District Connection - 8/20/18
Georgians deserve world-class infrastructure, and as a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, that’s one of my top priorities in Congress. Georgia’s infrastructure has improved dramatically in the last several years, culminating in a #2 ranking nationwide this year! This success hasn’t happened by accident; smart investments and effective federal, state, and local partnerships are ensuring taxpayers are getting the best possible value for our dollars. In the Seventh District, we have great leadership at the local level. Our county commissions in Forsyth and Gwinnett work cooperatively to maximize every nickel. Under the Gold Dome in Atlanta, our state legislators have worked with Governor Deal and GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry to prioritize infrastructure investments like those funded through HB 170. To push accountability and efficiency forward at the federal level, I helped craft and pass the FAST Act, the first major surface transportation law at the federal level in more than a decade. The FAST Act not only provided long-term certainty so state planners and local businesses can budget responsibly, but it also created a grant program that recently delivered $184 million to the GA-400 Express Lanes and $44 million to our ports, which support thousands of jobs in the Seventh District alone. From protecting Lake Lanier, to improving the safety and convenience of air travel, to making sure our road projects are relieving congestion, our community has an enormous stake in infrastructure policy. We still have much work to do, but this recognition is an encouraging sign that we are moving in the right direction.
Unless you work in the healthcare field or have recently paid a visit to your local community health center, you may not have known that last week was National Health Center Appreciation Week – a week dedicated to not only celebrating the medical professionals who serve more than 27 million patients, but to also recognizing the collective successes of the more than 1,400 organizations that deliver care in more than 10,400 locations across the country. I was thrilled to join my good friends over at Georgia Highlands Medical Services to recognize their work and to celebrate National Health Center Week with them.
By the numbers, Georgia Highlands Medical Services’ five medical centers serve over 18,000 patients in our north Georgia communities. Of those 18,000 patients, 76% are living below the poverty line and 51% are uninsured. I frequently talk about how those closest to our communities are best suited to serve our neighbors, and Georgia Highlands Medical Services, along with the 34 other Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) throughout the state, are a prime example of how smart and targeted federal investments are allowing dedicated health care workers to do just that. While emphasizing the need for patients to have financial skin in the game by paying what they can on a sliding scale, the three FQHCs in our communities have leveraged $4.6 million in federal investments to serve more than 24,200 patients in the Seventh District alone.
Rep. Rob Woodall, Mayor Troy Brumbalow, and the fantastic Georgia Highlands team in Cumming
Community health centers enjoy overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, and I am always proud to partner with Georgia Highlands Medical Services and their team of dedicated and competent medical professionals to ensure that our friends and neighbors have access to cost-effective and high-quality primary and preventive health care services. Community health centers not only improve the quality of life in our community, but they also save the health care system $24 billion annually by reducing the need for patients to seek care in costlier settings like emergency departments. This is not an easy task, and I am continuously grateful to all of the community health centers that have made it their passion and their mission to provide top-notch health care services to those who need it most.
- Forsyth County News. Georgia Highlands Medical Services celebrates National Health Centers Week
When our businesses see Washington as a place that believes in their ability to hire more and invest more in America, optimism grows for employers and employees. This surge in optimism is just one of the many factors that gives way to a strong economy. With the elimination of needless red-tape and legislation like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which has increased job growth by 215,000 full-time jobs just this year, more and more families are seeing not only greater opportunities for work but also additional opportunities for better, higher-paying jobs.
It is my mission in Congress to continue to build on that success, and I am honored to have received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award for 2017. Each year, the U.S. Chamber presents those House and Senate Members who show strong support for the business community with the Spirit of Enterprise award based on their voting record in Congress. From removing unnecessary roadblocks that hindered startups from getting the investments they need, to passing historic tax reform that will allow businesses to have the resources to reinvest in their employees and their businesses, I was proud to support these measures to reduce the harmful government overreach which had stifled our economic growth for far too long.
I know that our community’s economic success is due to the people who make our community great, and I’m proud of the steps this Congress has taken to unleash economic opportunities to support families across the country.
