Monday, March 9: I was honored this past weekend to speak at the 270th birthday celebration of Gen. Casimir Pulaski, the famous American Revolutionary War hero who is buried in Monterey Square in Savannah. I also had the opportunity to wish my good friend Jerry Loupe a happy 80th birthday as well as attend the Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony of Brett Kohler in Ellabell. Brett is the youngest of three brothers who have all earned the rank of Eagle Scout. It was truly an honor for me to be invited to this ceremony and have the opportunity to recognize this fine young man.
Today I have the honor of speaking at the Fuji Vegetable Oil grand opening of their third refinery in Savannah. This $15 million expansion took about a year to complete, using all local parts and labor. This is yet another great example of an existing company in our area investing more into their facilities which equates to more jobs and business for our community.
Tuesday, March 10: We’re in Liberty County this morning as we visit Tradeport East Business Center, a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development-certified park, near I-95 in Midway. After meeting with some of the tenants and hearing of their success stories, particularly with hiring retired military personnel, we have the opportunity to tour the former Firth Rixson facility that has recently been purchased by Alcoa. This state-of-the-art facility is a global leader in the manufacturing of aerospace jet engine components. The craftsmanship and commitment to detail that the team members display is exceptional and most impressive.
Next we head to Bryan County, where we meet with First District leaders of the Georgia Forestry Commission to learn more about the issues facing this vital industry in our state. We spend the afternoon touring Daniel Defense in Black Creek, where Cindy and Marty Daniel have built one of the leading firearms manufacturers in the U.S. This homegrown success story is a source of pride for all of us in this area as Daniel Defense has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America over the past few years.
Later in the evening I join Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens and members of the Medical Association of Georgia at Memorial University Hospital for an open forum to hear the issues affecting health care providers.
Wednesday, March 11: We head to the southern portion of the district as we make a stop in Blackshear this morning to meet with members of the Pierce County Board of Education, as well as school administrators and teachers. This is a great opportunity for me to hear the concerns of these professionals and to witness first-hand the issues affecting our school systems. As a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, it is important for me to understand what our educators are facing in this ever-challenging environment.
Next we head over to Waycross, where we tour the Georgia Biomass facility. This is the world’s largest pellet producer and ships out of the Port of Savannah. This is an amazing facility and the tour provides a great learning experience for me and staff. This carbon-neutral product is used extensively in England and is rapidly replacing coal as a source of energy for many in Europe.
Next we head to Brantley County, where we have the opportunity to visit Waynesville Elementary School. After meeting with school board members and administrators we have the opportunity to tour the school and drop in on some classes in progress. This is one of my favorite times as I have the opportunity to speak to the third-grade classes as well as a second-grade class. The students are well behaved and their questions are impressive. It is easy to see that the teachers and staff at this school are doing an outstanding job of educating these young people.
Before heading back to Pooler, we stop by Darien to visit with local shrimpers and tour Boone’s Dock. Shrimpers are some of the hardest, most-dedicated workers anywhere, and it is good for me to learn more about the many issues they face in this ever-challenging area.
Thursday, March 12: Today is Effingham day and we begin with a tour of the recently-completed Effingham Hospital Emergency Department, led by Dr. John Sy, in Springfield. This vital community asset is most impressive as is the hospital and nursing home. The jobs that the Hospital Authority and Administrator Norma Jean Morgan have done are phenomenal and the community is fortunate to have such a first-class operation.
Next we head to Georgia Transformer, formerly Efacec, for a tour of their facility in the Effingham Industrial Park on Highway 21. The company makes core and shell transformers for utility companies. The technology and expertise that these gifted workers utilize is unsurpassed in this industry and we are very proud to have them in our community.
Next I stop by the Rotary Club, where I have a chance to speak to the group and visit with long-time friends that I haven’t seen in quite a while. Later in the afternoon, we meet with representatives from Kinder-Morgan, where we are brought up to date on the proposed Palmetto Pipeline project. We finish the day with a meeting at the Mighty 8th Air Force Heritage Museum with the Georgia ESGR, a Department of Defense office that helps promote cooperation and understanding between Reservist and their civilian employers. We are very thankful for the many civilian companies that employ our Reservists and for the flexibility they have with their schedules.
Friday, March 13: One of the delights of being home during the week is to be able to attend the Band of Brothers prayer breakfast on Friday mornings. These are some of the finest Christian men I know, and the time we are able to spend together studying God’s word helps me get through the week.
Later in the morning I have the opportunity to meet with the Savannah Homebuilders Association to discuss pending legislation in Washington. Next we head to the traditional “greening of the fountain” in Forsyth Park before visiting the Oglethorpe Charter School in Savannah. This middle school is most impressive and the only thing that surpasses the enthusiasm to learn of the students is the enthusiasm of the teachers to teach. This is one of the finest middle schools that I have had the opportunity to visit and could not be more proud that it is located in the First Congressional District.