Gwinnett Daily Post– While some people might find the bipartisan bickering in Congress discouraging, Rep. Rob Woodall is optimistic about the situation in the nation’s capital.

“The wonderful thing about the divided government we’re going to have in Washington, D.C., over the next two years is that we can tackle the hardest of the problems America is facing,” he said.

Woodall, whose 7th Congressional District includes much of the county, was the guest speaker at Wednesday’s Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce legislative luncheon — an annual event attended by city and county leaders as well as members of the Gwinnett delegation to the Georgia General Assembly.

According to Woodall, the congressional turnover in Washington has resulted in a governing body more willing to take on long-term issues.

“We’ve got all these folks — I don’t mean young in age, I mean young in duration on Capitol Hill — who want to do the big things,” Woodall said.

“Big things” like Medicare and Social Security reform have been done with bipartisan support, Woodall explained. Healthcare reform, he said, would have been more successful had it been passed with bipartisan support.

“Bipartisanship is not an admirable goal in and of itself,” Woodall said. However, he added, bipartisanship affords an opportunity to accomplish “big things.”

“And I implore you to push us to do the big things,” he said.

Citing the passage of the recent spending bill despite the controversy on both sides of the aisle, Woodall said he feels lawmakers have reached a point where they can begin to tackle important issues. Though Republicans will be in the majority in the 114th Congress, Woodall said the last election shows the real majority party is the American people.

“There’s not a conservative majority, there’s not a Republican majority with the 60 votes they need in the Senate, there’s just an American majority,” he said.

That American majority, he explained, can accomplish great things because of their optimism and willingness to help others.

“We’ve got to find a way to push folks to do things that may not be popular today, but will be popular 10 years from now,” he said.

Woodall said his constituents, including groups such as the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, embody that optimism and willingness to help.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you,” he said. “I won’t tell you that every day is a good day, but I will tell you that there’s nobody on Capitol Hill that has a bigger smile on their face than I do because there is nobody on Capitol Hill who represents folks who are as committed to each other as a community than those of us here in Gwinnett and across the border into Forsyth County.”

And what happens at the community level, Woodall said, is what makes America great — not what happens in Washington, D.C.

“I see nothing but better things ahead for America,” he said. “I have no doubt that America’s best days are ahead.”

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