Following the recent Veterans Benefits Fair that Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) held in Dahlonega last month, the Ninth District Representative met with the Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce recently to hear from business leaders about the local economy and related issues. Dahlonega’s Mayor Sam Norton and County Commission Chairman Chris Dockery were among those in attendance.
Collins asked Chamber members for their perspectives on a variety of policy issues and took questions focused on the implications that national policy discussions have for Lumpkin County.
“I’m thankful that the Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce continues to share their time and insight with me. The leadership in this community remains committed to promoting smart growth opportunities, and hearing from them allows me to work effectively with the White House and my colleagues in Congress to break down barriers to economic success,” said Collins following the event.
The group emphasized the challenge presented by unreliable broadband access in the area, which Collins has been tackling in his work with the Federal Communications Commission and as a legislator. Collins introduced the Gigabit Opportunity Act this Congress to incentivize private investment in rural broadband infrastructure and has praised President Trump for his executive order focused on improving rural broadband, which he issued this January.
The discussion focused on Dahlonega’s economy, as Collins asked for an update on growth, whether anything was holding the community back and what impact tax reform seems to be having locally. The consensus seemed to be that the economy is strengthening as demand is growing across industries, though more regulatory relief from Washington would be welcome. Government agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have negatively affected industries and consumers, and Republicans in the House continue voting to roll back harmful regulations.
Many business owners would also like to see northeast Georgia’s workforce grow. Collins echoed calls for a greater emphasis on vocational training in schools in order to prepare the next generation of workers for fields that demand specific technical skills. He also noted that workforce development has become more of a focus in Washington recently
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