District Connection - 9/9/19

September 9, 2019
E-Newsletter Archive
Helping our Family and Friends in Need


Last week, Hurricane Dorian followed a long, slow path from the islands of the Bahamas up the Atlantic coast affecting parts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. While our communities in Forsyth and Gwinnett Counties were not directly impacted by Hurricane Dorian, many families and individuals along the coast, and especially in the Bahamas, are experiencing utter devastation. Undeniably, those communities hit hardest have a long path to recovery and will need all the help they can get. As many of you know, one of the best qualities about our community is that folks are always eager to help those in need. It truly warms my heart that my office has received so many phone calls and emails from families, community groups, and church groups inquiring about the ways they can help to assist with recovery and relief efforts. As such, I’ve compiled some resources below for those who would like to learn more about the ways in which you can help give back to communities devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

  • GEMA Donations & Volunteers – Click HERE to visit GEMA’s webpage that details how you can help communities recover from disaster.
  • USAID – Visit usaid.gov to learn more about how you can help. As a U.S. government agency, USAID does not accept donations for its crisis response efforts, but non-governmental organizations may issue appeals for donations depending on the crisis.
  • The Bahamas Consulate General in Atlanta – Visit the Consulate General’s webpage to stay up to date on recovery efforts and to learn more about the ways you can assist the people of the Bahamas. The Consulate General’s webpage also has a detailed list of items immediately needed to aid relief and recovery efforts.

Additionally, I want to bring to your attention that this month is National Preparedness Month and this week’s theme is “Make a Plan to Prepare for Disasters.” Does your family have a plan in place when disaster is set to strike? If your answer to that question is “no,” then I strongly encourage you to click HERE to learn more about the ways in which you and your family can prepare for severe weather incidences and other disasters, as well as click HERE to make a disaster plan. It’s never too early to plan ahead to protect you and your loved ones! And on that note of preparedness, I want to take this opportunity to commend Governor Kemp, federal and local officials along the coast, and first responders for taking the necessary steps to protect Georgian’s from harm. 



Last week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released its Fiscal Year 2021 Administration Research and Development (R&D) Budget Priorities memorandum, which helps focus all federal agencies’ budget submissions around a united mission. In the budget memorandum issued this year, the Trump Administration outlined a five-point plan that will position the United States as a leader in the industries of the future such as: artificial intelligence, quantum information science, advanced manufacturing, bioeconomic innovation, and American space exploration and commercialization to name a few.  We can build consensus around most – if not all – of these points and secure America’s position as a leader in the global economy.  As Congress returns to business in Washington this week, I look forward to addressing the President’s priorities with my colleagues and delivering results for future generations of Americans.



40 years ago, George E. Wilson Memorial Health Services, Inc. was founded to provide health care to the underserved, rural community of Forsyth County at the foothills of the North Georgia mountains. Today, Georgia Highlands Medical Services (GHMS) has remained steadfast in its mission to provide services to those in our community who have no other place to turn for care.

GHMS now operates five medical centers and serves over 18,750 patients in our community. Of those, 75% are living below the poverty line, and over 50% are uninsured. As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), GHMS leverages its federal investment to provide top-notch health care services to our friends and neighbors. FQHCs have always represented the best of our federal support for quality health care, and I look forward to our continued partnership.

Thank you, GHMS, for inviting me to celebrate this milestone achievement with you!



This week the House is set to consider three bills on the topic of oil drilling in the United States. Each of the bills would end or prohibit the federal government from leasing certain areas for oil and gas development, including the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Florida’s Gulf Coast, and parts of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. This has long been a subject of debate in Congress—for some 50 years now—and as such, I have heard from constituents on both sides of the issue:

Leanne from Duluth:

The Trump administration is pushing to expose huge swaths of our nation’s coastlines to devastating oil spills. As your constituent, I am calling on you to take immediate legislative action to stop the Trump administration’s reckless plan. Please protect the American people, not big polluter profits, and oppose reckless new oil and gas drilling off our shores. Expanding offshore drilling into these public waters threatens our coastal communities, whales, and other marine life with catastrophic oil spills. It blocks our path to a clean energy future and keeps us shackled to the heavily polluting fossil fuels of the past. It’s nothing more than another taxpayer handout to oil companies. It’s unconscionable, and it must be stopped. Please stand strong against President Trump and his anti-environment allies in Congress and reject new oil drilling along America’s coasts. Thank you.

