Turkey hunting may have been a big draw for his visit, but Gov. Sonny Perdue seemed pleased Monday night to honor the 25th anniversary of the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a joy to be here tonight,” Perdue said during the anniversary dinner at Richmond Hill City Center. “There is a friendliness here and a spirit here of a good healthy community. And I want to celebrate that with you.”
In his introduction of the special guest speaker, Bryan County Commissioner Toby Roberts joked that the governor’s trip probably had “a lot to do with turkey hunting.” Perdue didn’t deny that he’d already been hunting that day but did say he’d “practiced good conservation.”
“That means I didn’t get one,” he said.
Perdue, who is serving his last term as governor, called his time in the state’s top elected position fulfilling and said one of the best parts about the job was getting to meet people he never would have otherwise.
“I tell candidates that run … ‘you will get to know people who will hopefully become friends for life,’” he said. “The people I have met will extend long beyond the term of office.”
And the only way to make that happen, Perdue said, is to get out and meet people in their communities.
“It’s fun to come to peoples’ hometowns and see their pride in what they’ve done,” he said.
The governor said it is a “quilt of great, healthy communities,” such as Richmond Hill and Bryan County, that make Georgia the great state it is.
He noted facilities and locations that are available in the county for companies looking to relocate, as well as the proposed I-95 exit at Belfast Siding Road, as sites for potential job growth.
It’s important to have job opportunities where kids grow up, he said, so they don’t have to move to Atlanta or farther to have the lifestyle they want.
He also said the Port of Savannah will likely help bring new companies to the area as the economy improves.
“I think Bryan County will see the impact of our ports as we progress,” Perdue said.
And while most areas of the state haven’t seen the growth that was present in 2007, Perdue said those days are sure to return. And it’s up to chambers of commerce to help prepare the community – something he said the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce has done well.
“I’m here tonight to tell you ‘good job,’” he said.