Horse Racing in Georgia?
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, November 4, 2011
By Sue Ella Deadwyler
Good morning, Jim. A six-member House Study Committee on the Horse Racing Industry was appointed by House Speaker Ralston August 5th. Since the legislation required three of the appointees to be members of the Georgia House, Speaker Ralston appointed Representatives Harry Geisinger, from Roswell in District 48, who will serve as chairman; Tim Bearden from Villa Rica in District 68, to serve as vice-chairman; and the third representative is Jon Burns from Newington in District 157.
“Citizens of the state appointees” include Malaika Rivers who graduated from Virginia Tech. She is an executive director of the Cumberland Community Improvement District, a model-public-private partnership for transportation infrastructure financing. That organization has been recognized nationally and internationally many times and she, personally, is often honored for her accomplishments.
Appointee Hank Burnham is director of a leading provider of environmental risk data for professionals, lenders and corporations. On the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority he served two terms as a member before becoming chairman in 2006. His degree is from Georgia Southern University and he has authored several historical books and professional articles. His 25 years in various leadership roles has honed his skill as a noted lecturer.
John Damico of Cumming, already involved in the Horse-Racing Industry, founded an international forensic accounting firm with 34 offices in the U.S. and five foreign countries. He is well regarded as a speaker on numerous subjects and was decorated when he served as a Navy LTJG from 1967 – 1970. He graduated Boston College, founded the Atlanta National Golf Club, was president of Georgia Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and became an avid thoroughbred owner/breeder who manages The Posse Racing Stable.
H.R. 643 authorized this Horse Racing Study Committee, which is scheduled to meet Monday, November 7th, 10:00 a.m., in room 506 of the Legislative Office Building across the street from the Capitol. They will begin to discuss and, ultimately, decide whether to introduce legislation to bring horse racing and pari-mutuel betting to Georgia. The enticement is untold billions of dollars gamblers would spend. However, they must not forget the unmitigated negative impact on individuals, families and society. Gambling is the “Achilles heel” to many of them. Family, friends and tax-payers must pick up the pieces of shattered lives caused by gambling addictions.
Feel free to attend that meeting and express your opinion. Also, today, early Monday and in the following weeks, call the Capitol offices of the three representatives and express your opinion about horse racing and pari-mutuel betting in Georgia. It’s important that you call. They will complete their meetings by December 31. Their numbers are Representative Geisinger, 404 656-0254; Representative Bearden, 404 656-5096; Representative Burns, 404 656-5099. For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.