ATLANTA --After 14 years of serving South Georgia at the state Capitol, Sen. Peg Blitch, D-Homerville, has decided to come home.

Blitch began her tenure in public office with her 1991 election to the House of Representatives. In 1993, she won her first term of office in the state Senate, but had no idea she would remain in office for more than a decade.

"My tenure was never intended as a career, but as a public service in repayment for all South Georgia has meant to me and my family," she said.

With her appointment as chairwoman of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee by Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor in 1998, Blitch realized she was situated to be a good friend for this region.

"In 1998, our area had a unique opportunity to accelerate economic development with my appointment as chair," she said. "I knew that South Georgia's voice would be heard at the Capitol, and this was my principal reason for remaining."

With the election of a new governor, Blitch lost her chair; however, she continues to serve on the committee. She also serves on Appropriations, Reapportionment and Redistricting, Rules and as the vice chairwoman of State Institutions and Property.

"From 1999 until 2003, our area received invaluable economic and infrastructure financial assistance -- more than it had ever received previously," Blitch said. "However, with the change in governor in 2003, the economic recession, my loss as chair of the Committee on Economic Development, this is no longer the case."

Reflecting on her terms in office, she said she thinks her greatest achievement in office has been one that comes with little notice. She has worked diligently to keep too many laws from making it on the books, she said.

"I am more libertarian in that facet than either a Democrat or Republican," she said. "The government is so intrusive -- both state and federal. I wanted to keep it out of people's lives, particularly their private lives. People will ask what laws I've introduced, but my point has been to keep as many laws in committee as possible and not allow them to make it to the floor."

Blitch remains in Atlanta awaiting the special session called by Gov. Sonny Perdue. She said she was working to clear her desk while she counts the days until Jan. 2, 2005, when the next senator takes the oath of office.

"It is the right time for me to go home and enjoy my family and friends," she said. "My hope is the next senator will be courageous, industrious and always available to help each and every citizen, as I have tried to do. I want to thank everyone for supporting me over the years."

To contact Tanya B. O'Berry, call 244-3400, ext. 239.

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