As they do every year at the end of the legislative session, Columbia County's state lawmakers gave their recap to the county's chamber of commerce Tuesday morning.
But this time, one member made his last appearance on the Republican delegation, while another state representative joined in the discussion.
"I must say Sen. Cheeks, we're going to miss you and thank you for representing us," said Chris Noah, who moderated the breakfast meeting in front of more than 60 people.
Because of the state's redistricting plan, Sen. Don Cheeks, R-Augusta, was drawn out of the one precinct he represented in Columbia County and placed him on the county's delegation. Cheeks is facing Democratic challengers Charles Walker and Ed Tarver for the District 22 seat.
Meanwhile, Rep. Sue Burmeister, R-Augusta, who is unopposed in this year's election to represent her west Augusta district, said she is looking forward to serving Columbia County.
"I keep talking to (members of the county's legislative team) - isn't there anyway you could annex west Richmond county into Columbia County," she said jokingly, "and I've had a lot of my constituents in Richmond County ask me the same thing."
Tuesday's discussion touched on a host of topics, including the funding situation for a $4.6 million bond issue for a new Augusta Technical College building in the county and $890,000 for Fort Discovery in Augusta.
Both were deferred from the $16 billion state budget Gov. Sonny Perdue signed last month.
"As far as the tech school, yes, it's coming, and I will assure you that it will be there, and it's not delayed," Cheeks said. "I have heard the governor say personally to me, the money is coming to that technical school in Columbia County. And I don't think we're delaying the project by deferring a few months."
Design work for the school is expected to begin soon since $300,000 already has been approved.
While tort reform legislation failed to pass this year's session, Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, said he thinks the issue will continue to be a pressing one for the state.
"There's the thought out there that we have too many lawsuits," he said, "that lawsuits are adversely affecting our economy, especially portions of our economy like our medical community.
"We had a guy come before our committee that was the head of the trauma unit association for Georgia, and he said about two or three years ago we had 21 trauma units across the state, and now we're down to 13."
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