Margaret from Lilburn:

I urge you to reject H.R. 205 and H.R. 1941. Both bills would prematurely close the door to expanded offshore energy exploration and development in America when projections show that global energy demand will only grow. A permanent moratorium on this offshore exploration would put our national and energy security, economy and even standing in the world at risk. Ten years ago, no one would have predicted that the United States would be the world leader in natural gas and oil production. This was made possible through relentless exploration and American innovation. Now we no longer must rely on unstable foreign regions to produce the energy our families and communities need. The natural gas and oil industry is creating jobs, investing in communities, and generating revenues for state and federal budget. Closing off our ability to expand the exploration and production of the natural gas and oil we depend on is not only shortsighted, it is un-American. Natural gas and oil supply over two-thirds of the energy used in America and we know that vast quantities of these vital resources exist offshore. But current energy policies keep 94% of federal offshore resources off limits to safe, responsible exploration and development. Unnecessarily limiting our access to offshore energy reserves is a mistake that could weaken our energy and national security, diminish employment opportunities for U.S. workers, and limit the availability of affordable and reliable domestic energy to American families.

I expect that most Americans agree that taking care of our environment is very important. I am an avid outdoorsman and enjoy hiking, camping, and all of the beauty that America provides. In fact, I could not imagine living in a nation that did not protect and maintain its wilderness and wildlife.  Environmental stewardship and national energy independence can and must go hand-in-hand.

The United States is one of the most blessed countries in the world when it comes to its abundant natural resources. From the Gulf of Mexico to the coasts of Alaska, we have almost unlimited untapped resources. We are the envy of the world when it comes to our reserves of energy sources. We rival Canada as the world’s largest source of oil shale and tar sands. We have some of the largest deposits of natural gas, both offshore and onshore, of any major nation. And yet, until recently, we depended largely on oil imported from the Middle East as a primary source of energy, making our country far too dependent on other countries. This dependence on oil from other countries has posed a threat to our national security and prosperity.

In response, our country has moved toward a more independent energy profile, and as Margaret mentioned, the United States is now the global leader in energy production. Families now have more certainty at the gas pump and when opening up their utility bills. There is absolutely no need for our country to be so dependent on foreign energy sources when we have so many resources here in our own country. We can and must responsibly develop our national energy portfolio, which is why I support responsible domestic drilling and development within our borders. To be clear though, our energy independence is not limited to fossil fuels. Right here in Georgia, we know how renewable sources, like nuclear power--which provides a quarter of our energy--hydro, and solar, are key parts of our nation’s energy portfolio. An “all-of-the-above” pursuit of energy is the best way to ensure American families can afford to keep the lights on and begin to use more renewable sources, and that’s why it’s critically important that we not take any type of energy development off the table.  American is committed both to developing our energy reserves and protecting our environment.  We must reject the notion that it can only be one or the other.



Time and again, the 7th District takes to volunteering as a way to bring our community together and help improve the lives of those around us. Last week, more than 850 volunteers attended the United Way of Forsyth County’s 18th Annual Day of Caring. Participants helped pack 188,000 meals, almost 23,000 more than last year. The food will be distributed to local food pantries and programs. I would like to commend all the hard work that went into making this event a success. This event is Forsyth County’s single largest volunteer day, and it goes a long way to making our community a better place to live.



Whether they are assisting individuals with disabilities, helping military veterans transition to civilian life, or simply serving as a beloved part of the family, there is no doubt that pets are important to us here in the 7th District. On August 30th, the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement shelter received a $50,000 grant from Best Friends Animal Society, a national organization dedicated to no-kill animal rescue and advocacy. The grant will be used to fund a new community outreach program to help Gwinnett residents keep pets from entering the shelter system. Benefits of this program, which is planned to begin on November 9th, will include free supplies and veterinarian visits.

I hope you will all join me in congratulating the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Department for securing this grant and doing incredible work to keep pets safe in our community.



House committees are holding dozens of hearings and mark-ups this week on issues and legislation that are important to the American people, and you can see a full list of all those hearings by CLICKING HERE.

The Rules Committee today is going to consider three measures that deal with energy exploration and production in various coastal areas around the U.S.  Unfortunately, instead of responsibly managing that portfolio, these bills shut-down exploration and production entirely in some areas, harming economic growth and hurting American jobs. There is no reason why we can’t expand economic opportunities for hard-working Americans while also protecting our wildlife and natural habitats. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Rules Committee to approve amendments to these bills that will allow us to walk that common-sense path of growth and protection.


Rob Woodall

Member of Congress