State Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, will once again serve as Gov. Nathan Deal’s senior floor leader when the General Assembly convenes in January.
“I’m excited to be doing it,” Miller told The Times after meeting with Deal earlier this week.
Miller was given the same role during the 2015 state legislative session.
As a senior floor leader, Miller helps carry Deal’s legislative priorities through the Senate, sometimes presenting and defending the governor’s agenda as a kind of right-hand man.
Miller also is there to push back on legislation that Deal does not support.
Miller said that his role allows him to “peek behind the curtains” and better understand the political maneuverings and policy proposals that shape legislation.
Republican lawmakers are expected to push for lowering state income tax rates in favor of higher sales taxes; to consider changes to the funding formula for transportation projects; to debate whether to allow the in-state cultivation of medical cannabis oil; and how to reform public schools and boost the technical college system.
Miller said working closely with a second-term governor has strengthened the focus of Senate Republicans.
Miller has served District 49, which covers most of Hall County, since 2010. In 2012, he was elected Republican majority caucus chairman.
“Sen. Miller represents his constituents, of which the governor is one, with honesty and integrity,” Chris Riley, Deal’s chief of staff, said. “His conservative values and work ethic are well-known and admired by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. The senator is a doer, not a follower, a characteristic that embodies the governor’s term in office.”