By Adam Belflower, Georgia Farm Bureau
On Jan. 9, legislators filled the Georgia Capitol signaling the beginning of the 2023 General Assembly. This year marks the start of a two-year session along with the introduction of a large freshman class of legislators. Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) is excited to be back under the gold dome with old friends and new faces as we continue to represent our members and advocate for Georgia agriculture.
There are 53 new members of the General Assembly. New leadership in the Georgia House and Senate accompanies this extensive turnover in members. In the House, Rep. Jon Burns from Newington, Dist. 159, replaces the late David Ralston as House Speaker. Newly elected Lt. Gov. Burt Jones is leading the Senate along with President Pro Tempore Sen. John Kennedy, Bolingbroke, Dist. 18.
Sen. Russ Goodman, from Homerville, Dist. 8, is chairing Georgia’s Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee after Sen. Larry Walker III was named chairman of the Senate Insurance & Labor Committee. Chairman Goodman, a seventh-generation farmer from South Georgia, is passionate about representing agriculture.
We are excited to welcome back Rep. Robert Dickey, Musella, Dist. 145, as chairman of the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. Chairman Dickey is a friend of GFB, and we know he will continue to be a leader for agriculture in the House.
Georgia agriculture is fortunate to have committee leaders in both chambers who are farmers with extensive agriculture backgrounds.
We welcome Gov. Brian Kemp back to the Capitol as he begins his second term. Kemp has shared his ambitions to continue economic growth in Georgia and believes continuing to invest in agriculture is essential for job growth across other sectors.
At the Georgia Department of Agriculture, we welcome newly elected Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper. A seventh-generation farmer from Irwin County, who formerly chaired the Senate Natural Resources Committee, Commissioner Harper is a friendly face to many in Atlanta. We know he will continue to do great work for agriculture as our new commissioner.
Sen. Lee Anderson of Grovetown, Dist. 24, is replacing Harper as chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Anderson is a long-time GFB member and good friend.
During the past election cycle, the GFB Impact Fund, GFB’s political action committee (PAC), saw great success. The Impact Fund endorsed 135 candidates in the general election, and we were happy to see them all get elected.
The PAC is vital for GFB’s continued success at the Capitol. It is important we support the candidacies and election of qualified individuals to public office who have demonstrated a commitment to furthering and strengthening the agricultural industry, regardless of political affiliation.
Adam Belflower is a governmental affairs specialist in the GFB Public Policy Department. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478.474.0679, ext. 5259.