Gov.-elect Nathan Deal named his choice for state House floor leaders Friday afternoon, including Gainesville Rep. Doug Collins.
Collins, Rep. Amy Carter, R-Valdosta, and Rep. Hank Huckaby, R-Watkinsville, will serve as liaisons between Deal and the state House to move along the legislative agenda.
"I'm excited about it. This is a wonderful opportunity to serve with this new administration," Collins said Friday afternoon. "I'm honored to be a part of helping the governor get settled in."
Collins, a native of Hall County, was first elected in 2006 to represent House District 27.
"Under this role, I'll be helping the administration with the legislation they want to see go through and taking it through committees," Collins said. "Jobs are going to be No. 1, and we've got to provide the atmosphere through the budget and anything in the House and Senate to expand the tax base so citizens are working and productive and moving forward."
Collins served as senior pastor for Chicopee Baptist Church for 11 years and still serves as a chaplain in the U. S. Air Force Reserve based at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta. He practices law in Gainesville and lives with his wife, Lisa, and three children.
"I've known the governor for many years, and we're worked together a great deal," he said. "This is a good time for northern Georgia and a good time for the state to have new ideas."
It's important for Deal to have floor leaders he can trust, noted Deal spokesman Brian Robinson.
"That is the case here. Rep. Collins has had a friendship and relationship with Gov.-elect Deal for many years," he said. "He's served the community as a minister, in the military and in the state House. His diverse background gives him a comprehensive view of many issues facing the state."
Collins serves as secretary of the House Appropriations Committee and is a member of the Defense and Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Judiciary Noncivil and Public Safety and Homeland Security committees.
Collins was stripped of the chairmanship of the Children's Health Issues subcommittee following his vote in January 2008 for former state Rep. Mike Evans, R-Cumming, as chairman of the Board of Transportation over the candidate favored by House Speaker Glenn Richardson. Collins was an early supporter of current Speaker David Ralston's run against Richardson that year as well.
"He's not only a persuasive voice and respected voice in the House but also a voice in the governor's office who will serve as the eyes and ears of Gov.-elect Deal in the House, which will supplement the strong relationship he has with Speaker Ralston," Robinson said.
Deal's legislative priorities will focus on jobs.
"Solving that problem solves many wounds," Robinson said. "We have unemployment above 10 percent, and we're paying more in unemployment benefits and getting less in revenue. We owe the federal government hundreds of millions in loans to pay for unemployment benefits, so jobs fix two problems there."
Deal's plan is to creating a competitive business climate to bring new corporations to the state.
"Just this week, he has been in negotiations with a business that is considering locating in Georgia but also in a neighboring state that has an advantage over Georgia with its corporate tax rate," Robinson said. "Gov.-elect Deal wants to cut corporate taxes to make the state more competitive and send that serious signal that we want businesses here and will make it work. That's how we're going to grow revenue in the state."