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Senator tapped for top post
3 Gooch mug

While last week’s arctic blast cut into the state’s legislative activities, the new District 51 state senator said to expect great things to happen when the Senate reconvenes Jan. 24.


“Last week was an anxious time,” Steve Gooch said. “We worked on setting up our offices, and this week we’ll be in budget hearings.


“But that’s all going to change a week from [Monday] when we’re back in session.”


Shortly after Gooch was sworn in Jan. 10, the Dahlonega Republican was one of four senators appointed by Senate Majority Whip Cecil Slaton to serve as deputy whip.


Gooch said he was honored to be chosen for the distinguished position in his first term.


“I was pleased. I definitely wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “I think my county government experience and my experience on the DOT board gave me a little [bit] of a head start.”


He will also serve as secretary of the Senate Transportation Committee.


Slaton said he looked “for senators who show great promise as future leaders in the Senate.”


Gooch said he believed his relationships with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and a few veteran senators also enhanced his credibility.


As deputy whip, Gooch will work with Slaton to ensure member attendance on the Senate floor, counting votes and communicating the majority position.


Gooch said he looks forward to working with his “fellow legislators to find solutions to some of the major issues facing the state and the people of the 51st District.” 


Gooch’s committee assignments include Economic Development, Government Oversight, State Institutions and Property, and State and Local Government Operations.


“The policy we implement at the state level will play a huge role in determining the future success of our state as it begins its climb to economic recovery,” he said.


Gooch is also making stops throughout the 51st District, which covers parts of Forsyth, Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties.


He plans to talk with county, city and school officials, as well as business leaders and community members, to find out how he can help.


“The district needs to know that if they need me, all they have to do is call or e-mail,” he said.