Balfour to head national conference
Senator named president of organization of state legislators

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett's senior state senator took power Wednesday over a national group of legislators.

Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, took office as president of the National Conference of State Legislators. He is the first Georgia legislator to head the conference, which advocates for state lawmakers before Congress.

"I have dedicated my political career to serving the people of Georgia, and am humbled by the opportunity to serve the states of this nation as president of such an esteemed organization," Balfour said. "NCSL is at the forefront of bringing state legislatures together to develop public policy that will strengthen our country and the lives of its citizens. I look forward to working with state leaders from across the nation to enhance the state legislatures' influence in the federal system."

Balfour, who is chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee, served as vice president of the conference before taking the helm this week during the group's annual summit in Philadelphia.

"This is truly a great day for our state," Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said. "Sen. Balfour is one of our strongest and most experienced senators with over 17 years championing conservative policy and representing his Gwinnett constituents admirably. Now heading one of the most prominent legislative organizations in the nation, Sen. Balfour's expertise and forward-thinking mindset give NCSL a tremendously capable leader who will do an outstanding job as president."

A couple of Balfour's other colleagues also sounded off on the position.

"Sen. Balfour is a driving force in some of the most important political issues facing our state," said Sen. Eric Johnson, who is running for governor. "I greatly respect his commitment and dedication to serving our citizens. We are lucky to have such a seasoned leader representing the state of Georgia in one of the most influential legislative organizations. The states are getting a strong leader at NCSL as we face record deficits and unemployment challenges."

Buford's Sen. Renee Unterman also praised the fellow Republican.

"Throughout my years in the Senate, I have watched him fiercely champion the issues that are important to his constituents," she said. "He is committed to doing all he can to help those he represents, and I am confident that he will serve as NCSL president with the same determination and convictions that have made him a cornerstone in the Georgia legislature."