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Let's bust government bureaucracy

The duties of a member of Congress extend well beyond writing and voting on legislation in Washington. In fact, one of my highest priorities is helping my constituents navigate through the various departments and agencies of our government. From retrieving overdue Social Security benefits to assisting Medicare beneficiaries who are experiencing problems with their health plan, my office is available to ensure your government is working for you.

Since I was first elected to represent you in Washington, my office has recovered and returned more than $4 million in Social Security, Medicare and Veterans benefits to constituents whose individual cases had slipped through the cracks of our bureaucracy - cracks that I am working every day to fix. In addition to these departments, my office can provide assistance on matters pertaining to the IRS, housing and resolving difficulties in acquiring a passport for international travel.

Should you or your family and friends plan a trip to visit your nation’s capital, my office is able assist in scheduling tours of the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, as well as some of the finest museums in the world. And should you ever want to purchase a flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol, my office can arrange this for you.

My office is also an excellent resource for young people. I have nominated many students for appointments to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point. Securing a congressional nomination does not guarantee admission, but it is a critical step in the highly competitive application process.

Every year, I have the distinct pleasure of selecting and showcasing the artistic talents of high school students throughout our district. The winning artist’s piece is prominently displayed in a tunnel that connects my office building to the U.S. Capitol, which is travelled by other representatives and senators. And this year, I invited high school students to participate in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) App challenge, where students will create a conceptual design for a smart phone or tablet application. Engaging with students of all ages is vital to ensuring civic involvement so our democracy will continue to thrive for generations to come.

Members of Congress are most often pictured on the floors of Congress casting votes on legislation or at committee hearings asking the tough questions. The lesser known role of constituent casework, however, is equally important. Working one-on-one with constituents who need help resolving an issue often allows me to identify problems that inspire the drafting of legislation to resolve them. It is a critical part of the legislative process. I hope you will not hesitate to take advantage of this vital service my office provides. For assistance, please contact my district office in Salem at 503-588-9100, my office in Washington, D.C. at 202-225-5711, or visit my website at schrader.house.gov. For more information, I encourage you to like my Facebook page, follow my Twitter account and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Kurt Schrader is the member of Congress representing most of Clackamas County, all of Marion, Polk, Lincoln and Tillamook counties, as well as small portions of Multnomah and Benton Counties.



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