On Monday, Gwinnett’s delegation to the General Assembly will head to the Capitol in Atlanta to begin the 2014 session with colleagues from throughout the state.
Here is some information about the lawmakers who will represent you, and the priorities they have for the session.
Sen. Curt Thompson, D-Tucker
Education: BA in International Studies and Communication, Juris Doctorate
Legislative priorities: Ensuring we have a budget that fully funds our public education priorities including not just K-12 but also our technical schools, colleges and universities. Working to solve our regional and state transportation issues including expanding mass transit options.
Don Balfour, R-Snellville
Education: B.S. in Accounting from Bob Jones University
Occupation: executive at Waffle House
Legislative priorities: 1. Economic development 2. Less government beauracracy 3. Lower taxes 4. Supporting Georgia Gwinnett College
Fran Millar, R- Atlanta
Education: B.A. Economics West Virginia Wesleyan College
Occupation: Insurance Broker
Legislative Priorities: Specific legislation that I will introduce deals with Property Tax Appeal reforms and Foster Children protection. I will continue to work on education policies; unemployment compensation ; and health care alternative solutions. Finally, I will coordinate with Rep. Rice on local matters to help improve the quality of life for Peachtree Corners’ citizens.
Steve Henson, D-Tucker
Education: Bachelors Degree in Economics University of Georgia
Occupation: Administrator of a Vocational Training Program
Legislative priorities: To begin restoring the large cuts that have been made the past few years to Education and work to restore funding for those that wish to attend State Technical Schools. Make changes to the way the State Ethics Commission works to insure it is independent of political influence.
Renee Unterman, R-Buford
Education: Georgia State University Nursing School; University of Georgia School of Social Work
Occupation: Work at insurance company
Legislative Priorities: Busy session working on appropriations as Vice-Chair writing budget for Depts of Human Services, Public Health, Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, Addictions, Veterans, and Community Health. Legislation on Alzheimer’s/dementia, Foster Care, Sudden Death of youth in athletics, Narc-A-Non provisions for illegal drug detection, drive by drop off of drug induced victims.
David Shafer, R-Duluth
Education: Degree in political science from UGA
Occupation: Business owner
Legislative priorities: Our only constitutionally mandated responsibility is to pass a budget that is balanced, and that will be our top priority. We must be good stewards of our tax dollars. All of us, of course, are concerned about creating an environment in this state where businesses flourish, jobs are plentiful and our citizens are at work.
Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain
Education: BA, Business Administration
Occupation: State Senator
Legislative priorities: In 2014, I will be working with my colleagues to encourage the Governor to expand Medicaid in Georgia under the Affordable Care Act, so that all Georgians have access to healthcare. Increase access to the ballot box by eliminating hurdles to voting; and restore the Earned Income Tax Credit(EITC). This measure would restore the elimination of Georgia’s earned income tax credit in 2010.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE
Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta
Education: MBA, University of Georgia, JD, West Virginia University, BA, University of Connecticut
Legislative priorities: The General Assembly has many important topics to address this session and there will be debates on healthcare, education, and economic competitiveness. Among other bills, I will be supporting legislation to authorize B Corporations, a new type of corporate structure favored by entrepreneurs who want to both earn profits and solve social and environmental problems.
Dar’Shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia
Education: 2 B.A.s Oglethorpe University, J.D. Univ. of GA, M.B.A. Kennesaw State
Occupation: Business attorney
Legislative priorities: Studying foreclosures, creating jobs, and uniting DeKalb County for economic growth. Also I have 3 District priorities as well: (1) A light outside of Anderson-Livsey Elementary, (2) Beautification plan for 124 and (3) Possible South Precinct police station.
Karen Bennett, D-Stone Mountain
Age: Not provided
Education: Bachelors in Physical Therapy from Howard University; Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology for Georgia State University; Master of Divinity Degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University
Occupation: Licensed Physical Therapist and President and CEO of Metro Therapy Providers, Ordained Minister
Legislative priorities: My priorities include: fully funding public school education, supporting public health through Medicaid Expansion, improving Public Safety by supporting “returning citizen” programs that provide jobs, health care, education; and supporting Economic Development and Job Creation through Job Readiness through support for Georgia Hope Grant payment of full tuition. I am concerned with public safety by responsible gun control and adequately providing for funding public schools to have safety resource offices in all schools.
Tom Rice, R-Peachtree Corners
Education: BS from Temple University
Legislative priorities: 1. HB 671 - enhances DUI statute to make interlock devices mandatory for first time 0.15 violators. Stream lines handling of minor traffic offenses through the courts; 2. Introducing bill to make vehicle titling even more attractive and tax saving with ensuring fair treatment of all transactions.
Pedro Marin, D-Duluth
Education: Some college
Occupation: Business Consultant
Legislative priorities: Georgia’s tax revenue activity has increase in the last year, so we have to continue our focus in creating more jobs. Improve the economic lives of Georgia’s families by helping them build small businesses. Provide quality education for Georgia’s kids by supporting students, helping parents, allocate more funding and improve our schools for the 21st century. Fix government so it works for everyone, protect taxpayer investments and defend local control.
Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth
Education: A.B. Degree - Mercer University; Master’s Degree - University of Georgia; Specialist’s Degree - UGA & Georgia State; Ph.D. Degree - Georgia State
Occupation: Motivational speaker and auctioneer
Legislative priorities: The 2014 legislative session is going to continue to be another very challenging 40 days. Even though revenues are beginning to increase they are just keeping up with the growth in the population. The legislature is charged with developing a balanced budget that will meet the critical needs of the citizens of Georgia and eliminate any and all waste. This will be our main task. However, we don’t anticipate any additional cuts to departments. Other priorities this session will be jobs; educatio; transportation and health care.
Josh Clark, R-Buford
Education: Some college
Occupation: NeoLife Distributor & CEO Josh Clark Realty
Legislative priorities: Continue our work with the red tape initiative to remove unnecessary regulation hindering businesses ability to thrive and create jobs. Push income tax reform. As state revenue slowly increases we must remain frugal, focus spending on priorities such as education and continue to rebuild our rainy day fund.
Hugh Floyd, D-Norcross
Education: Some college
Occupation: Retired from Sales
Legislative Priorities: With increasing state revenues, I am hopeful we can restore state funding to K-12 education, which has been cut severely the past 11 years, and approve a long-overdue pay increase for teachers and other state employees. Also, we should urge the governor to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion.
Dewey McClain, D-Lawrenceville
Education: BA History
Occupation: President - Atlanta North Georgia Labor Council
Legislative priorities: Public education and educational grants/scholarship opportunities for citizens to attend technical and certificate schools. Public transportation and infrastructure upgrades where needed or required. Economic/ Job Security through cost analysis of all government bids requiring all companies that receive tax dollars comply with Georgia’s Open Records and Open Meeting Law.
Valerie Clark, R-Lawrenceville
Education: Ph.D. Educational Psychology and Educational Leadership – University of Georgia; M.Ed. Special Education – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; B.S. English Education – State University of New York at Plattsburgh
Occupation: Retired Educator
Legislative Priorities: Promote free enterprise with less regulation and lower taxes Promote increased participation in HOPE Scholarship Support pre-school and K-12 education Support Public Safety with better pay and the best equipment Advocate for senior citizens Promote the welfare of Georgia Gwinnett College and Gwinnett Medical Center
Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville
Education: BS Management Science, Georgia Institute of Technology
Occupation: Operations Manager
Legislative priorities: I’ll be working mainly to support and advocate for laws enhancing economic growth and personal freedom. Additionally, I hope we pass a solid pro-2nd Amendment bill, and call on Congress to balance the federal budget.
Timothy Barr, R-Lawrenceville
Education: Did not provide
Occupation: Small business owner
Legislative priorities: As a small business owner I understand that we need pro-business reforms and lower taxes that will foster businesses and attract new jobs. I will filter every piece of legislation that crosses my desk to ensure it empowers the family, lowers taxes, grows jobs, and responsibly reduces the size of government.
Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula
Education: Juris Doctor, Mercer Law School; Bachelor of Arts, University of Georgia; Greater Atlanta Christian School
Occupation: Owner of a Small Business Law Firm
Legislative Priorities: For anyone that followed the campaign, my priorities are no surprise.
I’m working tirelessly to foster job growth and economic improvement, protect education, cut transportation gridlock, implement a tax code that is simple and fair, and serve House District 104 with energetic, ethical leadership that will make the citizens proud.
Joyce Chandler, R-Grayson
Education: Doctor’s degree from the University of Georgia, Specialist’s degree from Georgia State University, Master’s degree from Auburn University, and Bachelor’s degree from Samford University
Occupation: Retired school counselor and small business owner
Legislative priorities: I hope to have the opportunity to co-sponsor legislation to allow school systems greater flexibility and to support overdue pay raises for our teachers and state employees and/or eliminate some of the austerity cuts that have occurred. I am considering filing legislation that would assist home school families and also some requested by constituents.
Brett Harrell, R-Snellville
Education: BBA, University of Georgia
Occupation: Garbageman (sales)
Legislative priorities: Ending the poor public policy practice of billing non-tax fees on property tax bills that increases government power while reducing individual freedom (HB 159). Spending government revenues appropriately by re-allocating an old penny (already collected) for transportation rather than diverting it into the general fund (HB 648).
David Casas, R-Lilburn
Education: Master’s from Luther Rice University; currently working on Ph.D.
Occupation: university professor
Legislative priorities: My legislative priorities are to continue to keep taxes low for all Georgians, to expand school choice and defend our family values. More specifically, I want to work on various initiatives that will create more jobs in Georgia and I plan to be fully engaged in protecting Georgians from the over-reaching hand of the federal government, particularly when it comes to ObamaCare and Common Core.
B.J. Pak, R-Lilburn
Education: BBA, Stetson University, DeLand, FL; J.D. University of Illinois College of Law
Legislative priorities: Budget: Additional funding for QBE; Lowering taxes; Job creation; and Criminal Justice Reform.
Tom Kirby, R-Loganville
Education: BS Ag Economics University of Kentucky
Occupation: Human Resources EHS Manager
Legislative priorities: Continue to push the discussion for transformation of the tax code. Ending the punitive income tax that only punishes the producers. Call for an Amendment Convention for a balanced budget amendment. Reinforce our constitutional rights as a State. Correcting current law by removing governments over reach into our daily lives.
Rep. Terry England, R-Auburn
Education: Winder-Barrow High School, UGA
Legislative priorities: Passing a balanced State budget as mandated by our State Constitution. Serving as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee makes this my top priority.
Barrow County is also represented by Rep. Tom Kirby, who is listed above, and Sen. Frank Ginn, who did not provide information