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Mills running for House majority leader
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Another Hall County politician is in the running for an influential position in Georgia politics.

Rep. James Mills, R-Chestnut Mountain, is hoping to become the House majority leader. Mills could follow the success of Hall County residents Nathan Deal and Casey Cagle, who won their respective runs for governor and lieutenant governor on Tuesday.

Georgia's Republican representatives will vote to elect the majority leader at the Republican Caucus at the state Capitol on Monday.

Mills has served in the House since 1992. He serves as chairman of the Banks and Banking Committee.

"I am honored to be nominated for the majority leader position," Mills said. "We have another gentleman who is a fine legislator and a good man. The caucus will have to decide and I hope they will vote for me, but I'm honored just to be in the running for it."

Mills faces Rep. Larry O'Neal, R-Warner Robins. O'Neal, who was first elected in 2001, is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The position is open as current House majority leader Rep. Jerry Keen, R-St. Simons, has retired.

The executive committee of the Hall County Republican Party drafted a resolution supporting Mills and sent an e-mail to its members asking them to urge their other legislators to vote for Mills.

"We think he's great. We're 100 percent behind James and we hope he'll be successful," said Jim Pilgrim, chairman of the Hall County Republican Party. "He's a great leader. I've seen that over the past two sessions. He can take charge of a situation and move people, and that's what it takes."

On Friday, Pilgrim said he had not received confirmation that Reps. Tommy Benton, Doug Collins or Carl Rogers would vote for Mills.

Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, said he wishes Mills the best.

"James would do a good job if he has that opportunity," Rogers said. "I try to support everybody from Hall County."

If elected, Mills would add to the geographic power of North Georgia, joining Deal, Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston, of Blue Ridge.

But Mills said he hopes his fellow Republicans will not be concerned with where he calls home.

"I've never believed in quotas, and any great coach will put the best players on the field to win the game and he doesn't care where they come from," Mills said. "It's not where you're from. It's where you stand on the issues."

He said he is ready to work hard this session regardless of what happens Monday.

"Either way I still get to represent the southern portion of Hall County," Mills said. "No matter who is elected, I will line up on the same side of the field with them, whether I am quarter back or a tackle or a guard. Coach Ralston has got us moving in the right direction and I want to help him." 

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