It might be the August recess in Washington, D.C., but I’ve been busy here in the Fourth District the past couple of weeks. It’s good to be home for a brief respite, which affords me the opportunity to listen to constituents’ thoughts and concerns.
This week, I was pleased to visit Acuity Brands Lighting at their Conyers plant off Sigman Road.
Acuity is one of the leading manufacturers of lighting equipment in the world. They are based in Atlanta and employ about 6,000 people worldwide with net sales of more than $2 billion. They operate U.S. facilities in Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, California, Texas, Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, and have sales staff in all 50 states.
I’m proud that such an innovative and eco-conscience company resides in our district. Acuity is leading the way in sustainability – not only in the products they make – but in the design of their facilities worldwide.
And I’m pleased that I could help pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act on direct solar – one of the modern technologies Acuity has embraced – to authorize that direct solar be a part of the statutory goal that 25 percent of the energy utilized by the Department of Defense facilities comes from renewable energy sources by 2025.
This is the wave of the future and Acuity is on the cutting edge. For more on Acuity and direct solar, click HERE.
VOTE ACT: Last week, I introduced the bipartisan Verifying Official Totals for Elections, or VOTE Act, which would require jurisdictions using electronic voting machines for federal elections to deposit the software or source code in the National Software Reference Library at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
In the case of a contested election and or recount, the VOTE Act would allow qualified persons to review the source code to ensure its accuracy and reliability. Given the recent news of Fulton County’s problems, I believe the VOTE Act is essential to protect our elections. For more, click HERE.
ACCESS TO CAPITAL: Access to capital remains a top concern for small businesses. In 2011, our office worked with the Georgia Small Business & Development Center to secure more than $5 million in loans for Fourth District businesses. For more information, click HERE.
FORECLOSURE PREVENTION: DeKalb County is hosting a foreclosure prevention event on Saturday, Aug. 18 at Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church. For more information or to register, click HERE.
I was pleased to host a foreclosure prevention event recently with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and HUD-approved counseling agency D&E.
We helped hundreds of homeowners, including Mr. Elliot, whose loan was modified after meeting with Nadine Lang, Paralegal/Housing Counselor with Atlanta Legal Aid Society at our Fighting Foreclosure event at Salem Bible Church. “I am so grateful to Congressman Johnson and Ms. Lang, because without the two of them, this wouldn't have happened,” said Mr. Elliot. We’re here to serve sir, we are here to serve.
I want to especially thank our housing specialist, who works every day to help Fourth District residents save their homes from foreclosure. Photo above: Nadine Lang, Paralegal/Housing Counselor with Atlanta Legal Aid Society, and constituent Mr. Elliott, standing in front of his home that was made more affordable through a HARP refinance.
MORE ON MORTGAGES: The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has used its regulatory authority to start fulfilling Congress’ mandate to reform the mortgage market. The CFPB is writing rules to help consumers make informed decisions when shopping for a mortgage, simplify mortgage disclosure forms and bring greater transparency and accountability to mortgage servicing. For more information, click HERE.
MORE FOR CONSUMERS: Through innovative technology and education, the CFPB has also developed tools designed to empower consumers to make responsible financial decisions. With its Know Before You Owe campaign, the CFPB has helped to make mortgages, credit cards, and student loans easier to understand. For more, click HERE.
HELP DURING TOUGH TIMES: If you’re struggling to pay your rent, you may be able to find assistance from your local Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office. These offices offer rental assistance programs like privately-owned subsidized housing, public housing, and housing choice vouchers. You may also be able to find help from your state housing authority or your local public housing agency.
OAKHURST HONORS: Last week, I received a Certification & Recognition award from Oakhurst Medical Centers during National Health Care Week. At its groundbreaking on a new $5 million health center complex in Stone Mountain, I was honored to receive the award for my “dedication to improving the health of every American.”
Having access to quality care when dealing with my own health issues, I think everyone deserves the right to quality, affordable healthcare. Community health centers like Oakhurst – the lifeblood of our communities – help make that possible. For more, click HERE.
DIGITAL DIVIDE: It was an honor to be a part of two Comcast events Aug. 16 – one at Sequoyah Middle School in Doraville and the other at the Pan Asian Community Center off Buford Highway dealing with the Digital Divide. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, minority communities have far less access to broadband Internet at home than other communities, which makes it harder for minorities to find jobs, obtain important health information, help children with their homework, or simply learn about the world around us. That’s why I’m pleased to be a part of Comcast’s Internet Essentials initiative, which provides low-cost computers, Internet service and digital literacy classes in our community. For more, click HERE.
IMMIGRATION FORUM: There will be an important immigration forum on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Latin American Association. The forum will address what President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy and the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law means for Georgia’s immigration law. For more, click HERE.
YOUNG PEOPLE MATTER: Young People Matter (YPM) is hiring a part-time case manager and residential coordinator for their Open Hearts Youth Shelter in DeKalb County. Candidates will work with runaway, homeless and street youth in the Atlanta metropolitan area – help them get to safety and stabilize their lives. For more information, click HERE.
As always, I appreciate your time and feedback. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent you in Congress.
August 17, 2012
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Arthur D. Sidney, Chief of Staff
Kathy Register, District Director
Eric C. Hubbard
Oliver Spurgeon, III