State Rep. Andy Welch, who had earlier this year announced his intention to resign from the Georgia General Assembly, has reversed course and now says he plans to remain in office through the end of his term.

Welch, R-McDonough, has served in the House since 2011. His district includes parts of Butts, Henry and Newton counties.

In April, he announced he intended to step down from his District 110 seat this year, in time for a replacement to be chosen in November’s election. The timing would have allowed a new representative to be seated at the start in January of the second year of the two-year legislative session.

At the time, Welch pointed to a desire to devote more time to his son and a need to take on more responsibilities at his law firm, which had been led by his father A.J. “Buddy” Welch Jr. until his death in 2018.

In an interview with the Jackson Progress-Argus on Monday, Welch said several factors led him to decide to remain in office, including Gov. Brian Kemp’s veto of a bill he sponsored this year.

House Bill 311, dealing with the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, would have made it easier in some cases for Georgians to sue the government. Kemp vetoed the bill May 10, stating, “In considering the possible ramifications of a waiver, it is essential that the provisions be appropriately tailored in conjunction with the executive branch to provide pathways for judicial intervention without unduly interfering with the daily operations of the state.”

Welch said he feels the veto “requires me to go back and try to finish what I started.”

He said he also plans to continue work overseeing the budgets of the state’s public safety agencies as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety.

Kemp has called for statewide budget cuts of 4% in the 2020 budget, and 6% in the 2021 budget year, which starts next July. As a large portion of the state’s spending is fixed on costs such as Medicare and transportation, Welch said some state agencies could see deeper cuts to achieve Kemp’s overall reduction goals.

Welch said after conversations with his family and law partners, he believes he has their support in continuing as a member of the House and has decided not to resign the post.

Managing Editor

Michael Davis has been the editor of the Jackson Progress-Argus since 2010. He previously worked as an editor and reporter for the Henry Daily Herald and Clayton News-Daily.