ALBANY State Rep. Carol Fullerton says her "middle-of-the-road" political leanings and experience with legislators in Atlanta is what Albany needs now that South Georgia has fewer representatives than ever headed to the capital city.
The Albany Democrat wants to go back to Atlanta and officially launched her re-election bid Tuesday in Riverfront Park.
"I pledge to utilize my experience in the capital," Fullerton said, "I'm a middle-of-the-road person. I'm still very much a Democrat, but we have to work together with people, regardless of party, for the betterment of Southwest Georgia and I think I'm the person who can do that."
The former Albany City Commissioner and Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission member, is being challenged by Dougherty County Commissioner Muarlean Edwards, who kicked off her "Real Deal" campaign earlier this month.
Fullerton currently sits on five state House committees: Health and Human Services, Higher Education, Natural Resources, Economic Development and Tourism and Utilities and Energy.
Fullerton said her position on those committees give her leverage that others don't have.
"It's very important for us to have someone on those committees who can have a say and represent this area," Fullerton said.
Fullerton's position as a southwest Georgia representative sometimes puts her at odds with state officials who, by virtue of the sheer population numbers, often promote a heavy Atlanta-centric agenda.
Last week, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce released it's 2012 Legislative Scorecard, ranking members of the Georgia House and Senate based on votes made for what the chamber said were "issues vital to the state's business community."
On this year's scorecard were the charter schools referendum bill, a bill that amends the state's pension system for state employees, a bill that requires EPD to be more transparent and timely, a bill that requires an annual report from state agencies of federal rules implemented that year, and a bill calling for a referendum to exempt all business inventories from taxes.
The scorecard also rates legislators on votes made for HB 100 which creates a new office under the Office of State Administrative Hearings to oversee tax disputes, HB 386 which overhauled the state's tax system, HB 868 which modifies job incentives and tax credit programs and HB 683 which clarifies the law regarding garnishment proceedings before the courts.
While Fullerton voted for the Charter Schools referendum, HB 100, HB 386, HB 868 and HB 683, she voted against the remaining three issues, which earned her a score of 63 out of a 100 -- an unsatisfactory grade according to the Georgia Chamber.
Fullerton said Thursday she's less concerned about rankings from the Georgia Chamber than legislation that benefits Southwest Georgians.
"There are some things on the Chamber's list that just don't meet the needs of people in South Georgia. I'm not going to vote for anything that will hurt the people of Southwest Georgia," Fullerton said.