Speaker Burns Taps Former House Appropriations Chair Terry England as COS

Institutional knowledge and relationships are the most valuable currency under the Gold Dome if one chooses to invest their time in developing each. And it appears that Speaker Burns, entering his second legislative session as holder of the gavel, has shown that he values both.

As this past legislative session unfolded, the media at times were dumbfounded that Speaker Burns decided to give his caucus more leeway than has been seen previously from those who came before him. When he spoke in January to the press about his agenda, he pointed to concepts he wanted to see the House tackle, but left the solution making details up to the members he serves. He mentioned runoffs, affordable housing, gambling, but didn’t point to any single piece of legislation. When speaking of public safety, he said he was looking forward to working with Governor Kemp and Atlanta mayor, Andre Dickens, again looking for collaboration over pushing a specific proposal.

By February, it was clear that he was making his own path in the role, visiting members of both parties in their offices over in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building as opposed to holding court in his own office under the Gold Dome.

Speaker Burns visits Democrat Dewey McClain

And now Jon Burns continues to stamp his own brand on the position of Speaker of the House with the announcement that he has appointed recently retired Representative, Terry England, to be his new chief of staff.

Terry England has relationships and institutional knowledge in spades, having served 18 years in the House, with the majority of those years as chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee. There are few details, if any, that have escaped his attention in the last 20 years. He navigated the state budget through an extraordinary time of famine during the great recession and on the way back to incredible prosperity. All the while he got to know every budget line item of every department.

That’s the type of knowledge that will serve a Speaker, the House, and the State of Georgia well.

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