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Area lawmakers ‘elated’ with grades on business survey
by Bill Baldowski
May 22, 2014 11:41 AM | 2441 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two area legislators said they believe they agreed with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s pro-business objectives despite not supporting all legislation listed in an annual survey.

The chamber recently released its annual “scorecard” showing how Georgia’s 56 senators and 180 House members voted on a series of bills the organization supported in the recently completed session of the general assembly.

Just more than half of senators, 29, voted for all eight chamber-backed bills listed on the Senate survey. A higher percentage, 62 percent, of members voted for all seven chamber-backed bills on the House scorecard.

District 66 State Rep. Kim Alexander, D-Hiram, was among 38 House members from both parties to score 86 percent, giving her a B+. She broke with the group in its support of a bill to prevent private firms from encouraging teachers to file for unemployment during the summer.

Alexander said the chamber’s voting scorecard makes up a small percentage of the legislation covered in the session.

“The Georgia chamber, like any other group, is interested with certain pieces of legislation which they feel directly impacts their members,” Alexander said. “That being said, it is important to remind our constituents that this report card covers [seven] votes out of a possible 272 which I cast during the session.”

Alexander said she was “elated” with her grade and was proud of the relationship she has developed with the organization in her first term.

“There are many areas where the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and I agree with economic development and job creation being just two examples,” she said.

Alexander added her constituents would be more interested in reviewing “my entire body of work as a legislator, including all of my votes on issues and my constituent services.”

District 35 State Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta, who scored 75 percent for a B grade, said most of her constituents have issues of higher importance to them than the state’s overall economy. “My constituents know I support, and am interested in, bringing new business to the state’s economy,” she said.

However, although her constituents have different issues of primary importance to them, the overall state economy may not be at the top of their list unless they are seeking employment, James said.

“If they were seeking employment, they would be interested in companies looking to expand or relocate someplace near them and the number of jobs that company would be developing,” she said. James felt her voting “grade” meant the statewide organization saw her as “above average” in support of its issues.

“I can’t say that I vote as the Georgia chamber would like for me to vote on every single issue of importance to them,” she said. “However, the issues I support are, in my viewpoint, in the best interest of Georgia.”

James said that during the last legislative session, there were only two bills in which she differed with the chamber.

“I believe the chamber realizes I am very pro-business when it comes to bringing in new business and new jobs to our state and primarily my district,” James said.

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