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Picture this: On your first day at a new job, you walk onto the shop floor and parts of the factory are shut down. That was the setting for my first day, and weeks, in Congress, as parts of the federal government were shut down.

I came from the manufacturing sector. In any business, you don’t stop production or send employees home when a decision cannot be made. People come together to solve problems — Congress should be no different.

After my first three months in Washington, I’ve learned that by cutting through the dysfunction, focusing on solutions and listening to you, I can achieve results for Southeast Wisconsin.

Meeting with local leaders at our Hispanic Business Roundtable in Racine, sitting down with Racine Fire Department Chief Steve Hansen and going on a ride along with the Racine Police Department give me the opportunity to understand what’s impacting our local community and how I can support and address these matters at the federal level.

I’ve learned that being available and accessible is critical. The First District has a history of excellent constituent services, from Les Aspin to Paul Ryan. It’s a tradition I am committed to continuing. That is why I held six listening sessions, one in each county in the First District, and hosted two telephone town halls within my first three months in office.

During our listening session at the Mount Pleasant Village Hall, I heard directly from folks in our community concerned about the government shutdown and from a veteran who discussed the importance of working together to prevent veteran suicide. I also opened three offices in the First District, including one in Racine County at the County Courthouse, held staff office hours across Racine County and helped more than 200 residents with casework issues.

Through casework assistance, we were able to help a woman receive Medicare assistance for her husband who was dealing with an emergency health problem. We also ensured a VFW Post in Racine received equipment from the Department of Defense so they could continue to perform funeral services with military honors. If you need help with a federal agency, please reach out to my office.

I came to Washington ready to work with my colleagues and focus on solving the issues facing the First District. To be your voice in Washington, I need to hear from you. Write in, email or call our office, attend a listening session or participate in a telephone town hall. I am here to serve you.

Racine Office: Racine County Courthouse, Room 101, 730 Wisconsin Ave., Racine, WI 53403. Phone: 262-637-0510.

Kenosha County Office: Somers Village/Town Hall, 7511 12th St., Somers, WI 53171. Phone: 262-654-1901

Janesville Office: 20 S. Main St., Suite 10, Janesville, WI 53545. Phone: 608-752-4050

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Bryan Steil represents the Wisconsin’s 1st District in Congress.

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