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News & Press: Chair's Column

Public Policy Initiative

Tuesday, July 11, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kelly McLendon
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In February the GEDA board adopted a five-year Strategic Plan (Plan) for the years 2017-2021.  Thank you again to Stacy Jones, our facilitator, and the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government for their assistance in making it happen.  The GEDA Board adopted five Strategic Goals, one of which is Public Policy, and the goal is “GEDA will influence public policy through proactive education.”  The Board of Directors has been asked by the Public Policy Committee to decide on a possible role and responsibilities for a more active program of governmental affairs.

Formerly, the stance of GEDA, with respect to Public Policy, was to “educate, not advocate.”  Our Board has had some good discussion about being more active at the Georgia General Assembly.  Issues such as Development Authority law, incentives, talent development and recruitment, taxes, transportation and other “bread and butter” topics are critical to Georgia’s economic development success in the future.  In order to fulfill that role, we are looking at the possibility of hiring a legislative representative to assist GEDA.  We are considering a number of courses of action, from hiring the services of a governmental affairs firm to hiring a new staff-member to focus on this task to continuing to work with Jim Finch, who has worked as the GEDA Legislative Monitor for the past seven years.  Jim may continue to play a role in our new configuration and we are keeping him informed of any new developments.

We have received some positive feedback on this new initiative.  Some people favor the idea of hiring a governmental affairs representative and others have sent in some additional creative ideas.  Our GEDA Executive Committee and members of the Public Policy Committee and Strategic Plan Goal, along with some other governmental affairs representatives, will meet this Thursday, July 13th at the Centergy One building in Tech Square, Atlanta.  Let us hear from you about your thoughts of GEDA becoming more active at the Legislature.  There is still time for your comments to be considered. 

You, the members of GEDA, have the greatest say in such a bold new step for our organization.  Your role at the local level has perhaps the greatest impact on our legislators and their decision-making.  Please continue, or start if you haven’t done so already, to maintain your strong relationships with your legislators.  Your rapport is the best tool, or resource, that GEDA has in helping to educate and influence our elected officials in Atlanta when they are faced with economic development issues.  We, at the organizational level of GEDA, can help to refine the message, provide education and be a rallier of the troops, but it is you who have the most leverage with your Senators and Representatives.

Our plan of action is come up with a Request for Proposal (RFP) from a select group of governmental affairs firms that might be interested in representing GEDA.  From there, we will send out the RFP and obtain useful information from which to base our decisions.  We would like to have enough information, along with any further vetting of these firms, to make a recommendation to the GEDA board at our August meeting.  If acceptable to the GEDA Board Members, we will develop a plan of action and be ready to provide this information to you at the GEDA Annual Conference at the Hyatt Regency Savannah in September.

There are a number of areas to fine-tune before we get started in earnest.  One item is how we come to identify the issues that GEDA should champion for the upcoming Legislative session.  Should this be done through the Public Policy Committee or have regional representatives in each of Georgia’s service delivery areas convene meetings to list areas of priority for GEDA?  We think this is a great new initiative for GEDA and hope that you agree.  Again, this is your organization.  Let us hear from you.  Thank you to those who have already provided input and thank you in advance to those of you who will provide your thoughts and ideas.  We value your feedback.


Anna Chafin,

2017 GEDA Chair

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