Representative Debbie Buckner
Georgia House District 137
Decisions made in Atlanta in the next few years will have a lasting impact on the communities of West Georgia, rural, small town, and city alike. The population balance has shifted, and the 2010 Census confirmed what many of us knew was happening. In the Georgia Legislature, representatives from the greater metropolitan Atlanta have the votes to impose their priorities on the whole state with no need to compromise. When I recall the last several sessions, it is quite clear to me that compromise will not be the first word that comes to the new legislative leadership’s mind. It’s up to us to speak up.
Our priorities here in West Georgia are nothing less than critical to our region’s future.
Jobs are our first priority. As jobs dwindle, our population follows, and we cycle downwards. There are answers, and they include the reality that state government can foster job creation, create the right environment, incentivize, and make the investments that attract business. The focus must be on good jobs, the kind that can sustain a middle class.
What makes an environment attractive to business is what makes a community a good place to live. We’re talking about good schools with high graduation rates and successfully placed graduates. Careful stewardship of our natural resources, the trees, the water, the parks, the tourist attractions. Access to quality affordable healthcare. Roads. Bridges. Open and transparent government. An equitable and progressive tax structure that makes ends meet.
What does the future hold if West Georgia cannot bring its priorities to the forefront in Atlanta? In the countryside where my family lives and farms, there is no full service grocery store. The largest employer is the government sector. The businesses most likely to invest are ones like landfills and incinerators. Education appropriations are down, meaning school budgets are down while local property taxes are up. It takes leadership that can reach across the aisle to turn things around.
With unmet priorities like these, this is not the time to send someone to Atlanta who will need ‘on the job training.’
I have fought for our West Georgia priorities in the State House for a decade. Serving today on the Ethics, Natural Resources & Environment, the Retirement, and the State Institutions & Property Committees and formerly on the Health & Human Services Committee, I am positioned to gain attention for our needs. I have a track record reaching across the aisle. I know how – and I have the disposition – to pull together coalitions of legislative votes to get things done. As we head into the critical years ahead, I know how to lead.
I understand the needs of West Georgia, rural, small town, and city alike. I’ve lived in Columbus, and I’ve lived outside Talbotton. I’ve lived here in West Georgia since I was 2. The full range of the challenges and the complex diversity of the new House District 137 is something I know intimately. I’m informed.
I have a track record as a legislator. You can look it up. It runs from fighting for local notification of state parks closing to protect our tourist industry, to increasing the payment by the state to counties for state inmates in county jails to protect our local tax base from unfunded mandates, to boosting retirement benefits for hard working families to make sure our seniors don’t fall out of the middle class, to research showing that requiring state government to “buy American” increases jobs. I’ve worked on issues that matter to West Georgians.
You know I’ll work for you because I already have.
The 2014 session has now concluded. I am always happy to discuss our priorities and the issues that matter to you. Call me at home, at 706-269-3630, or message me through Contact page of this website. I listen.
Paid for by the Committee to Elect Debbie Buckner
780 Fielders Mill Road
Junction City, GA 31812.
No government funds were used.
Rep. Debbie Buckner
House of Representatives
January 21, 2014:
Yesterday, a radio reporter called me and ask me to comment on a statement that “rural hospital need to close”.
I asked, “In what context was the statement made? Was it in relation to quality of care? Was it in relation to cost of care?” He responded that the thought process was when a rural hospital has a low census it is not cost effective and sustainable.
As the Representative of a rural area served by a rural hospital that has worked very hard to come back from the brink of financial disaster to operate now in the black comments like this seem so unfair.
Rural hospitals serve a very valuable purpose of stabilizing the acutely ill, handling the chronically ill, and treating the minor emergencies.
We are so often told that the number one financial driver in Georgia is agriculture and agribusiness. Most of that agribusiness is done in rural Georgia. Rural Georgians deserve to be healthy and receive quality healthcare.
New telemedicine options open the door for opportunities of a higher level of care not less care. Plus, taking care of rural patients in rural hospitals relieves the pressure in overcrowded intercity hospitals.
These hospitals are safety net for both health and the economy. Jobs in rural hospitals are many times the best paying jobs in the county. Local Bonds are affected as the hospital is many times the largest source of value so without the hospital an increase in taxes would become necessary.
As one of my constituents asked me, “How unfair is it, we give tax credits to big businesses but rural Georgia the home of Georgia’s number one industry is not entitled to local convenient healthcare?”
If we close rural hospitals is it good policy to write off one million rural Georgians from assessable, local healthcare?
It begs us to ask the question: Where is the care in Healthcare?