2014-01-08 / Front Page

Law makers meet in Colquitt

by Terry Toole

Colquitt and Miller County's Georgia lawmakers were the special guests of the 1st Friday Breakfast on January 3, 2014, at the event held monthly by Colquitt/ Miller Chamber of Commerce.

Chairperson of the local chamber, Monica Posey welcomed everyone, especially Sen. Dean Burke, Rep. Gerald Greene and Rep. Winfred Duke to the first meeting of 2014. She asked the Rev. CoryThomas to pray for the meeting and the food. She then thanked the Miller County Liberal for sponsoring the meeting.

Chairman Posey then asked for the community reports.

Supt. Allen Kickligher said that the Miller County Schools were progressing well; they had enjoyed the Christmas and New Year holidays and were looking for an even better school year when they started back.

City Manager Cory Thomas had no report for the city, except it's a New Year and better things were expected. Thomas did report that the Colquitt/Miller Volunteer Fire Department was sponsoring a benefit for Kent and Tammy Richardson at the Seminole County Lunchroom Saturday evening to help on the treatment of Tammy’s cancer. He stated that the seats to the program were almost sold out, but anyone could buy chances on the over-under shotgun to be given away, and he happened to have some tickets at $10 each.

County Commissioner Clyde Jinks reported that the county was in fair shape.

Miller County CEO Robin Rau reported that the hospital and nursing home renovation was still going well. She also stated that the hospital would start a 7500 square foot dialysis clinic that would add 17 good paying jobs in this area. The construction of that facility would start soon this year.

Colquitt Downtown Development Association members Terry Taylor and Jewel Worsley announced that the Colquitt Theater project would be starting very soon. Those in charge of the building project were introduced. The loan and grant for the project has been completed, Terry Taylor stated that no tax monies would be used.

Mayor Jerry Chapman announced that Gil Kelly and Danielle ????? would be running the Tarrer Inn.

Dee Dee Zavala from the Georgia Department of Labor was welcomed to the meeting.

Representative Gerald Greene thanked the COC for inviting him to this meeting.

Rep. Greene stated that things under the Gold Dome in Atlanta were a little more upbeat. The state is taking in more tax monies, and the cuts like the Department of Education and other departments are not anticipated as in the past. Georgia is one of the fastest job growing states in the nation.

Rep. Greene commented Colquitt and Miller County as being progressive and having one of the strongest Chambers of Commerce around.

He stated, “U.S. Highway 27 would be finished soon. All right of ways and funds have been acquired. It will be a major road in Georgia, and move traffic safer and better.”

Rep. Greene told the crowd, “You never know what’s under the Gold Dome until you get there. It won’t be a big bill passing session since it is an election year. It looks like May will be our election time.”

Rep. Winfred Dukes stated that he was glad to be Miller County’s representative again due to redistricting. It does look like May will be our election date with March being qualifying for candidates.

Rep. Dukes stated that the budget is mandatory in Georgia. We have shown growth, with more people working and that means more income tax for the state. He said that the water issues are very important since our are is primarily agriculture. Agriculture is the largest industry in the state, and since we have the aquifer, we might swap some water for some industry. It is truly a privilege to serve this area.

Senator Dean Burke stated that he is a fullblooded South Georgia native of Seminole and Decatur counties. He has practiced medicine OBGYN for over 30 years, and after thousands of babies, he has retired from that practice, and offering my service as you senator.

We are out-numbered in Atlanta, but we are blessed to have senior leadership in this area. Sen. Burke represents eight counties, including Miller.

“I enjoy putting in a 12- 16 hour day,” the senator stated.

The state has AAA bond rating. Georgia is 8th in growth in the nation.

“When I was running, a went to your editor’s office and asked if he would like to interview me. He told me to win, and thanks to most of you I did,” Sen. Burke stated.

There was a question and answer session that lasted even after the three lawmakers finished.

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