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Is there a chicken in the House?
Goody boxes join fruitcakes, wild hogs as lawmakers favored treats
Rep. James Mills, R-Chestnut Mountain, left, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, and the rest of the Hall County delegation showed the Georgia House of Representatives the chicken boxes which had been left in their offices by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning. - photo by Robin Michener Nathan


Hear Rep. James Mills announce the arrival of the Hall County chicken boxes in the House.
ATLANTA - Each year, during the 40-day session of the General Assembly, many Georgia communities take an opportunity to boast a little sample of pride.

From Dalton, the Carpet Capital of the World, lawmakers are presented with a carpet mat embossed with the great seal of the state and our motto of "Wisdom, Justice and Moderation."

Moderation goes out the window when the folks from Savannah come calling, with heaping helpings of fresh oysters and shrimp hauled in straight from the coast.

The Statesboro chamber event has an assortment of wild game captured in the piney woods of the coastal plain and cooked up for the enjoyment of lawmakers.

Macon, home of the Cherry Blossom Festival, presents little cherry tree seedlings.

Some bring their wares before the session.

Claxton, home of the "world famous" Claxton Fruit Cake, brings loads of fruitcake to Atlanta in December, just in time for the holidays.

"We bring cases upon cases of fruitcake," said Tammi Hall, the executive director of the Claxton Chamber of Commerce.

It is only fitting that the Poultry Capital of the World would bring a chicken.

In a 1928 campaign, Herbert Hoover famously said, "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage."

A mere 80 years later, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce delivered a chicken to every desk.

For more than a dozen years, the chamber has delivered a chicken, albeit a box shaped like a chicken, to the members of the state house and senate.

No one is crying fowl, but there is no chicken in the chicken box. However, there is a cookbook with dozens of recipes on how to cook one, including baked, fried, grilled or in a casserole.

But Hall County is home to much more than just chickens. That's why every representative and senator was presented with a brand new Kubota tractor. It will fit nicely atop their desk or make a nice toy for their children or grandchildren.

The box also contains some fruit of the vine, fully aged and nicely fermented. Chateau Elan provided a sampling of the vintage of their Braselton-grown grapes.

To ensure that lawmakers have fresh breath, a sampling of the products from the world's largest chewing gum factory, Wrigley's in Flowery Branch, was also in the box.

The boxes have become a hit at the Capitol.

"I think it makes the state realize how important Hall County is and gets the county's name before them," said Dixie Truelove, vice chairwoman of the chamber's governmental affairs committee.

Sen. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, had the chicken box perched atop his desk in the Senate chamber.

"They're very popular," Hawkins said. "Legislators enjoy seeing things that come from their home district and different districts and look forward to it."

Rep. James Mills, R-Chestnut Mountain, drew applause as he held the box up at the well of the House.

"We hope that you'll take this great little gift box, and we appreciate our chamber in Gainesville-Hall County providing this for us," said Mills, who was flanked by Reps. Carl Rogers, Doug Collins and Tommy Benton.

Abit Massey, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation, said he was pleased that the overall business community remembers the importance of poultry.

"Poultry is the heart and backbone of the economy in Gainesville, Hall County and Northeast Georgia," Massey said.

Also on Thursday, about 30 members of Leadership Hall visited the capitol.

The group also met with local legislators and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

"There is no question that meeting with my hometown chamber group was a welcomed treat during a busy legislative session," Cagle said. "I wish Leadership Hall all the best and am proud of all the individuals involved."

After meeting with Cagle, the group had an economic development presentation by the Department of Economic Development and Georgia Power Co.

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