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Lawmakers retain positions

ATLANTA -- The political fortunes of several of the area's Representatives appear unscathed by new Georgia House Speaker David Ralston's committee appointments announced Friday.

House District 152 Rep. Ed Rynders, R-Leesburg, and District 150 Rep. Winfred Dukes, D-Albany, maintained the committee appointments they'd held under former Speaker Glenn Richardson, while District 151 Rep. Carol Fullerton, D-Albany, added three new appointments to the ones she had previously held.

"Overall, there were a lot of anxious moments and people on pins and needles (leading up to the announcements, which were supposed to have been made Wednesday)," Rynders said. "But Speaker Ralston is always steady and deliberate, and I believe he made the moves that will serve the best interest of Georgia."

Rynders is chair of the House Intragovernmental Coordinating Committee and vice chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. He also serves on the powerful Transportation and Appropriations committees.

Dukes, the Albany area's longest-serving House member, serves on the Economic Development and Tourism, Industrial Relations and State Planning, and Community Affairs committees.

Fullerton, who is serving the second year of her first two-year term in the House, received appointments to the Health and Human Services, Economic Development and Tourism, and Energy, Utilities and Communications committees Friday. She retained positions on the Special Rules, Natural Resources and Education committees she'd served on in her first year.

Many speculate that the additional duties came because Fullerton was one of 10 Democrats who voted for Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.

"I'm both excited and humbled at the confidence Speaker Ralston has shown in me with these appointments," Rynders said. "I appreciate his confidence and his commitment to the people of Southwest Georgia. I consider this good news not only for me and the people of House District 152, but for the people of Southwest Georgia as well."

In other moves that are expected to affect Southwest Georgians, Jay Roberts, an Ocilla Republican who was one of Richardson's closest House allies, retained his position as chair of the Transportation Committee, while Penny Houston, R-Nashville, was named vice chair of the Appropriations subcommittee on Human Resources.

Tifton's Austin Scott, who is seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination, resigned his position as chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee.