During the 2017 session of the Georgia General Assembly, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 389, thereby creating the House Rural Development Council. The council will meet on a regular basis across the state to listen to citizens, businesses, and organizations about what challenges rural Georgia faces, and what the General Assembly can do to address the problems identified.

In a press release announcing the membership of the council, House Speaker David Ralston (R – Blue Ridge) said, “Georgia is a growing and prosperous state, and we are thankful for that. But that prosperity isn’t being felt in every community across Georgia. Some of our rural areas are still struggling, and we must do everything we can to help private businesses grow jobs in every corner of our state.”

In addition to the actions taken by the House, the Georgia Chamber will be involved in proposing actionable solutions to address problems that are specific to rural Georgia. Economic development, job creation, infrastructure, education, and access to healthcare will be areas that both the Chamber, and the Rural Development Council will examine for policy proposal opportunities.

“Rural Georgia hasn’t enjoyed the same degree of economic success as other parts of our state. The problems are real,” said Georgia Chamber President and CEO, Chris Clark. “The Chamber is committed to partnering with the General Assembly and the House Rural Development Council to ensure state and local policy making address the challenges facing rural Georgia.”

Rural Development Council Co-Chairs, Rep. Terry England (R – Auburn) and Rep. Jay Powell (R – Ocilla) had the following to say about their forthcoming work on the council.

“Agriculture has long been — and will continue to be — Georgia’s number one industry and we’re rightfully proud of that,” said Chairman Terry England. “We will explore ways to support existing industries like agriculture and grow new industries in our rural areas.  I look forward to working with partners like the Georgia Chamber, University System, local officials, and business leaders, to keep Georgia — all of Georgia — moving forward.”

“This council’s task is to look at the big picture and consider how government policy on issues like education, healthcare, transportation, and taxation impact the economies of rural Georgia,” said Chairman Jay Powell. “For Georgia to continue to grow and prosper, we have to create an environment that encourages private business to create jobs in every corner of our state — including our small towns and rural communities.”

Make sure to stay up to date with our statewide Georgia 2030 2.0 Tour that will discuss many of these issues – and more. You can RSVP, here.

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