The late Charlie Norwood's 10th District congressional successor chose Columbia County as the site for one of his three field offices.
Paul Broun, who was elected to fill Norwood's unexpired term in July, opened an office Monday in Evans.
"The only regret we have about this new office is you are not in the manufacturing business, you are not going to generate sales tax," Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said jokingly at the county chamber of commerce's ribbon-cutting ceremony. "But I believe with your work in Washington, you can do some things that can make up for that. We're glad to have you here in Columbia County."
The office is at 4262 Washington Road, Suite 6, in Evans Professional Center. Broun also has field offices in Athens and Toccoa.
Broun urged residents to visit or call the office with their questions, problems or concerns.
Jessica Morris, a member of Broun's staff, said his staffers will be in the office from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A case worker and field representative will staff the office full time along with Morris.
"We can help facilitate between anyone and any government entity," Morris said. The staff can help with Social Security or disability benefits or with grants, she said. "There really aren't any stupid questions."
Broun, who joined the county chamber of commerce, said he plans to work to promote economic development in the area and districtwide.
"During my campaign for Congress, I kept saying I wanted to be a one-man chamber of commerce of every single community and every single county," Broun said. "I want to bring industry into the CSRA and am working real hard to do so.
"We're working real hard to try to do the things that are critical for economic development."
Broun said he has spoken with officials from the Medical College of Georgia, Fort Gordon and Savannah River Site about their economic development needs. He said he also would like to see Augusta have some sort of north-south interstate access.
Allen and Gerry Westover, of Augusta, attended the ceremony and said they are pleased that Broun chose the Augusta area for one of his offices because it allows them to stay abreast of issues and have a direct link to the congressman.
"You don't want to just vote somebody in and not know what's going on," Gerry Westover said. "I think this is really going to mean a lot to everybody."
Allen Westover said it was nice to meet Broun, a man they'd never met before voting him into office.
"A lot of times you don't know who the right person is," he said. "I like the freshness of him."
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