Lawmakers have breakfast with business leaders

Local state legislators attend the rise and shine breakfast with local leaders. / Allen Carter

Politics are back in season as lawmakers get ready to head back to Atlanta for another legislative session.

But before representing the people, they need to talk to the people, and they did Wednesday at a breakfast with local business leaders.

"We really are using this breakfast to try to peak their interest, by having the legislators here to talk about what they see the priorities being in Atlanta for this next session," said Jay Smith of the Chamber of Commerce.

Dougherty County's three state representatives were each given a chance to address the crowd.

First up Winfred Dukes, who hopes lawmakers can draw down an energy tax currently placed manufacturers.

"The energy tax costs the state of Georgia approximately $160 million per year, but when you look at the state of Georgia and all of our neighbors; Florida, Alabama and South Carolina, they have no energy tax," said Rep. Dukes.

Representative Carol Fullerton knows the number of South Georgia legislators will be down this year. She says success for the region depends on whether or not they can work together.

"We need to stay as powerful as we can be and together on issues when we face Atlanta. We're not fighting the people of Atlanta, but we need to help make them understand that they are an important part of the state as well as they are," said Rep. Fullerton.

Ed Rynders, who because of reapportionment will likely stop representing Dougherty County next year, says the region can't wait for state's help.

"We're not going to overcome, whatever poorest city in the United States. We're not going to overcome gangs, and crime and people who don't want to go downtown, by continuing to do the same thing, by people playing to their own political baseline," said Rynders.

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