'Mother of Milton' still optimistic about Milton County
Courtesy By By Rachel Kellogg / Neighbor Newspapers
District 46 State Rep. and Majority Whip Jan Jones, R-Milton, announced today her intention to seek election as Speaker Pro Tem now that District 50 State Rep Mark Burkhalter, R-Johns Creek, is leaving the post.
“I do not know what the outcome will be, but on behalf of the citizens of north Fulton, I feel compelled to give it a shot,” she said.
Ms. Jones said Burkhalter’s announcement earlier this week has changed the outlook for Milton County.
“It certainly looked more favorable when it appeared he would be speaker and I would be whip,” she said. “But it’s still the right outcome for north Fulton, and I am confident that my colleagues will agree just as they agreed that we should have the new cities.”
Ms. Jones said this is an uncertain and fluid time, but she is optimistic that the Milton County effort will be supported by other House representatives.
“Just as with the cityhood effort—when my colleagues understood that it was a local issue—I believe that they will allow us to control our own destiny.”
Thursday 1:30 p.m.: Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter announced Monday he would call a vote for Speaker of the House during the first week of the legislative session. Burkhalter also said he will not be seeking election as speaker.
With Burkhalter stepping down, north Fulton officials are weighing in on what this means for Milton County legislation.
District 48 State Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, said he hopes Milton County does not get placed on the backburner.
“Mark was one of the driving forces for Milton County. I don’t know where we stand,” he said. “We probably have less of a chance today than we did a year ago. But I still believe in it, and I will still vote for it.”
Geisinger said he had no plans of throwing his hat into the ring for the speaker position.
District 49 State Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs said he thinks Burkhalter’s announcement may have some impact on the Milton County legislation.
“But there is still the need for this, and the people in our district still want this,” he said. “I don’t know what Mark’s plans are as far as staying in the House, but if he does he will be a major player for Milton County.”
Willard said he hopes to step in and fill some of the void if Burkhalter does leave the House.
“We’ve got a good, strong team up here,” he said.