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Legislators offer session update
Freshman rep holds first town hall
Reps WEB
District 9 state Rep. Kevin Tanner of Dawsonville, left, addresses guests Thursday at a town hall meeting held by District 26 state Rep. Geoff Duncan, right, at the University Center | GA 400. - photo by Jennifer Sami

The crowd may have been small during his first town hall meeting, but that didn’t stop state Rep. Geoff Duncan of Forsyth County from covering an array of topics and legislation he’s experienced during his first session.

“The trajectory at the Capitol is headed in the right direction,” said Duncan, who represents District 26. “Almost every bill, almost every conversation is dominated by smaller government less spending, and that’s encouraging.

“Now, we’re not where we need to be yet, but even talking to senior members that have been there a long time, the conversation sounds different than it has before.”

For the meeting Thursday at the University Center | GA 400, Duncan brought along fellow Republican and District 9 state Rep. Kevin Tanner of Dawsonville, whose district includes a small portion of northwest Forsyth.

“One of the things I heard a lot of while I was running from people in Forsyth was, ‘We’re concerned because you have such a small area in Forsyth it would be real easy for you to forget about us,’” Tanner said.

“I assured them that I represented them just as much as I did Lumpkin or Dawson and I really feel that way … and I appreciate this opportunity.”

The two freshmen lawmakers delved into the 2013 General Assembly’s most impactful bills, including the gun safe carry act, the proposed creation of a mental health study panel, juvenile justice reform and ethics reform.

They also discussed a state budget aimed at reducing the size of government and their hope that Georgia could gradually reduce the amount of federal funding it accepts and contributes to become more self-sufficient and free from federal mandates.

Other topics such as the prevalence of misinformation and the tremendous difference changing a single word in a bill can make were discussed, as was the power of personal responsibility.

Both men also touched on President Barack Obama’s health care law, known as Obamacare. To them, the president’s national solution to health care should instead be a state issue, with Georgia having the right to come up with its own solution.

But at the state Capitol, Duncan noted the mindset is more conservative-minded than at the national level.

With only a handful of attendees, the town hall gathering was intimate. Attendees like Sheri Gilligan were able to ask several questions of the representatives.

“We got a lot of good information,” she said. “Now I have better insight of what’s going on the [House] floor.

“The fact that they have [six] days left in the session and they came here, that impresses me. It takes a lot out of their time, especially on a long day.”