For The Record

Ossoff promotes HBCU and Atlanta Beltline federal funding during Congress’ spring break

By: - April 20, 2022 9:04 pm

Sen. Jon Ossoff and Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell walk the campus after announcing new federal grants for the school’s technology infrastructure. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder

Sen. Jon Ossoff capped off a three-day tour of Georgia Wednesday with stops in Atlanta touting federal money for the Atlanta BeltLine Trail and the city’s historically Black colleges and universities.

“Since I took office, working alongside Sen. Rev. (Raphael) Warnock, we have secured more than $250 million in supplemental investment for Georgia’s HBCUs,” Ossoff said during remarks outside the Albro-Falconer-Manley Science Center at Spelman College. “I said when I was running for the Senate, that I would put investment in Georgia’s HBCUs at the center of my work, and I’m going to continue to fight every day for Georgia HBCUs.”

Ossoff swung by the campus to highlight $2.5 million in federal appropriations signed into law by President Joe Biden last month, which Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said will help transform the university’s digital infrastructure.

“It will allow us to upgrade our wireless network, it will allow us to improve our research capacity, our teaching capacity, our learning capacity, it will allow us to move forward with great speed on our eSpelman learning platform for adult learners, and it will improve our connectivity throughout the (Atlanta University Center) and between the AUC and other research institutions.”

Ossoff said other schools within the Atlanta University Center are also set to receive new upgrades, including a new academic building at the Morehouse School of Medicine and upgrades to the cybersecurity and STEM programs at Clark Atlanta University.

Ossoff briefly mentioned the wave of bomb threats made against HBCUs including Spelman that started in February.

“In the last several months, I have been in contact with the GBI, with the FBI and DOJ officials, I have been in regular contact with Dr. Campbell, my staff is in regular contact with the leadership at Spelman and other institutions that face these threats, and I will continue to work with you, Dr. Campbell to ensure that you have all of the support from law enforcement at every level, up to and including the FBI, that you need to continue your work and to keep this institution safe,” he said.

On Monday, Ossoff traveled to Crisp Regional Hospital in Cordele to promote a $400,000 program to provide free transportation to appointments and to Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale to plug a $1.1 million grant for a mental health crisis assessment and treatment area next to the hospital’s emergency department.

On Tuesday, he visited with troops and military leaders at Ft. Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield to announce a $105 million project to build new barracks on post.

It was the type of earmark publicizing trip common during an election year, only Ossoff is not up for re-election this year.

Fellow Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is however, and Ossoff made sure to drop Warnock’s name as he traveled around the state.

Several Republicans are set to compete in the May 24 primary for a chance to face Warnock in November. The frontrunner on the GOP side is former University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker.

The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls puts Walker at 1.6 points ahead of Warnock, landing his seat in the tossup category.

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Ross Williams
Ross Williams

Before joining the Georgia Recorder, Ross Williams covered local and state government for the Marietta Daily Journal. His work earned recognition from the Georgia Associated Press Media Editors and the Georgia Press Association, including beat reporting, business writing and non-deadline reporting.