Thank you, Mayor Johnson. It’s wonderful to see you again. When I was last here you talked about how much fight there was in Augusta, how this city was growing and ready to take on the world. And I’m so grateful that with your leadership, this city is delivering on that promise.
We have so many incredible partners here today, from colleges and businesses, to state and local leaders. Thank you all for taking the time to join us, and for the heart and hard work you’ve put into this project.
Today, I want to talk to you about the future. And the boundless possibility that now lies ahead of places like Augusta. But first, I want to bring you back to a moment a few years ago, when my husband took office, and the pandemic was still raging. When jobs here seemed to be disappearing every day. When young people were graduating school and struggling to begin their careers.
Back then, when we looked to the future, we only saw uncertainty.
Now, in this incredible space of innovation and renewal, think of how much has changed.
Businesses are growing. Jobs are coming back. Buildings are going up. And, young people are on the path to incredible careers.
There’s a bright, vibrant future ahead of Richmond County. A future filled with hope – one everyone in this room can be a part of.
In July, I came to Augusta because you are one of a few cities selected as a Workforce Hub by the White House – a model for other communities.
I met middle schoolers who were learning to solder and community college students preparing for careers in manufacturing at Augusta Tech’s Mechatronics lab.
Mayor Johnson, don’t you remember how proud Patrick and Dustin were to show us how they had learned to fix an assembly line?
Today, I’m back to see the progress you’ve made in such a short time.
Aurubis and other companies right here in Augusta are hiring hundreds of local workers.
Aiken Tech, Augusta Tech, and Richmond County schools are partnering with local unions to make sure young people are ready for construction jobs here.
All because Joe is investing in Augusta.
Joe ran for President on a mission to rebuild the middle class. To work with Democrats and Republicans for communities like this one.
And he’s delivered on those promises with historic legislation. So, what does that mean here in Augusta?
It means that the airport has the resources it needs to renovate.
It means that Solvay has the funds it needs to build that new battery materials plant in South Richmond – the one that will inspire the students at Glen Hills Middle and Cross Creek High and so many others in the area to pursue careers in clean energy.
It means Augusta University has the funding it needs so that a student who loves computers has the opportunity to follow her dream and work in cybersecurity.
That’s what Joe means when he says he’s rebuilding the middle class. And it’s how he’s investing in America.
And now, with his vision, you’re working to make this a place of possibility for all. One where young people can use their creativity and gifts right here in Augusta.
You’re building the future, and everyone has the opportunity to be a part of it.
As many of you know, Joe grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
And when he was young, his father sat him down and told him the words no one wants to say to their child: “I’m sorry. I can’t find work and we can’t live here anymore.”
He thinks about that moment to this day.
Joe understands the middle class because he’s from the middle class. And he knows how a job can change a family’s path.
It’s why he’s fighting for communities like Augusta – for families like his growing up. Maybe families like yours.
So, I want to ask you to keep going, keep pushing, keep innovating – because that’s what Augusta does. And today is only the beginning.
I can’t wait to see what your next chapter holds.