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Sen. Blunt visits children at youth center, makes other stops in Northwest Missouri

April 17, 2019

On Tuesday, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, made five stops across the area, including a stop at Chillicothe’s North Missouri Center for Youth and Families. As part of his stop at the center Blunt briefly discussed the importance of 21st Century Community Learning Centers in Missouri. 

“This center has two of the programs that the increased funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers supports - after school and summer programs,” he said. “This is the kind of program that makes a difference for families who need to have a place for their children to go for a few hours after school or during the summer, because they have to work. 

As chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Blunt has worked hard to ensure there are resources for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. In September 2018, he made sure a $10 million increase for 21st Century Community Learning Centers was included in the Federal FY 2019 Labor/HHS bill. As of this year, 21st Century Community Learning Centers in Missouri have received nearly $18 million in federal funding. 

“This center has received one of the grants that we on the committee have worked hard to secure,” Blunt said. “And we will continue to fund these types of things, a lot of Senators on the committee have programs just like this in their districts.” 

In 2016, North Missouri Center for Youth and Families received a five-year grant through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that will run through the 2020-2021 school year. 

While at North Missouri Center for Youth and Families, Blunt read a book, “House Mouse, Senate Mouse,” to a group of kindergarten through third graders. 

While in northwest Missouri Wednesday, Blunt also stopped in St. Joseph to present the 29th annual Roy Blunt Literacy Award at Missouri Western State University. The award is given to an outstanding individual or group in recognition of their efforts to improve literacy in the region. 

He also stopped in Cameron to discuss broadband access as 51 percent of Missourians living in rural areas don’t have access to broadband services. A press release from Blunt’s office states that a recently passed and signed government funding bill provides $550 million for a rural broadband pilot grant and loan program that focuses resources on expanding high speed internet to areas that need it the most. 

“The bill provides $550 million for a rural broadband pilot grant and loan program. The program will target areas that currently lack access to broadband, and includes provisions that prevent overbuilding existing infrastructure,” Blunt said in a press release dated Feb. 15, just hours after the president signed the bill into law. “This program will work alongside existing USDA programs to provide Missourians with access to modern, high-speed broadband services.” 

In August 2018, the FCC announced that Missouri will receive nearly $255 million through the Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF-II) auction over the next 10 years to expand rural broadband. Missouri secured about 17 percent of the total amount awarded nationwide, the most of any state. 

At a stop at Hamilton united Methodist Church Blunt spoke with citizens and community leaders about the Little Otter Creek Project. 

“Safe water and flooding, both have been a long-standing issue for the region,” Blunt said. 

In August 2018, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service announced it is providing an additional $5.6 million for construction of the Little Otter Creek Reservoir. When completed, the 344-acre lake in Caldwell County will provide a reliable water supply for about 10,000 people, along with flood control and recreational opportunities. Over the last several years the Senator has been able to help secure $16 million in funding for the reservoir. 

Blunt’s last stop was in Carrollton where he discussed flooding, which has hampered the small town over the last several weeks, forcing the closing of Highway 65 between Chillicothe and Cameron from March 28 through April 7. The flood waters damaged the road causing it to need repairs after the water receded. 

Sen. Blunt has joined other lawmakers affected by regional flooding to ensure funding is available for those farmers affected. According to his spokesperson, one bill includes more than $3 billion for the USDA to repair damage to farmlands, rebuild infrastructure, rural community facilities, and provide assistance for crop losses in states affected by flooding and other natural disasters. The bill also provides funding to the Corps of Engineers to repair waterways infrastructure. Blunt has also cosponsored an amendment to expand aid eligibility for crops that were lost in storage or were prevented from being planted in 2019.

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