Showing posts with label lawson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lawson. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Nelson should sponsor a Senate companion bill for Lawson’s $50M HBCU Parity Act

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson speaking at the FAMU School of the Environment in 2017
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, was a supporter of the funding boost that historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) received in the new federal budget. Back on February 22, 2018, he was one of 14 senators who signed a letter “to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies requesting that the upcoming omnibus bill contain a restoration and increase in federal support to HBCUs.”

That effort helped secure a multi-million dollar increase in Title III money for HBCUs.

But much more work needs to be done. Florida A&M University alumnus and U.S. Rep. Al Lawson recently introduced the HBCU Parity Act. Nelson should introduce a companion bill for that proposed act in the U.S. Senate.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Congressional Black Caucus members visit FAMU to discuss HBCU, USDOD partnerships

Florida A&M University (FAMU)’s ROTC was in the spotlight as members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently visited the campus and spoke with students and campus leaders.

Representatives Alfred “Al” Lawson of Florida, Alma Adams of North Carolina and Anthony Brown of Maryland expressed their support for building on the existing partnerships between the U.S. Department of Defense and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). President and CEO of the United Negro College Fund Michael L. Lomax also participated.

FAMU was one of several HBCU’s visited by the delegation. ROTC Cadets gave the national leaders, who met with President Larry Robinson, a tour of their facilities and the campus.

Lawson, Adams, and Brown are also working together on another effort to bring more federal assistance to HBCUs. Lawson has introduced the HBCU Parity Act of 2018 (HR 5122), a bill that will ensure funding for facility improvements at historically black universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890 and Tuskegee University. Adams and Brown are two of the co-sponsors.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Lawson introduces HBCU Parity Act to bolster campus facility funding

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) recently introduced the HBCU Parity Act of 2018 (HR 5122), a bill that will ensure funding for facility improvements at historically black universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890 and Tuskegee University.

For many historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), there is a dire need for deferred maintenance support, particularly for 1890 institutions. These institutions of higher learning serve as agricultural centers for their communities, cultivating the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

“I am pleased to introduce the HBCU Parity Act of 2018 that will provide much needed resources to our land grant institutions,” said Lawson. “Having state-of-the-art facilities will allow HBCUs to be more competitive in their recruitment efforts, which in turn, will offer a stronger and more diverse cohort of individuals in the nation’s agricultural industry.”

Friday, March 09, 2018

Lawson reelected chair of FAMU Board of Trustees

Yesterday, the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees (BOT) reelected Kelvin Lawson to another two year term as its chair.

Lawson became acting chair on May 12, 2016 and was then elected to a full term on June 10, 2016. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the FAMU School of Business and Industry and currently works as a vice president at Acosta Sales and Marketing.

On January 5, 2018, Gov. Rick Scott reappointed Lawson to a term that is set to end on January 6, 2021.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

FAMU welcomes U.S. secretary of agriculture

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visited Florida A&M University on Friday, December 8, to hold a roundtable discussion on youth in agriculture. The secretary was greeted by Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson, alumnus and Congressman Al Lawson, and the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences Robert Taylor before meeting with Florida agriculture youth leaders from FAMU, 4-H, FFA, MANRRS, and Florida extension staff and University professors.

Discussion topics included how to ensure young people are well-informed about the multiple job opportunities that exist within the agriculture industry, as well as how to dispel myths about what agriculture means to our country.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lawson and group of Congressional colleagues request report on veteran hunger

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL), along with five of his colleagues and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), wrote Secretary David Shulkin of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to request that the agency annually share information on the number of veterans who struggle with food insecurity. Beginning November 1, 2017, the VA started collecting information regarding food insecurity among veteran’s, agency-wide.

“We ask that you provide a report on the status of veteran food security and hunger screenings to relevant House and Senate oversight committees by November of 2018, along with recommendations about further actions that could be taken to assist veterans who are determined to be food insecure, including pilot programs to test the feasibility of SNAP enrollment and applications assistance by VA personnel,” the members wrote in their letter to Shulkin. “It is imperative that Members of Congress are briefed by the Administration the progress of this screening tool as well as VA programs and personnel efforts to connect those in need to SNAP and other social services.”

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Lawson, Soto ask Scott to extend time limits on SNAP benefits due to hurricane devastation

Damage to a Florida Keys neighborhood caused by Hurricane Irma
U.S. Representatives Al Lawson and Darren Soto, members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, recently sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott asking his administration to extend the temporary lift of time limits placed on the benefits of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. They said this should be done due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma on Florida’s economy and the most vulnerable of constituents.

Without the governor’s consent before the beginning of November, SNAP recipients in Florida between the ages of 18 and 50 who are not disabled and do not have dependents will be limited to SNAP benefits for 3 months in any 3-year period when not employed or in a work or training program.

