Next week leaders from all across Georgia will meet in Jasper to start this year’s House of Representatives Rural Development Council. The council was reauthorized by House Resolution 214 during the 2019 legislative session, and Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, and Rep. Sam Watson, R-Moultrie, were appointed to co-chair the council.

Jasperse’s district includes the eastern portion of Gordon County.

For the remainder of 2019 and in 2020, the council will travel to 10 different rural areas in the state. Its first meeting in 2019 will be in Jasper on Aug. 20-21, followed by Moultrie, St Mary’s, Eatonton and Americus. The council members will be looking at policies to address rural healthcare, economic development, internet access, agriculture and education. Since the Council began its work in 2017, the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia State Senate have passed a total of 12 pieces of legislation focusing on Rural Georgia.

“I am very glad to bring these fellow legislators and presenters to our beautiful region,” Jasperse said. “They will spend two or three days with us. We will be meeting on Aug. 20-21 at the Chattahoochee Technical College. It has been good for me to be a part of this council, as I have had the opportunity to go to many communities I had only heard of over the years.”

Jasperse said that every meeting has a focus and purpose and the one in Jasper will be about education. Speakers at the meetings are asked to address specific problems in their area of expertise and bring a solution to the issue.

Last year seven pieces of legislation were passed and a number of changes made to the budget based on the recommendations the council heard from Georgians, the representative said.

The House website (http://www.house.ga.gov) has details regarding the past two years’ worth of meetings, and there is a link to a live channel broadcast in real time when the meeting is going on so residents from all over the state can watch. The easiest way to find it is to type in “Georgia House Rural Development Council” in the search window.

“For me, it has been very rewarding to be a part of the council,” Jasperse said. “Learning about the issues that face rural Georgia and finding possible solutions helps the counties I represent and all of Georgia. Since the council was created, we took what we learned and have enacted many changes for rural Georgia, but there is still more work to be done. The House Rural Development Council remains committed to working with local leaders and citizens to develop solutions to help rural Georgia economies and to improve the quality of life for our rural neighbors.”

Questions or comments can be directed to Jasperse at 770-893-2039 or at the Capitol at 404-656-7153 or via email to rick.jasperse@house.ga.gov.

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