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Lawmakers pick up assignments
Hamilton helped sort committees
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Forsyth County News


Mike Dudgeon was granted three wishes.

The freshman legislator, sworn in as District 24 state representative during last week's winter storm, was assigned to all three House committees he requested.

“I’m very lucky that I got that,” said Dudgeon, a Forsyth County Republican.

Dudgeon landed a seat on the Science and Technology Committee and the Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee.

A former Forsyth County School Board member, Dudgeon he was most excited about being selected to the Education Committee.

“That’s one committee I want to stay on as long as I’m down here,” he said. “I hope to be a valuable resource to that committee and I hope I can provide both a school board member’s perspective and that of someone who’s also willing to look at different ideas and maybe push the envelope a little.”

Picking Dudgeon for the education assignment was an obvious decision, said District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton.

As one of only about 15 lawmakers appointed to the House Committee on Assignments, Hamilton played a key role in selecting which legislators would serve on or chair a committee.

“It’s a very lengthy process,” he said. “There are lots of checkers on the checkerboard. I learned things about individual members that I didn’t realize was in their background, experience or was a real passion, so I think it’s been a real helpful process.”

Hamilton, a Republican from Cumming, will remain with four of the five committees on which he served last session -- Appropriations, Industrial Relations, Transportation and Governmental Affairs, which he chairs.

He was granted one request to switch from the Children and Youth Committee to the Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee.

“I’ve become more active in that and I also have an energy background being in the oil and gas industry,” Hamilton said. "And I think in the future as Georgia, like many states, is trying to find ways of becoming energy sufficient, there’ll be more and more opportunities for me to use my knowledge and expertise."

In fact, all three of the state representatives who represent Forsyth County serve on the energy committee.

In addition to that committee, District 9 state Rep. Amos Amerson retained three more of his previous assignments -- Appropriations, Higher Education and Science and Technology, which he heads.

A Republican from Dahlonega, Amerson also picked up a fifth committee, State Planning and Community Affairs.

“I did not request it,” he said. “I asked for exactly the same thing I had, but it’s just the way life works I guess.

“I’m not upset about it though ... this is the committee that handles local legislation, and to me, the local legislation is the most important of them all.”

Hamilton and the other assignment committee members met for “many hours over four or five days.”

“We looked at each freshman, both Republicans and Democrats, looked at their requests along with what we thought their current background and skill and expertise was, along with what they requested, along with what we needed,” he said.

In addition to placing every freshman legislator on about three committees, the group also selected chairmen for each group. It was a lengthy process, Hamilton said, and one that may not have left everybody happy.

“I went into this knowing that would be the case, but I feel that we all tried to do what is best for the citizens of Georgia," he said.