Each New Year comes with renewed challenges and opportunities. As we say goodbye to 2015, I’m optimistic about the prospects of the coming year and am looking forward to achieving serious legislation that will keep our country safe, reduce the overwhelming burdens on taxpayers and businesses, and restore and uphold the rights of the people.

This next year will bring many challenges and legislative initiatives, but here are three of my top priorities for 2016:

1.       Protecting progress made to the ongoing challenge of balancing privacy and security

As the author of both the Patriot and USA FREEDOM Acts, the issues of national security and privacy have been a foremost concern of mine for more than a decade. The legislation I authored strikes the best balance between keeping Americans safe while protecting their right to privacy. Debate on this important issue has increased as we get closer to the presidential election, but despite the political rhetoric, I will continue the important and necessary work of finding real solutions with the seriousness the issue demands.

2.       Fighting to repeal Obamacare

In the past year, we were able to take major steps in repealing the disastrous Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. As part of the Omnibus bill  – which I supported – Congressional Republicans were able to delay both the Cadillac Tax and the Medical Device Tax, thus saving money for hardworking taxpayers and bringing us one step closer to a full repeal. In 2016, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to identify additional areas where further results can be achieved to dismantle this terrible law, always striving for a full and total repeal. 

3.       Passing criminal justice reform

Criminal justice reform became a national conversation in 2015 largely due to the targeted legislation I introduced with my colleague Bobby Scott (D-VA) called the SAFE Justice Act. The bill called for more personalized sentencing practices, emphasis on rehabilitation, and the reduction of recidivism through inmate programs, both within and outside prison walls. Reforms to our broken criminal justice system would not only reduce the overwhelming financial burdens placed on hardworking taxpayers, but also strengthen families and communities throughout the nation, decrease onerous federal regulations, and pare down our ballooning prison populations. With broad bipartisan support, criminal justice reform has a promising future in 2016, and I will continue to pursue responsible and serious legislation with an optimist outlook for its passage into law.

I look forward to another year of representing Wisconsin’s Fifth District. The New Year will undoubtedly bring challenges, but it will also bring new opportunities to serve you, my constituents, for which I’m thankful.