Albany Area Chamber leads local delegation in 'Albany-Dougherty Day' at state capitol
Feb. 19—ATLANTA — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce this week led a delegation of local leaders from the public and private sectors to Atlanta for "Albany-Dougherty Day" at the state Capitol, an Albany Area Chamber legislative advocacy program that emphasizes the community's priorities and opportunities and showcases the impact of its leadership and collaboration.
The advocacy event included meetings at the capitol with the Office of Gov. Brian Kemp; Lt. Gov. Burt Jones; Commissioner of Agriculture Tyler Harper; Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia Greg Dozier; Speaker Jon Burns; Minority Leader James Beverly; representatives from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia Transportation Alliance; and a variety of committee chairs from the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives, along with members of the Albany area legislative delegation.
"Albany-Dougherty County is well-recognized as the hub of southwest Georgia and a statewide leader in exemplifying the power of partnership, which was demonstrated this week through the diverse delegation of local leaders engaged in discussions," chamber President and CEO Bárbara Rivera Holmes said in a news release. "The Albany Area Chamber is the region's largest business advocacy organization, connecting and convening more than 700 area businesses and community partners, and facilitating the representation of their legislative priorities on the local, state and federal levels.
"The Albany-Dougherty Day legislative event is our annual opportunity to present a collective front to state lawmakers and key influencers, demonstrating shared vision and community support on priorities most vital to the long-term success of Albany and its surrounding counties."
The delegation kicked off the visit with a reception that was attended by featured guests such as University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, Georgia Insurance Commissioner John King, State Superintendent of Schools Richard Woods and Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Ken Hodges; among other prominent state officials and department figures. Reception fare highlighted Albany-made products by Sunnyland Farms, Molson Coors and Pretoria Fields, as well as locally-sourced peanuts.
State leaders provided updates on priority initiatives for Albany-Dougherty County and southwest Georgia and noted the region's role in keeping Georgia the No. 1 state for business, commending the spirit of collaboration and innovation in the region, particularly in the areas of work force, health care and industry.
The Albany Area Chamber's 2023 pro-business legislative priorities include expansion of the health care professional pipeline to ensure Georgia has the work force to provide the care and services citizens need, and supporting telemedicine to increase access to care for rural Georgians; investing in rural broadband and rural innovation, which is critical to supporting educational attainment, economic growth and utilization of telehealth services; supporting incentives and initiatives that remove barriers for small businesses and expand access to resources; fiscal policies and a regulatory environment that facilitate job creation and business investment; and increased investment in transportation infrastructure to support Georgia's distribution and logistics industries.
Additionally, the chamber is advocating for $15.6 million in state appropriations for the construction of the Criminal Justice Demonstration Center at Albany Technical College to support enrollment growth in criminal justice programs and support law enforcement training needs; $900,000 in design funding for the renovation of Albany State University's Billy C. Black Building, which will improve operational efficiencies and support student success; and $892,000 to double the capacity of pre-K slots in the Dougherty County School System to enhance early learning and increase literacy rates.
The local leadership delegation included representatives from AB&T, Adams Exterminators, Albany Area Primary Health Care, Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau, Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, Albany State University, Albany Technical College, AT&T, city of Albany, Dougherty County, Dougherty County School System, Georgia CEO, Horizons Community Solutions, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, McLendon Acres, Molson Coors and Phoebe Putney Health System.
Albany-Dougherty Day is a component of the chamber's Government Affairs Division, comprising member business representatives and chaired by Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adam's Exterminators.