The mayors and city officials from around Georgia hosted a breakfast for the General Assembly and selected state-wide officers on Jan. 23.
Mayor Gary McCullough, the Dahlonega City Council, Senator Steve Gooch and I were present for the occasion.
The speakers were Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and the Speaker of the House David Ralston, who focused on things that need to be accomplished in order for Georgia to continue to be the leader in the Southeast.
Most people know Atlanta is home to the busiest air terminal in the world, but not all are aware that Savannah has the fastest growing sea terminal in the nation and is currently the fourth largest.
By 2014 the Panama Canal will be handling the largest cargo ships to traverse our oceans. Savannah needs to have its harbor deepened so that the port can support the loading and offloading of these ships.
They also discussed factors most important in influencing corporate expansions and relocations: Business climate, education and workforce development, innovation, infrastructure, global commerce and government efficiency. It is the goal of all three leaders that Georgia becomes the number one state in the nation to do business.
We want to strengthen our state's economic development strategy so that we can continue to attract new jobs, encourage investment and give existing companies the support that they deserve.
Rallies by School Choice and Georgia Right to Life brought many students by my office, but the most important student was my Page, Jesse White from Lumpkin County High School.
Jesse is the most outgoing Page I have ever had. Many of my colleagues commented very favorably on his attitude and willingness to help.
Way to go, Jesse!
Last Spring, the Supreme Court ruled that only local school boards could commit local money for education. The question was in regard to charter schools created by a state commission, but the ruling was so broad that it could apply to just about anything the state directs, e.g., the percentage of money to be spent in classrooms, salary schedules, etc.: All those areas where money is spent because of mandates.
An estimated 1,500 parents, teachers and students rallied in support of school choice in front of the Georgia Capitol.
The rally was held as part of National School Choice Week. The crowd heard from speakers like Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers.
He stated that in addition to traditional public schools, "all Georgia parents should have the option to home school their children or send them to charter schools, virtual schools or private schools."
While the rally was going on outside, a resolution was being drafted by the House Speaker Pro Tem. The legislation pushes for a constitutional amendment to overturn the state supreme court's ruling dealing with charter schools. The constitutional amendment is bipartisan with support from both Republicans and Democrats.
It was also Tourism and Economic Development week at the Capitol, and we had visitors from both Lumpkin and Dawson counties.
I asked them to help with the speaker's plan to cut red tape and reduce burdensome regulations on Georgia's small businesses.
Businesses will be hearing more about this plan from the chambers of commerce and economic development authorities.
At the outset of the 2012 session, Ralston charged the Special Committee on Small Business and Job Creation with thoroughly reviewing and evaluating the regulatory environment in which our small businesses operate.
The speaker challenged each representative to visit at least one business each week to discuss what that owner would like to see changed.
With the session keeping us legislators in Atlanta most weeks, I knew this would be a daunting task, so I asked the local chambers of commerce and development authorities for help.
It is very important to get the word out to those who need the most assistance.
It is our goal to seek out any unfair or burdensome regulations that hinder small business growth in this state and determine if the General Assembly can address this matter through legislation.
Saturday mornings: Feb. 4, 11 and 18, I will be at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Dahlonega at 8 a.m. for my breakfast during session with constituents.
That's a good time for local business people, and anyone else, to come down and let me know what your needs from the legislature are.
Rep. Amos Amerson can be reached at 401 Capitol Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30334; phone (404) 657-8534; e-mail email@example.com.