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Congressman Rob Woodall

Representing the 7th District of Georgia

District Connection - 10/24/16

October 24, 2016
E-Newsletter Archive


Law enforcement in Gwinnett County, in conjunction with federal authorities, recently made serious progress in the fight against human trafficking. Human trafficking is a scourge of modern society, and it’s one of those issues where Americans come together regardless of ideology and do the right thing. I am proud to have supported four important pieces of legislation this Congress designed to combat human trafficking that were signed into law by the President.  H.R. 181, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, gives law enforcement the tools it needs to hold sex traffickers accountable. H.R. 159, the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act, incentivizes states to implement policies that treat trafficked minors not as criminals but as the victims they are by providing safe harbor. H.R. 285, the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act, cracks down on the criminals who advertise or profit from trafficking. H.R. 350, the Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act encourages stakeholders in the law enforcement community to share and identify best practices to put an end to this horrifying crime. We must all be vigilant in defending the rights and dignity of our fellow citizens, so if you suspect or are aware of human trafficking activity, I encourage you to contact law enforcement authorities. You can report a tip to the FBI here, or you can contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center anonymously here.


Service is such an integral part of our community, and we’re fortunate to live in a place that is always looking for new opportunities to help our neighbors. That spirit was on full display last week during the annual Gwinnett Great Days of Service, and it is further proof of our passion for solving problems together. Perhaps one of the best examples is the Veterans Resource Center in Lawrenceville, which is operated solely by community donations. It offers veterans a place where they can come for any of their needs. Whether looking for assistance obtaining the benefits they’ve earned, finding shelter, a hot meal, or just someone they can talk to, they have it all at the Veterans Resource Center.  

The facility’s model is one of a kind in the country right now; it brings everything under one roof for our veterans, and it also has the necessary partnerships with government agencies and service organizations that veterans would have to otherwise seek out separately. The center is staffed entirely by volunteers – most of whom are veterans themselves – and since opening in 2014, has served over 3,000 local veterans. The idea came about as a result of members of our community discussing ways in which we can ensure that those who have served us are receiving the care they deserve. Someone asked why there wasn’t a one-stop-shop for what these men and women need, and the great people of Gwinnett County answered. What I love so much about our part of the world is the “why” really didn’t matter. It only mattered that the question prompted action. Our community now has a model organization that prioritizes the needs of those who have given so much to us.

Volunteers with Gwinnett Great Days of Service at the Veterans Resource Center in Lawrenceville

In my office, we’ve often partnered with the amazing volunteers at the Veterans Resource Center to work on individual casework issues, and I was so pleased that Team Woodall joined them once against during the Great Days of Service initiative to assemble hundreds of care packages in preparation for Veterans’ Day. There’s no shortage of ways we can give back, but here at home, there is also no shortage of people eager to give back. If you have a passion for service, I encourage you to set aside some time to work with this great team.


If you watched the most recent Presidential debate, you might have heard the debate moderator Chris Wallace say “One thing everyone here can agree on: we hope you will go vote. It is one of the honors and obligations of living in this great country.” And he’s right. Voting is a privilege and a right, and it’s one that I am proud to exercise. Thankfully, Gwinnett County is making it easier than ever to vote by opening up two additional early voting locations a week early – starting this Monday. And Forsyth County officials are opening all early voting locations Monday as well. That means 7th District voters have nearly 3 weeks to get to the polls and make their voices heard. 


Last week, I had the opportunity to visit with Annette P. Walker, the new Director of the Atlanta VA Medical Center. She began serving Georgia’s veterans in this new role last month, and being a veteran herself who served our nation in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, she brings crucial experience and perspective to the table in her new leadership role. It was great having the opportunity to meet her to discuss the future of the Atlanta VA and how it can best serve Georgia’s veterans. With a population of over 30,000 veterans in the 7th District, her performance and success in her new leadership role could not be more important to me. I look forward to partnering with her to ensure that the Atlanta VA effectively fulfills our nation’s promise to the veterans of the Seventh District and Georgia in general, and I hope you’ll partner with me in keeping her accountable to the brave men and women who have served our nation.


Healthcare is a topic we hear about a great deal, but last week, folks across the entire metro Atlanta region, State of Georgia – and perhaps beyond – weren’t just discussing policy. We were celebrating the amazing patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Cape Day. This past Friday, you may have seen a blue cape – either on a young superhero in the flesh – or on a friend, coworker, or neighbor supporting them. You may have also seen #CapeDayATL trending on social media. That’s because it was a special day celebrating the incredible bravery of young people battling an illness. This wonderful opportunity raises awareness through our communities about the great work being done by everyone at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, especially the patients, and is yet another glimpse of how we support each other here at home. Cape Day comes around every year, but if you missed it this time, there’s certainly a need for support all year, and you can learn more about those opportunities here.

CHOA superhero cape hangs in Rep. Woodall's Lawrenceville office


Rob Woodall
Member of Congress