District Connection - 4/24/17
There’s a long list of things to love about spring in the 7th District, and one of my favorites each year is our annual art competition – an Artistic Discovery – for high school students throughout our community. This year is no different in that regard, and the talent on display is as good as ever. The most difficult challenge of this great event is always selecting just three finalists from so many impressive pieces, but as they do every year, our local judges adeptly took on that task. I’m glad I didn’t have to choose!
Rep. Rob Woodall meets with the 7th District Artistic Discovery finalists and their families
Of those who were selected by the panel of judges, three different high schools in the district were represented with First Place being awarded to Ellie Soh of Peachtree Ridge, Second Place to Reina Lee of North Gwinnett, and Third Place going to Brady Graham of Brookwood. We’re fortunate to have both the Art Institute of Atlanta and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) partner with us and offer finalists scholarship opportunities.
I had a wonderful time visiting with these young artists and their families on Saturday as we celebrated each and every one of them. The nature of these events requires that we select finalists, but as I said to the group on Saturday, irrespective of the outcome, artistic expression is so important. It’s something the world needs, and I’m grateful to them for sharing their passion and talent with us. Congratulations once again to all the participants – especially First Place winner Ellie Soh who will have her work displayed in the Capitol over the next year. If you know any young people who might be interested in competing in the future, you can find all the details here. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Artistic Discovery!
One of the things my colleagues in Washington have grown accustomed to is the way in which I am always bragging about our community. You all make it so easy! Every week there is something new to share; some new initiative addressing a challenge; another way to help those in need; and the list goes on and on. As this District work period drew to a close, I had the opportunity to see the most recent developments going on at Rainbow Village in Duluth. I’ve been fortunate to witness their impact in the past, but every time I visit, they are doing even more to serve our neighbors in need.
Rep. Rob Woodall visits Rainbow Village in Duluth
If you’re not familiar with the great work they’re doing, Rainbow Village is a local non-profit organization committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness by empowering participants with the tools they need for self-sufficiency in the long-term. Their approach has been tremendously successful not only by offering struggling families quality transitional housing, but most importantly by committing a dedicated team of caring individuals to their success. The program requires participants to demonstrate the same commitment, and that partnership is at the core of why they’re so successful. From top-notch apartments, to child care, to financial counseling and education, it’s a full-service program that returns families to independence, and I couldn’t be prouder to have them here at home leading by example.
Tax reform has once again become a hot topic of conversation in Washington, and that means I have been doubling down on what I believe to be the right alternative to America's terrible tax code – the FairTax. I am feeling the momentum for a tax revolution like never before! I just added two new cosponsors in the last week, I wrote an editorial explaining the benefits of the FairTax, and supporters recently made the trip all the way to Trump Tower in New York to press the FairTax with the President. With your partnership, we will maintain this momentum and continue building support for the biggest devolution of power from the government to the people in our lifetime.
FairTax supporters outside Trump Tower in New York City on Tax Day 2017
Without a doubt, the conversations we have when I’m back home are critically important to representing you effectively in Washington. Over the last two weeks, I’ve had the chance to sit down with many of you one-on-one in my local office or at your business, school, or civic organization. Last week alone, I was able to spend time with the Duluth and Forsyth Rotaries, Duluth-Norcross and Suwanee Kiwanis Clubs, witness the amazing things going on in the SPIRE program at Peachtree Ridge High School, and join a panel discussion of local leaders at Central Gwinnett High School to field questions from a great group of seniors. That’s just to name a few!
Each one of these opportunities is invaluable. I often say the best part of my job is that really smart people are willing to come by the office or invite me out to share their wisdom. Getting the chance to exchange ideas with so many different folks – age, background, profession, and ideology – is what makes our part of the world work so well, and I’m grateful to be able to partner with you as we carry that voice to Washington.
As the Senate returns to work this week, it's expected to consider the confirmation of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as the next Secretary of Agriculture. While I do not have a vote as a Member of the House of Representatives on Governor Perdue’s confirmation, I did join other House Members in the Georgia delegation in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) demonstrating our bipartisan support for his confirmation. I’m so pleased the Georgia delegation was able to come together to show their support for such qualified candidate. I have absolute certainty that Governor Perdue is more than capable of leading the Department of Agriculture, and know that he will undoubtedly serve as an asset not only to the Department, but also to farmers throughout the state and country.
Despite what you may be hearing in the news, President Trump and Congress are fulfilling – one by one – the promises we made to the American people in 2016. We've repealed nearly $70 billion in Obama-era red tape, approved major new infrastructure projects to put Americans to work and increase our energy security, and just last week, the President signed veterans legislation that will increase veterans’ access to healthcare. S. 544 improves the Veterans Choice program and will allow veterans the option to see doctors closer to their home rather than driving for hours to get to a VA facility. If you're satisfied with your VA healthcare, and I know many of my veteran constituents are, don't worry because this won't change your care. But for those who are frustrated with being forced to travel long distances or wait in long lines in order to receive healthcare, this new law will give you more choices. America will be judged on how we treat those who have answered the call of duty, and I look forward to continuing to work with the President to make life better for our great veterans.
This week in Washington, D.C., will be busy with a number of bipartisan bills. When I travel around the 7th District, I have the opportunity to speak with many innovative business people who have availed themselves of our U.S. copyright system. H.R. 1695, which the House will consider this week, seeks to make the U.S. Copyright Office work better and more efficiently, and hopes to bring it into the 21st Century with a focus on digitization so that Americans can better search the office’s archives.
The House is also expected to pass H.R. 1694. The bill would subject Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As you might know, FOIA is a law that allows any American to request certain information of a federal government agency, and since any failure of Fannie and Freddie puts American taxpayers on the hook for trillions of dollars in mortgage liability, it is essential that their records be open to the public.
Finally, you’ve probably seen in the news that Congress will have to pass a bill this week to fund the government for the remainder of FY17 and that House members are continuing to work collaboratively to come to a consensus on a path forward for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. As legislation comes together, I will see it in the Rules Committee and we will post it on rules.house.gov so you can easily read and review it if you desire. I encourage you to keep in touch with me throughout the week for future legislative updates!
Member of Congress