Georgia Chamber names 2011 Legislators of the YearThursday, June 09, 2011
Ralston, Bulloch honored in House and Senate; Taylor wins Freshman Award
Three members of the Georgia General Assembly have been recognized by the Georgia Chamber for their commitment to the state’s business community. House Speaker David Ralston (Blue Ridge) and State Sen. John Bulloch (Ochlocknee) were named the Chamber’s 2011 Legislators of the Year in the state House and Senate respectively. Earning the Chamber’s Freshman of the Year Award was first-year State Rep. Tom Taylor (Dunwoody).
“In these difficult economic times, Georgia’s businesses need their elected officials to make decisions that will help grow the private sector and create jobs,” said Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark. “These three individuals have proven to be true champions of business and free enterprise. We are grateful for their commitment and we look forward to continuing to work with them to build the most business-friendly environment in the nation.”
As the presiding official in the House, Ralston was not graded by the Chamber’s 2011 midterm legislative scorecard released in May. His award recognizes his tireless support of key business issues and pro-growth measures during the 2011 legislative session. Since being elected Speaker before the start of the 2010 session, Ralston has led the House in passing multiple pieces of legislation aimed at improving Georgia’s business climate. This session he supported Chamber-backed measures such as the public-private partnership bill to build local water reservoirs (SB 122), HOPE reform (HB 326), a bill to allow Georgians to make health insurance purchases across state lines (HB 47), an ethics measure protecting business owners’ rights to speak with elected officials without having to register as a lobbyist (HB 232), and a bill that mitigated a surcharge increase on employer-paid unemployment insurance taxes (HB 292).
Bulloch, whose legislative service began with the state House in 1999, scored an ‘A’ on the Chamber scorecard. He was the author of Senate Bill 10, a scorecard issue that would allow local communities to decide whether or not they wish to sell alcohol in retail stores on Sundays. He partnered with the Chamber and other stakeholders and legislators this session to get SB 10 passed and signed into law after many years of it being stalled in the General Assembly. Bulloch also was a key negotiator between the legislature and the business community on House Bill 87, the Immigration Enforcement Act. He worked to ensure Georgia’s businesses and farming industry were not adversely affected by the new laws, helping place provisions in HB 87 that phased in smaller Georgia businesses into having to use the federal E-Verify system.
Bulloch is the current chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs committee, and also serves on the Rules, Appropriations, Banking and Financial Institutions, and Natural Resources and Environment committees. He is a fourth-generation farmer, and operates almost 1,000 acres of farmland.
Taylor earned an ‘A+’ grade on the Chamber scorecard in his first term representing Georgia’s 79th House district in DeKalb County. He was the only House member to vote with the Chamber 100 percent of the time in the 2011 session. He currently sits on the House Economic Development and Tourism, Regulated Industries, and MARTA Oversight committees. Taylor is a former Dunwoody city councilman which oversaw the new city’s startup organization and expanded services over its first 3 years without raising any taxes or fees. Taylor has previously held multiple leadership positions in Dunwoody and DeKalb County and enjoyed a successful career in the private sector. He also served a total of 21 years of active and reserve service with the U.S. Navy.