Rep. Jan Tankersley, the Republican from Brooklet who represents District 160, is seeking a fifth two-year term in the Georgia House of Representatives. She will have a challenger in the Republican primary.
After Tankersley emailed a press release last week announcing that she will seek re-election, Robert Busbee, an attorney from Statesboro, announced Monday that he will seek the same seat, also as a Republican. The candidate qualifying period, March 5–9, will determine the final list going into the May 22 party primaries. A separate story about Busbee will appear in Friday’s Statesboro Herald.
“I am motivated and high-energy, and I’ve established great relationships and am on very powerful committees, and there is much still that I can do for my district and plan to continue to be very active in all aspects of being a state representative,” Tankersley said Tuesday afternoon.
Phoned at the Capitol in Atlanta, she noted that the dean of one of Georgia Southern University’s subject-area colleges was waiting to visit her and that she next had a meeting where she would vote on two bills.
Tankersley, who recently turned 70, served five years on Brooklet City Council and 10 years on the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners before she was elected to the Legislature in 2010. She was the first female commissioner elected in Bulloch County, and in her final year as a commissioner, Association County Commissioners of Georgia delegates elected her as ACCG president.
Local bills chair
She chairs the House Intergovernmental Coordination Committee, which handles local legislation, laws limited in direct effects to specific cities and counties. In 2017 alone, this committee sent out 149 pieces of legislation, she said.
“We actually probably have more bills passed through here than any other (committee), and I like it because it suits my background of city and county past government experience and I know how important these local legislation issues are,” Tankersley said. “It creates boards, it changes salaries, and then there are bills for economic development committees. It establishes a lot of important things for every district in the state of Georgia.”
She also serves on the House Appropriations Committee, the Rules Committee, the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and the Natural Resources and Environment Committee. The Rules Committee is the last stop in determining whether a bill makes it onto the floor for a vote, and Appropriations deals with funding.
“It gives me closer access to some of the even higher-level decision makers about what our needs are in Bulloch County and North Bryan,” Tankersley said.
Although two other House districts include portions of Bulloch County, Tankersley is the one current representative whose home is in Bulloch, where she is a lifelong resident. She and husband Hughie Tankersley have two adult children and three grandchildren. Both of the Tankersleys’ children and their spouses graduated from Georgia Southern and one grandchild is there now, she noted.
One piece of legislation Tankersley is working on, with a Georgia Southern recreational therapy professor and others in the field, would establish a licensure board and distinguish recreational from occupational therapy. The bill should complete the process in 2019, she said.
“I don’t go out and look for bills to introduce in the Georgia General Assembly,” Tankersley commented. “I like for them to be constituent-driven, because that’s what I’m here to do, although I do pay attention to what other states are doing and if it’s good legislation, that’s not a bad thing.”
Speaker of the House David Ralston reminds representatives each year not to introduce bills unless the laws created would be for the greater good of all Georgians, Tankersley said.
“I am honored to fight for my community to make sure our interests and concerns are addressed at the state level,” she wrote in her announcement release. “I wake up every morning committed to working for every child, adult and business.”
By serving on influential committees and maintaining strong relationships with state leaders, she “will continue to deliver economic development enhancements, higher education opportunities and infrastructure improvements to our communities,” she wrote. Tankersley asserts that she has “a proven track record of results.”
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.