What does a press tour with a United States senator look like?
There are two United States senators and 159 different counties in Georgia, which is more counties than any state other than Texas.
In other words, it's not every day when a sitting senator visits Baldwin County, and when they do, people show up.
Such was the case on Tuesday afternoon, as Sen. Jon Ossoff and his team held a press tour at the Early Learning Center off of the bypass. WGXA/Channel 24 streamed the press conference, which can be viewed immediately below...
Ossoff was in town to tour the Early Learning Center, where he had a listening session with Superintendent Noris Price and the school board before moving into the press conference/meet-and-greet portion of the event. The theme of the afternoon was early education, as Ossoff basically was in town to tout $1.8 million in new federal funding for the Baldwin County School District's Head Start program.
The mayor and city manager were there, as was the sheriff, the county manager, two county commissioners, representatives from the chamber of commerce and even the fire chief.
The first step for Ossoff's handlers was assembling the traveling podium, which was five smaller pieces that fit together to make one podium, including the UNITED STATES SENATE seal. One of Ossoff's handlers asked the press for questions ahead of time, while Ossoff was still in another room meeting the superintendent and school board.
Ossoff's handlers assemble the traveling UNITED STATES SENATE podium.
Ossoff and Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan hug it out.
Ossoff and crew eventually made their way across the playground and into the atrium. Ossoff held the door for everyone else. He appeared somewhat tired and his eyes heavy, which is understandable considering the nature of the job, which is a grind.
Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan took the podium first.
"We should be truly thankful here in Milledgeville and Baldwin County, because this is a man who truly loves his rural communities," the mayor said. "(Ossoff) works for us all. Whether it's Milledgeville and Baldwin County or surrounding counties, he is hands-on, and I am so appreciative to know him. I can pick up the phone and call him. That's how personable he is."
Next up was Superintendent Noris Price, who explained how the additional funding will help expand the Head Start program to a younger age group. Currently, there is a 3-year-old program and a 4-year-old program in Baldwin County. The new funding will now cover eligible children "from six-weeks-old to 5 (years old)," said Price. The superintendent added that Head Start is much more than just early learning, and it branches out into "health, nutrition and mental health services."
Price then passed it off to Ossoff, who spoke eloquently about the benefits of early education. He also reassured the crowd that members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are working together for the good of the nation, regardless of how it may appear from the outside. Ossoff used the new round of federal funding for early education as an example.
Following his remarks, Ossoff fielded two generic questions from the press, thanked everyone and mingled with the crowd, smiling for dozens of photos. After that, it was back to the car with his handlers and on to the next little town.