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Local lawmaker named one of states most influential
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A high-ranking member of Dawson County's legislative delegation was recently named to a power list of the most influential leaders in Georgia.

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, was selected as one of the state's 100 most influential leaders in an annual directory composed by Georgia Trend magazine.

Representing the state's 7th House District that includes an area of northern Dawson County, Ralston said he was honored to be included alongside such a prestigious list of Georgians.

"I don't think it's about me. I think it's about the good work that's been done in the House of Representatives," he said. "I think they could have found somebody better, but it's an honor and I'm very grateful."

According to the magazine, Ralston was recognized for successfully tackling the challenges he faced when he took over as House Speaker last January.

"When I was elected Speaker, it was a turbulent time in the House. There was a lot of upheaval," Ralston said. "We had a lot of distractions to deal with, so what my goal was, and I think that we've accomplished it, was to kind of stabilize the ship and get it going in the right direction and really just to let people know these are good men and women that are doing good work for Georgians."

Ralston admits there were challenges, specifically those involving the economy, jobs and the passage of the controversial HB 87, which proved to be one of the toughest laws on immigration.

"Doing what needed to be done in the environment that had to be done would probably be the biggest challenge, and trying to bring some order back to the House at a time during the economic downturn when we were dealing with massive budget cuts," he said.

Moving forward, Ralston said his goal in the year to come will be an extension of his top priority during the 2011 session - to foster an economic environment that creates job.

"That is my top priority and the two ways we are going to do that is through making some changes in our state tax policy that will make Georgia more pro-business friendly and more job friendly," he said.

Reducing the burden on small businesses by creating a more regulatory environment would be a second step, he said.