Friday, August 07, 2009

5,312 constituents talk health care

Last night, 5,312 households in Independence and Sugar Creek joined me for a telephone town hall and together we discussed the complicated issue of health care reform. I am proud to say that, while the questions were hard, our friends and neighbors were thoughtfully engaged and I think we both learned a great deal.

Unlike the divisive and disrespectful displays that have confronted my colleagues in other parts of the country, last night was a courteous conversation that showed just how seriously the people I am honored to represent take their responsibilities. It was my pleasure to hear their thoughts and concerns and will take their well reasoned suggestions back to Washington as we continue this crucial debate.

Telephone town hall meetings are a relatively new format to allow up to thousands of participants to talk together so families from across our district can share their views and hear my thoughts on issues of mutual concern. I have now used this tool twice. Last spring, I discussed the auto industry bail out with residents of Raytown. I have yet to find a better tool to reach a large audience and hear from a wide range of constituents. Thursday night the technology allowed me to speak with over 5,000 people and none of them had to leave their homes, find a sitter or even leave their arm chairs.

If you would like to hear the complete town hall, it is now posted on my website. Feel free to click here to listen anytime >>>

Thanks again to the people of Independence and Sugar Creek who took time out of their busy schedules to join me and their neighbors as we try to find an answer to one of our critical national needs.

Coffee with Cleaver tomorrow

Tomorrow morning we will have our 52nd monthly Coffee with Cleaver in Lee’s Summit. The event, as always, is a chance for you to talk one-on-one with me about whatever issue is on your mind.

My understanding is that there will be folks at the Coffee representing views on both sides of the health care debate. Civil debate and vigorous dialogue are part of the fabric of our nation and I welcome all who will join me in Lee’s Summit tomorrow.

This coffee, like the ones before it, will be a chance for people to talk with me personally about whatever issue is concerning to them, whether that be health care or not. We have never had protestors at one of our Coffees, but I am sure they will be respectful. Civility is valued by the people of our District. I am confident that the importance we place on meaningful conversation is the reason our Coffees have been so successful all these years.

I hope to see you tomorrow for August’s Coffee with Cleaver:

Tomorrow, August 8, 2009
JP Coffee
3390 SW Fascination Dr.
Lee's Summit, MO
8-10 AM

$40 Million in Recovery funds come to our area

Pictured from left to right: Bryan Hansel, CEO of Smith Electric; Congressman Cleaver; Mike Chesser, CEO of KCP&L; Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke

I was very proud to be on hand with Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke as two Kansas City vehicle-manufacturing plants received money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the production of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Smith Electric, a company which I was pleased to help to get into Kansas City just last year, won a $10 million grant to help produce electric vans, pickups and the company’s Newton medium-duty trucks. Kokam America Inc., a great battery-manufacturing company Senator Bond and I worked to locate in Lee’s Summit won $161 million for its Michigan plant. I think both announcements bode well for the Lee’s Summit plant’s bid for a significant Recovery Act grant to be announced later this year.

The men and women who make Ford trucks at the Claycomo Plant received part of a $30 million grant to produce hybrid vehicles in Kansas City.

The funds were announced as part of $2.4 billion in U.S. Department of Energy grants for the manufacturing and deployment of electric vehicles, batteries and components. Forty-eight projects won the competitive grants. The President and Vice President and four cabinet secretaries, fanned out across the nation to make the awards.

I am also pleased to say that our local utility, Kansas City Power and Light was on hand to announce that KCP&L has committed to buy three Smith Electric vehicles, two of which will be transformed into bucket trucks. Mike Chesser, CEO of KCP&L has also committed to put recharging stations for those trucks and future electric vehicles in the Green Impact Zone.

It is starting to happen, my friends, we are taking substantial steps toward transforming our local economy and leveraging green initiatives to help our environment and put people back to work. Congratulations to Smith, Kokam, Ford and KCP&L.

Federal Recovery Grant goes to Green Zone

I am proud to say the Environmental Protection Agency awarded $1.6 million in Recovery Act money to clean up polluted land in the Green Impact Zone.

Most importantly, about half the money will be used to train 80 people in handling hazardous waste associated with cleaning up contaminated sites.

$560,000 will be used for grants to clean up brownfields, fund redevelopment and employ nearby residents of the sites.

The plan is to recruit unemployed and underemployed people within the 150-block Green Impact Zone in the urban core of Kansas City.