This past week, I spent time touring the district in order to talk with 5th District Virginians about the most pressing issues facing our country. We made nearly 20 stops across the district and visited with local businesses, families, and individuals to listen to their concerns.

We stopped in Chatham, Java, Hurt, Bedford, Forest, Buckingham, Dillwyn, Ruckersville, Charlottesville, and Scottsville. And while we met with many different people at each stop, their concerns were all the same. Whether it was the sawmill owner in Java, the senior citizen filling her prescription in Dillwyn, the family garden center owner in Charlottesville, or Loggers in Scottsville, they were all concerned with the rising costs of fuel prices.

Their stories detailing the impact that rising fuel prices have had on their small businesses and families painted a clear picture of the very real effects that action – or inaction – in Washington has back at home. A logger in Scottsville showed me a chart demonstrating that the costs of filling their fuel tanks in the company’s trucks have risen 98% in the past 3 years – their fuel costs have nearly doubled. And one restaurant owner in Buckingham told me that rising gas prices have whittled her restaurant clientele down to 5 people a day – on a good day. She told me her former restaurant patrons are packing lunches in order to compensate for the increased amount of money going into their gas tanks.

I have always believed that adopting a sensible energy policy should be one of our top economic priorities as a nation, but witnessing the devastating effects of what happens when we don’t makes the need to address this issue all the more urgent.

House Republicans have already taken several steps towards reducing prices at the gas pumps. The House has passed numerous pieces of legislation aimed at streamlining the permitting process that has been held up under the current administration and increasing our domestic supply to help lower gas prices, move us towards true energy independence, and create thousands of jobs in Virginia. But much like the failure to approve the permit for the Keystone Pipeline – perhaps the most important step we could take in the short-term to curb rising fuel costs and create American jobs – these measures have been met by a stone wall in the Senate and have not been embraced by the President.

At a time when we need leadership on this issue, the House has taken action on an energy plan that would take the necessary steps to help solve the problems that rising fuel prices are causing for so many across Central and Southside Virginia and across this country. It is my hope that the Senate and the President will join with us to advance our energy plan that would increase American energy security, utilize American resources, and stop rising gas prices from taking the breath away from our small businesses and families.

If you need any additional information, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.