WHAT GEORGIANS SAW THIS WEEK: Families Come Back Together for July 4th, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden Encourages Georgians to Get Vaccinated, Local Elected Officials Praise Biden’s Infrastructure Plan

July 9, 2021

This week, Georgians were able to safely come back together in celebration of the Fourth of July thanks to the shots in arms and checks in pockets from President Biden and Democrats’ American Rescue Plan. Throughout the week, local elected officials also underlined how urgent passing the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is to rebuilding our roads and bridges, bringing good-paying union jobs to Georgia, and winning the 21st century. And on Thursday, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden joined Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock and Mayor Van Johnson in Savannah to encourage Georgians of all ages to get their vaccine shots. 

Here’s what Georgians saw this week:


WTVM (Columbus), 7/2/2021: 4th of July 2020 vs. 2021

  • With Independence Day Weekend here, people around the Fountain City are looking to get back to normalcy by hosting cookouts and spending time with loved ones.
  • Savoy Morgan told News Leader 9 he spent the holiday at home last year. “I ain’t do nothing last year with that COVID man. I couldn’t do nothing. I just stayed at the house and tried to take it easy and not get sick. Thank God,” said Morgan. According to Morgan, this year he’ll be spending the Independence Day weekend with his nephew.
  • According to Pam Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department, this time last year Muscogee County saw it’s biggest spike in COVID cases. This year the COVID case count is significantly lower. “Last year on July 3rd we had about almost 2000 cases, and then just days later on the eighth we had about 2300,” said Kirkland. “Just this week, since Monday, we’ve seen a drop in our cases over the last two weeks. So we’re down to 66 cases that are considered active.”
  • Some Columbus citizens say those cases prompted them to alter their 4th of July plans. This time around, people around the Fountain City said they are excited to spend it with the ones they love, or get back into a normal groove.

WJCL (Savannah), 7/4/2021: Big July 4th Weekend Crowds

  • Brooke Butler: “Right now, downtown Savannah is filled with people enjoying the holiday weekend. Our Jessica Battista spoke to some tourists on the difference between this Fourth of July, compared to last year.” 
  • This really is, as a family, maybe the first thing we’ve done kind of in public.” 
  • So wonderful to be able to be out and be around people again. I think during the pandemic, we just were so disconnected from other people.” 
  • Jessica Battista: “How different is it this year compared to last Fourth of July in Savannah?” 
  • It’s a great time.” “It’s been a great time.” “This is the first time we can go to bars, hang out on the street. Last year we couldn’t do this.
  • Savannah Mayor Van Johnson: “We’re celebrating Independence, but we’re also celebrating America coming back. Coming back in a very big way. Coming back in a very strong way. We were definitely in a different place last July.” 


The Atlanta Voice, 7/9/21: ‘Mayor Williams: Washington must pass Pres. Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal’

  • Democrats and Republicans alike must come together to support the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, a historic $1.3 trillion plan introduced by President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators.
  • Having served as the Mayor of Union City for eight years and as a city council member for six years before that, I know a good deal for cities when I see one. And that’s exactly what the Biden administration has put on the table. 
  • The Framework will create a generation of good-paying union jobs, stimulate economic growth, and position Georgia and the United States to compete and win the 21st century, including investments in many of the key technologies needed to combat the climate crisis. 
  • The plan focuses directly on what transportation infrastructure in our cities need right now: resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will modernize public transit with a $48.5 billion investment and direct $66 billion towards passenger and freight rail – the largest federal investment in public transit in history.
  • As we continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to look towards the future and make long-term investments in America that boost Georgia’s economy from the bottom up and middle out. President Biden is delivering on his promise to find common ground in Washington to get things done. 
  • Now, it’s time for both sides of the aisle to pass this infrastructure deal and push Georgia and America to the next level of innovation and economic progress. This moves us closer to our piece of the promise.

