Forestry Advocates Have Strong Leadership Roles in General Assembly

The 154th Georgia General Assembly was convened on January 9. As legislators prepared for a new session, new positions and committee chairmanships were announced, positioning forestry champions in leadership roles in both the House and Senate.  

The House and Senate both announced Committee Chairs, and the Governor announced his Floor Leaders this week. According to Georgia Forestry Association President Andres Villegas, several leaders under the Gold Dome — both newly announced leaders and those who have retained leadership posts — are strong advocates for Georgia’s $32 billion forestry industry.

“The more advocates we have in Atlanta, the more protected our industry will be,” Villegas said. “You can count on GFA to continue to foster and improve durable relationships with each of these leaders throughout this year’s session.”

Key forestry advocates in the 154th Georgia General Assembly include:

  • Rep. Trey Rhodes (HD-120), a GFA member, was announced as one of Governor Deal’s floor leaders.
  • Sen. Larry Walker (SD-20) was also announced as a new floor leader for Governor Deal.   
  • Rep. Jason Shaw (HD-176) was named the Chairman of the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. Rep. Shaw will serve as a vital connection for the forestry community through financing bridge and road maintenance.
  • Rep. Chad Nimmer (HD-178), a GFA member with Pierce Timber in Blackshear, GA, was named the Chairman of the House Small Business Development Committee. 
  • Rep. Chuck Williams (HD-119), a GFA landowner member, was named the Vice Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.
  • Rep. Jan Tankersley (HD-160) was named the Chairman of the House Intragovernmental Coordination Committee. 
  • Rep. Sam Watson (HD-172) was named this week as the new Chairman of the House Rural Caucus. 
  • Sen. Ellis Black (SD-8) was named the Chairman of the Senate Retirement Committee.
  • Other forestry advocates retained who retained leadership positions –
    • Rep. Jay Powell (HD-171)
      House Ways and Means Committee Chairman
    • Rep. Tom McCall (HD-33)
      House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Chairman
    • Rep. Terry England (HD-116)
      House Appropriations Committee Chairman
    • Rep. David Knight (HD-130)
      House Game, Fish and Parks Committee Chairman
    • Rep. Lynn Smith (HD-70)
      House Natural Resources and Environment Committee Chairman

GFA keeps members informed via regular Capitol Forestry Reports about the progress of forestry issues during the 154th Session of the Georgia General Assembly. If you have any questions during the session, please contact Tom Beyer at

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