Forsyth County’s state legislators will gather for the annual pre-legislative forum Tuesday at Lambert High School.
The event, sponsored by the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, will follow the new format introduced at May’s post-legislative forum, combining the business community with students.
The spring event, held at North Forsyth High School, allowed students to ask questions of their local leaders.
Cindy J. Mills, chamber public policy development committee chair, said the event saw “the importance of voting in a very personal way."
“The government students and leaders got to sit with legislators and introduce them and ask questions,” she said. “It was a chance for them to have their voices heard. It was also a time where the legislators could hear the concerns of the students.”
Mills said the goal is the same this year, while also giving legislators an opportunity to address community questions and talk about what they expect to be key issues this winter.
District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton said balancing the state’s budget will be the main priority for legislators.
“Our state government is like most Georgia families and businesses, we are having to make difficult spending and budget choices because of declining revenue," Hamilton said.
District 27 state Sen. Jack Murphy, who like Hamilton is a Republican from Cumming, said he likes the new format of incorporating the county’s students.
“It’s kind of a fresh look at it,” he said. “I think that getting our young people involved and getting them to realize more about what’s happing in [government] is really beneficial to them.
“Their questions and their concerns are not exactly what adults would have, which makes it interesting.”
Prior to May, the forum was held in the chamber’s event facility, featuring a guest list of local leaders and business executives.
Many of the usual participants are still present, but incorporating students brings this information to future leaders, Mills said.
“The future of our great nation relies heavily on our leaders of tomorrow, and this group of students could be those leaders that will have an impact on our community, our schools and our economy,” she said.
Hamilton said the students “asked great questions ... and I am sure they will again."
“It is great to have our students in a position to interface and communicate with our legislative delegation,” he said.