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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Deal, Carter: Georgia needs film-ready workforce

Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter may not agree on much, but both see a need to develop local talent for Georgia’s multi-billion film and television industry.

On Aug. 5, Gov. Deal announced film and movie production in the state had an economic impact of $5.1 billion during fiscal year 2014.

“Not only has this industry created jobs and investment opportunities for Georgians, it also has revitalized communities, established new educational programs, tourism product and more,” Deal said in a press release. “I will continue my commitment to growing this industry and to developing a film-ready workforce to meet the needs of the productions that are setting up shop in Georgia.”

Carter has also voiced his commitment to the lucrative industry.

“Georgia has seen enormous growth in film and television production, but that success is threatened unless we build the skilled workforce to fill these jobs,” Carter said. “After years of cuts to HOPE and to our schools, industries across the state simply cannot find the skilled workers they need to fill their jobs.”

In an Aug. 5 speech before the Georgia Production Partnership, Carter said Deal’s cuts to the HOPE program have resulted in 45,000 students leaving technical school programs.

“It’s going to take more than a tax credit to keep this industry growing in Georgia,” he said. “It will take a forward-looking vision that takes into account all the factors that will make Georgia successful in the future.”

According to a press release issued by Deal’s office, nearly 23,500 people are directly employed by the motion picture and television industry in Georgia. In total, the industry is responsible for more than 77,900 jobs and $3.8 billion in total wages statewide.

To meet the needs of businesses producing entertainment projects, Gov. Deal’s High Demand Career Initiative has been working with entertainment industry leaders, the Georgia Department Economic Development, the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia to develop the training and certifications needed for certain skilled positions.

Pak named ‘rising star’ by RNC

State Rep. B.J. Pak (R-Lilburn) is one of four conservative leaders recently named to the Republican National Committee “Rising Stars” program.

“On behalf of the Georgia Republican Party, I would like to congratulate Rep. Pak on this incredible accomplishment,” said GAGOP Chairman John Padgett in a press release. “BJ is a bold lawmaker in the Georgia General Assembly, a hardworking attorney and community leader, and a dedicated family man and friend. We are proud of BJ’s accomplishments thus far and look forward to seeing what the future holds.”

The Rising Stars program showcases conservative leaders nationwide who are making a name for themselves within the Republican Party.

Suwanee, Norcross mayors reappointed to GMA council

Mayor Jimmy Burnette of Suwanee and Mayor Bucky Johnson of Norcross have been reappointed to the Georgia Municipal Association’s Legislative Policy Council. GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton said both men have an extensive knowledge of both municipal issues and the legislative process, and are proven leaders on legislative issues for the cities in their areas.

The Legislative Policy Council, a grassroots lobbying effort, proposes GMA’s legislative platform and engages city officials in the legislative process throughout the year.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.