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      Albany Area Chamber digests breakfast/future

      The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce chewed over the future of Southwest Georgia at its legislative breakfast meeting today.

      "We have to find dollars to help our budget be successful in our state so our businesses can be successful," said Catherine Glover, president of the Albany Area Chamber.

      That TMs the goal of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce but it won TMt be easy.

      "A lot of people may have their hand out looking to think that we can start funding at the previous levels when the truth of the matter is we TMve got some other funding that we have to take care of from the past," said State Rep. Ed Rynders.

      That gap in revenue could have a widespread effect on services and programs vital to Southwest Georgia " from education to transportation.

      The legislators at Doublegate also addressed what they called the elephant in the room " redistricting. Because of the results of the recent census, more representatives than ever before will be coming from metro Atlanta area, which means Southwest Georgia will have less representation in the state legislature.

      "If you TMve got more votes in metropolitan Atlanta than what you currently have, that makes it tougher to advocate for the needs of rural Georgia," said Rynders.

      The disparity could be key in the allocation of Southwest Georgia TMs water supply.

      "Water is an asset that we have and that we definitely need to leverage, hold onto as needed, use as wisely as possible," added Glover. "What our chamber has done has done is work together with a coalition of 23 other chambers in Southwest Georgia to put together a united, legislative agenda."