ATLANTA -- Driving home from Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon after being sworn in as a member of the state's Department of Community Affairs Board, Lee County Commission Vice Chairman Rick Muggridge turned his still-stunned gaze on his wife Terry.
"Can you believe this is happening to me?" Muggridge asked.
Muggridge was named to a vacant seat on the DCA Board by Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday, and by the time he and Terry were driving back to Southwest Georgia on Wednesday, he'd already been sworn into office and attended his first meeting with the board.
"I'm so humbled and honored that Gov. Deal would allow me to expand my service," Muggridge said Friday. "It's just overwhelming to be a part of this board with such incredible men and women who boast such powerful resumes.
"Certainly I would not have been on the governor's radar without the intervention of our local delegation, Sen. John Crosby and Rep. Ed Rynders. These men are champions for Southwest Georgia, and I'm humbled to have been on their radar."
A native of Albany, Muggridge has spent 20 years as an insurance agent in the city. He is currently the operations manager of the family-owned DWB Insurance Agency. He attended the University of Georgia and is a volunteer or member of such local agencies and groups as the Palladium Foundation, Easter Seals Southern Georgia, Rivers Alive and Leesburg United Methodist Church.
Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn said Muggridge's appointment will be a boost for Southwest Georgia.
"So many of the things we do in local government in Georgia go through DCA," Quinn said Friday. "It will be great for Leesburg, Lee County and Southwest Georgia to have a voice on the state (DCA) board to help get our message out."
Muggridge said he and the other members of the DCA Board discussed "a $50 million bond issue for moderate- and low-income housing mortgages" and "census tracks and empowerment zones" that will benefit most of Southwest Georgia.
"Except for probably Lee County and Thomasville, these programs have the potential to benefit the Second Congressional District greatly when it comes to creating and retaining jobs, and that's always first with me," Muggridge said.
Muggridge said Crosby and Rynders knew of his "desire to do more for the people of our region," and they recommended him as a candidate for the position. After he met briefly with Deal to discuss their views of government, the governor made the appointment.
The self-proclaimed "political junky" said the appointment allows him to be a better advocate for this region.
"Some people have talked about my 'working behind the scenes' on getting this appointment, and I gladly acknowledge that," Muggridge said. "That's not a bad thing.
"You have to build relationships in order to increase your awareness of the state. And the people in Lee County need to realize that the County Commission and the state of Georgia are going to impact their lives 10 times more than the federal government. I think of people like (Dougherty County Commission Chairman) Jeff Sinyard, who have become ambassadors for Southwest Georgia, and that's the kind of impact I want to have."