By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hickman eyes re-election, begins focus on redistricting
Sen. Billy Hickman
District 4 Sen. Billy HIckman addresses guests at Moncrief Square in Springfield on Oct. 26. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

 SPRINGFIELD — Sen. Billy Hickman had a good bit of important news that he wanted to share with his constituents face to face.

During an Oct. 26  “Hometown Tour” stop at Moncrief Square, he said, “We’ve decided to go to each county (in Senate District 4) to tell y’all some things that we’ve been going through and also make the announcement that we are seeking re-election.”

Hickman, in the middle of his first two-year term, visited Claxton (Evans County), Reidsville (Tattnall County) and Metter (Candler County) before making his Springfield visit. He wrapped up the tour in Swainsboro (Emanuel County) on Oct. 27 and Statesboro (Bulloch County) on Thursday.

“I didn’t want to just put it in the newspaper that I was running for re-election,” Hickman said. “I wanted y’all to know how much I appreciate y’all. This really is the honor of a lifetime.

“I never dreamed I’d be in politics.”

The senator said Effingham County is fortunate to have effective leaders during trying times caused by COVID-19 and other economic challenges.

“It’s really obvious that you live in a vibrant community,” said Hickman, who spent the early part of Oct. 26 with local government and business officials at the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce Retreat at Jekyll Island. “You live in a vibrant community because you have great leaders.”

Hickman said Effingham County’s poverty rate of 8.9 percent is the lowest in District 4. The county also boasts the district’s highest per capita income ($31,704), he said.

“That tells me the leadership is working on it,” Hickman said.

Hickman and the rest of the General Assembly are set to start working on redistricting, which plays a critical role in determining political power. The process starts today.

“They tell us it’s probably going to take three or four weeks,” Hickman said. 

Hickman’s district isn’t likely to change much under a new configuration. It currently has about 193,000 residents, 2,000 more than what each of the 56 state Senate districts would have “ideally.”

“We are in great shape,” Hickman said, “and the only reason is because of Effingham growth and Bulloch growth. All the other counties in the district were even (in population growth) or lost people (during the past decade).” 

Hickman said it is vital that jobs be created to keep people from fleeing rural counties.

“When children leave these counties for jobs, that means the grandchildren leave the county. When they leave, they don’t ever come back,” he said. “That’s why our government is really focusing on trying to get jobs to rural Georgia.”

Hickman said the districts that border District 4 lost as much as 15 percent of their population over the past 10 years.

“So we’ve got to be careful to protect our area,” he said.

Qualifying for the 2022 General Assembly elections is set in March.