POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Johnson tapped for spot on House Transportation Committee

One of Gwinnett's congressmen got a coveted seat on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, whose DeKalb-based district includes Norcross and Lilburn, was named to the position by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

After helping bring nearly $1 billion in federal stimulus funds to the state, Johnson said part of his focus will be to upgrade the Interstate 20 East corridor.

"This means jobs. This means serious federal investment in our transportation infrastructure -- in roads, bridges and rail," Johnson said. "Metro Atlanta needs a seat at this table. Now we have one."

Johnson is the only Democrat from Georgia on the committee. He will remain on both the Judiciary and Armed Services committees and will continue serving as chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy. He is also Southeast Regional Whip.

"Hank has displayed the kind of leadership needed to turn around our economy, pass health care reform and make crucial investments in creating jobs," Pelosi said. "Hank has earned a seat on this committee and his constituents stand to benefit greatly from it."

Hill on lake discharge

Former county Chairman Wayne Hill is proud the sewage treatment plant that bears his name is now a key link to Lake Lanier.

The county opened a pipeline last week to discharge treated wastewater from the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center into the lake, a move many hope will give the county leverage in the water wars.

"This is a model of water reclamation that should be, and likely will be, copied throughout our state," said Hill, who is running for the Ga. House District 98 seat. "It was my privilege to help lead the effort to get this project done. Rest assured that in the state House, I will seek the same long-term solutions for state and regional water issues.

"Without addressing this issue of water now, we will be hindering Gwinnett and Georgia's ability to attract new, innovative businesses that will provide the jobs of the future."

Election for GOP chair

At least one man has stepped up to run for chairman of the Gwinnett GOP.

Bruce LeVell, a local businessman who serves on the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District board and ran for district commissioner in 2008, is seeking to replace Chuck Efstration, who resigned to run for Congress.

"It is my goal to continue to build on the party's growth and the success of outgoing Chairman Chuck Efstration and ensure that Republican candidates continue to receive the tireless support of the Gwinnett GOP," LeVell said.

County Committee members are eligible to vote in the election, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Gwinnett GOP headquarters, located at 46 S. Clayton St. in Lawrenceville.

District 2 candidate forum

With a major primary in two months, a string of candidate forums are beginning to line up across the county.

Tuesday will be the first for the District 2 commission seat's Republican candidates. Jose Perez, Keith Shewbert and Lynette Howard will square off in a 7 p.m. forum, moderated by retired television anchor Wes Sarginson. A meet and greet will precede the program at 6:30 p.m. in Norcross High's auditorium.

Questions for the three -- one of whom will face Democrat Robert Lee Byars in November -- are being accepted in advance and those interested in submitting a query can e-mail it to joel@gwinnettvillage.com.

By the way, last month, Perez proclaimed victory in the first fundraising battle for the position.

As of the end of March, he raised nearly $40,000.

"It is a true honor to have such an outpouring of support for my campaign for county commission," Perez said. "The investment made by so many is a true statement of support and momentum."

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.