ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - It's day one of the Georgia Legislature's annual session. Some new lawmakers are joining the political mainstays at the State Capitol following November's election.
South Georgia is represented by a lot of veteran lawmakers in Atlanta, but there are some freshmen as well who are ready to get down to business.
New Representative Darrel Ealum took his oath of office with the rest of the house members today.
"I am going to listen. I'm up here to listen and learn as much as possible," he said.
The Albany Democrat's first objective is to get to know his fellow lawmakers and build working relationships.
"I campaigned from day one about coming to Atlanta and getting things done for south Georgia. It's not about party. I am totally focused on getting things done for southwest Georgia."
As a former Dougherty County School Board member, Ealum promises to work to improve education in Georgia. "We've got some additional revenue this year, and we hope that's going to education, and we're excited about that."
Americus Republican Greg Kirk was also sworn in today in the Senate. "I am real excited of getting started on the job of representing south Georgia," he said.
Kirk says just because he's new to the Senate, and new to politics, doesn't mean he can't be a strong and successful voice for south Georgia.
"I've shown leadership in business. I've shown leadership by getting appointed by Gov. Deal to the Georgia Vocational Rehab Board a few years ago. And I've shown leadership already by being asked to serve as the deputy whip this session and that's what I hope to continue to bring for south Georgia."
We've got those new lawmakers and sough Georgia has lost representation in recent years, but when I talked to Representative Ed Rynders today, he stressed how much influence leaders from our area have.
Several representatives are committee chairs and have leadership roles in writing the budget and deciding how your tax money is spent.