New head of Dept. of Economic Development?

Perdue recommends Stewart:

Gov. Sonny Perdue on Monday recommended Ken Stewart, director of the state’s Forestry Commission, to lead Georgia’s Department of Economic Development.

He will replace Craig Lesser, who is leaving Dec. 31 after 30 months at the helm. Stewart must be approved by the state board of economic development, which is expected to hold a special meeting to consider his appointment before the end of the year

Stewart has led the forestry commission since 2004. He oversaw Georgia’s 24 million acres of forest land. Perdue praised his work creating markets for innovative new products, such as biofuels, in the global marketplace. Prior to taking his current state post, Stewart was vice president at Unisource Worldwide Inc. He also held various management positions at Georgia Pacific and served as a company commander in the Army National Guard.


  1. liberty21 says:

    that is all we need now is a corporate executive heading the Georgia Department of Economic Development. We already have enough corporate executives in leadership position screwing things up. Don’t expect any economic growth in Sonny Purdue’s second term.

  2. liberty21 says:

    Buzz Brockway,
    I know how tied you are to Sonny Purdue. I don’t prefer a unemployed person or a greedy corporate executive. I prefer people from the Labor Department or local union leaders. Georgia Department of Economic Development need to fairly represent Georgia’s workers when making decision about jobs, wages etc. Therefore The Georgia Department of Economic Development should be under the Georgia Department of Labor, not special appointee of the governor.

  3. Demonbeck says:


    I hope you aren’t going to see the folks in the DoL anytime soon, because I don’t think you’d pass the drug test.

    GDEcD is the only Department in statewide government that works like it should. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that you would like to see that end.

    I don’t know much about Ken Stewart, but Craig Lesser has done a fine job at the helm. Mr. Stewart has some big shoes to fill.

  4. liberty21 says:

    I didn’t pass the drug test. I think someone likes that 64 ounce cool aid bottle with Purdue’s face on it. I passed more drug tests than the majority of elected Republicans in Georgia. I guess you are George W. Bush groupie because you like the executive power as the true power of society. That’s why i am not a neo-con because there policies sounds Hitler-esk.

  5. atlantaman says:

    Yes that’s a great idea, when Georgia is competing on the worldwide market for manufacturing investment let’s send a union leader to represent us.

  6. atlantaman says:

    Along those same lines I think we should appoint Ken Nugent as head of the special envoy to attract new medical investment in the state of Georgia.

  7. liberty21 says:

    I don’t wan’t a corporate executive bringing taco stands or janitor jobs and calling that economic growth. I want high paying jobs coming Georgia. Wal-mart does not qualify for high paying jobs. I am strating to wonder if The Department of Economic Development is just a subsidy for Big Business. I am just pointing out instead of appeasing major corporations we should start taking care of things here in Georgia. lets first start by raising the State Minimum Wage to $7.25 per hour. I think Georgia needs to put a minimum wage increase intiative on the ballot.

  8. Demonbeck says:


    You should really pull your head out of whatever crevice it has been in these past few years. Sonny Perdue has turned the economy of this state around – with a great amount of help from the GDEcD (GDITT) and Craig Lesser. From the Kia plant in LaGrange to the growth of the ports on the coast – GDEcD is creating high paying jobs throughout the state.

    Heck, in your home county of Gwinnett, HP announced a new $240-million data center, adding up to 140 new jobs over the next five years that will pay an average of $60,000 a year.

    A higher minimum wage is ridiculous. According to Current Population Survey estimates for 2005, 75.6 million American workers were paid at hourly rates – with 1.9 million workers with wages at or below the minimum – making up 2.5 percent of all hourly-paid workers.

    Other findings include:
    Minimum wage workers tend to be young. About half of workers earning $5.15 or less were under age 25, and about one-fourth of workers earning at or below the minimum wage were age 16-19. Among employed teenagers, about 9 percent earned $5.15 or less. About 2 percent of workers age 25 and over earned the minimum wage or less. Among those age 65 and over, the proportion was about 3 percent.

    About 3 percent of women paid hourly rates reported wages at or below the prevailing Federal minimum, compared with under 2 percent of men.

    Among hourly-paid workers age 16 and over, 2 percent of those who had a high school diploma but had not gone on to college earned the minimum wage or less. (See table 6.)

    Part-time workers (persons who usually work less than 35 hours per week) were more likely than their full-time counterparts to be paid $5.15 or less (about 6 percent versus 1 percent).

    The industry with the highest proportion of workers with reported hourly wages at or below $5.15 was leisure and hospitality (about 14 percent). About three-fifths of all workers paid at or below the Federal minimum wage were employed in this industry, primarily in the food services and drinking places component. For many of these workers, tips and commissions supplement the hourly wages received.

    The proportion of hourly-paid workers earning the prevailing Federal minimum wage or less has trended downward since 1979, when data first began to be collected on a regular basis.

    Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Raising the minimum wage will help pimply faced high school kids working at McDonald’s for iTunes money and college students waiting tables for beer money and not much more. We should not make it a policy of the state to put hundreds, if not thousands of people out of jobs and hinder our overall economic growth so that 2 percent of our population – who predominantly gave up on their education provided to them free of charge before graduating high school – can afford a better life. That would be like cutting a hole in the roof of your house to cover a broken window.

    It’s attitudes like this and suggestions like your that have caused the cost of doing business in America to rise to the point where manufacturing here is no longer a viable option. People like you are the reason jobs are going overseas.

  9. eehrhart says:

    How sudden!
    And just why did Lesser have to leave the department on such short notice?
    There must be a more interesting story here?

  10. atlantaman says:

    “How sudden! And just why did Lesser have to leave the department on such short notice? There must be a more interesting story here?”

    Are you kidding? Once the campaign is over in an executive administration is when a good bit of folks move onto other roles. He’s already changed his Chief of Staff as well.

  11. atlantaman says:

    There could be more to the story, but probably isn’t – leaving a position after 4 years is not considered short notice. It’s very common for Presidents’ and Governors’ staff to turn-over after re-election.

    My guess is that Craig Lesser feels he’s fulfilled his service to the citizens of Georgia and now it’s time to make some real money in the private sector. Liberals have trouble with this concept, because from their perspective working for the government while heading a department is the height of nirvana.

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