The Augusta Chronicle, 7/9/21: ‘Georgia mayors, including Hardie Davis, support bipartisan Senate framework on infrastructure’

  • “This is the largest investment in our infrastructure in a century, the largest investment in public transit in American history,” Davis said. “For those of us in Augusta, in the CSRA, it will allow Augustans and individuals across this region to benefit from improved transit access, and it will bring huge boosts in our efforts to not only move towards climate friendly electric busses that we just announced on this past Monday, but more importantly, these investments will allow us to move forward with clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure that in many of cities have languished for decades.”
  • The agreement was a compromise reached on June 24 between President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators. While legislation has not been put forward yet, the agreement proposes $312 billion for transportation and $266 billion for other infrastructure, including power, water, resilience and broadband infrastructure. 
  • “Internet access is a crucial utility, and with an allocation of $65 billion for broadband infrastructure we have an opportunity to not only meet the needs of rural Georgians but even urban Georgians,” Davis said. “Right here in the heart of Augusta I’ve got individuals who do not have internet access … We’ve got an opportunity to fix that.”
  • Besides Davis, Union City Mayor and GMA President Vince Williams, East Point Mayor Deana Holiday Ingraham, Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey and Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson also spoke in support of the proposal.
  • “I know a good deal for cities when I see one, and that is what the Biden administration has put on the table,” said Williams.
  • Ingraham spoke about the significant water infrastructure challenges facing her city of about 35,000. “We have $326,007,017 in water, sewer and storm water infrastructure needs,” she said of East Point, going on to say much of the water infrastructure is 60 to 70 years old.
  • “This bipartisan infrastructure framework is being led by President Biden and the Senate,” Davis said when asked about congressional support. “We have two of our new senators, Sens. (Jon) Ossoff and (Raphael) Warnock, who have not only championed the infrastructure framework, more importantly they know intimately the challenges that we are facing in Augusta.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/8/21: ‘Local, state mayors stress need for passage of $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan’

  • Georgia mayors supporting the Biden Administration’s $1.2 billion infrastructure plan said Thursday the proposal is about more than fixing roads and cleaning up rivers.
  • The funding will help address inequities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic, including the lack of access to the Internet for education and the impact reduced transportation options had on Americans’ ability to get to work.
  • “It is about saving lives and ensuring that we have infrastructure in place that allows Americans to thrive,” said East Point Mayor Deana Holiday Ingraham.

During a press conference put on by the Georgia Municipal Association, the mayors of Augusta, Brunswick, Columbus, Union City and East Point each stressed the need for funding to fix aging water pipes, overhaul highways and expand transportation alternatives, such as electric buses.

  • “As we continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to look towards the future and make long-term investments in America,” Vince Williams, Union City’s mayor and GMA president, said during the virtual meeting.
  • The mayors said many of the problems are universal, affecting the state’s bigger cities and its rural communities — especially the lack of broadband services.
  • “We need broadband to all our cities, small cities and rural cities,” Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey said. “This pandemic pointed out … that some of our kids don’t have connectivity. And they lagged behind.”
  • And even when the Internet is available, not everyone can get it, Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said. “We have some areas in our community that even though the Internet service is available, it is not affordable,” he said.


WSAV (Savannah), 7/9/21: ‘Do your part’: First lady visits Savannah in COVID vaccine push

  • First lady Jill Biden stopped in Savannah Thursday to encourage more residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Sen. Warnock told the crowd to think back to the isolation many faced during the pandemic with social distancing guidelines.
  • “The other day we celebrated the Fourth of July which is about freedom – and that’s what this is about,” Warnock said. “It’s about getting our lives back. So spread the word. Tell people don’t fear the vaccine. Be concerned about the virus.”
  • “You met this crisis with courage and now you’re working tirelessly to get Savannah vaccinated,” said Biden. “Nobody knows this community or how to meet people where they are like you do. You’re the best messengers we have and the president and I are so grateful for your work.”
  • “Do your part. Choose to get your shot for yourself, for your family, for your city of Savannah,” Biden said. “And then we’ll be able to celebrate the summer the way it should be — safe and together.”

WTOC (Savannah), 7/7/21: First Lady travels to Georgia, Florida to promote COVID-19 vaccine

  • First Lady Jill Biden is scheduled to spend the day in Savannah to highlight COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The visit comes as officials grow concerned about the spread of the delta variant.
  • “Now we need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood and often time door to door, literally knocking on doors to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,” President Biden said about the effort.
  • The CDC predicts the more transmissible delta strain will soon account for a majority of cases in the U.S. Now, the Biden administration is ramping up public awareness campaigns for vaccination: targeting young adults who are unvaccinated through TikTok influencers and promoting the accessibility of mobile health units and 24-hour pharmacies.
  • The good news is that a number of counties are reporting zero new cases in the past two weeks.


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