An issue that helped propel Darlene Taylor into the Georgia General Assembly remains one of her primary concerns.
The two-term incumbent in House District 173 Taylor has been active in insurance issues, particularly resisting the federal government’s expanding role in health care. In addition, she was named to the Medicaid Reform Committee.
Taylor also sits on the following committees: Agriculture; Appropriation for Healthcare; Governmental Affairs (secretary; Life and Health Insurance (chair); and Public and Homeland Security.
“I’m happy to serve for the interest of the public workers — happy to have been chosen for the Public and Homeland Security committee,” said Taylor. “You have to be an avid reader for this job. Keeps me on my toes.”
Protecting south Georgia’s water supply is also a priority. He helped pass a bill in this area during the recently completed legislative session.
She said, “There was a lot of discussion on this bill. It serves as protection for farmers and conservationists. It is to help the farmers and conservation of resources.”
Taylor said agriculture’s important can’t be overstated.
“Agriculture is the number one industry,” she said. “We are the breadbasket and it is continuing to grow in our area. Georgia is strong in agriculture. We need to protect that.”
Taylor is also staunch proponent of gun rights. She backs a new law that expanded the areas that people can carry guns.
“It was a very heated argument. The Constitution gives rights to bear arms. Property owners have the right to say no to bringing in guns, however. An important part of this is that the governor cannot confiscate arms,” said Taylor.
She also supported a pair Right to Life bills that passed.
Taylor’s lone disappointment to her legislative stint is the closing of Southwestern State Hospital. She said she fought to keep the facility that employed about 600 people.
“I did my own research and followed up with it. There were catalysts out there that caused this to happen, such as the Omstead Act. There were circumstances that were out there beyond our control,” said Taylor.
She continued, “I pushed to bring patients from other facilities to ours, but it was overruled. The (Southwestern) patients were coming from other locations, not Thomasville, but mainly from areas like Albany and Valdosta. I don’t like it, but from a business standpoint it makes sense. I did everything I could. I’ve worked to help find jobs for those who lost jobs with the closing. There’s just no easy way to say it.”
Taylor said the medical community is changing the way it treats patients. Facilities such as Southwestern State Hospital are going to become obsolete.
“There is no need for these institutions. The medical community is wanting to treat, stabilize and put these people back into the community. Patients who are a danger to themselves or criminals will always be monitored,” said Taylor.
Taylor said she always strives for legislation that will benefit the most people. She is currently trying to help get more doctors in rural communities.
The district’s schools remain a leading priority for her. She is a proponent of local control and increased funding for them.
Road and bridge improvements are also on Taylor’s agenda. She has received numerous complaints about the speed limit on U.S. 84 between Thomasville and Bainbridge.
“Within the next few weeks, we should see some changes being made,” she said. “The speed limit will increase to 65 miles per hour in this area.”
Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826.