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Coan steps down from state House

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Longtime legislator Mike Coan will take a "sabbatical" from politics, after being tapped by Gov. Sonny Perdue as administrator of a worker's compensation-related fund.

As chairman of the House Industrial Relations Committee, the Republican from Lawrenceville helped to close down the Subsequent Injury Trust Fund, which was created in the 1970s to help people who had been hurt on the job get back to work. But the fund still has $800 million in claims to settle, giving Coan the opportunity to follow through on the endeavor.

"It was well-intended, but over time, it was going upside-down financially," Coan said.

Perdue said Coan's experience made him the perfect person for the job.

"He will ably guide the administration of the fund to properly process the claims that have been filed," the governor said in a press release.

While the job will give him the opportunity to continue to work with legislators, he said it also allows him to see government from the administrative branch.

"It'll give me a rounded experience for later on," the 41-year-old said. "I don't think I'm done politically."

Coan said his construction company has not suffered in the recent economic downturn, but it caused him to travel extensively.

"The thought of having one job to go to and come home at night and have a meal with my family is very appealing to me," the father of three girls said, adding that he became a softball coach this year and wanted to free up his schedule to continue.

In his 14 years in the General Assembly, Coan said he is proud of his work to extend unemployment benefits during the recent economic downturn, as well as recent job creation measures, a series of reservoir bills to create future water supplies and being the co-sponsor of pro-life measures.

On Wednesday, former Gwinnett GOP Chairman Buzz Brockway qualified to run in Coan's northern Lawrenceville district.

"The government must get out of the way and create opportunities for businesses to get moving again," Brockway said in a press released. "Business people will dig us out of this recession, not government. ... We must make fundamental change to the structure of government or once tax revenues increase, the State budget will become bloated again."