State Senate District 48 is new to Forsyth County, but the next legislator for the district has plenty of experience with state politics.
District 48 state Sen.-elect Shawn Still, who owns a swimming pool construction business and has served for more than three years as finance chairman for the Georgia Republican Party, said he was ready to get started on the next legislative session after a long campaign season, which he described as an 11-month-long job interview.
“Being a candidate and being a legislator are the two most opposite things that a person can do,” Still recently told the Forsyth County News. “Fortunately, I have been working on government affairs issues regarding water on Lanier, regarding the swimming pool industry, which is my day job. I’ve been working in and around the capitol with legislators for 15 years, so I had a lot of familiarity about the processes.
“Being a candidate, for me, was the harder part, so now I’m finally getting to do the thing that I’ve wanted to do for so long.”
Still said part of that rating included going to the Biennial Institute for Georgia Legislators at the University of Georgia, a training session for legislators, which he said consisted of three 14-16-hour days to get up to speed and a 320-page book “on procedures, all the different aspects of how to be a high-performing legislator.”
District 48, which represents a portion of south Forsyth County and parts of Gwinnett and Fulton counties, is new to the area having
In November, Still was elected after earning 41,464 votes, about 56.7% of the nearly 74,000 ballots cast in the district to Democrat Josh Uddin’s 31,635, about 43.3% of the total.
In Forsyth County, Still enjoyed a larger lead, receiving 14,632, about 64.5% of the county’s almost 23,000 votes, to Uddin’s 8,069 votes, about 35.5%.
Since winning the race, Still said he has been attending training and learning about issues he believes will come up in the session.
“For me, it’s getting up to speed on things like budget, on bills that we strongly believe are going to come back up,” Still said. “Transportation issues, health care reform issues, education and school choice, those are going to be three of the big ones that I am going to be focused on, so I’m going to try to familiarize myself with all that.”
Having worked with the Georgia GOP, where Still said his roles included fundraising, recruiting candidates and helping in races, he said he has also worked with state Senate leaders previously.
“These are guys that I’ve known, so to see them move into leadership roles is exciting for me because they are the people I supported,” he said. “I supported them for leadership, and now, I’m getting to watch that. I don’t think I’m getting any special favors for that, but I think what it will do is give me a great baseline to know how to be able to work with them.”
Still said once in office, he wants to push for school choice options, lowering taxes, protecting water resources and fulling funding and increasing resources for police and public safety.
“School choice almost passed this last time around,” Still said of the most recent legislative session. “I’m confident that’s going to come back. I know that’s going to be there.”
He said he was particularly hoping to be on the state Senate’s transportation, finance and education committees and hoped his fourth would be either economic development or health.
When asked how he plans to juggle his business and legislative duties, Still said the legislative session, which is 40 days long, starts in January and typically ends in late March or early April, is during his company’s slow season.
Still said between his business and getting ready for the session it was essentially having two jobs but “the biggest sacrifice that I’ve had to make is with my daughters.”
“It’s been hard to be away from them as much as I have,” he said. “I’ve missed a lot, but it is temporary. The very first audience that I talked to before I decided to run was my children to make sure they understood what was going to be expected of me, but in turn, what was going to be expected of them.”
When asked if there was anything he felt constituents should know about him, Still said he was a self-made business owner and only child of a single mother and wanted to bring that work ethic to the seat.
“I have busted my tail for everything that I have ever done,” Still said. “I wake up earlier and work harder than anybody, and I hope that that work ethic, carried to the Senate, will mean that I am there for the right reasons. I have nothing to gain personally from this.”
Still is CEO of Olympic Pool Plastering & Shotcrete and owner of Endless River Adventures and previously served as finance chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. He lives in Johns Creek and has three daughters.