Thanks to the Staff of Georgia's Seventh Congressional District

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 17, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to thank the men and women that I have had the pleasure of working with over these 10 years in Congress.

When you announce that you are retiring, folks need to start looking for that next opportunity. So the people who stick it out with you are a special breed. So, too, are those men and women who come and join you, knowing that their service will be short.

Mr. Speaker, there are three such people: Sean Lerner, Emily Macdonald, and Tomas Rodriguez. Knowing I was going to retire, they came and joined the fight to serve the men and women of the Seventh District of Georgia and have done an amazing job for me over the past year.

Catherine Morvis, a name long known in Georgia circles, having served with Congressman Phil Gingrey, came back to the Hill to help keep things together for me and move us across the finish line. She is still serving even today.

Mr. Speaker, I have longtime staffers--Lauren Williams, Nicholas Scoufaras, Vesna Kurspahic, Naomi Pillsbury--men and women who have been doing extraordinary work, always under difficult circumstances, recently under incredibly difficult circumstances.

Mr. Speaker, I have got staffers who have been with me a decade or more, who have recently departed: Alex Poirot, Kelley Kurtz, Janet Rossi, and Elena Gabrysh.

Elena and I started working together in 1999, serving the people of Georgia. Now, more than 20 years later, she has gone into retirement, having served literally thousands of constituents.

Mr. Speaker, I want to call particular attention to two public servants that I have been incredibly honored to be able to know in my life: My State director, Debra Poirot; and my chief of staff, Derick Corbett.

Mr. Speaker, if you have not had an opportunity to meet Debra Poirot, she brightens up every room that she walks into with a genuine love for this country and a love for her community. She lives in Forsyth County, though she grew up as an Air Force child, calls Texas home from that time, but has claimed Georgia.

So committed is she, Mr. Speaker, I remember a World War II veteran, a widow, and she was losing her housing. Debra woke up on a Saturday morning and read about it in the newspaper. She spent the next week finding this family and spent the week after that solving that problem.

She made a difference in that life that can never be measured and did it not because a constituent called, not because someone knocked on the door, but simply because she lives a life of looking for opportunities to make other people's lives better.

She finds herself out in the community each and every day, not just serving us but fulfilling a true heartfelt mission to see what she can do that others could not. An amazing woman, an amazing mother, and certainly an amazing public servant, and I thank her for that.

Derick Corbett, Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of hiring him back in the year 2000. I didn't think he was going to amount to much at that time, but we needed somebody on the bottom rung of the ladder and he agreed to raise his hand and do it.

He could not be more of a rock, a rock for our office, a rock for our community. The common refrain I find when I go out into the district is: ``Hi, Rob, good to see you. Where is Derick?'' because he has such an impact on folks.

He won't take ``no'' for an answer when a Federal agency won't serve a constituent. He demands the service that each and every citizen knows that they deserve.

He is an even better husband and an even better father than he is a public servant.

But, Mr. Speaker, there would be no Congressman Rob Woodall if there were not a Chief of Staff Derick Corbett, if there were not a District Director Debra Poirot. These two have changed countless lives, and among them has been mine.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all of my staff for the amazing work they have done over the years. They are great Americans. They love this country, and I love them.