Forsyth County’s newest state Senator is ready to get to work after his first week in office and being assigned to a number of committees that may impact county voters.
District 27 state Sen. Greg Dolezal was sworn in last week, which also had the swearing-in of Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, the State of the State address and a lot of pomp and circumstance. After such a formal week, Dolezal said he is ready to get to the hard work, including getting a state budget ready, a requirement of the Georgia Constitution.
“The first week is kind of getting the machine up and running,” Dolezal said. “Starting this week, we have budget hearings. We have a $25 billion budget in the state plus federal matching funds, which brings us to about $40 billion. That’s a tremendous responsibility. As a taxpayer my who life, I walk into the budget process with that lens of thinking what it takes each of us to earn the money that the government takes from us to provide the services the government provides, spending each one of those at home I think is important.”
Dolezal is a small business owner and a graduate of North Park University. He formerly served on the Forsyth County Planning Commission, the Impact Fee Committee, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee and Transportation Plan Steering Committee.
As he was sworn in last week, Dolezal said the importance of the job and the number of people he represents struck him.
“The first thing that was unexpected to me was just the overwhelming sense of honor and gratitude that I had when I got sworn in,” Dolezal said. “My family was by my side, and it was great having them there. I was also just thinking about the 250,000 or so I’ll be representing in that seat. It was a stunning moment for me just to think about the responsibility, trust and it became real in that moment thinking about each of the people I’ll be representing.”
Dolezal said he also realized the transitory nature of the office when sitting at his antique desk matching those of other state Senators.
“It was a great reminder for me that there were a lot of people who came before me whose names I don’t know and there are a lot of people coming after me who won’t know my name,” Dolezal said. “It was a reminder that this is in no way shape or form about me, but it’s about serving the people back home and we represent Forsyth County to the Gold Dome, as opposed to representing the Gold Dome to Forsyth County.”
Dolezal will represent Forsyth County on five Senate committees: Educations and Youth, Government Oversight, Health and Human Services, Reapportionment and Redistricting and Science and Technology, where he will serve as a vice chairman, “something you don’t see a lot of for freshman Senators.”
“For us kind of being here on the outskirts of the technology hub of Alpharetta, and for me owning a Forsyth County-based technology company, it’s a great fit,” Dolezal said. “The Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education all talk about Forsyth County becoming a technology hub in metro-Atlanta, then metro-Atlanta remaining a technology hub for the southeast. Having a front row seat to that is something I’m looking forward to as well.”
He said is “particularly interested” in looking at teacher raises, removing Common Core standards and looking at school choice options on the education committee and said he was happy to be involved with health care as it expected to be a big issue this session.
Dolezal said being appointed to the Apportionment and Redistricting committee was also crucial with the 2020 U.S. Census looming.
“I suspect that my Senate district has grown more than any other, so we’re going to be redrawing the lines for our district,” Dolezal said. “But also, that has an impact on how many congressmen Forsyth County has and other things like that.”
Dolezal encouraged students ages 12-18 to apply for the Senate Page Program and for any constituents to come to the Capitol. He can be reached at Greg.Dolezal@senate.ga.gov.
“[Students] get an excused absence from school, they get a few dollars and most importantly, they get to see how government works,” he said. “For anybody that we’re serving, if they want to come down and visit us at the Capitol, we’d be happy to host them at the office, give them a tour and spend some time with them and talk about their needs as well.”