Randy's Roundup: Ukraine, Military Academy Forums, and the Congressional Art Competition
The Ukrainian people—like all people across the globe—deserve to choose their own government, and determine their own future. Russia’s escalating intervention in Ukraine is an insult to Ukraine’s sovereignty and to the principles of democracy.
Ukraine and Russia have a complex history and tensions have deepened since this past November. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal to further ally Ukraine with the European Union. Since then, Yanukovych’s regime has collapsed and Russian forces have invaded the Ukrainian region of Crimea. This threatens the interim government’s security and stability. For an overview of the Ukrainian crisis, click here.
President Obama has repeatedly condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine, and today he authorized expanded sanctions against Russian officials responsible for the current conflict. I find it disturbing that when the United States President speaks out against Russian action in a sovereign nation, he is largely ignored by Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, the latest news is that despite President Obama’s recent actions, Putin has declared Crimea to be a separate nation from Ukraine.
The House has passed a series of bills supporting the people of Ukraine and providing for enhanced economic support. One challenge for Ukraine is that they rely almost entirely on Russia for oil and natural gas. Furthermore, Russia exports $160 billion in fossil fuels to the EU and U.S., making it difficult for our allies in Europe to impose the strictest possible sanctions. One way we can address that is by speeding up the approval of U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas. The Administration’s slow approval process essentially prohibits American natural gas exports to Europe and Ukraine.
I hope we can rectify that quickly, because it’s imperative that we do everything in our power to return democratic control to the people of Ukraine.
This Saturday, March 16, marked the 212th anniversary of the founding of the U.S Military Academy at West Point. In the two centuries since West Point was founded, U.S. military academies have expanded to include the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, the Merchant Marine Academy, and the Coast Guard Academy. Students chosen to attend these universities not only receive an exceptional education, but also the physical, military, and leadership skills necessary to serve as an officer in the armed forces. The application process is competitive, and generally requires a nomination from a Member of Congress. Nominating students from the 19th District to attend a military academy is one of my greatest honors as a Congressman. If you or someone you know is interested in a receiving a great education and serving our country, I encourage you to learn how you can be nominated to attend one of our country’s prestigious military academies. I’ll be holding an information session in Abilene on Wednesday, March 19th, at 6:00 pm at Cisco College, Room 152. If you can’t attend that session, there will be a second session in Lubbock on Monday, March 31st at the Science Spectrum at 7:00 pm. I hope to see you there!
In addition to hosting an Academy Forum this week, I’ll also be touring the Texas Oncology Center in Abilene. Later in the week I’ll be in Lubbock for the Southwest Council of Agribusiness Luncheon where I’m looking forward to discussing the Farm Bill implementation with local farmers. I’ll also meet with the West Texas Home Builders Association to talk about housing and insurance reform.
Congressional Art Competition
I’d like to invite all high school artists to participate in this year’s Congressional Art Competition. The competition is open to all high school students in Texas’ 19th District, and the lucky winner will have your original artwork on display in the Capitol Building for a full year. I walk through the hallway that displays each district’s winners almost every day that I’m in Washington on my way to vote. Visitors from across the country who come to tour the Capitol will see your work too. It’s a beautiful display of America’s young artists. You can learn more about how to submit your work here, and you can contact Lisa Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (432) 264-0722 with any questions. Remember, the deadline to submit your work is April 25th.