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Business Community Gathers to Hear from Legislators
by Chamber News on December 10th, 2012

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber and Rotary Clubs of Valdosta held the Chamber’s 10th Annual State Legislative Luncheon on Wednesday at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. Nearly 175 guests gathered at the event, sponsored by WGTC, to hear upcoming legislative issues from Sen. Tim Golden and Rep. Ellis Black and Rep.-Elect Dexter Sharper.
Sen. Golden began by quoting Yogi Berra, "If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else." While it is uncertain exactly what will come of the upcoming Legislative Session, a key bill on Golden’s radar is HB 718, also known as the “Invest Georgia” Program.
This legislation would create up to $200 million in venture capital fund to make investments in early-stage and growth-stage Georgia companies in leading industry sectors. “It would serve to aid and encourage companies like Nexxtep Technologies and Azalea Health Innovations,” stated Golden, both Valdosta-based businesses. 
Rep. Black began by referencing Golden’s recent work in restructuring the Senate and commending the effort that is hoped to allow for a more productive legislative process. Black addressed the Sales Tax Holiday, which particularly helps communities like Valdosta that serve as a regional retail hub. Black said the holiday must be renewed on an annual basis and he would strive to see that happen.
Rep.-Elect Dexter Sharper was enthusiastic in his efforts to work with the delegation. A former graduate of WGTC, Sharper said one focus of his is to ensure students receive personal finance classes before graduating high school. Sharper commended the partnership between Valdosta State University and WGTC.
Chamber Government Affairs Council Chair Ron Borders closed the meeting, asking all attendees to get involved in the Chamber’s GAC. The next event will be the Chamber’s Members to be Heard in January where members will present business legislative issues to the GAC in order to develop its 2013 Legislative Agenda.

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