“In response to the devastation of Hurricane Irma, your Administration ceased enforcement of this time limit for the months of September and October in the 48 FEMA declared disaster counties throughout the State,” Lawson said. “This move allowed the most vulnerable of Floridians to rebuild their lives without the worry of losing their SNAP benefit, and this policy must be continued.”

Sunday, October 08, 2017

No endorsement yet from Lawson in Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary

Homecoming week is here and the Florida A&M University campus will likely be visited by the two Tallahassee-based Democratic candidates in the governor’s race, Mayor Andrew Gillum and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham. Both candidates have announced numerous endorsements from public officials, but so far neither one has been endorsed by the most prominent elected FAMU alumnus in North Florida.

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Democrat, has yet to state who he will support in his party’s contest for the gubernatorial nomination.

Gillum has received the endorsements of U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, a FAMU alumnus, and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson. He has also outpaced Graham in gaining the endorsements of current and former members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus.

But Graham is still working gain the backing of politicians who represent districts with black majorities both inside and outside of Florida. She has the endorsement of state Sen. Darryl Rouson (District 19) of St. Petersburg. Graham was also endorsed by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights legend.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Lawson, Gillibrand introduce bill to reduce hunger and poverty

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-5) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) recently introduced the SNAP Standard Medical Expense Deduction Act of 2017, which will offer seniors a standard deduction for medical expenses when applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The bill would increase food assistance benefits for seniors by $7-$69 a month, and require federal agencies that administer anti-poverty programs for the elderly and disabled to report to Congress on their best practices.

“This bill will provide our elders and grandparents an added benefit that will allow them to keep up with rising healthcare costs without having to worry about buying food,” said Lawson. “Millions of our seniors face strained budgets and, at times, disability. This legislation eases the burden on seniors and ensures that they are not faced with the difficult decision of choosing between buying food and medicine.”

Friday, September 22, 2017

Lawson announces $1M grant to purchase 15 new electric buses for StarMetro

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL) announced a new $1 million federal grant award from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to the City of Tallahassee/StarMetro to purchase 15 new electric buses to replace aging diesel buses.

“This is great news for Tallahassee, the new electric buses will help to lower fuel costs and improve the air quality for our city’s residents. I am proud to have supported this funding and look forward to working with StarMetro on ways to further promote clean energy in our area,” said Lawson.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum commended StarMetro for being one of the other fifty-one projects selected to receive the FTA grant.

“This award offers tremendous support for our efforts to grow and refine our electric bus fleet, and further advances the commitment to clean and renewable energy that we have embraced as a community,” Gillum stated.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lawson, Fla. Democrats ask Scott to guarantee food assistance is part of Irma recovery efforts

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, and the ten other Democratic members of the Florida Congressional delegation sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott asking him to take steps to ensure that Floridians have adequate access to food after Hurricane Irma. The group asked the governor to seek additional assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to further meet the needs of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens during this time.

“One of the most effective ways we can immediately help those impacted by the hurricane is by making sure that people have access to food,” said Lawson. “By making these additional requests, similar to those made by Texas after Hurricane Harvey, we can ensure that food assistance is part of our comprehensive recovery efforts.”

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Lawson introduces bill to honor civil rights leader Rutledge Pearson

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-5) recently introduced a bill to designate the United States Post Office at 1100 Kings Road in Jacksonville, Florida as the Rutledge Pearson Post Office.

Rutledge Pearson, a Jacksonville native, was an American History teacher, civil rights leader, and distinguished baseball player,” said Lawson. “His legacy in Jacksonville, especially in the fight for civil rights, is long-lasting and this is a fitting way to honor his contributions to our community.”

As a young man, Rutledge Pearson had a successful baseball career with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro League. His talent granted him the opportunity to play major league baseball in his hometown. However, because of his race, the Jacksonville Beach Seabirds rejected the notion of having Pearson join their team. In fact, park officials decided they would rather close the baseball park than allow him to play.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Lawson co-sponsors U.S. House resolution to censure Trump over Charlottesville comments

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL) is co-sponsoring a censure resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives against U.S. President Donald Trump for his comments blaming “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and excusing the behavior of participants in the August 11-12 ‘Unite the Right’ rally.

“The president should not indulge any of the hate groups,” Lawson said in comments published by WFSU on August 16. “I don’t care if those are the ones that put him into office or not. He is the president of everybody in America, not one particular group.”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lawson, Rutherford help secure U.S. House support for new $18.6M VA clinic in Jacksonville

U.S. Reps. John Rutherford (FL-04) and Al Lawson (FL-05) recently issued a joint statement praising the passage of S. 114 in the U.S. House of Representatives. S. 114 is a bipartisan bill that extends funding for the Veterans Choice Program, improves VA employee hiring and retention, and authorizes long-needed leases for 28 VA medical facilities. 

