From InsiderAdvantage, Senator Jeff Mullis Discusses Tennessee

3
May

From InsiderAdvantage, Senator Jeff Mullis Discusses Tennessee

Originally published at InsiderAdvantage.com

Georgia State Senator Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) recently visited the Tennessee legislature, and much was made of the fact that legislators there cheered him, and that he was one of two Georgia legislators who opposed a resolution that suggested a settlement of the border dispute between the Peach State and our northern neighbors in the Volunteer State.

I sat down with Senator Mullis last week to discuss his view of the border issue and the need for water.

Mullis: “I don’t disagree with [Georgia’s position on the location of] the line but I know that what we need is Riparian rights for our water. Six percent of all the water in the Tennessee River comes from North Georgia and we take less than one percent back.”

“All my counties in the border are connected into the TN river by TN American Water Company and the Cities of Rossville and Fort Oglethorpe and Catoosa County solely get their water from them.”

IA: You don’t disagree that Georgia has a claim to water from the Tennessee River?

“My question is the strategy. I think that if you have a disagreement with your neighbor you should go to the fence line and talk it over with him, try to work out a deal, work out the problem, before you call the law in that case, or in our case, point fingers, send resolutions saying, “‘we’re going to lawyer up and sue you if you don’t work with us.’”

For y’all up in North Georgia, Tennessee is really more your neighbors than, say, Metro Atlanta?

“Absolutely. My part of the state, 42 percent of the people who live in the three counties I represent that border Tennessee, 42 percent of those people work in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee. Chatooga County, my fourth county, is not as direct as that, but that’s a large figure. We’re part of Chattanooga, Tennessee’s economy, we’re part of their successes, part of their struggle.”

What has your experience dealing with the TN government been like? Have they been receptive to working with Georgia?

“They claim, in their legislative lifetimes, that they’ve never been approached officially from the leadership of Georgia, they’ve never been talked to about the water. They’ve only had resolutions and finger-pointing. In this case, we need to find a better way, a softer approach.”

What does a better approach look like?

“Their legislative session is just now closing. They’re normally in there five to six months, while we’re normally in Session three months. I think it’d be a great thing to start arranging a summit, perhaps, to talk about issues that bordering states may have in common, and things that we need from them and that they may need from us. I think that needs to happen, and I say the sooner the better.”

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