2017 Archives

gregmorris2015September 18--  State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia has a report "From the People's House."

Hurricane Irma. As you know, the primary focus of all of us as well state government was preparation and clean up due to the devastation to our state from Irma. I agree with Gov. Deal when he said it was almost impossible to believe that the damage was caused by a tropical storm. I am sure I speak for all of us in expressing gratitude to all of the linemen and emergency personnel who worked to keep our citizens safe and to restore power to our homes and businesses as soon as possible. I am told this is the first time all 41 EMC’s had property damage from a single storm. We are also grateful for the line crews from other states who came from as far north as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and Wisconsin, and as far west as Texas and Oklahoma.

I have been asked about the cost of the cleanup. The federal government usually pays 75%, the state and local governments then divide the remaining 25%. Governor Deal has agreed for the state to pay the local portion of the cleanup for the six hardest hit coastal counties. We have yet to calculate the losses of our state’s largest industry, agriculture. As much as 50% of our pecan crop may be lost as well as 25 to 50% of the cotton crop.

Tommy Irvin. Speaking of farming, former Georgia Ag Commissioner Tommy Irvin passed away last week. Irvin was appointed in 1969 by I believe Lester Maddox, and served until his retirement in 2010. I got to know him by having breakfast with him every morning in the “216 Club”. That was the room number at the Sheraton Hotel that Speaker Tom Murphy met with his friends to start the day with cheese toast and coffee. As a freshman legislator I was definitely the least important guy in the room. Commissioner Irvin supplied the cheese that came in the size of bricks wrapped in brown paper. It was tough and strong and Majority Leader Larry Walker claimed it could constipate any goose in the country. I blame it at least partly for the blockages that turned up in my heart cath.

Commissioner Irvin was a catalog of old Georgia political stories, most of them hilarious. He was a great country politician who never had a serious political threat to his position. Tommy Irvin created the first International Trade Division at the Georgia Ag Department and deserves credit for opening up new markets for Georgia farmers with the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba.

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