Members of the Clayton County Legislative Delegation share a laugh during the county Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Update Breakfast Thursday. The legislators said economic development is expected to be a major issue in the Georgia General Assembly’s upcoming session.
MORROW Members of the Clayton County Legislative Delegation said economic development in the county, as well as across Georgia, is expected to be a major issue in the upcoming General Assembly session.
Legislators addressed business owners during the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Update Breakfast at Clayton State University Thursday. During their brief remarks, and a short question-and-answer session, the legislators addressed the issues of economic development and funding for the Georgia Archives.
However, several representatives said jobs and existing businesses have to be taken care of so the state can grow its economy and emerge from the ongoing recession.
“In order for us to get us beyond this recession, the thing we’ve got to do is focus on jobs,” said state Rep.-elect Mike Glanton, who will represent the Jonesboro area.
The breakfast drew a larger than usual group of Clayton County legislators. Seven of the nine delegation members attended, compared to past years when the event drew only five at best, according to chamber President Yulonda Beauford.
In addition to Glanton, attending legislators included state Sens. Gail Davenport (D-Jonesboro) and Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale), state Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex), and Reps.-elect Demetrius Douglas, Ronnie Mabra and Valencia Stovall.
Since the breakfast offered limited time to discuss issues, the legislators did not get in depth about their economic development plans. Still Glanton and Stovall, whose district stretches from Riverdale to Morrow and Forest Park, said they will have to focus on convincing existing businesses in Georgia to add more jobs in the state.
“One of the things I want to help focus on is, not so much create or bring in new businesses, but helping current businesses grow and expand what they already have in Georgia,” Glanton said. “I think the same incentives we give to companies to get them to move into Georgia ought to be the same incentives we give to companies already here.”
Stovall said the General Assembly had previously focused on creating incentives to attract new businesses to the state. But, she added, legislators came away from their recent biennial training session with a sense that the time had come to focus on existing businesses as well.
“They have now understood the existing businesses have to be able to have those same incentives,” Stovall said.
Davenport, the delegation’s new chairperson, said Clayton County residents and business owners should be optimistic that the General Assembly will be able to come up with an economic solution in the upcoming session, which begins next month.
“We’ve had hard times before, and we can overcome anything,” she said.
Davenport added the delegation will hold a “Meet and Greet” event Jan. 7, at 6 p.m., so county residents and business owners can talk to delegation members in person about issues they want to see addressed in the upcoming legislative session. The event will take place at the Clayton County Headquarters Library, which is located at 865 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro.