With a new session of the Georgia General Assembly underway, there is a lot that Forsyth County’s legislative delegation wants to take on this year.
The assembly’s 2023 legislative session began on Monday, Jan. 9 and will continue until early March or late April.
After recent elections and redistricting, Forsyth County will have several new faces at the Gold Dome. Here’s a look at who’s serving this term and what they want to tackle in the session.
Sen. Greg Dolezal
District: 27, representing the majority of Forsyth County and no other counties
Serving since: 2019
Legislative priorities: Ahead of the election, Dolezal told Forsyth County News he planned to work to lower property and income taxes for residents. For lower property taxes, he said he is pushing for a floating homestead exemption, which would freeze certain portions of the millage rate at previous years’ rates.
“I am also working with our delegation and Board of Education on a floating homestead exemption for our local school property taxes to ensure homeowners do not receive dramatic year-over-year increases in their property taxes”
Sen. Shawn Still
District: 48, representing a portion of south Forsyth County and portions of Fulton and Gwinnett counties.
Serving since: 2023
Legislative priorities: At a recent pre-legislative breakfast, Still said he was among legislators wanting to eliminate the state’s income tax to make Georgia more competitive with other states.
“Several of us… we campaigned very heavily on trying to reduce, ultimately eliminate, the state income tax. What does that mean? How do we replace that income? How do we become more competitive with states like Florida and Texas and Tennessee?”
Rep. Rick Jasperse
District: 11, representing northwest Forsyth County, Pickens County and a portion of Cherokee County
Serving since: 2010
Legislative priorities: During a recent tour of East Forsyth High School, Jasperse applauded the school’s hands-on training equipment and said he would like to use the successes as an example during budget discussions.
“I was thrilled today to look at the equipment. You know, there’s always this whining about equipment down there [at the Gold Dome] when the budget comes through. I don’t think they understand, that’s exactly the same piece of equipment they are going to be using on the job site or in manufacturing or in a television studio or in a culinary arts place. We’ve got to make sure we replicate that so that it's effective education.”
Rep. Carter Barrett
District: 24, representing a portion of western Forsyth County and no other counties.
Serving since: 2023
Legislative priorities: Before taking office, Barrett told the Forsyth County News his biggest focuses would be “jobs, low taxes and legislation that protects citizens from the impact of inflation. “
“The countermeasure to inflation is a robust local economy; that means attracting great jobs like health care and IT. It means supporting our school system by expanding career counseling and pathways and improving programs for relevant continuing education programs at the University of North Georgia and Lanier Technical College.”
Rep. Todd Jones
District: 25, representing portions of south Forsyth and Fulton counties.
Serving since: 2017
Legislative priorities: Jones previously told the FCN that in a survey sent out each year, the “top four” priorities for the district are the economy, education, transportation and health care. He said he intends to focus on those topics.
Hence, if re-elected, my primary focus will be on the Top Four with an emphasis on maintaining Georgia’s economic growth while also addressing multi-modalities within education, 4th generation transportation solutions and addressing healthcare access."
Rep. Lauren McDonald
District: 26, representing eastern Forsyth County
Serving since: 2021
Legislative priorities: McDonald previously told Forsyth County News he had been able to carry several pieces of legislation for Gov. Brian Kemp during last year’s session and hoped to continue that relationship in 2023.
“Legislation that I carried in the House consisted of House Bill 1216, the Governor's Public Safety Package; Senate Bill 514, the Unmasking of Georgia's Children Act and many others that affect the daily lives of Georgians. In next year's session, if re-elected, I will again be the governor's floor leader in the House and will work with both sides of the aisle in passing the governor's 2023 initiatives.”
Rep. Brent Cox
District: 28, representing portions of northern Forsyth County and a portion of Hall County.
Serving since: 2023
Legislative priorities: Cox recently told Forsyth County News that school choice, a proposal that would allow public education funding to follow students to schools or services including homeschooling, private school and other options, was a priority.
“I think when we’re dealing with education, I think school choice and looking out for the interest of all the kids in the state of Georgia [is important],” Cox said. “Forsyth is very unique in that we have a great public school system, private and home-schooling programs are great as well, while in other parts of the state, it’s not quite as simple.”
Rep. David Clark
District: 100, representing portions of southern Forsyth County and portions of Gwinnett and Hall counties.
Served since: 2015
Legislative priorities: On his campaign site, Clark said he also wants to eliminate the state income tax.
“As your State Representative, I have fought to reduce the tax burden on all citizens. I led the way to reduce the income tax rate and put a rate cap into our Constitution. I am a firm believer that we the people spend our hard-earned dollar better than the government. Higher taxes slow down economic growth.”