Washington, D.C. – Representing you as the Congressman for Georgia’s 10th District is one of the greatest honors of my life. Having the chance to meet you, share our ideas, hear your thoughts and concerns, as well as what’s working well in your lives, and then head to Washington to fight for you is a task that I deeply value. That’s why claims made by groups, like Indivisible Georgia and Athens for Everyone, that I’m unavailable and inaccessible could not be further from the truth. While I was home these past two weeks, I crisscrossed the District visiting with hundreds of constituents, toured local schools, witnessed the economic development of our communities, and attended signing ceremonies for several dedicated students who will soon be attending our Nation’s prestigious Service Academies.
The thoughtful questions from the AP Government class at Ola High School and the collaborative special education program at Morgan County Elementary School were heartening reminders of the enthusiasm and bright futures of our young people. Seeing the thriving communities that offer not only new job opportunities, but real career choices in Newton, Wilkes, and Warren counties makes me even more proud to call the 10th District home. Especially inspiring were the opportunities to witness Justin Gittemeier, Alexa Jacquitte, Will Johnson, and Will Caldwell V sign their letters of intent to attend the United States Military, Naval, and Air Force academies. Additionally, I was privileged to visit Wills Memorial Hospital in Washington, Georgia, where its staff helped me to understand the immense challenges that face our rural health care facilities. All of these meetings, with their varying perspectives, are absolutely critical to the job that I’m doing on your behalf.
Since taking office in 2015, I have worked hard to ensure that I'm accessible to you to provide legislative updates, answer your questions, provide constituent services, and to stay plugged in with all of the 25 counties in the 10th District. However, Indivisible Georgia has accused me of being an “AWOL” representative, because I am not available to participate in a forum that the group scheduled without coordinating with my office. This is a tactic employed by similar protest groups nationwide. After all, they are all utilizing the same protest manual put together by former Capitol Hill staffers, in attempt to maximize the visibility of their protests. These forums often devolve into shouting matches, obviously not providing a meaningful or respectful exchange of ideas. That is why I have, on many occasions, offered Indivisible members one-on-one meetings, so we can engage in a constructive dialogue.
While I respect the group’s right to hold whatever type of forum they choose, their claim that I am “AWOL” because I will not be at their forum – which is nothing more than an attempt to create a media spectacle – is incredibly disingenuous.
The simple truth is that I’m available to listen to the people I represent and take your concerns to Washington. That’s why I’ve held eight telephone-town halls – which allow me to speak directly to thousands of my constituents from all over the District at one time – attended 504 District meetings, including public “Coffee with your Congressman” events, participated in 53 site visits and round tables, and responded to over 75,000 constituent letters. Make no mistake about it – listening to you is the most important part of my job, and I do my very best to ensure that I am available to have a meaningful and productive dialogue with as many people as possible. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the privilege of representing you in Congress. Taking the oath of office is a great honor, and you can rest assured that I will continue to uphold the Constitution and the values of our District.