Tuesday, October 6, 2009

David Poythress to address Henry Co. Group

Henry Daily Herald:

Henry County will be the venue for a visit next week by a well-known gubernatorial candidate. David Poythress, a Democratic candidate for governor, will be the guest speaker for the Oct. 14 meeting of the Henry Council for Quality Growth.

The meeting will be held at Eagle's Landing Country Club in Stockbridge. According to officials with the group, networking will begin at 11 a.m., with the lunch meeting scheduled to start at 11:55 a.m.

Poythress said the growth-and-development-oriented group is highly focused on transportation and future land use as key issues. He expressed gratitude to the organization for its efforts in coordinating his appearance in Henry County, and said the issues it is focusing on are important well beyond the boundaries of Henry County.

"That kind of strategic, broad-based planning is important in keeping Georgia competitive," he said.

Steve Cash, director of the organization, emphasized the need for the public to get to know each gubernatorial candidate. "It's important to get to know who's going to be leading us for the next four, possibly eight, years," said Cash. With the current state of the economy, he said, constituents need strong leadership.

"Within my lifetime, the economy has not been as bad as it is today," he said. "We need to get the economy jump-started. How are they [the gubernatorial candidates] going to lead us out of this quagmire of an economy we're in?"

Poythress expressed concerns about the state's -- and the region's -- infrastructure issues. The area formed by parts of North Georgia, North Alabama, Western North Carolina, Western South Carolina and Tennessee, have become a "mega region," to which many people are mirating from other areas of the country, Poyhtress said, in a phone interview Monday, previewing his address in Henry.

"People have been coming to the area in large numbers for 30 to 40 years," he said. In light of that fact, infrastructure is becoming increasingly important. As governor, he said, his priorities would be to develop a strategic transportation plan, not just for Henry County, but for the entire region.

"The county's [transportation] planning, of course, will fit into that," he added.

The state also needs to make fundamental changes in its education system, he said. By comparison, Poythress said Henry County schools stack up well.

"Henry does have a very progressive education system," he said. "That's what makes it such an attractive place to live."

Additionally, said Poythress, Georgia must develop a strategic water-use plan, specifically in light of the conflicts involving Georgia, Alabama and Florida over rights to draw water from Lake Lanier.

Poythress is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, and also earned his commission as an Air Force officer at the school. A Vietnam veteran, he served four years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a judge advocate officer (JAG).

His civilian career includes experience as assistant attorney general in the state, deputy state revenue commissioner, and secretary of state. In 1992, he was elected State Labor Commissioner, and was re-elected to that position in 1994.

After leaving active duty, Poythress remained in the Air Force Reserve, and attained the rank of Brigadier General. In 1999, then-Gov. Roy Barnes appointed him Adjutant General -- the commander of the Georgia Army and Air National Guard -- in the rank of Major General.

He was re-appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, who also promoted him to the rank of Lieutenant General.

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