The Paulding County legislative delegation recently provided a full briefing to The Paulding County Chamber of Commerce. In the briefing, all State Legislators representing any part of Paulding County came to communicate with local city, county, and government officials, local businesses, and community stakeholders. The focus was on issues facing the county and areas in which the legislative delegation could help Paulding County by having a strong, unified voice in the State Capitol.
Six members comprise the Paulding legislative delegation: State Senator Bill Heath (R-SD31), State Senator Mike Dugan (R-SD30), State Representative Howard Maxwell (R-HD17), State Representative Paulette Rakestraw Braddock (R-HD19), State Representative Micah Gravley (R-HD67) and State Representative Kim Alexander (D-HD66).
The legislators provided information on the progress of all bills that came before the General Assembly in its 2014 session, which concluded on March 20. This included the passage of House Bill 744, which establishes the state budget for fiscal year 2015. Totaling $20.8 billion, the final version of this budget includes many of Governor Deal’s original budget recommendations, including increased funding for education. One of the most noteworthy features of the budget is a $314.3 million increase to Quality Basic Education (QBE), which will provide local school systems with the flexibility to eliminate teacher furlough days, increase instructional days and increase teacher salaries. Increased funding was also designated for higher education, including $7.2 million for the creation of a new Zell Miller Grant for technical college students.
By maintaining open lines of communication, the members of the delegation seek to help local leaders address the five biggest issues facing Paulding County: environmental & water, transportation, education, economic development, and healthcare. Like the annual Legislative Listening Day, this collaborative effort between the delegation and the Chamber will help promote a strong business climate for Chamber members and will strengthen job opportunities for the citizens of the county.
Representative Paulette Rakestraw represents the citizens of District 19, which includes portions of Paulding County. She was elected into the House of Representatives in 2010, and currently serves as the Vice Chairman of Science and Technology. She also serves on the Economic Development & Tourism, Juvenile Justice, Small Business Development, and Special Rules committees.