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Politicians and leaders
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The Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce hosted its first Legislative Meet and Greet last Thursday. Inspired by other chambers that participate in similar functions, the Chamber Board worked to bring elected officials to the business community. Both local and state officials were invited to the event. Among those in attendance were Georgia Senate President Pro-Tempore Eric Johnson, Representative Ron Stephens, County Commission Chair Jimmy Burnsed, Mayor Richard Davis and Richmond Hill City Council members Floyd Hilliard, JoAnn Bickley and Marilyn Hodges.

Throughout the evening, the discussion remained light. The Mayor began with opening remarks and thanked the other officials for attending. "We may not always agree," Mayor Davis admitted, "but we appreciate them serving." One point of contention was House Bill 89 that expands the allowable places in which concealed weapons can be carried by those permitted to do so. Governor Sonny Perdue has not yet signed the bill and the City of Richmond Hill has asked him to veto the legislation. The traffic situation on Hwy 144 was also mentioned, however, there was no new information given about the timeline or the progress.

Chamber Chairman Jerry DeLoach was happy to see this idea come to fruition and is hopeful it will grow and continue to be an annual event. "We thought it was an opportunity to get the business community with elected officials to voice concerns and lean on them for leadership and guidance on what we can do to strengthen our business community," DeLoach said.

Eric Johnson visited again Monday night. This time, he was the keynote speaker for the Leadership Bryan County graduation. This program is another vehicle used by the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber to promote leadership within the community. Leadership Bryan Facilitator Brad Brookshire graduated the program in 2007. In his opening remarks, he explained that the program "is designed for members of the community that display leadership traits to develop those skill sets."

The current class began in September. The class met one Friday each month to work on leadership training, team building and community involvement. Some of the activities the group participated in Myers-Briggs personality testing to better understand personality factors in leadership, traveled to Epworth by the Sea for team building exercises, and visited the Bryan County Board of Education to get a firsthand look at the county’s educational system.

Senator Johnson spoke on the importance of being involved in the community. He encouraged the graduates to engage into the things that suited each individual’s unique calling, skill sets and resources. "The greatest tragedy in life is not finding the unique calling or purpose," said Johnson. "You’ve got one. Find it." Johnson emphasized the need to work towards effecting a positive change. "Pick a need, determine your goals, use your skills and establish a strategy. Now all you have to do is go to work and make a difference.

This was the fifth graduating class and doubled the number of graduates from the previous class. Individuals interested in attending the next Leadership Bryan class can call the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber for more information. As part of this graduating class, I can tell you it was a great experience. I would love to hear what you think.


April Groves covers all things business for the Bryan County News. You can send thoughts, press releases, tips and questions you’d like answered to



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