United States Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer touched on several issues of local and national interest from agriculture, education, the federal budget and even Donald Trump during a speech and question and answer session with a US government class at State Fair Community College last week.

United States Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer touched on several issues of local and national interest from agriculture, education, the federal budget and even Donald Trump during a speech and question and answer session with a U.S. government class at State Fair Community College - Lake Campus last week. 

A native of St. Elizabeth, Mo., Luetkemeyer was elected in 2008 to represent the 13 counties ranging from the Lake of the Ozarks to St. Louis that make up the 3rd Congressional District of Missouri. The former Missouri state representative and small businessman now serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Small Business Committee, and is the Chairman of the subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. 

Luetkemeyer gave a quick speech on how the federal government budget process works and some of his proudest accomplishments in Washington before opening the floor to general questions from students.

Here are four of his responses to student questions.

What are your thoughts on the recent changes to education testing? 

“We’ve empowered the states and local school districts to figure out what they want to do in regards to testing. We didn’t mandate testing. We just said testing needed to be done. It allows states to set up their own testing systems in collaboration with the local schools through DESE.” 

What is your stance on proposed cuts in the agriculture bill? 

“I’ve been in a big proponent of the agriculture bill. I’ve fought for that thing. The crop insurance program is doing pretty well based on the farmers I’ve talked to, they like it. To me this is a better way to subsidize the insurance subsidy programs that have gotten out of control. Even the farmers agree this is a better way to do it. An agriculture bill in Congress is very difficult to pas and it’s a difficult bill to work with. You’re going to see people continue to go after the insurance subsidies and we have to fight back. It is a true fight and we’ll keep fighting.” 

What can be done to increase police officer safety? 

“The best thing we could from the federal side is to provide funding for officers, training and equipment at the state and local levels. I’m not a big proponent of wanting Washington to come in and fix things. They know what they need the best for their departments. I would really like the local folks to work with their state legislature to figure out their needs. Your needs at the Lake are going to be different than St. Louis. But the main thing we can do is provide adequate funding.” 

What are your thoughts on Trump? 

“Trump brings an interesting dynamic to the election process. He is rewriting the books on political campaigns. He is rewriting the books on political candidates. Trump is just saying what people think. My district voted for Trump, big, in the presidential primary. People are very supportive of him because they’re tired of what’s going in Washington, they’re tired of them saying they’re going to keep waves of refugees from coming in and don’t do it. You have a system that actually empowers people to come here. Trump is basically saying, ‘you know what we’ve got a great country and we have a right way to come in, the wrong way to come in is to sneak in through the back door.’  I have no problem with people coming here and wanting to live and work in our society, but they have to follow our laws. I know he wants to build a wall. I think there’s a few different solutions to a wall. You have to have a deterrent, it could be a patrol, a wall, GPS tracking, drones, there’s lots of way to do it. I don’t think we need to build a wall, we have a military. What about military patrols to relieve the border patrols. I think there’s different ways to fix that problem. It’s a hot, hot topic.”