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Local lawmakers among 'most influential'
Annual list includes Hamilton, Murphy, Gooch
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Forsyth County News

Two state lawmakers from Forsyth County have been named among Georgia’s most influential legislators.

District 27 Sen. Jack Murphy and District 24 Rep. Mark Hamilton, both Republicans from Cumming, were named by James magazine in its 2013 Georgia’s Power Brokers edition.

Also named to the list was District 51 Sen. Steve Gooch, a Dahlonega Republican who represents a small part of northeast Forsyth.

James is a monthly magazine distributed by InsiderAdvantage Georgia that provides perspective on Georgia’s news, politics and culture.

The magazine named Murphy and Gooch among the most influential senators, and Hamilton among representatives.

In a statement, Murphy said he was “honored to be named part of a distinguished list of influential lawmakers.”

“As Georgia continues on the path of economic recovery, I will remain dedicated to shaping and influencing public policy to make Forsyth County and our state the best place to work, live and play,” he said.

Hamilton, who had previously been honored with the distinction, said he was humbled to be selected again.

“But I didn’t run for this job to receive recognition,” Hamilton said. “I ran to provide effective conservative leadership for the citizens of Georgia and to represent the citizens of Cumming and Forsyth County to the best of my ability.

“I hope any recognition I receive along the way simply means that I am accomplishing those goals.”

Matt Towery, CEO of James, said a panel of writers and former legislators suggest names for consideration. Former James editor and writer Gary Reese then researches the names and makes a proposed final list.

From the list, the final names are selected by the publisher and designated writers for InsiderAdvantage and James.

Murphy’s selection as chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee, vacated when Sen. David Shafer was elected president pro tem, was among the reasons Towery cited for his selection.

The committee chairmanship is “the best measure of the trust his colleagues and Senate leadership place in his intellect, and in his ability to address the major, complicated legislation that often comes before his committee,” Towery said.

“It also speaks highly of his straight-shooting reputation that he would be given such an important, if unglamorous, chairmanship.”

During the 2013 legislative session, Hamilton became the chairman of the House Industry and Labor Committee, after previously chairing the House Governmental Affairs Committee. He also joined the influential House Rules Committee, among other appointments.

Hamilton authored four bills this year and carried a Senate bill in the House, all of which were approved by the General Assembly and have been sent to the governor for consideration.

Gooch is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and vice chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee, both of which handle many bills in an effort to draw businesses to the state, as well as find solutions to traffic congestion.