By State Representative Terry England (R-Auburn)
It is with mixed feelings yet a thankful heart that I am announcing that I will not be seeking another term in the Georgia House of Representatives. To say it has been an honor to represent Barrow County the last 18 years in the Georgia House would be a gross understatement.
Growing up in the County Line School area of Barrow County was probably about as simple as life could get as a kid. In elementary school, we had a group of teachers that loved us kids and showed it every day by the way they looked out for us and taught us much about life. We sat there looking at the globe thinking about the places we figured we would never see but only read about in books. We took field trips to exotic places like the State Capitol (at least it was exotic to us from County Line) where a seed was planted into the mind of a fifth grader.
In high school, I became heavily involved in the FFA at the urging of my parents. That organization gave me more than I could ever repay. You see, I was a very shy kid and afraid to speak to myself in front of a mirror, but my experiences in the FFA gave me the confidence to be able to speak in crowds. It gave me the leadership skills I possess today, the parliamentary procedure skills I use every day and the record-keeping skills I still use today. I also learned how to fix a tractor, wire a house or building, weld and so many more things I still use from day to day.
These past 18 years have gone by in a flash. I never had in mind or imagined staying that long in the House, but the Lord had other plans. I have had the honor and pleasure of working with three governors and serving under two speakers. One of those speakers, David Ralston, has been an incredible friend, mentor and brother to me. He has given me opportunities that this kid from County Line only dreamed about, one of those being allowing me to serve as the House Appropriations chair for the last 12 years.
This past 18 years, especially the last 12, have taught me so much about this state that I love so much. The last 12 have allowed me to be a part of helping so many citizens, not only in Barrow County, but across our wonderful state. While “government employees” always seem to get a bad rap in society, I am here to tell you we have some amazing folks that are state employees in every corner of this beautiful state. It has been absolutely no surprise to me that we have weathered this pandemic as well as we have because I know so many of the men and women that work for us as citizens every day. They do not get thanked enough.
While there are 180 of us House members that come and go from the Capitol all the time, there is a hidden force that really gets the work done under the Gold Dome every day. The staff of the General Assembly (both House and Senate) keep the lights on and the trains running on time. They are a force and one to which I owe a huge thank you to for their kindness and hard work over the years. Miss Alva, Marion, Miss Emily, Dezzie and especially Ashley have been the voices you have heard on the phone when you have called my Capitol office throughout the years. They have all kept me pointed in the direction of what was next and were the ones that more than anyone helped me serve you.
The team I have worked so closely with over the last 12 years doing the state’s budget are without a doubt the best in the nation. Several of our House Budget and Research Office staff have been recognized as being so over the last few years, so it isn’t me just saying that. Our director, Martha Wigton, and our deputy director, Christine Murdock, are both incredible people and have a servant’s heart. The team they have assembled through the years are some of the best and brightest in state government – period.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the friends and mentors I have gained along the way as well. This experience has given me the chance to work with some of the finest elected public servants in the world. Men and women who leave their families for days and weeks on end to answer the call to help others and guide our state into the future. Men like John Meadows, Jay Powell and Jack Hill that are gone too soon but left huge impressions on me and did good for this state that will last for generations.
Family. One word that means and says so much. Were it not for my family, I would not have had this chance to serve you. They are the ones that had to “go on without me, I will get there sometime” so many times over the years. They are the ones that took care of things while I’ve been in Atlanta or somewhere else on the road covering the state. My late mom was the one that pushed me the final little bit to get me to do this. My dad runs up and down the road for me most days going and doing the things I cannot get to. Aunts, uncles, cousins and so many others that might not be kin, but are family, have helped me. Thank you.
Most importantly though, is my wife Cindy. She has truly been my helpmate through it all. There is no way under the sun I could have done this without her. She is my soulmate, my rock and my most trusted advisor.
Last but not least are the voters in the 116th House District. You have trusted me to be your voice at the Capitol all these years. I will never be able to put into words how much of an honor this has been. Representing the place that you were born and raised in is incredibly special, and I cannot thank you enough for that chance. No matter where the Lord leads me next, I will always represent Barrow County and our incredible state.
Representative Terry England represents the citizens of District 116, which includes portions of Barrow County. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2005 and currently serves as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He also serves on the Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, Education, Industry and Labor, Natural Resources & Environment committees. He also serves as an Ex-Officio member on the Ways & Means Committee.