I had the opportunity this past weekend to catch up with Jan Tankersley, our local state representative for District 158. I was really curious about her initial impression of government service at the state level and was it all that she thought it would be.
"It was a lot busier than I could ever have imagined," Tankersley said. "You are up at the crack of dawn, and you go all day, until you just can't go anymore. You don't have a staff per se. I shared an assistant with seven other legislators."
Tankersley said responding to constituents and learning as much as she could about proposed legislation were her top two priorities as she served on the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and the Natural Resources and Environment Committee.
"I thought that I would be able to come home, and take the full-time representative 'hat' off, but it really hasn't worked out that way," she said.
Unfortunately, one of her committee assignments is directly tied to the environmental tragedy that is currently affecting several local counties including Bulloch.
"The situation with the Ogeechee River is just horrible," she said. "I have been on the phone all day with dozens of people that are very, very concerned about it. It isn't just affecting recreational activities, it is affecting the very ecosystem of the river and that is going to have a major ripple effect throughout our community."
Tankersley said business owners are really hurting as all business associated with the river has come to a grinding halt. She said people are angry and they want answers.
"I feel that my role in this is to get the relevant parties at the state level to come together and resolve this," she said. "We have to find out what needs to be done to restore the health of the river, and return this vital natural resource back to its proper state. Homeowners and businesses are being seriously impacted by this. It can never happen again."
If you know Tankersley, then you know that she doesn't mince words. "People feel like they aren't being told the whole truth, and that something is being covered up," she said. "I have urged caution in drawing any conclusions until all the evidence is in, but the bottom line is, it just can't happen again, it needs to be fixed, and whoever is responsible needs to be held accountable."
Tankersley readily gave me her phone number, and said to please print it. She can be reached at her home, (912) 842-5512.