Celebrating National Small Business Week

May 4, 2018

First Sixth District Opioid Summit Held Tuesday

The first Sixth District summit focused on combatting the opioid epidemic, titled “Understanding The Opioid Epidemic: Data, Prevention & Treatment Resources,” was held at Dunwoody City Hall this Tuesday.

The event brought together government officials, industry professionals, and community leaders to develop a shared understanding of the epidemic.  During the summit, my guests and I examined existing data, available resources, and gaps in addiction treatment and prevention in Georgia’s Sixth District. 

In 2016, more than 63,000 Americans died of a drug overdose.  That same year, opioid-involved overdoses in Georgia accounted for 2,435 emergency room visits, 1,709 hospitalizations, and 929 deaths.  But Congress has been working to address this crisis.

Recently, the House of Representatives has prioritized implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act and appropriated funds specifically intended to fight the opioid epidemic in the budget agreement signed into law earlier this year.  These measures fund and treat substance abuse in our communities while investing in law enforcement’s ability to track down and prosecute those who distribute drugs illegally.

According to the Atlanta Regional Commission:

  • The death rate for opioid-related overdoses in metro Atlanta is higher than that of the state of Georgia as a whole.
  • Cobb County has experienced a dramatic increase in prescription opioid deaths, rising from 8 in 2013 to 61 in 2016 - the most in the 10-county region. Fulton County had the second-highest such number last year.

Obviously, more must be done.  And I am committed to working to solve this epidemic as your Representative in Congress.

Celebrating National Small Business Week

Since 1963, National Small Business Week has recognized the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.
More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create roughly two of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.  As part of National Small Business Week, I spent the week visiting successful entrepreneurs and small businesses across the Sixth District.
Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, business owners are experiencing historically high business conditions and expected sales, according to a recent survey by the National Federation for Independent Businesses.  

Talking Coffee with Thrive Farmers

As part of Small Business Week, I visited Thrive Farmers International in Roswell on Monday.

Thrive Farmers supplies the coffee for every Chick-fil-A in the United States.  It was formed in 2009 with the intention of operating under a farmer-direct revenue sharing model, working alongside sustainable farmers from across the world.

Today, Thrive Farmers is expanding coffee partnerships throughout Central America, and was recently named one of the fastest growing companies in Georgia by Roswell Inc.


Talking Chocolate with CocoaTown

It was such a pleasure to visit with entrepreneurs Dr. M. Balu, and Andau Balu at CocoaTown this week.

CocoaTown designs, develops, and distributes unique equipment ranging from roasters and crackers to melangers used in the production of gourmet chocolate.

Back in 2015, the Balus identified a need for a cost effective melangers and grindeurs for cocoa beans, and launched CocoaTown soon after.  Since then, the Sixth District company has helped facilitate entrepreneurialism in more than 60 countries around the world.  And in 2012 and 2013, the Fine Chocolate Industry Association gave CocoaTown the “Innovation in Fine Chocolate Production Category” award.


Recognizing Hope Industrial Systems

To cap off National Small Business Week, I visited Hope Industrial Systems to present the firm with the U.S. Commercial Service Export Achievement Award in Roswell.
Hope Industrial Systems manufacturers American-made mobile logistic computers that are used in food processing plants and at construction sites around the world.

The Export Achievement Award recognizes small and medium-sized enterprises that have successfully entered into the international marketplace.

I also had the chance to hold a town hall with about 100 of Hope Industrial Systems' employees.

Thank you for taking the time to read this note.  To stay current on what's going on in Congress, please follow me at Facebook.com/RepKarenHandel.  And if you find this update helpful, please take a second to forward it along to a few of your friends and neighbors.

As always, feel free to call 202-225-4501 or 770-998-0049 if you need assistance from me or anyone in my office.

Karen C. Handel
Member of Congress