State Representative Roger Bruce

 Georgia House of  Representatives
District 61
                                                     March 29, 2017
This Issue - Newsletter #9

Letter From Representative Bruce

Legislative News 

City of South Election News

Georgia Legislative Black Caucus News Conference

Douglas County Students Visit The Capitol

Fulton Industrial Legislation

A Moment in Women's History

Douglas County Students Visit The Capital

Last Week, Students from Annette Winn Elementary School stopped by THEIR State Capitol and had a visit with me. I am extremely grateful for the young people on my staff and in the community who keep me informed and invigorated. 


City of South Fulton Election News

This past Tuesday, the new city of South Fulton voted for the first time to elect a Mayor and a City Council. However, no candidate in any of the races received the requisite majority to be elected that night. Now we will have a run-off election on Tuesday, April 18. It will be on that night, that the citizens of South Fulton will finally have its inaugural Mayor and City Council. The run-off will  feature the following individuals: For Mayor: William Edwards and Benny Crane; For City Council District 1: Catherine Rowell and Willie Davis; For City Council District 2: Damita Chatman and Carmalitha Gumbs; For City Council District 3: Helen Z. Willis and Lou Bell; For City Council District 4: Naeema Gilyard and Mandisha Thomas; For City Council District 5: Rosie Jackson and Corey Reeves; For City Council District 6: Khalid Kamau and Charlean Parks; and For City Council District 7: Mark Baker and Linda Pritchett. 

I would encourage you all to continue to participate in our process to ensure a smooth transition into official cityhood. 

A Moment In Women's History

Shirley Chisholm was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Barbadian parents. When she was three years old, Shirley was sent to live with her grandmother on a farm in Barbados, a former British colony in the West Indies. She received much of her primary education in the Barbadian school system, which stressed the traditional British teachings of reading, writing, and history. Chisholm credits much of her educational successes to this well-rounded early education.

When Chisholm was ten years old, she returned to New York during the height of the Great Depression (1929-39). The Great Depression was a time of severe economic hardship when many people in the United States were unemployed. Life was not easy for the Chisholms in New York, and Shirley's parents sacrificed much for their eight children. Chisholm attended New York public schools and was able to compete well in the mainly white classrooms. She attended Girls' High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a section of Brooklyn. Chisholm won tuition scholarships to several distinguished colleges but was unable to afford the room and board. At the urging of her parents she decided to live at home and attend Brooklyn College. While training to be a teacher, Chisholm became active in several campus and community groups. She developed an interest in politics and learned the arts of organizing and fund-raising. Soon, she developed a deep resentment toward the role of women in local politics, which, at the time, consisted mostly of staying in the background and playing a secondary role to their male equals. Through campus politics and her work with the 
(NAACP), an organization that was formed in 1909 to work for equal rights for African Americans, Chisholm found a way to voice her opinions about economic and social structures in a rapidly changing nation.

After graduating with honors from Brooklyn College in 1946, Chisholm began work as a nursery school teacher and later as a director of schools for early childhood education. She became politically active with the Democratic Party and quickly developed a reputation as a person who challenged the traditional roles of women, African Americans, and the poor. In 1949, she married Conrad Chisholm, and the couple settled in Brooklyn.

During her successful career as a teacher, Chisholm became involved in several organizations including the League of Women Voters and the  Seventeenth Assembly District Democratic Club.

After a successful career as a teacher, Chisholm decided to run for the New York State Assembly. Her ideals were perfect for the times. In the mid-1960s the civil rights movement was in full swing. Across the nation, activists were working for equal civil rights for all Americans, regardless of race. In 1964 Chisholm was elected to the assembly.  During the time that she served in the assembly Chisholm sponsored fifty bills, but only eight of them passed. One of the successful bills she supported provided assistance for poor students to go on to higher education. Another provided employment insurance coverage for personal and domestic employees. Still another bill reversed a law that caused female teachers in New York to lose their tenure (permanence of position) while they were out on maternity leave.

