January 29-30, 2024
Albany-Dougherty Day 2024: Celebrating Community Leadership, Unity, and Legislative Engagement
Atlanta — Albany-Dougherty Day 2024, hosted in Atlanta Monday and Tuesday by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, culminated as a resounding success, showcasing the collective strength and unity of the Albany community. This signature state legislative event drew a local delegation of nearly 50 private, public and elected partners for a two-day event program that includes a legislative reception and meetings with legislators at the Georgia State Capitol.
“The success of Albany-Dougherty Day 2024 is a testament to the collaborative spirit and dedication of our community, and to our persistence in ensuring we are seen and heard at the Georgia State Capitol,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. “This annual event highlights the importance of engaging with our elected officials, reinforces the strength of our local and state partnerships and reflects Albany’s position as a key economic hub supporting Georgia’s unmatched competitiveness.”
The public-private collaboration was underscored by participation from Albany Mayor Bo Dorough, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Lorenzo Heard, Albany Area Chamber Chair Jeretha Peters and members of their respective bodies. Sen. Freddie Powell Sims and Reps. Gerald Geene, Bill Yearta, Mike Cheokas – members of the Albany Area state legislative delegation – participated in the programs, as did leadership from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
The program commenced Monday with the Albany-Dougherty Day Legislative Reception at the Nathan Deal Judicial Center, home of the Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals. The center’s second-floor terrace, which overlooks Georgia’s Gold Dome, played host to a sunset reception during which local participants mingled with esteemed guests including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp; Lt. Gov. Burt Jones; Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr; Commissioner John King of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and Fire Safety; Commissioner Tyler Harper of the Georgia Department of Agriculture; Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger; and Judge Ken Hodges of the Georgia Court of Appeals.
The attendance of the state’s highest-ranking elected officials and additional leadership from the House of Representatives, Georgia Senate, state agencies and the judiciary emphasized Albany’s role as a key fixture in the state’s political and economic landscape.
“Ensuring our state officials are aware of the policy positions of the Albany Area Chamber and how they impact our member organizations and the region’s economic competitiveness is a core function of the Chamber’s advocacy program,” said Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adams Exterminators and chair of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Division. “Equally important is building and strengthening our relationships with state leadership. Albany-Dougherty Day is a conduit for that.”
Tuesday’s legislative program in the Capitol was marked by a series of engaging discussions with agency leadership and elected officials, providing valuable insights into what’s ahead during the 2024 legislative session. The sessions laid the groundwork for participants to engage in a unique experience with Georgia decision makers playing roles in the issues that matter most to the Chamber and the delegation, including smart fiscal policy, education and talent, defense and military, economic development and health care.
Participants had the opportunity to hear from House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration; Sen. Chuck Payne, chairman of the Senate’s committee on veterans, military and homeland security; Chairman Matt Bonner from the House’s committee on defense and veterans; Commissioner Greg Dozier of the Technical College System of Georgia; and Kristi Birgman, deputy commissioner for global commerce with the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
The mid-morning session included a commendation presentation with Kemp and a floor visit to the Georgia Senate, from whose well Holmes brought remarks on behalf of the community and addressed the senatorial body.
The scheduled events of the day came to a close with a “State of Health Policy” panel composed of Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Russel Carlson, Deputy Commissioner Grant Thomas and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dean Burke; Chairman Butch Parrish of the House Special Committee on Healthcare; Chairman Ben Watson of the Senate Health Committee; Caylee Noggle, CEO of the Georgia Hospital Association (GH.A); Phoebe Putney Health System CEO Scott Steiner, chair-elect of GHA.
Amidst the various sessions, Albany-Dougherty leaders actively advocated for legislative priorities crucial to the region’s growth. Notably, discussions emphasized the need for increased state funding to support local initiatives including the establishment of a VECTR (Veterans Education Career Transition Resource) center at Albany Technical College. The proposed $17.4 million center aims to enhance veteran employment opportunities in the area, aligning with broader local and state efforts to support and empower active military, veterans and military families. VECTR Albany is a key priority of Albany Technical College and the Albany Area Chamber.
The Chamber’s government affairs program is sponsored by AB&T, Phoebe Putney Health System, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, the City of Albany, Dougherty County, Dougherty County School System, Albany Area Primary Healthcare, Albany State University, Albany Technical College, Mclendon Acres, OmniTRAX Industrial Development, AT&T, Horizon Community Solutions, LRA Constructors, Molson Coors, Adams Exterminators and Georgia CEO. Representatives from sponsoring organizations participated in the program.
About the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce
The Albany Area Chamber, founded in 1910, is leading a multi-year strategic effort to advance business success and economic opportunities in Albany and the Albany Area. Learn more at www.albanyga.com.