Blaine’s Bulletin: Hope for 2022
A new year always brings hope for the future. We were optimistic that 2021 would be better than 2020 which was not necessarily the case, but I’m hopeful 2022 will bring health, prosperity, more jobs, lower prices, and peace of mind to our state. Missouri families have been fighting to keep businesses afloat, kids in school, bills paid, and their freedom in tact since March 2020, and I cannot tell you how hopeful I am that this will be the year that life finally goes back to the way it should be in our state. My biggest priority in Congress this year is to do everything I can to make this possible.
While we thought COVID was behind us for the most part, the omicron variant has recently begun affecting Missourians. This strain of the virus has proven to be very infectious, but much more mild than the previous strains that filled up our hospitals. For the vast majority of people infected, omicron is like a cold or mild flu that they recover from within a few days. While spiking cases might seem like a step in the wrong direction, this less intense version of the virus could be a step in the right direction as it signals a weakening virus. COVID has proven to be completely unpredictable and those with compromised immune systems and health issues should continue to exercise caution, but I’m hopeful this could be the beginning of the end. For the most part, our state and local governments have done a great job of keeping our economy open and allowing Missouri families to decide what works best for them as we navigate the virus. 2020 taught us that government overreach like shutting down businesses and schools has absolutely devastating effects and should never be repeated.
As the top Republican on the House Small Business Committee, helping small businesses here in Missouri and across the country will continue to be a major priority for me this year. As if the pandemic and economic shutdowns across the country weren’t disastrous enough for American small businesses, the end of 2021 brought record inflation, a supply chain crisis, and a labor shortage. Small businesses are the anchors of our communities, providing jobs, services, and supporting our local economy. They are a huge part of the fabric and character of Missouri towns, and it is imperative that they stay afloat. As an advocate for small businesses, my job is to fight the bad policies that have caused this new set of issues so small businesses can go back to doing what they do best: creating jobs and opportunities for their communities.
Our state’s ag industry has certainly not been immune from the effects of the supply chain crisis and inflation, but they continue to work hard and grow. In fact, in 2021 our state’s ag industry has risen from $88 billion to a $93.7 billion industry which is truly incredible. Missouri farmers continue to serve our state, our country and the entire world and I am so proud to represent a district that is home to so many farms and ranches. For our state’s ag industry to actually grow during a year where the economic odds have been overwhelmingly stacked against them is a testament to the dedication and hard work that can only be found in Missouri. Farming is unpredictable enough as it is without irresponsible policies raising prices and interrupting supply chains, and this year I will continue working to help Missouri farmers keep our state’s thriving ag tradition alive and well.
While there are obvious issues that have followed us into 2022, I know we can get through them and come out stronger on the other side. My biggest goal for this year is for us to once again find normalcy and get back to a place where earning a living, feeding your family, and living in a safe place is just part of day to day life. I promise to do everything I can to ensure the government doesn’t prevent you from living the life you’ve built for yourself.