In the weeks leading up to the start of the Georgia General Assembly’s 2021 session, I thought our biggest challenge would be this relentless pandemic.
I got a personal glimpse of how hard it would be to push through this challenge around Christmas, when Cindy and I both came down with COVID-19. Thankfully, we were not hit too hard, and by the grace of God, we won that battle.
I never imagined that by the opening of the session Jan. 11, we would face a second serious threat under the Gold Dome. But just five days before the start of the session, our U.S. Capitol was under siege.
So now for the second week of this legislative session, there are military vehicles and police and military personnel on the steps of the Georgia Capitol.
I’m confident they will provide the security that the General Assembly needs to conduct its important business. But like many of you, I grieve that America is at this dangerous crossroads.
Regardless of how things unfold with the inauguration of our new president, I will not waiver in my commitment to fulfill my responsibilities to the citizens of Barrow County and of Georgia.
As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, my focus will be on the sole constitutional duty of the legislature — to pass balanced budgets for the rest of the current fiscal year and the new fiscal year starting July 1.
My biggest concern right now is to get both appropriations bills to the governor’s desk as quickly as possible in case we are forced to hit pause because of a lack of quorum in either chamber due to illness.
Immediately after the governor’s State of the State address last Thursday, we received copies of his recommended budgets. Since then, our House budget staff has been loading the numbers into our budget system nonstop.
My subcommittee chairs and I have begun poring over the information for the amended FY2021 budget since we have to get it finished before starting to work on the FY2022 budget.
With all 180 members of the House socially distancing instead of being in the same place working together, that is slowing things down a little, even with our ability now to vote electronically from wherever we are positioned. But I know everyone is trying his or her best to make it work.
What is my hope for this session? To pass two solid, fiscally responsible budgets while otherwise doing no harm.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent District 116. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at 404-463-2245 or via email at email@example.com. May God bless you and your family, this wonderful county, our great state and this nation.