When the 2020 census is completed, the Georgia General Assembly will begin the process of redistricting its state House and Senate districts, along with its Congressional districts. When that happens, State Rep. Andy Welch of McDonough hopes that Butts County will come out favorably and be able to put its own representative in the state legislature.
"In the next redistricting, I don't know how it's going to play out, but in redistricting going forward, my hope is that I would have someone replace me from Butts County, not from Henry," said Welch.
"That's not because I have anything against my home county; it's just that I've seen the population continue to grow in Henry County and in Butts County, and you haven't had a state representative from Butts County for at least a decade and a half - I don't think since Larry (Smith) was there."
Butts is currently represented by Welch in District 110, which includes parts of Butts, Henry and Newton counties; State Rep. Susan Holmes in District 129, which includes Jasper County and portions of Butts, Jones and Monroe counties; and State Sen. Burt Jones of Jackson in District 25, which includes Baldwin, Butts, Greene, Jasper, Morgan and Putnam counties along with portions of Bibb, Jones and Walton counties.
Speaking to local leaders at a luncheon in December, Welch said that he will not be running for re-election in 2020 in order to spend more time with his family and running his law firm, and that with the growth of Butts County, it is time for the county to have one of its own at the state capitol again.
"So I'm hopeful that you'll get another representative from Butts County so you'll have a defender," said Welch. "Burt (Jones) represents such a large geographic area; a local representative gives you someone at the frontline who is advocating for you.
"That's kind of my hope and what I would like to see happen. For you to have someone from Butts County that's got your back; not that we don't, but someone that's got the interest of Butts County in the forefront going forward. Whomever that may be, I hope that he or she will be successful."