L.E.A.D. Atlanta kicked off the new year on January 14 with its inaugural 2020 Legislative Preview. More than 100 people came out early in the morning for lively discussion to prepare for the upcoming legislative session as we get a preview of issues from various community leaders and advocates.
We put on two separate panels, one lead by ‘operators’ (who regularly pull the levers of power from within Georgia’s power structure) and the other by ‘advocates’ (who agitate and advocate every day for more equitable, just, and prosperous state). You can probably guess which Howard was on!
Special thanks to our moderator, Greg Bluestein of Atlanta Journal-Constitution fame, and our gracious hosts, Georgia-Pacific, for lending its spectacular downtown auditorium. Also, thanks for the host committee for organizing such a dynamic event. The program speakers included:
- Moderator: Greg Bluestein LEAD ’16, Political Reporter, Atlanta Journal Constitution
- Jake Evans LEAD ’18, Litigation, Government & Business Attorney, Holland & Knight LLP
- Howard Franklin LEAD ’05, Managing Partner, Ohio River South
- Ashley Groome, Senior Vice President, State Government Relations & Partner, McGuireWoods LLP
- Marshall Guest, Senior Vice President, Business Climate, Metro Atlanta Chamber
- Bee Nguyen, House District 89, Georgia State Representative
- Maria Palacios, Deputy Director, Georgia Shift
- Matt Westmoreland LEAD ’15, Post 2 At-Large, Atlanta City Council
- Adrienne White LEAD ’12, Vice President of Business Development & Strategy, Citizens Trust Bank
When asked about the current legislative priorities and what they say about the state we want Georgia to become, Howard answered, “Having worked in and around our statehouse for the past decade, I’ve observed that Georgia legislators want to have their cake and eat it too. But Georgia can’t build the workforce of the future by disinvesting in public education, discouraging immigrants from relocating here or only sending wealthy kids to college.”
He continued, “We can’t be the Hollywood of the South if we promote divisive, discriminatory proposals or threaten to revoke the wildly successful film tax credit every session. Atlanta can’t become Terminus 2.0 if state lawmakers refuse to embrace transit, or play politics with the jet fuel tax credit or keep the world’s busiest airport under the constant threat of takeover.”