Rural Voices Launches Georgia Steering Committee

Committee will ensure rural issues are at the forefront of policy priorities for local, state and federal officials


MACON, GEORGIA (Oct. 27, 2022) – Today, Rural Voices USA, a leading national non-profit that organizes rural Americans to advocate, communicate and hold policy makers accountable for rural issues, announced the formation of a Georgia Steering Committee. The Georgia committee will fight for rural policies that benefit families across the Peach State. Members include rural leaders, educators, agricultural leaders and current and former elected officials.

It joins Rural Voices’ steering committees in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio in the work to identify key rural issues and ensure they are being addressed by local and federal policymakers.

“All of the leaders on our steering committee bring a knowledge and passion for the challenges residents in rural Georgia face,” said Rural Voices USA Georgia Steering Committee Chair Susannah Maddux. “We bring a diversity of views from the highest offices of elected leadership, to educators, farmers and life-long rural community leaders. We are Georgians who are concerned that rural issues are too often ignored and rural residents are too often left behind. The goal of our steering committee will be to work every day to ensure elected officials show up in rural Georgia and that they champion policies like broadband and health care access that are of enormous importance to us.”

Members of the Georgia steering committee include:

Governor Roy Barnes – Barnes is a lifelong Georgia public servant. He served 8 terms in the Georgia State Senate, three in the Georgia House of Representatives, and one term as Governor. In his tenure as governor, he prioritized education reform and raising the academic standards of Georgia schools. Barnes is a recipient of the 2003 John F. Kennedy Library Foundation Profile in Courage Award. He’ll bring his deep ties to these key issues affecting rural Georgians to the Georgia Steering Committee.

Dr. Hardie Davis Jr. – Davis is the 84th Mayor of Augusta and has served as the mayor of consolidated Augusta-Richmond County since 2015. He’s the second African American elected mayor of Augusta since the city and county governments consolidated in 1996. He previously served in the Georgia House of Representatives from the 122nd district from 2007 to 2009 and in the Georgia State Senate from the 22nd district from 2010 to 2014.

Wendy Davis – Davis is a community advocate in Rome who has served as a Rome City Commissioner for 8 years, a member of the Democratic National Committee since 2012, and a Democratic Party of Georgia activist and leader for more than 25 years. With her work on multiple electoral campaigns across the country, including her recent bid for the Democratic nomination for Georgia’s 14th Congressional district, Davis has keen insights into rural America and the issues people face, particularly in the Appalachians.

Winfred Dukes – State Rep. Dukes (D-Albany) was born and raised in Mitchell County and now serves as chief executive officer of Dukes, Edwards and Dukes, Inc., a family-owned construction real estate firm based in Albany. First elected in 1997, he’s received numerous awards and honors for outstanding contributions in business and community service for his community. He serves on the Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, Appropriations, Creative Arts & Entertainment, Economic Development & Tourism, and State Planning & Community Affairs committees. During his first term (1996–1997) he served as whip for the Georgia legislative Black Caucus and was elected to serve as second vice chairman of Georgia Democratic Party during the 1998 state Democratic Convention.

Bobby Fuse – Fuse is a retired educator from Sumter County who specializes in rural issues in some of the poorest counties in Georgia.

Dr. Anthony Holloman – Holloman, of Macon, was just appointed Commissioner of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the college athletic conference affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the Division II level, consisting primarily of historically black colleges and universities, mostly in the South. Holloman previously served as Fort Valley State University’s VP for University Advancement and Athletics and Executive Director of the FVSU foundation. He brings a deep knowledge of both educational and athletic issues from the rural South.

Susannah Cox Maddux – Maddux is the owner, publisher, and editor in chief of Macon Magazine, a bi-monthly publication in its 36th year celebrating local soul in Macon and surrounding region. She grew up in a family of storytellers, many of whom were farmers, in Monroe, North Carolina. She quickly found home in Macon thirteen years ago, when she dug in her heels and started listening, connecting, and creating through her first business, Goods Public Relations. She is passionate about building community, advocating for rural Georgia, and connecting people, with intention. In addition to Macon Magazine, Maddux is co-founder of The Web, a women-centered work club, headquartered in Downtown Macon, that offers an active network of support for the work-life blend.

Laura Register – Register has spent her career working on rural issues focused on education and healthcare. After spending 13 years on the Grady County Board of Education, she served as the legislative advisor on education and rural issues to state Senator Jen Jordan, who is now running for attorney general. She also led her own political consulting firm, served as a senior policy advisor at Capitol Affairs, an Atlanta based lobbying firm working on federal and state issues before becoming a senior research manager at Healthy Mothers, Health Babies Coalition of Georgia. She is the past chair of WIN List Georgia’s executive committee, a political action committee dedicated to electing Democratic women to office. She will bring valuable expertise on the health and education policies affecting the rural-urban divide in Georgia.

Dana Zajac – Zajac has spent his career working on issues facing his community in Cherokee County. He has served as the first vice chair of the Cherokee County Democratic Party and as Voter Protection County Coordinator, a role in which he organizes efforts to ensure elections occur freely.

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Images of rural Georgia for media use are here.

About Rural Voices USA

Rural Voices USA organizes rural people to advocate, communicate, and hold policy makers accountable for rural issues. We are a nationwide network of rural leaders, farmers and community members working ensure rural voices are being heard on key policy issues that impact them and their families. For more information, go to https://www.ruralvoices.us/.

Media contacts Rachel Tobin, rachel@tobinink.com, 404-276-5930

Julie Bryant Fisher, julie@miradorcom.com, 678-522-8470

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