Georgia begins another year under Republican rule - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia begins another year under Republican rule

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January 8, 2007

Atlanta -- The halls of the State Capitol in Atlanta were buzzing as lawmakers streamed back to work. Monday kicked off with the swearing in of legislators and the inauguration of Governor Sonny Perdue.

Excitement best describes the atmosphere under the Gold Dome behind me, this morning the agenda was light, legislators were sworn in, and while there was a new leader in the Senate, despite an ethics complaint against the speaker of the house, Glenn Richardson was elected for a second term.  

The 2007-2008 legislative session began with the swearing in of Georgia's 180 representatives and 50 Senators.

In the Senate, Eric Johnson was elected Senate Pro-tem. In the House, Glenn Richardson of Hiram was reelected speaker of the House.   "While we will naturally have some differences of opinion and may even have spirited debate we all represent the people of this great state," said Richardson.

Noticeably absent was Albany's Mark Taylor. It's the first legislative session he's missed in 20 years. His successor, Republican Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, expects the Senate to focus on issues of education and jobs. "Ultimately it's about jobs and education I believe that jobs is how people experience the American dream," said Cagle.

While many south Georgians are missing from key leadership positions like the Lt. Governor and Secretary of State, local representatives say there are plenty of issue like the certificate of need that will directly affect south Georgia.  "To some people it's healthcare that's important to everybody, education, taxes, it's going to be the same bread and butter issues that we hear about every term<" said Lee County's Republican representative, Ed Rynders .

Albany democratic Rep. Winfred Dukes said, "The Tax code for the state of Georgia has been pretty moderate. You know, Georgia throughout has been one of the most taxed states in the nation, and I don't see where we can really afford much more cutting to that."

It will be several week before legislators get into the meat of what they expect will be the key issues, among them, promises made by the Governor's "Sonny Do" list which included eliminating state tax on retirement income, the voter ID law, and dealing with high health care costs.

The Senate wasted no time in adjusting their rules and procedures, restoring the Lt. Governor's full powers that Republicans stripped from Mark Taylor when they took control of the Senate.

Statewide Constitutional officers were sworn in at Philips Arena. Governor Sonny Perdue also placed his hand on an open Bible and was sworn in for a second term. The Governor referred to his first term in office as a chance to lay a foundation for the state's future.

He says he'd like Georgia business to continue to grow so that there are jobs for future generations. Perdue called it a future of possibilities. "I am making a solemn pledge and commitment to every Georgian that the foundation for the future is in place that it's rock solid and secure, that we will build the state of the future together."

The Governor spoke briefly about the legacy he hopes to leave behind. A stable Georgia that remembers him as a good steward of the state, and a faithful servant for Georgia's citizens.


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