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
“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.