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Isakson talks veterans, Port of Savannah status
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
August 14, 2013 08:49 AM | 1355 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson speaks to the Paulding Chamber of Commerce at Indigo Falls in 
Dallas.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson speaks to the Paulding Chamber of Commerce at Indigo Falls in Dallas.
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U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., spoke to members of the Paulding Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Club last week about issues ranging from problems at the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center to the national debt crisis.

Last week Isakson hosted a hearing in response to two suicides and one drug overdose reported at the VA center in Decatur, according to area news sources. The deaths were linked to alleged mismanagement.

“I have taken a vested interest in our veterans,” he said.

Isakson said this year about 8,000 veterans will commit suicide.

“Suicide is the largest single problem in the veterans’ health system,” he said.

About one million active duty military members will go to veteran status in the next two years, he noted.

“Those hospitals need to be the best they can be to serve those who have been the best they can be, so you and I could be here today,” he said.

Isakson said the deaths in the hospitals are not acceptable and he is going to work to make sure it does not happen again.

During his speech he spoke about the port of Savannah and how the regulatory process is almost complete to allow deepening of the harbor for ocean-going cargo vessels.

“It has taken almost 14 years,” he said.

“That port is critical to our country, critical to our state and critical to our economy.”

Because of the port, 247,000 jobs have been created in Georgia. When finished, the jobs total should rise to more than 400,000, the senator said.

Also the port is sending out more goods than it brings in, he said.

Isakson said President Barack Obama has an interest in the port and is helping push the process forward. He also thanked Obama publicly for his help.

“He [Obama] realizes what is important to the United States,” Isakson said.

Isakson also spoke about his involvement with the “Supper Club,” an eight-member group of U.S. Senate Republicans who act as a sounding board about the budget crisis for the Senate Republican caucus in meetings with Obama and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

The U.S. debt is $17 trillion and “30 years from today if we don’t fix our deficit problem we will owe $72 trillion,” he said.

“We need to run our country as we do a business and our families.”
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