Local military veterans will have an opportunity to share their stories through a project that preserves their memories in the Library of Congress.

U.S. Rep. Jim Baird (R-4th District) is assisting the library with the Veterans History Project, an archive of oral interviews with former service members dating back to World War I. Later this year, Baird’s staff will travel across the district to conduct interviews. The videos are uploaded to a searchable database on the library’s website.

Baird said the project would create a record for people researching their family’s military background. Baird is an Army veteran who was awarded a Bronze Star with valor and two Purple Hearts in Vietnam.

“This might be a way for some of those veterans from Vietnam to get that they feel appreciated,” Baird said in a phone interview from his office on Capitol Hill.

Those interested in participating should contact Diane Hubbard at diane.hubbard@mail.house.gov or call the Danville district office at 317-563-5567.

Baird took office in January after eight years representing the Greencastle area in the Indiana House of Representatives. As a member of the science, space and technology committee, Baird is co-sponsoring legislation that would support early childhood STEM research, particularly for girls.

The Building Blocks of STEM Act would direct the National Science Foundation to study, among other areas, the types of science, technology, engineering and math activities that would encourage greater participation by female students in preschool through elementary school, among other areas.

The bill would also provide funding for teacher training, distance learning programs and career education opportunities.

On the space front, Baird expressed support for the Trump administration’s plans for astronauts to return to the moon by 2024. The administration has proposed creating a Space Force that would command military space operations.

“I think there’s a renewed interest that maybe we ought to explore space and find out more about what’s out there,” Baird said.

Baird, a farmer, also serves on the agriculture committee, which has heard testimony on the effects of the administration’s trade policies on farmers. Asked what should be done to assist producers hurt by low commodity prices, Baird didn’t identify particular steps, but said there was mounting pressure on China to negotiate in trade talks. 

Lawmakers are expected to learn more about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia probe in the coming weeks.

“I think the matter ought to be over with,” Baird said.

In a statement after the report was issued, Baird said the findings “confirmed what President Trump has been saying for two years — there has never been collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia” and that Hoosiers “should be relieved that this investigation is over.”

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