Georgia recently lost one of our oldest first ladies — Betty Foy Sanders.
Mrs. Sanders grew up in and around Statesboro, attending Georgia Southern and the University of Georgia, and she is remembered today at Georgia Southern University in the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art.
Mrs. Sanders saw a lot of changes for the better in Georgia over her long life.
When her husband Carl Sanders became Georgia’s governor in 1963, state-sanctioned segregation was in place. Governor Sanders, with Betty by his side, led our state during a tumultuous time when court decisions and legal changes continued to dismantle segregationist “Jim Crow” laws.
These efforts would continue for years to come; for many of Georgia’s past leaders, the Georgia of today would be scarcely recognizable with international businesses providing jobs for thousands of Georgians across the state and legal immigrants to our state from around the country and around the world seeking to take advantage of the opportunity Georgia provides.
Georgia’s population has more than doubled since Carl Sanders was governor — a reflection of the opportunity so many have sought and found here.
This is why I and many other Georgians took so much offense when Stacey Abrams recently called Georgia the worst state in the country to live.
As part of the fifth generation of my family living on the family farm, raising my children, and enjoying my grandchildren growing up in rural Georgia I was hurt by her statement. Public service has been a virtual part of my commitment in supporting our state’s efforts to include all Georgians in our state’s successes.
My wife Dayle and I didn’t believe Georgia was the worst state to live in when we chose to raise our family in rural Georgia.
Governor Kemp and his wife Marty didn’t believe Georgia was the worst state to live in when they chose to raise their family in their hometown of Athens.
And I don’t believe Stacey Abrams’ parents thought Georgia was the worst state to live in when they moved their family to Georgia.
Georgia has grown and changed significantly since Betty Foy Sanders was first lady. Georgia is the best place in the country in which to do business, and Governor Kemp and the General Assembly have continued to encourage job growth and opportunity in Georgia through tax cuts, a predictable regulatory environment, and great training for Georgians itching for career advancement opportunities.
And with the announcement of recent projects across our state including in Statesboro, Savannah, Effingham County, Hart County, Bryan County, and LaGrange, Governor Kemp and the Department of Economic Development have made clear that they want opportunity for all Georgians — not just those in Atlanta.
Republicans at the state capitol have and will continue to shepherd our state, providing growth opportunities while ensuring that no Georgians are left behind in 21st Century Georgia.
Always remember that should you have questions, comments, or concerns about issues affecting District 159 and our region of Georgia you can always reach out to me at (404.656.5052), email, or engage on Facebook. If you would like to receive email updates, please visit my website to sign up for my newsletter or email me.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.