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Fall News by Senator Harper

PreKTH12Although the fall season has brought cooler weather, my schedule continues to heat up as we near the beginning of the 2016 Legislative Session! As I continue to make my way around District 7 and the state of Georgia, I am thankful for the citizens that have taken time to speak with me concerning legislative issues. Your input is the best tool I have when representing you at the Capitol so I welcome your opinions and thoughts. Below is an update of events that I was honored to participate in over the last couple of months. Thank you to the great organizations who have invited me to attend various functions around the state!


As students, teachers and administrators settle into the new school year, I have had the pleasure of visiting a number of our district schools. It is refreshing to see engaged students and I am thankful that the administration allows me to visit with our younger generation!

The Harrell Learning Center
1st District State Board of Education member, Mike Long and I were invited to visit The Harrell Learning Center in Waycross. It was an informative visit and wonderful to see the great things that The Harrell Learning Center is doing for area students. This center is one of 24 centers statewide in Georgia which makes up the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS). The Center serves Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Pierce, and Ware counties.

Ambrose Elementary- Constitution Day
On September 17th I had the pleasure to visit students at Ambrose Elementary in honor of Constitution Day! While there, I had the opportunity to hand out a booklet which included the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. The booklet was provided to all Georgia 4th graders from State School Superintendent Richard Woods. It was fitting to hand out these important national documents while celebrating the U.S. Constitution. I had a great time and I am grateful our teachers know the importance of educating students on the history of our country, how our nation works and the role elected officials play in the process.

Georgia Celebrates Pre-K Week
October 5th-9th, the state of Georgia celebrated Pre-K week! According to a recent study, Georgia’s Pre-K program shows educational improvement in key areas at a greater rate than children that do not participate. Georgia’s program, Bright from the Start, is extremely important in preparing our children for elementary school. During “Pre-K Week”, I was happy to visit a few of our district Pre-K programs. I would like to thank Rochelle's Day Care Center in Waycross and Ware County Head Start; Lollipop Pre-K in Blackshear and Blackshear Elementary for welcoming me into their classrooms! While making my visits, I was happy to read, The Magicians Hat, written by UGA star wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell.

Coffee County High Visit
At the beginning of October, I had the opportunity to speak to the Criminal Justice and American Government classes at Coffee County High School. It was great to see our students so engaged and enthusiastic about our political process. I appreciate Coffee High’s invitation and look forward to many more visits!

September 11th Ceremonies
As the Senate Public Safety Chairman, I was proud to take part in a fly around tour of Georgia with Lt. Governor Casey Cagle on September 11th. We attended many ceremonies in remembrance of those we lost on 9/11. These ceremonies also honored our first responders and law enforcement agents. I can't thank these public servants enough for the selfless sacrifice they make on a daily basis to ensure that our citizens are kept safe.

Georgia National Fair- Livestock Showdown
During the Georgia National Fair in Perry, I am proud to say that team Senate brought home the Legislative Livestock Showdown trophy! Thanks to all who helped make this event possible. Special thanks to my show partner, Hannah Kitchens from Coffee County, for allowing me to borrow her goat for the showdown. Hannah also gave me great pointers before the show and we made a great team!

Dixon Gin Tour
I recently had a great visit in Alapaha, GA (Berrien County) touring Dixon Gin. This visit gave me an opportunity to discuss current agricultural issues in Georgia while listening to citizen & business concerns. It was also nice to catch up with my friend, Congressman Austin Scott. Thanks to Dixon Gin for their hospitality and the opportunity to learn more about their industry!

Georgia Prison Award Association Golf Tournament
In September, I was honored to join the Georgia Prison Warden's Association during their golf tournament at Laura Walker State Park Golf Course. The Georgia Prison Warden's Association is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to organize and promote the administration of the prison system of Georgia. As the Senate Public Safety Chairman, I work closely with this association, along with other law enforcement groups. It was nice to catch up with Wardens and citizens from across the state while supporting the association. It was also great to see the Ware State Prison Warden, Tom Gramiack and his staff.

Education Reform Commission
Meetings concerning Georgia’s Education Reform continue. I have attended a number of legislative meetings, including the Move When Ready Subcommittee hearings. Our committee has the important task of recommending ways to improve Georgia education. The committee is expected to put the final report on Governor Deal’s desk prior to the 2016 session. Input from educators across the state is important, so please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!

As we make our way towards the end of October and into the holiday season, I look forward to attending many more events around District 7 and Georgia. As always, it is an honor and privilege to serve our communities. I promise that I will continue to work hard and do my best to ensure that our area of the state is the best region in Georgia. If you ever need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me at anytime.