Rep. Benfield: Legislative Majority for Atlanta “Does Not Translate Into a Power Grab”

I was intrigued enough by the recent Atlanta Business Chronicle article about metro Atlanta’s new majority at the State Capitol that I asked for a bit more perspective from one of our own state representatives, Stephanie Stuckey Benfield.

She was good enough to provide us with this additional perspective on the whole issue and brainstorm other potential issues that a may be affected by the reappointments due to the 2010 Census.

It’s true there will likely be new metro seats in the Legislature through reapportionment. That does not translate into a power grab. Water is the entire state’s problem, as is transportation. Georgia will only succeed if we recognize that statewide issues require statewide solutions. There will be regional complexities, of course, and legislators will have to resist the temptation to become mired in them.

In addition to water and transportation, another issue of importance to the metro area is trauma care and funding for Grady Hospital. I suspect that we’ll see another effort in the near future to provide a permanent source of trauma care funding in the wake of the failed amendment on this issue. The tobacco tax is one likely proposal.

Every elected official must listen to her or his constituents, but most issues we examine impact all Georgians. The state of affairs in Atlanta impacts those in Albany and as an urban elected official, I must always be mindful of this.