COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual post-legislative breakfast Thursday morning.

Local and state leaders, representatives from county agencies and community members all showed up to discuss what was covered in the 2023 session.

State Sen. Lee Anderson, and House Reps. Mark Newton, Jodi Lott, and Barry Fleming talked about key pieces of legislation they’ve been working on.

Healthcare was one topic covered.

“It’s so important to us individually,” said Rep. Mark Newton for District 127. “The availability, the accessibility, and the affordability. So, we’re working on all those things, and several bills this year will mention advanced affordability and accessibility..”

Education, especially Augusta Tech getting a manufacturing center in Columbia County, was another discussion point.

“The House funded half and then we relied on our senators to go fight, fight, fight to get the other half we needed to start the design process for this manufacturing center in Columbia County,” said Rep. Jodi Lott for District 131.

Crime was also talked about.

“After three years of work, we finally created something called a prosecutor oversight panel, that actually has the ability to discipline them and remove them,” said Rep. Barry Fleming for District 125. “We’ve had that for judges for years. But, the governor and the speaker and the lieutenant governor would now appoint folks who can oversee those prosecutors if you think something is going wrong in your community.”

Small businesses were a main point as well.

“In Georgia we work hard to make sure that any legislation that we’re doing, it all kind of trickles down to the small business owners, to their employees, to the family members that are going to work everyday and fighting to take care of their kids and their home,” Rep. Lott said.

And while all the leaders serve on multiple different committees within their districts, they said that working together is what will bring real growth to the area.

“With growth comes some challenges sometimes,” Rep. Newton said. “Transportation is one of the biggest ones, but we’re working on it as a state with Columbia County. And in addition, you got the schools doing such a fabulous job in Columbia County, it’s just drawing more and more people here.”

Leaders said they are looking forward to the pre-legislative breakfast in the fall, and continuing to work on these issues come January.