FORSYTH COUNTY — Mark Hamilton recently received the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s highest honor.
The Republican state representative from District 24 in Forsyth County was named by the organization as its 2014 Legislator of the Year.
“I am humbled and honored to receive such an esteemed award from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce,” Hamilton said. “As a state legislator, one of my top priorities is bringing jobs to the state of Georgia as this is something that affects us all and will shape the economic future for our children and grandchildren.
“I’m proud that the Georgia Chamber recognizes my efforts, and I look forward to working with them in the future as we continue to create business-friendly policies in our state.”
Hamilton was joined by state Sen. Fran Millar, chosen the top member of that elected body, and Rep. Sam Watson, the top freshman legislator.
All three earned an A+ ranking on their legislative scorecard for their two-year terms. The scorecard is comprised of the chamber’s top issues and keeps track of how legislators vote.
“These three individuals are shining examples of the kind of leaders we need to keep our economy growing,” said Ernest Greer of Greenberg Traurig, 2014 chairman of the chamber's board. “They understand what companies need in order to confidently make investments and create jobs.
“They deserve credit for allowing Georgia to become the globally recognized place for business it is today.”
While several area lawmakers also earned the A+ ranking, Hamilton said it was likely his work on House Bill 714 that set him apart.
The measure, according to Hamilton, creates uniformity in administering unemployment benefits in the state, ultimately saving as much as $10 million annually by removing the loophole.
The other part of the bill allows the state Department of Labor to be more efficient when processing claims, while preserving an additional $80 million annually in the Unemployment Trust Fund.
“We added some additional pro-business legislation to it and so it passed,” Hamilton said. “It was a very significant piece of legislation for Georgia.
“They worked on it for several years and weren’t able to get it passed and I was able to get it done this year.”
Hamilton said being recognized was a surprise, but one that is “very meaningful.”
“It makes me feel good that the efforts I’m putting forth in the General Assembly are being recognized by businesses trying to create good, sound policy,” he said.
Last month, Hamilton secured a fifth term in the legislature by winning the Republican primary. No Democrat qualified to run against him in November.