By Sen. Ross Tolleson
PERRY (February 18, 2011) – This week, I introduced legislation to help our state maintain adequate water resources. While we continue to negotiate with our neighbors in Florida and Alabama, everything must be done at the state level to establish a framework for future water planning.
Known as the Georgia Public/Private Water Supply Act of 2011, Senate Bill 122 creates new options for financing water projects by allowing state and local governments to voluntarily partner with private investors on the construction of reservoirs and other water infrastructure projects. This gives local governments control over their water resources and allows them to tailor future water planning to meet their individual community’s needs. I look forward to working with my colleagues as this bill begins to move through the legislative process.
We welcomed a special visitor from Perry this week in the Senate Chamber, former Representative Larry Walker, one of the most highly respected members of the General Assembly who served in the legislature from 1972 to 2004. He was elected House Majority Leader in 1986 and later was elected to serve on the Department of Transportation Board from 2007 to 2009, representing Georgia’s Eighth Congressional District. A lifelong Perry resident, Rep. Walker has been a regular columnist in the Houston Home Journal for over 10 years and has recently published a book called Life on the Gnat Line, a composition of his widely read columns. I was honored to welcome my friend and colleague back to the Capitol to recognize him for his many achievements and celebrate his most recent literary success.
Through our partnership with the Medical Association of Georgia, a physician volunteers every day at the Capitol to take care of legislators’ medical needs while they’re away from home. The Doctor of the Day is also introduced in both the House and Senate at the beginning of the legislative day. This week, I was proud to host Dr. Rebecca Tarlton of Laurens County as Doctor of the Day. Dr. Tarlton earned her medical degree from the University of Western Ontario and completed her residency at Duke University. She was the first female radiation oncologist in Georgia and has played an integral role in the development of a unique and successful technique used in the treatment of prostate cancer.
We celebrated Rural Health Day to raise awareness of the need for quality health care in the state’s rural areas. Georgia has 109 rural counties encompassing over 2 million residents, and is experiencing a continuing decline in the availability and quality of health care services. These geographic areas have the highest cancer and cardiovascular mortality rates and infant mortality, child abuse, and teen pregnancy rates. The growing uninsured population and elderly population with multiple diseases far exceed the area’s health care resources. The Georgia Rural Health Association plays an important role in working with state officials to address the health care needs of our state’s rural communities.
Also this week was the legislative appreciation luncheon for Georgia’s Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) and the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education (GACTE). The technical student organizations provide opportunities for student leadership, competitive events and community service and work alongside GACTE to provide educational leadership in developing a competitive workforce. One of our local students, Laurie Beth Nix who is a senior at Houston County High School, participated in the event. A number of other local students were honored for their equestrian achievements during Equine Youth Day, including Colby Upshaw (Cadwell), Beth Langston (Elko), Colleen Wright (Adrian) and Megan Jones (Milan).
I was proud to join Governor Nathan Deal for a photo with the St. Patrick’s Festival Committee, which is working hard on Dublin’s 46th Annual St. Patrick’s Festival. I was also honored to speak to the Leadership Dodge Program of the Eastman-Dodge County Area Chamber of Commerce. I’d like to thank all of these distinguished Georgians for visiting us at the State Capitol this week.
As always, it is an honor to serve you in the 20th Senate District. Please feel free to contact me with your ideas and concerns as we work together for a better State of Georgia.
Sen. Ross Tolleson serves as Chairman of the Natural Resources and the Environment Committee. He represents the 20th Senate District, which includes Bleckley, Dodge, Johnson, Laurens, Pulaski, and Telfair counties and parts of Houston and Wilcox counties. He may be reached at 404.656.0081 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
For Immediate Release:
February 18, 2011
For Information Contact:
Natalie Strong, Director
Kallarin Richards, Deputy Director