Opinion: Ossoff: Georgia, we’re just getting started

The U.S. Capitol Building. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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The U.S. Capitol Building. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Credit: TNS

One year ago today I took the oath of office to serve Georgia in the U.S. Senate.

Every day since, I’ve sought to serve our state with excellence, humility and a relentless focus on results.

Here are some of those results:

In my first year, we passed an historic bipartisan infrastructure bill — long overdue, and the most significant American infrastructure investment in generations.

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12/03/2020 — Kennesaw, Georgia — Georgia Senate Democrat candidate Jon Ossoff speaks to the media following a rally in the parking lot of Grace Community Christian Church in Kennesaw, Thursday, December 3, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

12/03/2020 —  Kennesaw, Georgia — Georgia Senate Democrat candidate Jon Ossoff speaks to the media following a rally in the parking lot of Grace Community Christian Church in Kennesaw, Thursday, December 3, 2020.  (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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12/03/2020 — Kennesaw, Georgia — Georgia Senate Democrat candidate Jon Ossoff speaks to the media following a rally in the parking lot of Grace Community Christian Church in Kennesaw, Thursday, December 3, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

That bipartisan infrastructure bill — now law — will upgrade transit, rail, roads, bridges, seaports and airports across Georgia.

It will make an unprecedented investment in broadband internet access for rural and low-income communities.

It includes provisions I championed to remove lead pipes from our drinking water systems. It will build an electric vehicle charging infrastructure across our state. And it invests in the resilience of Georgia’s coast, helping local communities prepare for storm surge, coastal flooding, and tropical storms.

COVID relief legislation we passed at the height of the pandemic delivered economic support to families and small businesses, reinforced Georgia’s hospitals and health clinics with hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency resources, rushed over $4 billion to Georgia’s public schools and ensured lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines have been free and available to every Georgian.

The Senate passed my bipartisan bills to reduce violence, crime and civil rights abuses in prisons and to help communities tackle the opioid epidemic. My legislation to help communities plan public transit systems passed Congress and became law. And the U.S. House passed my bills to supercharge American solar manufacturing and to make solar installations more affordable for families and businesses.

I intervened in an international trade dispute that threatened one of the most significant economic projects in Georgia history, brokering a deal between two Korean industrial titans to save the $2.6 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Commerce, Georgia, and the thousands of jobs it will create in our state.

And I’ve represented Georgia and our state’s values on the world stage, leading the Senate’s effort to accelerate a cease-fire during the brutal war in Israel and the Palestinian Territories last spring and pitching further investment in Georgia to global manufacturers of cars, semiconductors, batteries and clean energy technologies.

I have worked to advance the causes of civil rights and voting rights, authoring landmark voting rights legislation — the Right to Vote Act — that would establish the first-ever statutory guarantee of voting rights for American citizens. My bill empowers citizens to challenge in court any policy that diminishes ballot access for eligible voters and I will keep fighting to ensure equal access to the ballot for every American voter.

I will continue to be a champion for those who serve and have served. I’ve worked to hold private contractors, the Pentagon and the VA accountable for substandard housing, for environmental contamination that threatens the health of military families and for incompetence in the service of Georgia veterans.

I have championed anti-corruption measures, leading the effort to ban stock trading by members of Congress — over the objections of some in my own party — and co-sponsoring legislation to ban secret money from political campaigns.

Meanwhile I continue to refuse political contributions from lobbyists and from corporate PACs. I don’t work for them or for any political party. I work only for you.

My team and I have provided constituent service to thousands of Georgians — helping veterans secure the benefits they earned defending our country, helping seniors access Medicaid and Social Security, helping small businesses access COVID relief, solving passport and visa problems for constituents and more. We are here for you however we can help you.

These are challenging times.

COVID continues to take a terrible toll, disrupting our lives and our economy. Our polarized politics and culture threaten to overwhelm our commitments to each other as fellow Americans and human beings.

But we must and will work through these challenges together.

America remains on a journey toward fuller and fuller realization of our founding ideals, so long as we do not allow our political divisions to tear us apart.

It is an honor to represent you as we rise together to the challenges of our times.

Never hesitate to contact me however and whenever I can help you.

Jon Ossoff is Georgia’s senior United States Senator. Elected in 2021, he serves on the Senate Judiciary; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; and Rules committees. He also serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

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