Senator Warnock made stops in FORT BENNING, WAVERLY HALL, ALBANY, BYROMVILLE, FORT VALLEY, MACON, COMMERCE and GAINESVILLE over course of the week
During stops, Senator Warnock visited with local leaders and hardworking Georgia families to discuss rural broadband and health care, clean energy infrastructure, job creation and economic development in Georgia
Senator Warnock during meeting with farmers in Byromville: “I know you’ve been waiting a long time. And you’ve been struggling a long time… [W]hen we help the Black farmers, we’re not just helping the Black farmers, we’re helping the agricultural community” – MORE BELOW
Senator Warnock during a tour of Blue Bird Corporation: “This is the green energy jobs future. It’s good for the economy. It’s good for the air for all of us. And it’s certainly great for our children.” – MORE BELOW
Washington, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) traveled the state of Georgia to speak with servicemembers, manufacturing workers, farmers, patients and more on Congress’s next steps to help keep Georgia’s economy and communities moving forward beyond the pandemic—including his efforts in the Senate to help create and support clean energy jobs, strengthen federal investments in sustainable infrastructure, and prioritize resources to address the needs of rural Georgia.
During visits to Fort Benning, Waverly Hall, Albany, Byromville, Fort Valley, Macon, Commerce and Gainesville, Senator Warnock underscored how Georgia will benefit from the provisions of the American Jobs Plan and American Family Plan, expansive legislation that will build upon the progress of the American Rescue Plan to aid Georgia’s continued economic recovery and help families, workers and communities thrive beyond COVID-19.
To kick off his travels through Georgia over the week, Senator Warnock visited Fort Benning to meet with leadership on the base and learn even more about how to be supportive, at the federal level, of Georgia servicemembers and the base, which stands as the 3rd largest employer in the state. Following a meeting with Maneuver Center of Excellence Commander Major General Patrick Donahue, Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson, and command teams from the Armory and Infantry Schools, Senator Warnock went on an extensive bus tour of the Fort Benning campus, viewing Lawson Army Airfield and visiting one of the on-post housing quarters to meet with soldiers and military family members to learn more about housing conditions at the base as part of his efforts to ensure quality housing for those who serve our country.
Senator Warnock: “[Access to rural broadband] is critical for a lot of families here in Georgia, we’ve got 10% of Georgians who have virtually no real connection to broadband. 38% of our citizens depend on one company for broadband connections and I’m seeing this clearly as I move across the state.” [MORE on Senator Warnock’s WavCom visit via WTVM]
Senator Warnock visited WavCom, a rural broadband provider in Waverly Hall to discuss the urgency of expanding access to rural broadband and to speak with local WavCom employeesabout the importance of providing reliable broadband access to citizens in rural and low-income areas of Georgia, as well as across the United States. Senator Warnock expressed the necessity of having a connected state with strong internet, cellular and radio services, highlighting the impacts it would have from education to agriculture.
While the American Rescue Plan set aside $7.1 billion to connect students across the state, Senator Warnock highlighted how much more work we have to do to keep all Georgians connected, and highlighted how the rural broadband provisions included in the American Jobs Plan would also move Georgia’s broadband expansion efforts forward.
Senator Warnock: “Our state legislature ought to act, take 450,000 people out of the Medicaid gap and receive this money that is literally sitting on the table and improve health outcomes in places like this.” [WATCH full clip via WALB HERE]
Albany was one of the early global epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the city’s Phoebe Putney hospital system had to adapt quickly. Last Monday, Senator Warnock toured the hospital’s simulation center, a brand new facility that allows future nurses and other health care professionals to practice real-life medical scenarios that will help equip them to provide a wide-range of care, without the same COVID-19 exposure risks.
Following the tour, during a meeting with health care professionals and patients, Senator Warnock emphasized the urgent need for Medicaid expansion in Georgia to provide affordable health care to nearly 500,000 uncovered Georgians—and emphasized that significant investments he secured in the American Rescue Plan for Medicaid expansion in Georgia would not only strengthen rural health care and access to critical health care services across Georgia, but would add hundreds of millions of dollars to Georgia’s state coffers. Additionally, Senator Warnock discussed the importance of keeping health care professionals in Georgia by ensuring the state offers “homegrown” talent access to top-notch learning and teaching facilities like Phoebe Putney’s simulation center.
