Signs of Progress for North Carolina in 2015

Dear North Carolinians, 

My first year as North Carolina’s U.S. Senator has been eventful and productive to say the least. I’ve attended over a hundred committee hearings, met with thousands of North Carolinians in every corner of the state, heard from hundreds of thousands of constituents who have contacted my offices, and had the honor of visiting with the brave men and women in uniform stationed at our military bases at Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, and Cherry Point.

Serving the people of North Carolina will always be my top priority, and we have succeeded in building a dedicated and responsive constituent services operation that has resolved thousands of cases for North Carolinians, from helping ensure that our veterans receive the VA benefits they deserve, to assisting seniors in receiving fair and timely responses from the Social Security Administration.

In Washington, my focus has been on developing relationships with my colleagues — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents — so we can find common ground and address the many major challenges facing our nation on a bipartisan basis.

And I’m happy to say, this has resulted in some very positive developments for North Carolina over the past year.

I’ve had the absolute honor of representing the more than 800,000 North Carolina veterans as a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. I’ve worked with my colleagues to address the issues plaguing the VA health care system, and I’ve partnered with Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut to introduce two bills aimed at providing veterans with ample opportunities to receive a high quality education. I was encouraged when President Obama recently endorsed these two bills, and I’ll work hard next year to make sure they become law.

Several weeks ago, the Senate unanimously passed my bipartisan bill to assist living eugenics victims by excluding their payments from state eugenics compensation programs — including North Carolina’s — from consideration in determining federal benefits. Without this legislation, many eugenics victims who receive compensation payments could see their federal benefits reduced or even have their eligibility eliminated, which simply is not fair. The good news is that the House has already moved my bill through committee, and final passage is expected early next year, when it will then head to the president’s desk for his signature.

Additionally, Congress recently passed the first longterm transportation and highway bill in a decade, which included a key provision originally introduced by Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Sen.  Richard Burr and myself, designating the Raleigh-Norfolk and U.S. 70 corridors as future interstates. This bipartisan provision could be a game-changer for North Carolina, as it will produce long-lasting benefits, including reduced traffic congestion, improved access to our military bases, and increased investments in our state’s infrastructure and transportation.

North Carolina scored another big victory with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which ensures our military has the training and resources it needs, provides critical support to American servicemembers and their families, and makes key reforms to the military retirement system. The NDAA includes a provision I introduced that halts a plan to transfer 24 AH-64 Apache helicopters from the North Carolina National Guard in Raleigh to the regular Army. It also includes another provision I authored, along with Sen. Burr, that requires Fort Bragg’s top commanders to certify that the loss of the 440th Airlift Wing at Fort Bragg will not harm training before it is permitted to be deactivated. This will put a temporary halt on the Air Force’s short-sighted and flawed plan to shutter the 440th Airlift Wing.

While 2015 yielded many positive results for North Carolinians, there is still more that needs to be done in 2016 and beyond. I look forward to continue serving the people of North Carolina and working across the aisle on behalf of the servicemembers, veterans, and hardworking families who make our state and nation great.

Please contact my office if you or anyone you know needs assistance in dealing with a federal agency. You may find my contact information at or call 202-224-6342.