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Lawmaker honored for small business support

A state lawmaker from Forsyth County has been honored with a top business award.

Rep. Mark Hamilton was presented the Guardian of Small Business Award by the Georgia office of the National Federation of Independent Business, or NFIB, on Thursday.

According to information from the federation, the award is the most prestigious honor the federation bestows on legislators in recognition of their efforts to support small business issues.

Kyle Jackson, state director of NFIB/Georgia, said Hamilton earned a 100 percent voting record on issues of concern to the federation during the 2012 legislative session.

“Rep. Hamilton has become a real ally of small business in the [Georgia] House,” Jackson said in a statement.

Hamilton, a Republican who represents District 24, chairs the Industry and Labor Committee.

He was the primary sponsor of bills aimed at fixing Georgia’s workers’ compensation system, strengthening the state’s right-to-work status and prohibiting project labor agreements. Such agreements ensure union workers will be used on a project with a government or public agency.

Jackson praised Hamilton’s efforts, calling him a “rock-solid supporter” of pro-business legislation.

“In his first year as chairman of the Industry and Labor Committee, he has displayed a keen understanding of labor, unemployment and workers’ comp issues and has steadfastly supported and led our key labor items,” Jackson said.

Hamilton, founder and CEO of H&H Staffing Services Inc. and AppliedWisdom LLC, both in Cumming, said he understands the importance of supporting local businesses and organizations. 

“I am honored to receive this special award from NFIB,” he said in a statement. “As a small business owner myself, I take special interest in the work that the NFIB does to advocate for small businesses in Georgia.

“Small businesses are the real leaders in job growth and I remain dedicated to providing sound policy that allows the free market to work in Georgia, as that benefits not only business but all Georgians.”

James McCoy, president of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, said Hamilton has been a strong business proponent for many years.

“He’s a former chairman of the chamber of board and even before he was elected he has been an advocate for business,” McCoy said. “He is a great business person himself, and it’s really fantastic when small business or business people in general get elected to see what they can do. But specifically, Mark Hamilton has been probably the strongest leader on small business issues.

“We should all be extremely proud as a community that he has been recognized with this award.”

House Speaker David Ralston said he wasn’t surprised Hamilton was chosen for the recognition.

“Mark brings an understanding to the legislative process that helps steer policy in a way that allows our job creators to grow and prosper,” Ralston said in a statement.

Hamilton was first elected to the legislature in 2006. He also serves on the Appropriations, Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications, Governmental Affairs, Rules, and Transportation committees.

He is also chairman of the Energy Sub-Committee, vice chairman of the Jekyll Island-State Park Authority Oversight Committee, and serves on Gov. Nathan Deal’s Digital Learning Task Force, the House Committee on Assignments, and the House GOP Caucus Policy and Finance committees.