POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Woodall receives Chamber award

About 250 participated in a town hall meeting with Congressman Rob Woodall last week. (Submitted)

About 250 participated in a town hall meeting with Congressman Rob Woodall last week. (Submitted)

Local Congressman Rob Woodall picked up an award this week, receiving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Enterprise Award at a Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce event.

“I have great respect for the Chamber of Commerce, not only at the national level, but also locally where the Chamber and new Chamber President, Dan Kaufman, work vigorously to be a positive force not just for the business community, but for our entire community,” Woodall said after receiving the award, given to members of Congress for their support of jobs and job creators, at a luncheon Thursday. “I am tremendously appreciative of this recognition, though I know it is local businesses and entrepreneurs, not Congress, that deserve the real credit for our growing economy and new jobs for working families.”

“The engine for economic growth in this country has always been small business,” added Woodall, who plans to participate in a roundtable with the National Federation of Independent Business in Norcross Monday. “Washington will never know more about your industry than you do. The federal government must never stifle entrepreneurial spirit, but rather should strive to create an environment that unleashes it.

Also Thursday, Woodall hosted a town hall meeting that brought about 250 people to the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

“My success as the voice of the 7th District in Washington depends on having great communication with constituents here at home, and I use lots of different kinds of events to achieve that goal,” said Woodall, who fielded questions on health care, immigration and national security, among other topics. “This country is not run by 51 percent of America, but rather by 51 percent of those that show up. Participation is vital to the success of our republic, and I am grateful to everyone in the community who came out to participate tonight.”

Gerrard vows to refuse salary

Last week, one of candidates hoping to become a congressman for another portion of Gwinnett said he would forego a salary.

Candidate Gary Gerrard, who is a Republican seeking the 10th District spot said that if he is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, he will refuse any salary until Congress passes a balanced budget.

“Every American understands that if you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid,” Gerrard said. “Congress has not passed a budget in over three years, much less a balanced budget. Congress must be held accountable for this failure.”

In January, Congress passed the “No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013,” that required House and Senate salaries be held in escrow until each body passed a 2014 budget resolution, not an actual budget agreed to by both houses. There is no budget, but no pay is being withheld. “The act is just a gimmick,” Gerrard said. “That isn’t good enough. I will be personally accountable in the simplest way possible. I will forfeit all salary until Congress passes a balanced budget.”

This is not the first time Gerrard, an Oglethorpe County attorney, has donated his salary. As the CEO of Action, Inc., a community action agency serving the poor in 10 counties of Northeast Georgia, Gerrard donated his salary back to Action until it got out of a crushing debt due to mismanagement by a previous administration.

“I will only accept the standard reimbursement for travel and living expenses necessary to travel to and from Washington D.C., and to stay there while serving on official business,” Gerrard said. “Serving is reward enough. I will return any salary to the U.S. Treasury as my contribution toward reducing the national debt. I am a fiscal conservative. I live by those principles. I believe any candidate for or member of Congress who is truly serious about setting the country on the right fiscal path will join me in this commitment.”

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

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