As the General Assembly convened its 2019 regular session this week in Atlanta, we chatted with Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn), co-chair of the House Rural Development Council, about his hopes for the session.
Q: In your opinion, which of the HRDC's legislative recommendations should be the top priority for the council during the 2019 session? A: I think we will be leading off on broadband followed closely with our healthcare recommendations. Honestly though, I think the members of the HRDC see each of this year’s recommendations as being equally important and worthy of the work needed to complete. It will be a pretty broad front to push, but I think we are all ready for the task.
Q: Can you share any information about specific legislation that will be introduced this session to address any of the recommendations? A: We are still in the drafting stage at this second, but should have the bills in hand shortly. We take the recommendations literally and I think you will see the bills closely mirror them but with all the necessary details to make them happen.
Q: During his campaign, Gov. Kemp was vocal in his support of rural initiatives. How do you foresee his leadership impacting the HRDC's goals during this session? A: I think we were all glad to see the focus on rural Georgia and our issues in the forefront of every statewide campaign regardless of party. I think Gov. Kemp is focused on some ideas he has as well as the work the HRDC has done the last two years and will work hard on our behalf.
Q: How can rural people and communities support the work of the HRDC to help make the council's recommendations a reality? A: Let your House and Senate members know you’ve got their backs when it comes to issues that impact rural Georgia and support them in standing up to the task. Thankfully our urban members realize the importance of a strong rural Georgia and so far have been supportive as well. We just need to keep the momentum going!
Photo courtesy of the Georgia House of Representatives. Click here to email Rep. England.