Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, said having a new governor with a young family is going to provide a youthful atmosphere that she feels will bring new excitement to Georgia.
"I am particularly excited about some of the emphasis they are going to be putting on health, mental health particularly, and addiction," Dempsey said. "It's why people fall into the prison system. It's why families are split up. It is the painful disparaging walk that so many have to go on."
Dempsey also told local leaders that data collection is going to be critical for state government.
"More and more the federal government is requiring data from us to apply for grants, to maximize targeted potential," Dempsey said. "I think we are going to be able to target issues from cancer to addiction to interventions at all levels to help people of Georgia have the best opportunities that they can.”
Senator Chuck Hufstetler said he also believes healthcare and issues that are important to rural Georgia will be significant during the coming session. He said he's aware of a half dozen proposals related to Georgia's healthcare certificate of need rules and that there will be close scrutiny of out-of-network billing issues.
"Georgia is the number one state in the country — according to the University of Pennsylvania — for narrow networks. There are so many people that are not in networks that it causes a lot of problems and we hope we can get this taken care of," Hufstetler said. "We've got to get doctors in rural Georgia and there are some proposals to do that."
New State Rep. Mitchell Scoggins said completing the Rome-Cartersville Economic Development Corridor will be a priority of his. He told the community leaders that right-of-way acquisition could begin later this year.
"Hopefully, from what I understand, they are looking at 2024 for completion. I know that is not soon enough for you all," Scoggins said. He told the crowd he has asked for seats on the Transportation, Judiciary and Health & Human Resources committees.
Hufstetler reminded the audience that to his knowledge, for the first time all four members of the local legislative delegation come from local government backgrounds. Lumsden and Hufstetler were county commissioners, Dempsey a city commissioner and Scoggins a probate judge in Bartow County.
"That's not happening in a lot of areas and from what I've seen down there, I think it's key that those who go down there do understand local government, so I think that is going to be good," Hufstetler said.
Kemp will be sworn in as governor in Jan. 14, which is also the first day of the 2019 session.