance recommends that people who live in areas with high or substantial levels of transmission wear a mask when in indoor public settings – even if they are vaccinated.  The guidance also suggests wearing a face covering in all K-12 schools, child care, indoor settings with a large number of children or child-focused activities, public transportation, health care settings, high density congregate settings, and large crowded indoor venues.  Click here to read the guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 

For today’s good news story, I would like to congratulate Smithfield Fire Chief John Blanton on his retirement!  Chief Blanton retired on June 1, 2021 after serving the Town as a full-time firefighter for 30 years and 9 months.  Our first responders work around the clock and risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe.  I’m proud of Chief Blanton and would like to thank him for his many years of dedicated service to our community.