Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux on Diversity, Infrastructure, and More

Newly-elected Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux discusses diversity, infrastructure, and future plans for Georgia’s 7th district.


Air Date: April 6, 2021

Moderator: Jack Howard, Senior Vice President for Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Featured Guests: Her Excellency Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment & COP27 Ministerial Coordinator & Envoy, Arab Republic of Egypt

Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux, a representative from Georgia’s 7th congressional district, has focused on pragmatic public policy, accomplishing goals and working in a bipartisan manner throughout her career in education, finance, and public service. Her expertise in public policy and finance are evident through accomplishments including balancing the Georgia state budget during the Great Recession, and founding the Center for State and Local Finance at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

Jack Howard, SVP of Government Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sat down with Representative Bourdeaux to learn more about her district’s diversity, its COVID-19 recovery plan, and infrastructure goals.

Georgia’s 7th District Is a Hub for Education, Diversity, and Small Businesses

“About 25% of the people in this district were born outside of this country,” said Bourdeaux. “[And] a lot of people come here for the good schools … It's a place where people come to raise their children.”

“Atlanta is growing very fast,” she continued, referring to her district’s continued growth and diversity. “It is drawing people from all over the country and all over the world, and a lot of them are settling here … We've always been very successful as a country in drawing the best and the brightest from all over the world, and so that's certainly one of the draws here.”

Bourdeaux, who had recently attended a Venezuelan-American round table where minority small business owners discussed their day-to-day obstacles, also talked about health insurance as it pertains to small businesses in her district.

“At one time … we had more people who purchased their health insurance on the health insurance exchange than almost any other district,” she said. “[We were] one of the top districts in the country for that.”

Bourdeaux’s Recovery Plan for Her District

Like the rest of America, Georgia’s 7th district is actively trying to recover from the pandemic. Bourdeaux commented on the state of her constituents, vaccination efforts, and recovery plans.

“Everybody's trying to get back on their feet from COVID,” she said. “Everybody is in some stage of trying to get vaccinated, getting vaccinated, or recently vaccinated … We're trying to get everybody through the crisis to the other side, so we're doing a lot of outreach around making sure people are able to access the PPP loans [and] EIDL loans.”

Residents and small business owners in her district still need help, though.

“We have a lot of people who need rental assistance [and] health insurance,” she said. “I want to make sure that this community rings every last drop of juicy goodness out of that bill, and part of that is reaching out to my small business community and letting them know all the different programs that they can access.”

Bourdeaux Defines Her Success by How Much She Helps Constituents

While there are policy goals she’d like to see serious progress on, Bourdeaux defines her success by accomplishing actions that have a real and positive effect on those she serves.

“One of the things that was so nice about the PPP Extension Act was that every community forum that I sit in; every time I meet with members of my community — which is very heavily composed of people who are involved in small businesses — was really, actively helpful to them.”

“Being helpful in that kind of way is very rewarding,” Bourdeaux said. “[It] makes the struggle to run for office and do this kind of job very rewarding.”

Bourdeaux’s Infrastructure Goals Are to Address Needs and Look to the Future

When it comes to President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill, Bourdeaux’s No. 1 goal is to address current infrastructure needs in her district.

“We need the potholes filled, we need the interchanges built, we need the extra lanes added,” she said. “There's a lot of things like that we need … to unstick existing traffic. But we also want to dream big and think about what we need for the future.”

“We’re [both] looking at the existing vision that is there in the county and talking about new ideas for ways we might build that connectivity better,” Bourdeaux added.