Importantly, this measure authorizes $18.6 million for a replacement outpatient clinic in Jacksonville.  This future clinic would consolidate services offered at the Southpoint and University locations and expand services for veterans.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lawson introduces bill to reduce student loan debt

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-5) has introduced the Student Opportunity Act to provide economic relief for those who have student loans.

His bill would make it possible for people with high federal student loan debt to refinance their loans at a lower rate, and it would ensure future students can afford loan financing. It also would eliminate the tax penalty for loan balance forgiveness.

“Education is a fundamental facet of the American dream. Across the country, students attend colleges and universities with the hopes of climbing the economic ladder, providing for their families, and working to meet new challenges with ingenuity and expertise,” said Lawson. “Unfortunately, the cost of college has increased significantly in the last decade and for many Americans, this avenue to a brighter future has become unaffordable. Reducing student debt will help increase economic activity and provide our nation’s students with the relief and opportunity they deserve.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Lawson introduces jobs bill to benefit veterans

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-5) speaks to veterans in Jacksonville
Last week, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-5) introduced the Veterans Jobs Opportunity Act to give a boost to veterans who invest in their communities through entrepreneurship.

Veteran-owned small businesses create jobs and stimulate the economy. Veterans own 2.5 million businesses in the United States with over $1 trillion in revenue and 5 million employees, according to the Census Bureau.

Lawson’s bill would establish a small business start-up tax credit for veterans creating businesses in underserved communities.

“One of my priorities in Congress is working to ensure our veterans are getting the help they deserve - from job training, to access to health care and education benefits, to finding affordable housing," Lawson said. "Our brave men and women who have fought for our freedom deserve to be taken care of when they return home. This bill aims to help encourage veterans to pursue their dream of starting a small business in our communities around the country.”

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Lawson calls Senate GOP health care bill “heartless and reckless”

Last week, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL), joined the House Democrats in criticizing the Republican “Better Care Reconciliation Act” introduced in the U.S. Senate.

“Just like the House bill, the Senate health care bill is heartless and reckless,” Lawson said.

Similar to its counterpart passed in the House last month, this legislation would reduce the tax credits available for purchasing health coverage, phase out the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, and allow states to remove basic protections on what insurance must cover.

“This bill will not be better for America. In fact, this cruel legislation confirms that Republicans have abandoned any guise of seeking quality and affordable health care for hardworking families,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY).

Lawson also voiced concerns about the effect the bill would have on the poor and the elderly.

“I will not stand idly by while Republicans try to wreak havoc with our country’s Medicaid and Medicare that so many rely on for health care, while also gutting key protections, and instituting a crushing age tax,” Lawson said.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lawson introduces bill to extend life of Social Security

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-5) has introduced legislation that would extend the life of Social Security by 15 years to 2049.

“Social Security plays a critical role in our economy as it provides for over two-thirds of our nation’s retirees, and provides financial security to millions of disabled workers and their children,” said Lawson.

“However, as the program is currently operating, the Social Security trust fund will be depleted by 2034. That’s why I’m proud to introduce the Social Security for Future Generations Act of 2017, along with 17 co-sponsors and support from six organizations, including Social Security Works and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare.” 

Friday, June 16, 2017

House Committee passes Lawson bill to help spur innovation in small business

Yesterday in the House Small Business Committee, members passed several bills, including U.S. Rep. Al Lawson’s bill, H.R. 2702, the Small Business Innovation Research Program Commercialization Assistance Act.

His bill would create a pilot program under the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR). This pilot program will provide additional funding for Phase II of the SBIR program which helps small business startups bring their products and services from commercialization into the marketplace.

The SBIR program encourages small businesses, including universities, to perform research for federal agencies in the fields of innovation and technology, with the potential to bring their research products into commercialization.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Democratic reps ask Scott how he will protect Florida from proposed Trump cuts to SNAP

Recently, nine Florida Democratic U.S. representatives sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott outlining their concern over President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

“Upon the release of President Trump’s budget, we are deeply concerned about the proposal to “re-balance the Federal/State partnership in SNAP benefits to low-income households,” the representatives wrote. “This proposal will shift 25 percent of SNAP costs to the State of Florida by 2023. More than two-thirds of SNAP households include children, seniors, individuals with disabilities and low-wage workers. SNAP is essential to keeping poor and vulnerable Floridians from going hungry. At a time when Florida’s budget is already strained, this has the potential to drastically affect how our constituents are served, and we are requesting information on how your administration intends to respond.”

The Florida delegation members who signed the letter included U.S. Reps. Al Lawson (FL-5), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Darren Soto (FL-9), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Val Demings (FL-10), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Alcee Hastings (FL-23), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23).