DAWSONVILLE - Local and state candidates vying for votes in the upcoming July 15 primary told members of the Lake Lanier Association on Monday that they would do whatever it takes at the regional, state and national level to slow outtake and refill the lake.
Held at the Lakeview Center in Dawson County, the Lake Lanier Association, a lobbying group dedicated to preserving and protecting Lake Lanier, played host to the political forum that allowed residents to ask local policymakers questions concerning their views on protecting what many at the forum consider the area’s greatest resource. More than 150 people attended.
Val Perry, Lake Lanier Association executive vice president, began the two-hour forum by asking the question, "What are you going to do to keep our lake full?"
The question received great applause from the audience, made up both of lake association members and residents concerned about the lake’s future.
Candidates from each county that sits on Lake Lanier’s shores participated in the forum, answering questions ranging from why the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not been held accountable for the mismanagement of the lake to finding alternative water resources.Following announcements from several state senators and representatives, who spoke of traveling to Washington next week to meet with federal leaders about Georgia’s water crisis, residents countered by asking, "Why did we wait until next week to do something about it?"
The speakers said meetings with federal lawmakers about Lake Lanier had been taking place for years.
"We are committed. We have good relationships, and are working together to get things done," said unopposed state Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming.
Candidates agreed that in order for Lake Lanier to overcome its current situation, it would take an effort from local, state and federal constituents, as well as public involvement and education.
All commission and state Senate and House candidates up for election in the lake’s bordering counties were invited to the forum, while many who could not attend submitted position statements that were available to attendees Thursday night.
The Lake Lanier Association is an advocacy group that represents lake users, lake homeowners and others.