ROOPVILLE — A former state lawmaker will serve as chairman of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Public Affairs Committee, a key panel that helps set legislative priorities for the state’s largest religious organization with nearly 1.4 million members.

Kevin Cooke, a member of Roopville Road Baptist Church, was appointed to the position on Tuesday by Georgia Baptist Convention President Kevin Williams.

Williams called Cooke “an excellent choice,” describing him as a Geogia Baptist who understands the state’s political system.

Cooke, a graduate of the University of Georgia, is a businessman, farmer and associate athletic director at Shorter University who served 10 years in the state legislature.

Cooke replaces Brad Hughes who rotated off the committee after completing a two-year appointment. Hughes, a newspaper publisher and a Georgia Baptist, also serves as director of faith-based initiatives for Gov. Brian Kemp.

Mike Griffin, the Mission Board’s legislative agent in the state Capitol, described Cooke as a “strong Christian” and “very capable.”

“He has a heart for standing on biblical principles,” Griffin said. “He will do a great job encouraging Christians to get involved in government.”

Founded in Washington, DC in 1822 by legendary Baptist leader Luther Rice, The Christian Index is the nation’s oldest continuously published religious newspaper.

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