Friday, July 27, 2007

07/19 - Jekyll committee to oversee island sans Chapman

The Brunswick News
July 19, 2007
Local News


Sen. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, represents Jekyll Island in the Senate, but he won't represent it on the Senate Jekyll Island Oversight Committee.

The Senate leadership overlooked him for membership to the committee.

But that's OK, he says.

"That doesn't bother me," Chapman said.

"I don't want to second guess the purpose or the reason I wasn't appointed to it."

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a Republican like Chapman, named senators to that and two other Senate oversight committees, but only the Jekyll Island Oversight Committee does not include the senator from the home district.

Cagle, who announced the appointments Monday, even named a Democrat - Sen. Robert Brown of Macon - to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority Overview Committee. The music hall is in Macon.

A number of senators from Atlanta and surrounding communities were named to the Georgia World Congress Center Overview Committee - Sens. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, Judson Hill, R-Marietta, Kasim Reed, D-Atlanta, Bill Hamrick, R-Carrollton, and Jeff Mullis, R-Chicamaugua. The World Congress Center is in Atlanta.

Cagle appointed Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, who formerly represented Jekyll Island in the Senate, and Sens. Chip Pearson, R-Dawsonville, and Ross Tolleson, R-Perry, to the Jekyll Island Oversight Committee. Sen. Eric Johnson, R-Savannah, who also once represented Jekyll Island, was named ex-officio member of the board of Jekyll Island Authority.

"That's (Cagle's) authority, his choice, to make," Chapman said.

The appointment comes at the heels of Chapman's successful fight against House Bill 214 this past session of the General Assembly that would have opened the state-owned island to greater commercial development. Chapman got much of what he wanted, though not all. He was unable to remove from the measure a provision that allowed the addition of new residences on the island.

Chapman said he will continue to speak for Jekyll Island even though he's not on the committee.

"Not being on that committee will not ... diminish what I will try to do for my district," he said. "I'm still going to pay close attention. Not being a committee member does not prevent me from attending meetings.

"That's the attitude I've taken. Regardless of the fact that I may not be appointed to a committee, if it's something of interest to me, of importance, then I'm still going to be close to it."

Jaillene E. Hunter, Cagle's communications director, said Chapman will continue to play an important role in the island's future.

"Sen. Chapman is dedicated to the needs of his district and we are in close communication with him and will continue to converse on this important issue," Hunter said. "Jekyll Island is an important resource to our entire state and we wanted the committee to reflect that diversity.

"We have full confidence in the committee members and our door is always open to Sen. Chapman."

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