COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Here for the state's annual Republican convention, state Rep. Ed Rynders was informed Friday that he has been appointed to chair a House Transportation Confirmation Subcommittee that will decide on the man appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to replace Todd Long as the state's DOT Planning Director.
Deal selected Toby Carr, a political consultant who recently served as the governor's transportation policy adviser, for the post. Long recently accepted a position as assistant Department of Transportation commissioner.
Rynders, R-Leesburg, was appointed to chair the confirmation subcommittee by House Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla.
"The (planning director) position is probably one of the most important positions in the state," Roberts said Friday. "He does a lot of the stuff the DOT Commissioner used to do. And he's going to be vital to T-SPLOST implementation in the state.
"Todd Long set the bar at the position, and he set it high. But I think Toby's going to follow right behind him and do a great job, too."
Rynders chaired a similar subcommittee that confirmed Long as planning director.
"I think it's important that whoever becomes director of planning for DOT has a thorough understanding of transportation in the entire state of Georgia," Rynders said. "As chairman of this subcommittee, I hope to deliver that message and get him to understand how vital (the position) is to the state.
"He's got to be fully aware that transportation in metro Atlanta is about moving people, but in rural Georgia it's about moving goods. And transportation is about more than just highways; it's also about our ports, mass transit and air traffic."
Carr is a University of Georgia graduate who previously served as executive director of the Georgia Republican party and was an aide to House Majority Whip Jan Jones.
Roberts said he selected Rynders to head the subcommittee because of his leadership capability.
"Ed Rynders is a leader not just in Southwest Georgia but in Atlanta as well," Roberts said. "He's well respected and well liked by his peers, but he is also a loyal friend.
"I needed someone who would thoroughly vet the candidate, someone who would make sure all the right questions are asked and answered. I knew Ed would do that and do it right."
Also named to the committee by Roberts were Republicans Steve Davis of McDonough, who will serve as vice chair, Brett Harrell of Snellville, Barbara Sims of Augusta, Chad Nimmer of Blackshear, Tommy Benton of Jefferson and Mike Jacobs of Atlanta, as well as Democrats Bob Bryant of Garden City, Glenn Baker of Jonesboro, Al Williams of Midway and Pat Gardner of Atlanta.
Rynders said he's not immediately familiar with Carr's qualifications.
"But I will be soon," the subcommittee chair said. "That's what this process is all about."