I had the pleasure last week of visiting Solvay's Alpharetta location to tour their facility and to learn more about how they are driving future success by pushing the boundaries of chemistry. While this wasn't my first visit to Solvay's Alpharetta location, I can say with absolute certainty that I am just as impressed with their cutting-edge operations now as I was the first time I visited. For those of you who might not be familiar with Solvay, their more than 26,000 employees in 61 countries work each day to enhance and engineer advanced materials and special polymers that can be found in products that many of us use frequently -- planes, batteries, and medical devices just to name a few.
That said, Solvay’s Alpharetta facility focuses solely on building new products with special polymers that are not only designed to withstand the demands of the industry they are being developed for, but are done so with the consumer in mind. For instance, I was amazed to see the work that Solvay’s Dental Lab is undertaking to redesign removable partial dentures to not only make them more durable, comfortable, and metal-free, but also making them more affordable for those who could benefit from them. I have no doubt that the products coming out of this lab will raise the bar for the dental industry, and I am proud to know that such products and materials are being engineered and developed right here in the Seventh District by over 300 of our friends and neighbors.
Rep. Rob Woodall meets with team members at Solvay in Alpharetta
I’m grateful to everyone who took time from their busy schedules to participate in the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association’s (UPCCA) community meeting focusing on federal tax policy changes. While we discussed everything from tax reform and recent economic success to the challenges we still face ranging from healthcare to immigration reform, one thing is very clear: our willingness to engage with one another makes our community stand out as an example to others pursuing solutions. The UPCCA has been an active leader on this front for years, and as Peachtree Corners continues to grow and prosper with Mayor Mike Mason at the helm, this organization’s continued good work is even more important to reaching our long-term goals. I’d like to thank UPCCA President Sherry Ferguson for inviting me to come out and share, and again express my gratitude for the great local leadership exhibited not only by UPCCA, but by Mayor Mason and everyone working to make Peachtree Corners the great place to call home that it is!
Rep. Woodall speaks to United Peachtree Corners Civic Association August meeting
For years now, when surveyed, America’s business leaders have named America’s tax and regulatory environment as the biggest impediment to their success. As I shared with UPCCA, Congress has responded with bill after bill to make America more competitive on the global stage, and today, America’s business leaders cite their struggle to find enough skilled workers as their biggest problem. What a wonderful change! American workers can compete with any workers on the planet if the playing field is level. The Tax Bill took a major step in that direction, and we are continuing to work to do more, including signing a major Career and Technical Education Act into law to ensure that American workers have access to the best skills and training in the world, as well. In survey after survey, optimism is rising, problems are being solved, and dreams are being achieved. I couldn’t be more proud of the profound role that our community plays in making that a reality.
Our community is blessed with folks who have a heart for service, and it truly shows in the partnership between Gwinnett County and local volunteers in ensuring home delivered meals make it to food insecure families across the county. I had an opportunity to be with Gwinnett County leadership and volunteers last week—in the conference room, in the kitchen, and on the road—seeing this food ministry first-hand. We have a moral responsibility to care for those who are in need, and I am so proud that folks in Gwinnett and Forsyth take that responsibility seriously. The federal government provides seed money for local leadership projects like Gwinnett’s home delivered meal program. As your congressman, I work to be a committed federal partner supporting a shared mission and to provide these kinds of organizations with the flexibility they need to best serve our neighbors. With our senior population growing rapidly, the need for these types of services will only continue to grow, and I look forward to working with local governments and local charitable organizations to ensure that we succeed for our seniors.
Rep. Rob Woodall joins the great folks at Gwinnett County Community Services for meal delivery
The spotlight will be on U.S. Senate this week in Washington, D.C., as it works on executive and judicial nominations and moving appropriation bills. In addition, two hearings this coming week will focus on the U.S. relationship with Russia. I know that this has been an extremely important and concerning issue for so many of you, as it has been for me as well, and I’m so pleased that both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will be holding simultaneous hearings this Tuesday examining U.S.-Russia relations, the effectiveness of current Russia sanctions, and the potential for future next steps on sanctions. I’m especially pleased that both of Georgia’s senators will be involved in this process as Senator Johnny Isakson is on the Foreign Relations Committee and Senator David Perdue is on the Senate Banking Committee. Our views are certainly going to be well represented!
Member of Congress