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Ralston on list of Georgias most influential
3. Ralston Influential mug

A high-ranking member of Dawson County's legislative delegation has been named to a power list of the most influential leaders of Georgia in 2016.

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

"We've tried to influence public policy in a direction in Georgia that creates jobs, that creates a climate that's favorable for businesses to grow and for schools to improve, for our infrastructure to be improved," he said. "If this is recognition for those efforts, then I'm honored and flattered."

Representing the state's 7th House District, that includes an area of northern Dawson County, Ralston was listed alongside Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Gov. Nathan Deal and other newsmakers across the state.

Ralston served in the Georgia Senate from 1992 to 1998 and was elected to the Georgia House in 2002.

He became speaker in 2010.

"I think that too often, though, we forget that the most important Georgians are the ones that make our state go, the farmers and the public safety officers, teachers, people who get up and go to work every day and are excited about what's going on in the state and have a positive vision for the future of Georgia," he said.

With the 2016 Legislative Session starting on Monday, Ralston said budgetary concerns will weigh heavily on the General Assembly.

"The budget is a very, very important document. It sets our priorities as a state. I'm hoping that we can increase the resources that we are putting in education, for example," he said. "We have a lot of healthcare challenges that we will have to meet, so the budget is paramount."