Chisholm served in the state assembly until 1968, when she decided to run for the U.S. Congress. Her opponent was the civil rights leader James Farmer (1920-). Chisholm won the election and began a long career in the U.S. House of Representatives, lasting from the Ninety-first through the  Ninety-seventh Congress (1969-1982). As a member of Congress, Chisholm attempted to focus her attention on the needs of her constituents (the voters she represented). She served on several House committees including Agriculture, Veterans' Affairs, Rules and Education, and Labor. During the Ninety-first Congress, when she was assigned to the Forestry Committee, she protested her appointment and said that she wanted to work on committees that dealt with issues that were affecting her district. Forestry issues had little or no importance to the people she represented in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

In 1972 Chisholm ran for the highest office in the land-President of the United States of America. In addition to her interest in civil rights, she spoke out about the  judicial system in the United States, police brutality, prison reform, gun control, drug abuse, and numerous other topics. Chisholm did not win the Democratic nomination, but she did win an impressive 10 percent of the votes within the party. As a result of her candidacy, Chisholm was voted one of the ten most admired women in the world. After her unsuccessful presidential campaign, Chisholm continued to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives for another decade. As a member of the Black Caucus (a group of lawmakers who represent African Americans) she was able to watch black representation in the Congress grow and to welcome other black female congresswomen. In 1982, she announced her retirement from Congress.

From 1983 to 1987 Chisholm served as Purington Professor at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts, where she taught politics and women's studies. In 1985 she was the visiting scholar at Spelman College, and in 1987 she retired from teaching altogether. Chisholm continued to be involved in politics by cofounding the National Political Congress of Black Women in 1984. She also worked for the presidential campaigns of  Jesse Jackson (1941-) in 1984 and 1988. In 1993 President Bill Clinton nominated Chisholm for the position of Ambassador to Jamaica. Because of declining health, she turned down the nomination. Although Chisholm broke ground as the nation's first black congresswoman and the first black presidential candidate, she has said she would rather be remembered for continuing throughout her life to fight for rights for women and African Americans.

Join Our Mailing List
Go to to join or just send email address to


Over the past week, we have seen a lot happen - both in our district and under the Gold dome.

This past week, I had one of my colleagues reintroduce a hateful resolution which seeks to honor the Confederacy. House Resolution 644 states that the "Confederate States of America began and ended with a four-year struggle for states' rights, individual freedom, and local government control, which they believed to be right and just." I n 2015, Governor Deal made a wise decision to take Confederate History Day/Month off of the calendar in the State of Georgia. However, Representative Benton has decided to re-introduce the resolution after seeing it fail just last year. This bill sends a very disturbing message to the state and nation when its elected officials seek to open old wounds of hatred and division.

Just last year, Representative Benton told the AJC that the KKK "was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order. It made a lot of people straighten up... It's just the way things were."

We should all be reminded that The Confederacy was a group of rebellious states that had but one purpose: to maintain the evil institution of slavery under the guise of "states' rights." This is not something that should be celebrated. While we do not seek to erase this from our collective memory. It is important to note that dark part of Georgia and America's history, should not be something that is laudable ever.

Also, I am excited about the defeat of Senate Bill 1, which was defeated last night. Senate Bill 1 sought to stop public protest and classify protestors as domestic terrorist. This is not a time to play political games with the citizens of Georgia in terms of security issues.

On a more positive note, I had the opportunity to meet some wonderful students from Annette Winn Elementary School just last Tuesday. We spoke about the role of government and their roles as leaders of the next generation. It was a joy to see so many smiling young faces as they came down to their state capitol. It is because of them that I fight hard each and every day under the Gold dome. They are the future of Georgia that I see; a future that celebrates progress and inclusion - not one that seeks to divide or deny.

As we move into our last week of this session, I will use the energy of those smiling young, energetic faces to continue upon a path that is worthy of all my constituents. 

   ***** ************************************

Legislative News

SB 2

Legislation aimed at easing regulations on small businesses in Georgia was introduced into the state Senate this week.  The "FAST Act," which stands for Fairness, Accountability, Simplification and Transparency, is one of the priorities Senate Republican leaders have set for this year's General Assembly session.

