Secretary of State Kemp Announces Putting Georgia First Committee

Press Release

ATLANTA – Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp today announced the formation of his Putting Georgia First Committee, a bipartisan group of leaders from across Georgia who represent the government, business, education, and legal communities. The Committee's mission is to ensure that the Secretary of State's Office, which affects the lives of every Georgian, maintains the highest quality services possible to our citizens following the transition from former Secretary Handel to Secretary Kemp.

"This job is bigger than any one person or any one party. That is why I have reached out to widely respected leaders from diverse political and professional backgrounds to advise the Secretary of State's Office during this critical transition period," Secretary Kemp said. "I am honored that these dedicated men and women have volunteered their time in service to this office and its mission to serve all the people of Georgia."

The Putting Georgia First Committee is comprised of the following ten leaders from the government, business, education, and legal communities:

Rodney Bennett: Vice-President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, University of Georgia.

Ritesh (Rick) Desai: Entrepreneur; Member of the Asian-American Commission for a New Georgia; Chairman and former President of the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce.

José Ignacio González: President of Hemisphere Trade Services, a nonprofit, public-private partnership formed by the State of Georgia, City of Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Phil S. Jacobs: Past President of Business Communications Services of AT&T-Southeast.

Teresa Coarsey Lasseter: Past Administrator, Farm Service Agency, USDA in Washington, D.C.; previously served as FSA, USDA Associate Administrator.

Craig Lesser: Former Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Chairman of the Board of the World Trade Center, Atlanta; Chairman of the board of the World Chamber of Commerce; Chairman of the international committee of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

Lewis A. Massey: Former Georgia Secretary of State; Partner in Massey & Bowers LLC, a company specializing in public affairs counsel.

Mark Middleton: Attorney specializing in governmental relations and regulatory issues; Former Hearing Officer at the Georgia Public Service Commission; Former Chief of Staff, Georgia Department of Education.

Sylvia Eugene Russell: President of AT&T Georgia; Member of the Board of Directors of the Technical College System of Georgia; Member of the Board of Directors and the executive committee for the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, and the Steering Committee for the Atlanta Education Fund's College Success Network.

Mark Scheinfeld: Attorney; President and owner of SCC Construction, Inc., and SCC Atlanta, Inc.; Legislative Committee Chairman, Georgia Commission on the Holocaust.

To accomplish its mission, Secretary Kemp and the Committee will discuss and develop agency-wide plans that achieve responsive, accountable government through sound budget principles, budget transparency, and accountability to Georgia taxpayers; help grow Georgia's small businesses, remove government bureaucracy, create jobs, and encourage economic development; and ensure fair and secure Georgia elections.

Brian Kemp was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2010. Among the office's wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.