Walter Jones of the Morris News Service has the following look at some notable legislators . . .
Sen. Chip Rogers, a Woodstock Republican in his first term, got put in the hardest-working and the rising-star categories by many people. The months of long days he put into crafting this year’s immigration bill won him accolades from supporters and foes of the bill, in addition to knowledgeable observers. Ditto for Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Atlanta, for quickly becoming an expert on eminent domain.
Sen. Sam Zamarripa, of Atlanta, is a rare Democrat who impressed insiders for his work influencing the immigration bill he opposed. As he noted Wednesday when he announced his retirement from office after only two terms, “In the minority, you have to work hard on your persuasion with a lot of skill.”
Other Democrats often mentioned were Rep. Tom Bordeaux, of Savannah; Rep. Jeanette Jamieson, of Toccoa; and Sen. David Adelman, of Decatur, all for their ability to make arguments on the floor that changed votes.
Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, really hustled as one of the governor’s floor leaders and earned points for his silver tongue.
Likewise, Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, and Sen. Jack Hill, R-Reidsville, continue to impress others for their behind-the-scenes work managing the budget process in the House and Senate. Sure, there was a very public spat between House Speaker Glenn Richardson and Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson on the 39th day, but Mr. Harbin and Mr. Hill got good mentions for getting their jobs done like gentlemen.
Still, Mr. Johnson, a Savannah Republican, got the most votes for best speaker. During his years in the minority, he concocted some of the most quoted descriptions of Democratic bills, but he’s been less loquacious since taking the reins of the Senate. His unprepared comments to Mr. Richardson’s budget tantrum impressed the insiders who’ve seen many a floor speech.
Sen. Preston Smith, R-Rome, has emerged as a go-to guy for his colleagues about specific legal details and legislative mechanics, significant for someone just in his second term.