Members of the Georgia House Republican Caucus have elected State Representative Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) as their new House Majority Caucus Chair for the remainder of the 2021-2022 legislative term.
Georgia House Republican Caucus members announced the news this week.
Rich represents District 97, which includes portions of Gwinnett County. Voters first elected her in 2018.
Georgia’s chamber of commerce interests have donated $4,250 to Rich since 2018, shortly before she took office.
Georgia State Representative Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) said last February that she suspected members of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber worked behind the scenes to kill Byrd’s Voter ID legislation. Byrd said she believed Georgia Chamber members disliked her Voter ID legislation because it would try to stop non-citizens from voting. She said at the time that Rich worked to block Byrd’s legislation in a Special Committee on Election Integrity subcommittee.
The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission’s website lists Rich’s donors. The Georgia Chamber’s Political Affairs Council, for instance, donated $3,500 to Rich’s campaign efforts since 2018.
According to its website, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce has a Governmental Affairs Council with 400 government affairs professionals representing various companies throughout the state. The Georgia Chamber’s Political Affairs Council, meanwhile, “provides an opportunity for Chamber investors and partners to play an active role in shaping the future of our state,” its website said.
The Political Action Committee for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, has donated $750 to Rich since 2019, according to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission’s website.
Two former state legislators said in February that Georgia Chamber of Commerce members, not unexpectedly, have tremendous influence at the State Capitol. Those two former legislators also said the Chambers’ members sometimes work against political conservatives’ best interests.
Former State Representative Jeff Jones, who represented District 167 from 2015 until last year, said the Georgia Chamber of Commerce is no friend of the average Georgia citizen. He also said Georgia Chamber members don’t undertake initiatives that benefit anybody other than large corporate members.
The second former state legislator, Ken Pullin, who represented District 131 from 2019 until last year, said members of the Georgia Chamber want the state’s economy to flourish. And Chamber members, he went on to say, think economic development sometimes means going against conservative politics.
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