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Balfour vice president of national organization
Political Notebook

Sen. Don Balfour not only has his hands on the reins of Georgia politics, now the Republican from Snellville has a powerful position with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Last week, Balfour was elected the organization's vice president. He is the first Georgia legislator elected to an office with the conference since it formed in 1975.

"I am honored that my fellow legislators have shown their confidence in me as a leader, and I am humbled that they have chosen me to serve as their vice president," said Balfour, who is chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee.

The conference provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policy makers to exchange ideas on state issues. It also lobbies for the interests of state governments before Congress.

Prior to his election at a meeting Wednesday in Boston, Balfour served on the NCSL Executive Committee as an at-large member.

"Sen. Balfour has made us all proud by being elected vice president of NCSL," Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said. "Georgia will now have a stronger voice in this important organization, and I am confident that Sen. Balfour's excellent leadership abilities and expertise will be an asset to NCSL."

Handel, Cagle

launch Web sites

Two of Georgia's new Republican power brokers launched Web sites last week to help citizens gain information.

Secretary of State Karen Handel is using the Internet as a tool to educate voters about photo identification requirements.

The Web site - www.GAPhotoID.com - lists the required forms of identification and explains the process for obtaining a free Georgia Voter Identification Card. The site also features a frequently-asked-questions section and detailed contact information for voters who have additional questions.

Handel also established a toll-free hotline, which can be reached at 877-725-9797, to help voters in some scheduled Sept. 18 special elections.

"These information tools are part of the first part of our comprehensive outreach plan to educate Georgia voters about the photo ID requirements," said Handel, who last year became the first Republican elected secretary of state. "In addition to providing basic information through the Web site, we will have members of our elections team ready to assist and answer questions."

Earlier last week, Cagle announced the launch of his new official Web site, www.ltgov.ga.gov.

"In today's world, the Internet has become the No. 1 way to retrieve news and information," said Cagle, who is the first member of the GOP to win the lieutenant governor's race since Reconstruction. "Our new Web site will provide Georgians with frequently updated information about the Lt. Governor's office, the legislature and the state of Georgia. We hope citizens will be able to utilize our site as a primary resource for information about state government."

In addition to updated information regarding the legislature and current and pending pieces of legislation, the new site will include Cagle's views on issues and a form to allow citizens to contact the state's second-in-command.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.