The delegation elected District 61 State Rep. Roger Bruce, D-Atlanta, as its chairman. Bruce, a six-term legislator, will lead the group of five Democrats and three Republicans as they advocate for legislation that only affects Douglas County.
“We’ve got new people who are part of the delegation,” Bruce said, explaining why members waited until this year to form the group. “It should have been done before [this year’s session], but it just never was.”
A formal county delegation typically will be receive approval on local legislation — such as that pertaining to local taxation — without the typical committee screening process, he explained. The entire General Assembly also typically will vote on a local bill according to the wishes of the majority of the delegation.
“There’s no debate from somebody in Cherokee County, per se, about something that has nothing to do with Cherokee County,” Bruce said.
The group’s newest member, District 30 State Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, said establishment of a formal county delegation would help him stay in close contact with local elected officials and such groups as chambers of commerce to keep apprised of their top priorities.
“Any time you’ve got a group of elected officials who are working toward a common cause that’s got to be a good thing,” he said.
Voters chose Dugan in a special election Jan. 8 to represent State Senate District 30 that includes western Douglas County.
Dugan, a construction company official, received 83 percent of the vote to defeat Libertarian candidate James Camp. He succeeds Bill Hamrick, who was named to a Superior Court judgeship last year.
Dugan said his top individual priorities would be working toward capping lobbyist contributions and gifts; and limiting the number of terms lawmakers could serve.
“That’s initially going to be my emphasis, in addition to the normal, day-to-day business of the Senate to make sure the state is running the way it should and everything is taken care of,” he said.
Democratic and Republican voters statewide overwhelmingly backed a cap in nonbinding referendums July 31.