By Maureen Bock
LSCU Senior Director, Education
So, there is nothing like arriving at 6:30 a.m. (with 2,600 of your closest friends) to the World Congress Center to attend the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs & Issues breakfast. This is a rite of passage for league employees and an honor for our credit unions to attend. I was thrilled to be joined by Rachael Martin and Chuck Head of Atlanta Postal CU and James Coltrane of Members First CU. This event was held on Jan. 15 and kicked off the first week of the 2020 Georgia State Legislative session.
Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, outlined what he sees as top priorities for the chamber in Georgia. Addressing the urbanization of rural property, growing environmentally, growing our infrastructure, creating a new healthcare network and upgrading our freight and logistics capability to compete more internationally. Georgia businesses need to focus on talent and tech/innovation, as credit unions know all too well. Georgia embraces the rise of entrepreneurship and small businesses. Focusing on diversity in our workforce/inclusion is key. We want to help move people from poverty to prosperity. Again, sounds familiar to credit union folks. Easy to say, hard to do in today’s world of geopolitical polarization.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) beamed with pride as he stated, “Georgia has been named the #1 place to do business for the 7th year in a row! That is big, ya’ll!” Kemp serves as the 83rd Governor of the state of Georgia and ran on a platform of being a political outsider, wanting to shake things up and disrupt the status quo. He feels he has made good progress so far.
Human trafficking is a horrifying fact that is threatening families and communities all over Georgia. First Lady Marty Kemp has started the GRACE (Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion and Education) Commission to combat the threat of human trafficking in the State of Georgia. Ivanka Trump joined the Kemps on Jan. 14 to give a voice to voiceless during a roundtable on combating trafficking.
“Insurance premiums are too dadgum high in the peach state.” The Gov. has signed a patient’s first act to help lower the cost of insurance, enhance access and create better health outcomes. Office of the Governor and DCH worked together to craft two unique waivers – the “Georgia Pathways” 1115 Demonstration Waiver and the “Georgia Access” 1332 State Relief and Empowerment Waiver – designed to work in tandem to create a pathway to affordable health care for hardworking Georgians and reduce private sector insurance premiums for families. Georgia passed 20 healthcare bills and increased access to telemedicine in the last year.
Georgia’s unemployment rate is now at 3.3%, and our ports are breaking records. Gov. Kemp favors business expansions. And he vows to budget conservatively.
Sen. David Purdue (R) is now the senior senator from Georgia with the resignation of Sen. Johnny Isakson.
Georgia is the eighth most populous state. Purdue supports international progress and capital formation. He considers himself an outsider in D.C., compared to so many career politicians. He seemed surprised he even made it to the Senate. He mused that his first poll was at about 3%- with 4% margin of error. We live in the greatest country in the history of the world- during a time of the greatest economic turnaround in history. With Trump in the White House, he has spent time with him, and they decided to focus on several things that impact the banking sector – Dodd-Frank/regulation reform and moving money back to the U.S. ($6 trillion has come back into banking and businesses).
Data shows 7.5 million jobs were created in the last three years. But we still have an issue- there are eight million jobs open and only five million people looking. We have the highest middle class income and the lowest minority unemployment.
The Georgia infrastructure continues to need work. There will be an announcement of a new public/private partnership coming soon related to transportation. Purdue suggested that voters need to hold those in D.C. accountable to take care of our interests in our home state.