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Cagle representative hears local concerns

POSTED: March 5, 2008 5:01 a.m.

An hour before his scheduled starting time, Dennis Pitts had visitors waiting to see him.

Pitts, a former Hall County commissioner, is now a field representative for Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

On Friday, he began the first stop in what is billed as a listening tour. A steady stream of visitors waited patiently to chat with Pitts about concerns on state issues or problems with state agencies.

Most, according to Pitts, were concerned about issues.

"Water and transportation were the most mentioned topics," Pitts said. The representative met individually with each person, however, the meeting was not exactly private. Pitts and his guest sat at a table while others waited in rows of nearby chairs.

Some came armed with lists of legislation they either supported or opposed, or just talked in general about matters pending before the General Assembly. Pitts dutifully took notes about each person and promised to share their thoughts with Cagle.

Three members of the Gainesville City Council, Bob Hamrick, Danny Dunagan and Myrtle Figueras, came individually to meet with Pitts, but opted to sit together and express concerns about legislative impact on municipal government.

"We are creatures of the state and are chartered by the state," Hamrick said. "But the legislature passes bills to require us to do things and then doesn’t fund them."

They expressed concern over various taxation matters that they believe will adversely affect the city.

"It seems like (legislators) have enough to worry about without meddling in our business," Dunagan said.

Pitts said only one person came by with a concern about a state regulatory matter.

While members of Congress have long utilized the constituent meeting program, Cagle is believed to be the first state official to have his staff visit with the state’s citizenry on his behalf.

Pitts, who represents Cagle in 80 of Georgia’s 159 counties, has planned a tight schedule of meetings. He said he will hold 20 meetings in the next eight weeks in the region north of Macon.



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