Even as folks around the Gold Dome began hurrying through meetings in an attempt to beat the snow and traffic last week — for many, a fruitless endeavor that took the better part of 24 hours — the Effingham Day at the Capitol went off without a hitch.
Several local industries and organizations got to show off what they have and what they do at the Monday reception at the Freight Depot. And for once, there was no competing event across the hall. So lawmakers and staffers and others who stepped across the street to the Freight Depot were a captive audience.
“We’ve made some changes to the format with some of the things we’ve done,” Effingham Chamber of Commerce President Dinah King said. “We’ve gotten some good feedback already. It’s something we’re going to continue to work on throughout the year and make changes as needed.”
As local elected officials and staffs meet with various state department heads, other Chamber members take on the arduous task of delivering loaves of raisin bread around the Capitol, with each of the 180 House members and each of the 56 senators getting a treat.
King thanked Effingham’s state lawmakers — state Sen. Jack Hill (R-Reidsville) and the county’s own state Reps. Jon Burns and Bill Hitchens — for helping pull off another Effingham Day. The Tuesday morning speakers included Charley English, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency director who had to dash out to deal with approaching storm issues, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Transportation Deputy Commissioner Todd Long, representatives from the EPD and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker of the House David Ralston.
“We can’t do it without our delegation,” King said. “They’re a great help to us. We had a great turnout at the reception.”
Getting to speak with and meet lawmakers and department heads in person also puts a face and a name to what the local legislative delegation, which is highly thought of in the Capitol’s halls, says about the folks back home.
“It gives us great representation,” King said. “They get to see who we are. They work with our delegation. For us to be here and to be present, they see a good representation from our county. It speaks well of our county and our committed leadership. We do want to make a difference in our county.”