Today, the Democratic Party of Georgia hosted a virtual roundtable with union, business, and elected leaders from across the Peach State to discuss the economic progress Georgia has made since Democrats took control of the White House and Congress and to urge Georgia Republicans to join the 69 Senators who voted to advance the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.
Speakers highlighted how President Joe Biden and Democrats delivered direct relief that helped workers and small businesses get back on their feet through the American Rescue Plan, and called on both sides of the aisle to come together to create a generation of good-paying jobs by passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.
You can watch and download the full press conference here, and find speaker quotes below.
“These past several months have made it clear that President Biden and Democrats’ economic agenda is working. Just eight months since President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris entered the White House, and my friends Senator Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock took office, our economy is booming back thanks to the critical relief delivered from the American Rescue Plan – and no thanks to Georgia Republicans, who unanimously opposed the plan,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams, Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. “Now, we have another opportunity to create even more jobs in Georgia with President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which is making its way through Congress. This historic investment in our infrastructure will create a generation of good-paying union jobs across the state, all while strengthening our communities. It’s no wonder that it has broad support across the state, including labor unions, mayors, and Brian Kemp’s own Transportation Commissioner. But if any of the Republicans lining up to challenge Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock had a say, this once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment and job creation would not be coming our way to Georgia, y’all. We need Georgia Republicans to come to the table in Washington now to get this deal done and help bring more jobs to our state.”
“I’m a small business owner of a restaurant in Athens, Georgia, and we have been around for going on fourteen years, and this last 16 months has been the most uncertain that I can remember. But we have been able to receive COVID support, and most recently the Restaurant Revitalization Fund that has really changed that and given us some uncertainty,” said Erin Wilson, owner of The National restaurant in Athens. “We went from being a business that employs 40 hardworking employees to four when we initially shut down. We built that back up over these last 16 months thanks to the support. We were able to increase our labor budget, to pay people, to support our employees, and keep them working. That’s been our number one goal this whole time, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it on our own.”
“Stimulus payments really took a lot of pressure off of folks here in our community,” said Bryan Ramos, small business owner and former President of the Phillippine American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia. “They use a part of that money to patronize our small businesses. Many folks told me it was such a great treat for them to have, for their mental health, to have more financial power to even order simple takeout from local restaurants like Erin’s during this time of great uncertainty. Getting that little bit of help really was really impactful.”
“We know and our members know that the passage of this infrastructure bill is critical. We urge the House now to take up the same mantra and pass this bill,” said Sandra Williams, Executive Director of the Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council. “The proposed legislation creates broadband funds. We need to expand our high speed internet services — that impacts CWA, our Communication Workers Union. We know that through the other portions of the infrastructure bill that the United Steel Workers — this is an important step for them because they touch upon, as does IBEW and a number of our other trade unionists, on every block of this industry from building bridges to supplying the fiber optics, and the steel that go into our infrastructure.”
“With the infrastructure bill, this will be a win-win situation. First, it will repair, rebuild, and bring new roads, streets and bridges that the transit industry uses each and every day. So I will tell you – ATU applauds the Senate leaders on this infrastructure bill,” said Britt Dunams, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 732. “It will bring good jobs to the transit industry. Ultimately, the bipartisan infrastructure deal between the Senate and the White House is welcome and considered a step forward in moving our local and national transit and infrastructure.”
“I would encourage Republicans in our state, not one of whom voted for the American Rescue Plan, not one — It’s shameful, it’s horrific — if they want to stay in a position where they have a voice for the people, then act in the interest of the grassroots and not the grass tops. Let’s really be honest about how we build out infrastructure in our state, and let’s get Georgians back to work,” said Georgia House Minority Leader James Beverly.
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