Senator Warnock:“That deep distrust was built over years, it didn’t happen overnight. But the best thing we can do right now is to deliver this. I think if we deliver on this commitment, that will go a long way in beginning to rebuild trust.” [MORE on Senator Warnock’s visit in the Valdosta Daily Times HERE]
Last Tuesday, Senator Warnock, accompanied by USDA Senior Advisor for Racial Equity Dr. Dewayne Goldmon, met with and listened to dozens and dozens of Black farmers and farmers of color ahead of the implementation of provisions from his Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act that were included in the American Rescue Plan. Last Monday, Senator Warnock sent a letter to the USDA urging swift action to provide targeted debt relief and allocate over $1 billion in investments for socially disadvantaged farmers and farming families in Georgia and across the country. Dr. Goldmon also provided updates on the status of the Department’s implementation of the provisions from Senator Warnock’s debt relief and investment legislation, and Senator Warnock fielded additional questions from farmers and producers about his agriculture priorities. Senator Warnock ended the positive meeting by reiterating his commitment to holding USDA accountable and ensuring the legislation is implemented as quickly, efficiently and fairly as possible.
Senator Warnock: “Our ecology is connected to our economy and electrifying our school buses helps protect our environment and public health, and jumpstarts our economy.”
Following the stop in Byromville, Senator Warnock visited the Blue Bird Corporation in Fort Valley, a Georgia-based company that is leading the way in electric bus innovation. There, Senator Warnock toured the manufacturing plant, met with employees, and experienced a ride on a 100% electric school bus.
During the extensive tour of the bus manufacturing facility, Senator Warnock learned even more about how Blue Bird’s state-of-the-art electric school buses are manufactured and assembled. As an original co-sponsor of the Clean Commute for Kids Act and champion for the clean energy investments in the American Jobs Plan, Senator Warnock got a first-hand look at how these federal measures will help Georgia’s own Blue Bird Corporation continue to lead the way in electrifying our transportation infrastructure and keeping our children safe from pollutants, while creating stable, good-paying clean energy jobs for our state.
Last Tuesday, Senator Warnock also visited Irving Tissue in Macon, an innovative Georgia manufacturing plant producing paper products for Georgia and the nation. There, he was able to meet with skilled engineering and technical workers who are actively growing Georgia’s technical skills workforce.
Last Wednesday, Senator Warnock visited SK America’s state-of-the-art electric battery manufacturing facility in Commerce, GA to receive a tour and learn more about how SK is paving the way for a greener tomorrow by producing electric car batteries that will power electric vehicles, reduce carbon emissions and help fight climate change. This visit follows Senator Warnock’s vital leadership in helping facilitate the legal settlement that kept the facility online. The positive outcome kept 2,600+clean energy jobs in Jackson County, ensuring these sustainable jobs remain in Georgia.
Senator Warnock toured the Kubota Manufacturing facility and met with company leaders to discuss the importance of expanding Georgia’s manufacturing and trade capacity, including by strengthening support for facilities like Kubota which produces the RTV Series Rough Terrain Vehicle (RTV) – the only manufacturer of the product. Senator Warnock also learned more about how the Northeast Inland Port project will benefit Kubota by expanding its manufacturing and trade capabilities with international partners which will help to reduce shipping and traffic delays. Through the American Jobs Plan, federal funds will be invested in multifunctional infrastructure that will not only revitalize the industry, but cut down on pollution and commute time.
There, Senator Warnock also met with officials from the Georgia Port Authority and leaders of the Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce to discuss how he can continue to support and help diversify Georgia’s supply chains—big and small—in every corner of the state by advocating for long-awaited funding for our state’s infrastructure network.
Later, Senator Warnock took a brief tour of downtown Gainesville, led by local elected officials, to discuss infrastructure and economic development plans for the state. [Read MORE in the Gainesville Times HERE]
Senator Warnock concluded his travels by meeting with the families of victims of the liquid nitrogen incident in Gainesville where six workers were killed, hosted by GA Familias Unidas. Senator Warnock remains committed to protecting the dignity of work and workers, and preventing similar deaths. To that end, Senator Warnock urged the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to open an investigation into the deaths; the federal OSHA investigation is on-going.