Washington, D.C. — Today, during the confirmation hearing of Shalanda Young to serve as President Biden’s Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff secured pledges from Ms. Young to work with him to improve military base housing and to fund the completion of the Port of Savannah deepening project.
Sen. Ossoff noted that while he believes commanding officers at both Fort Gordon in Augusta and Fort Benning in Columbus have made diligent and good faith efforts to improve conditions, concerns remain about military base housing at both Army posts, and he asked for her commitment to ensure both posts have the federal resources necessary to improve conditions.
Ms. Young agreed to work with Sen. Ossoff to ensure both posts have the federal resources they need, also noting that Ft. Gordon is of special significance to her personally, as her partner was born at Ft. Gordon and grew up in Augusta.
Sen. Ossoff also asked for her commitment to work with him and Savannah Mayor Van Johnson to ensure the deepening project at the Port of Savannah receives the federal funding needed to complete the project on-time and without any further cost overruns, highlighting its economic impact to the state and the entire nation.
Ms. Young agreed, noting that in her previous capacity on the House Appropriations Committee, she understands the Port is an economic engine and the vast economic benefits the project will provide for Georgia and the entire country.
Please find a transcript of the exchanges below:
OSSOFF: “I’d like to talk about a couple of issues of particular concern to my constituents in Georgia. At Fort Gordon in Augusta, and at Fort Benning in Columbus, there have been consistent long-term concerns about the health and safety of base housing and military families who have had to endure unsafe unsanitary unhealthy conditions at base housing. And the commanding officers at both facilities, I believe, are making diligent and good-faith efforts to address that issue so military families in Georgia can live in safe conditions. Will you commit to working with my office to ensure that federal resources necessary to ensure that housing on post at Fort Benning and Fort Gordon is safe for our military families?”
YOUNG: “Senator Ossoff, you see me smiling because my partner with me was born at Fort Gordon in Augusta and grew up in Augusta. You absolutely have my commitment; also, this is a good example of when we talk about defense funding, it matters not just the top line but what’s in it. And we have a lot more to do on basic life safety projects with military housing. Our men and women in uniform deserve at least that much.”
OSSOFF: “Well I know the military families in Augusta and Columbus will be grateful. And I appreciate the Georgia connection in your family. I’d like to ask you as well about a major infrastructure project, which is the Port of Savannah, where a multi-year, very expensive deepening of that port, which is vital to Georgia and indeed national prosperity is over budget and behind schedule. Will you work with my office and with Mayor Van Johnson in Savannah to ensure that federal funds are dispersed appropriately, and with all appropriate speed so we can complete that project without any more cost overruns or delays in the schedule?”
YOUNG: “I’ve heard a lot about the port in my years on Appropriations Committee. I understand the economic engine that it is, the dredging, what it is to the rest of the country, not just Georgia, so you have my commitment to working with you on that long-standing project.”
OSSOFF: “Thank you so much Ms. Young.”