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State lawmaker from south Forsyth wont seek re-election

SOUTH FORSYTH — The longest-serving member of Forsyth County’s state legislative delegation has announced that this session of the Georgia General Assembly will be his last.

District 25 state Rep. Mike Dudgeon, a Republican from south Forsyth, attributed his decision not to seek a fourth term to the growth of Hirez Studios in Alpharetta, where he serves as chief technology officer.

“I really hate to leave the Georgia House, but the reality is that my business commitments no longer give me enough time to serve,” Dudgeon wrote in an email.

“We are now in full high-tech growth company mode. In doing both jobs, my work-life balance is not sustainable.  Therefore I have to step away from politics for the time being.”

A Georgia Tech graduate, Dudgeon was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010. Prior to that, he served on the Forsyth County Board of Education from 2007-10.

Though it will turn out to be his final session, Dudgeon has not shied away from legislation this year. Last week he introduced a bill that proposes a township form of government be allowed in Georgia.

“I’m still all in for this legislative session. I have a few bills out there that I’m really excited about,” he said. “I do want to get the township thing going in order to have the township as a new tool for the legislature to have.”

Dudgeon said he was also excited about legislation to create scholarships for students in underperforming schools, as well as right to try, a bill he introduced last year. The measure would allow some terminally ill patients faster access to drugs that have passed the safety phase of the FDA drug approval.

After his term is up, Dudgeon said he would like to continue working with policy and technological improvements at the legislature.

“I am hoping that my relationships that I’ve built here will allow me to still be able to be a policy adviser to some of my legislative friends next year,” Dudgeon said.

“I love policy and I love working on it, especially in the education area, and [have] built up a lot of good knowledge and good relationships there.”

In making his announcement, Dudgeon thanked the people of south Forsyth.

“I have a great district and great constituents, and I have loved representing them,” Dudgeon said. “They have my commitment I will vigorously pursue my legislative priorities for our area and the state as I finish this final session.

"I also hope to remain involved in policy, especially around education.  I also will be offering to help consult with the legislature in the future on continuing to improve their technology.”

Reflecting on his time at the Capitol, Dudgeon said one moment of which he was especially proud involved the new Atlanta Falcons’ stadium.

“I was a freshman or I guess just a second year [lawmaker],” he said. “I was sort of one of the spokesmen for the group here that did not want to have state taxpayer money tied up in building the stadium,” Dudgeon said.

“We were successful in that effort, and it ended up the city of Atlanta had to be on the hook for it, so I still feel good about that one.”