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Political Notebook: Ralph Hudgens seeking insurance commissioner's post

The man who represents Barrow County in the state Senate is seeking higher office.

Ralph Hudgens, a Republican from Hull who is the chairman of the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee, is seeking the office of insurance commissioner in 2010.

The position is being vacated, as longtime Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, who is from Duluth, is running for governor.

Hudgen's public service began with an appointment during the first Bush administration. He was elected to the House of Representatives beginning in 1996 and to the state Senate in 2002.

Former owner of Quality Propane, Hudgens owns several businesses and "understands firsthand how insurance premiums impact companies of all sizes," according to a press release announcing his candidacy.

His platform includes creating affordable health insurance, establishing a high risk pool for health insurance and preserving Georgia's affordable property and casualty insurance.

His campaign co-chairs include the vice chairman of the Medical Association of Georgia Board, a former member of the Board of Regents and the chairman of the State Transportation Board.

The Georgia Medical Political Action Committee (GAMPAC) has endorsed Senator Hudgens. "Sen. Hudgens has earned a reputation as a tenacious champion for health insurance reform in Georgia," said Ben Cheek, chairman of the Georgia Medical Political Action Committee, which has endorsed Hudgens.

Meyer heads international council

Tax Commissioner Katherine Meyer will head the Tax Collection Council of the International Association of Assessing Officers.

Meyer was named to the newly created group, after recruiting members from various states to serve on a steering committee for the council, which is designed to provide information and education for professionals in the field of tax collection.

"The council plans to send out a survey to state tax collection associations to help us further develop the council," Meyer said in a press release. "We need to learn more about the educational needs of those who collect revenues for government entities and how to share this information on an international level."