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Sen. Ben Watson's capitol update, Jan. 14
Ben Watson
Sen. Ben Watson

It was an exciting week at the state capitol beginning the 2019 legislative session. Governor Brian Kemp was sworn in as Georgia’s 83rd governor, a dynamic leader who will undoubtedly continue the progress made by Governor Nathan Deal. 

In his inaugural speech, he adopted Coach Billy Henderson’s “It can be done” motto when talking about cutting taxes, funding education, standing with farmers, protecting our values, and providing high-speed internet to rural areas. I expect this legislative session to be another productive one and am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with my colleagues on legislation that continue will to improve our great state. 

On a personal note, as we quickly got down to business, I was humbled to be appointed to serve as Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. As a physician, legislator, husband and father, I am eager to get to work on the many issues that the healthcare industry faces. I believe that healthcare, or lack thereof depending on where you live, is our state’s largest shortcoming. 

However, I know that thoroughly vetting legislation and considering new solutions to increase quality and access to care will help our citizens live longer, healthier lives. I look forward to this opportunity to use my experience as a doctor to bring change that will benefit all Georgians. 

I was also assigned to several other influential committees including the Public Safety and Appropriations committees, as well as an ex-officio member of the Veterans, Military and Homeland Security and Insurance committees.  I look forward to working toward a safer Georgia and continuing to support current and retired military personnel.

As you may know, the Legislative Session is set by law for forty days, but this spans over a few months. We begin in January, but typically finish by the end of March or early April. During this time legislation is proposed legislation, vetted and discussed in committee before it is presented to the full body for a vote. I will keep you informed about matters that are important to our community with these weekly updates, and I encourage you to be engaged in this process. 

Our state has an incredible program that involves our youth with the legislative process. Students age 12 and older are eligible to participate in the Senate Page Program and get to witness first-hand the proceedings of the Georgia Senate. If you know of any eligible students who may be interested in participating in the program, please go to

Please know that every time I report to the gold dome for a legislative session, I never take for granted the great privilege and responsibility that you have given me. I carefully consider each piece of legislation with our community, families, jobs, education, healthcare, and future in mind. As I drive back and forth on I-16 each week, I will think about the beautiful place we call home, the many benefits of living in this great state, and how the legislation we consider this year will impact the generations that come after us. 

You are a big part of this process. Your input is important to me as we consider legislation that could impact your livelihood. Please contact me at or at 404-656-7880 with your questions and concerns. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve you!

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