Photo by Corinne Nicholson
ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal’s first week on the job hasn’t been easy.
Instead of the fanfare and fun that comes with the usual inaugural week, Deal’s swearing-in ceremony required four-wheelers and state troopers to help legislators arrive and had few extra spectators.
“While the weather conditions were unfortunate, the governor was sworn-in as planned and hit the ground running from day one,” said Deal spokeswoman Stephanie Mayfield. “The governor was disappointed that we weren’t able to have the gala celebration for all of his supporters to enjoy and for all of the dedicated workers who put in so many hours of hard work. Given the weather conditions this week, however, this wasn’t a time for a party. The governor needed to focus on the hard work of getting Georgia’s roads cleared and that’s been a huge undertaking with the temperatures rarely rising above freezing.”
With snow and ice shutting down Atlanta roads, the General Assembly’s first week featured only the required convening on the second Monday in January and a gathering for Deal’s State of the State address on Wednesday.
Deal promised to end teacher furloughs and talked about the challenge of replacing $1 billion in stimulus money in the state budget, but many Gwinnettians were focused on keeping their kids entertained and safely getting to the store, as overnight refreezes kept the roads treacherous.
Instead of getting to campaign promises, the work of state leaders was focused this week on getting the roads clear.
And like local schools celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the General Assembly won’t get back in the swing of things immediately.
As is tradition, this coming week, instead of meeting as a full body, legislators will attend hearings on the proposed state budget.
When the General Assembly does kick into full gear, Gwinnett is well-positioned. Five of the county’s seven senators chair committees, and another three representatives lead House committees. In addition, Barrow’s Rep. Terry England was named appropriations chairman.
For more information on the men and women who will represent Gwinnett and Barrow during this legislative session, see today’s Community section.