The bill would require state and local government agencies that issue licenses or permits to establish turnaround times they would have to meet. If they fail to process a license or fee by the deadline, they would have to reduce the processing fee.

The legislation also would require Georgia's professional licensing boards to issue provisional licenses for businesses either renewing their licenses or moving to Georgia from out of state.

It would establish a system for ranking and comparing state and local agencies' permitting processes based in part on the fees they charge and how long they take to issue licenses or permits. And it would make it easier for the legislature to override state agency rules by requiring simple majorities of the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate rather the two-thirds votes required in current law.

The bill, sponsored by Sen.  Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, has been assigned to the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee, which Dugan chairs.

 for more information on weekly events for the 
2017 Legislative Session. 

Georgia Black Legislative Caucus News Conference

The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus held a News Conference to oppose HR 644, which tries to honor Confederate History Month. 


Fulton Industrial to be part of South Fulton, if voters approve

from the AJC by Arielle Kass

The last unincorporated piece of Fulton County will become part of the city of   South Fulton  - if residents county-wide  vote to allow it .
The Georgia Senate this week passed a bill that would make the  Fulton Industrial Boulevard district part of the new city, if a constitutional amendment that keeps the area from joining any jurisdiction is repealed. It awaits the governor's signature.

The  annexation into South Fulton will only happen, though, if Fulton voters in November decide to end the restriction on the area being part of any municipality. If they do, the eight-mile stretch of land that is the biggest industrial area in the region will join the new city Jan. 1.  Atlanta had  fought for the district , taking its argument last year  to the state supreme court . The court  declined to rule  on whether the area could be annexed into Atlanta or any other city, saying no annexation had been proposed.

In a statement in October, an Atlanta spokesperson said the city would "evaluate its options going forward." Thursday, a spokesperson said the city would have no comment on Fulton Industrial.

The district, which has 46 million square feet of industrial space and a workforce of more than 20,000 people, would bring South Fulton an additional $5 to $6 million in tax revenue each year, said Rep. Roger Bruce, D-Atlanta.

"It's a big deal," Bruce said. "People will get the services they want for police and fire. Children in the area will continue to go to Fulton County schools."

Atlanta wanted a piece of the district, Bruce said, so he offered to help annex any parcels into Atlanta if anyone wanted to go. But no one came to him saying they wanted to be in the city. Gil Prado, the executive director of the Fulton Industrial Community Improvement District, said he didn't know of any landowners who wanted to join Atlanta.

Atlanta last year sent letters to property owners urging them to annex into the city, but no one was interested, Prado said.

The district, which has been around for more than 50 years, has a Coca-Cola bottling plant and facilities for Ryder, Gatorade, Frito Lay and other companies, Prado said.

"I've never heard from any property owner saying they want to go into the city of Atlanta," Prado said. "It seems the property owners are in favor of going to the city of South Fulton."

David Seem, the chief financial officer for the in-store marketing company Miller Zell, said previously that he expected he would get more attention as part of a smaller city.

Residents across Fulton County, though, have the fate of the area in their hands. They must approve a referendum if the district is to be resolved.
Bruce said he would like the companies that want to join South Fulton to help fund a campaign to make people aware of the vote. He said he hopes Atlanta doesn't try to influence voters against the referendum.

The results of the vote are anybody's guess, Prado said. But he said if the vote fails, the future of the area is in question. If residents don't approve the referendum, the bill that adds the area to South Fulton will be repealed.
"If it doesn't happen, what would happen to Fulton Industrial?" he said. "Where does it get its services from? There's a lot of unanswered questions that we don't know."

Representative Roger Bruce's Staff

A.D. Fields - Legislative/Policy/Communications Aide
Jason Gathing - Legislative/Policy Aide.
Sharon Matthews - Legislative/Policy Aide 
John L. Sanders- Photographer/Aide

Would you like to share your message with 6000 others?  If so, share your topics, organizations, and matters of importance to you with us. We will review your email and if chosen, you and your organization will be featured in our newsletter. Please send email to .