March 9, 2023
I still remember the feeling of moving into new office space here in the Senate during my first term. I was still new to the Senate and all of its inner workings, and was much more accustomed to campaign life where I continuously bounced between the car, then hotels, then the car again. An office of my own in the U.S. Capitol felt like an absolute privilege bestowed on me by Kentuckians.
The first day in the new office space, I inspected every square inch of that office. To my surprise, a curiously large amount of printer ink was stowed away in an upper cabinet. I asked the remaining staff, how come?
Their answer validated my entire campaign, my commitment to fiscal responsibility, and my promise to drain the swamp.
“Well, our office operations budget doesn’t roll over. So, at the end of each fiscal year we ask ourselves, ‘What’s the most expensive thing we could spend it on?’. Printer ink.”
Apparently the senator who had previously occupied that specific office suite had a different perspective on spending and his fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer. Sitting there was thousands and thousands of dollars in ink. I was dumbfounded. Then, they told me, “That’s just the way it is around here.”
From that day on, I promised myself to never splurge on the taxpayer’s dime and to treat each dollar as my own. By keeping that promise, I have returned over $6.5 million to the taxpayers since I took office in January 2011.
It’s easy to picture Washington’s out-of-control spending as a massive, untamable beast. But I’m determined to show change is possible by starting in the area under my control, while working everywhere else I can to stop ‘business as usual.’
While $6.5 million pales in comparison to our nation’s looming $31 trillion national debt, it would not be an insignificant sum of money for communities across Kentucky.
If we took it a step further and every senator made my commitment, the Treasury could reinvest our potential combined savings, $650 million. Massive projects would be possible, all if only we treated your dollars as our own. Daviess County could get a third fire station with paid firefighters, which would improve public safety and lower home insurance rates.
No CEO in America would try to exhaust their entire budget at the end of the fiscal year. They would set aside money to reinvest in research, development or expansion. So, I pose the question: Why would the average senator not want to reinvest in the American people?
Some may say that investing in their own office is an investment in the American people, but mine consistently does more with less.
This past year, my staff and I have assisted thousands of Kentuckians with casework all across the Commonwealth, fielding over 13,000 calls and over 14,000 letters, emails and faxes to Kentuckians in need of assistance. Our team has also assisted Kentuckians in obtaining approximately $14.9 million in federal dollars from federal agencies.
We were among the first on the ground and have continued to assist local and state officials in the aftermath of the western Kentucky tornadoes and the eastern Kentucky floods. We have also traveled and met with Kentuckians in all 120 counties over this past year.
In Washington, D.C., my staff and I continue working for all Kentuckians and taxpayers by fighting for commonsense, fiscally conservative solutions to bureaucratic problems and waste. I’ve led the way for reform by introducing a five-year balanced budget and shining a spotlight on reckless federal spending.
My staff and I continue to defend the liberties and rights of every American and are committed to doing so while also preserving your tax dollars.
When I ran for office, I promised Kentuckians I would stand for smaller, more efficient government, balanced budgets, and spending restraint. I’m proud my staff and I have kept that pledge while operating one of the most active federal offices.
You can read the op-ed HERE.