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Senator to speak at breakfast meeting
Chamber, local GOP expecting policy over politics
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Forsyth County News

A visit Saturday by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss will bring business and politics together.

The Pastries and Politics event is sponsored by the Forsyth County Republican Party and the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.

James McCoy, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, said the event is not a campaign stop or fundraiser.

"That's not the intent of our side or the Republican Party," McCoy said. "The intent really is for this to be an opportunity for [Chambliss] to come talk to the community. It's not a campaign-related event.

"It's much more focused on policy and updating the community on where we are, which is why it's open to anyone in the community who wants to attend."

A Republican from Moultrie, Chambliss is finishing his first term in the senate. Five Democrats are vying to oppose him in November. He also has drawn one Independent challenger.

Andrew Miller, chairman of the local GOP, said the event will be mostly a "meet and greet." But, he added, the senator's presence can only help unite the party in a hotly contested national election year.

"It's good for the state party, for the senator to come out and energize the people and get us excited about voting, not only in the primary but in the fall," he said.

Though the chamber is nonpartisan, Miller said many of its members are Republicans and the "Republican Party platform is a pro-business and pro-growth platform."

McCoy said his hope is that Chambliss will focus on the economy, transportation, water and tax policy, as well as his anticipation of working under a new administration, should he be re-elected.

"Particularly right now, everybody is looking for every opportunity they can to grow their business," he said. "And the federal government has a lot to do with that, not just in terms of the small business administration, but just plain old taxes.

"With the new administration, one side or the other, we can expect to see some changes. And he will have a pretty loud voice on what some of those changes will be.

"It's very important that the business community will be there to maintain a strong and positive relationship with him."

As the highest ranking Republican senator on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, Chambliss has a direct effect on one of every six jobs in the state, Miller said.

"Georgia has traditionally been an agricultural state, or a state where agriculture has had a significant impact on the economy," he said.

"Some of that doesn't get as much [publicity] as some of the high-tech industries and some of the service sectors in Georgia, but it's still a solid foundation."

Since Democrats took control of the House and Senate in 2007, Chambliss has been in the minority party. Still, McCoy said, the senator has been a "great voice for the agricultural community."

"In terms of the kind of businesses we have, poultry is a big part, with Tyson and American Proteins and Northside Foods, and he's been a particularly strong advocate of agricultural business," McCoy said.