By Jamison Hooks staff writer
The Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and Morgan County Family Connection Co-Sponsored a Legislative Question and Answer Forum, which featured District 25 Republican Senator Burt Jones and District 112 Republican Representative Dave Belton. Belton and Jones answered questions from members of the audience on a variety of subjects such as transportation and education. Belton jumped right to it by explaining some of the things that make Georgia and Morgan County a desirable place to live and conduct business. “We’re the number one state in the nation to do business in. We were number four last year and we have been in the top 10 for the last five years,” said Belton. “Georgia has logistical advantages and proactive economical developers at the state and local levels.” When answering questions on the upcoming legislative session, Senator Burt Jones addressed issues concerning transportation and a potential tax increase on gas. “Transportation will probably be a very controversial topic of conversation,” said Jones. “There are a lot of options on the table right now for transportation. It costs about $200 million to maintain the current roads we have. I’ll need to see some sort of strategic plan in place before I can on board with any tax increase or whatever it might be.” Along with transportation, Jones explained that education is a major concern. “We have the obligation of balancing the budget and over 60 percent goes towards education,” said Jones. Belton who served on the Morgan County Board of Education for seven years also commented on education in Morgan County. “We have an 87 percent graduation rate in Morgan County. That’s the 14th best county in Georgia, which puts us in the top eight percent. It’s not because of me, it’s because our teachers are doing a great job,” said Belton. Then, the audience had a question for Belton and Jones. What can we do to help you do your job better in Morgan County? “The best thing you can do is to keep us informed of what your issues are. We can’t make magic happen, but we’re a partnership with local government,” said Jones. “The communities that have the most economic growth and success are the ones that have their act together. Their counties and cities are working for a centralized goal.” The event put together by Madison–Morgan Chamber of Commerce and Morgan County Family Connection served as a great opportunity for the community to meet face to face with their representatives. “Velde Hardy and Morgan County Family Connection play such an important role in our community and we need to give them recognition for making this meeting today possible,” said County Commissioner Ellen Warren.