Jason Shaw Reviews First Term Highlights, Second Term Priorities

Barbara Kieker

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

In the November election, Jason Shaw ran unopposed for a second term as the Georgia House Representative from District 176, which includes the Valdosta area.  He was elected in 2010 to the seat that his father held for 18 years.

“When my father left to take a seat on the Department of Transportation board, I jumped at the opportunity to serve,” Shaw said.

Shaw has a diverse background that includes experience in small businesses, economic development and agriculture.  Shaw believes being well-rounded helped him be effective in his first term.

First-Term Highlights

Shaw was the lead sponsor of the metal theft reform bill that passed in the last session of the Georgia legislature.  The bill seeks to help victims of metal theft including insurance companies, utilities and municipalities while minimizing the punitive impact on industry.

“We had a good team working on the bill with representatives from both sides of the issue,” Shaw said.  “It was gratifying that the House leadership saw our bill as the best vehicle for the legislation.”

With a background in the insurance industry, Shaw was able to hit the ground running on insurance-related issues.  He was also instrumental in changing the licensing term for insurance agents from one year to two, cutting the administrative burden on the industry.

Shaw is also proud of the tax reform bill, which he believes is already helping businesses create jobs.  Industry benefits include the energy cost exemption for manufacturers, for example.  

“I think the biggest winners in the tax reform bill are the agriculture and forestry industries,” Shaw said.  “That’s especially important for southern Georgia, which is home to much of the state’s ag industry.”

Perhaps the most significant highlight of Shaw’s first term was seeing the final funding – a total of $36 million – in the state budget for the Health Sciences Center at Valdosta State University.  Construction on the project has already begun.

“It’s a project that’s near and dear to the area.  It will bring high paying jobs to Valdosta and be a huge boost to the south Georgia region,” Shaw said.

Second Term Priorities

According to Shaw, doing what’s needed to “help us grow out of this tough economy” is his top priority for the upcoming legislative session.  The current growth rate is too slow to keep up with a growing population’s need for jobs.

“We need to continue to focus on cutting regulations and red tape so that we are not doing anything to hinder the recovery.  We’ve had folks come and testify and they’ve told us this is what is hurting business,” Shaw said.

Shaw is also focused on educating colleagues in the House on what agriculture means for Georgia.  A majority of state legislators now represent urban areas and are unfamiliar with the positive effects of programs.

“Our number one challenge will be health care spending.  We have such a budget deficit that we have to start fixing it now or we’ll jeopardize the future of our children,” Shaw said.

Jason Shaw can be contacted at jason.shaw@house.ga.gov.

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.