Charlice Byrd: "Anything Is Possible" With Politics

The outgoing state representative from Woodstock is reflecting on her career serving in the Georgia General Assembly.

Charlice Byrd will hang up her hat as state legislator at the end of the year.

Byrd, 61, was first elected to the Georgia General Assembly to the State House District 20 seat. She was defeated by Michael Caldwell in the July Republican primary.

She is a native of New Orleans and has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Southeastern Louisiana University where she spent the late 1970’s as an educator.

She and husband Mike Byrd are members of First Baptist Church of Woodstock.

Byrd is also a member of the Towne Lake Optimist Club, Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Woodstock, Woodstock Community Business Association and American Legion Auxiliary. 

Byrd shared with Patch her reflections over her last eight years in office.

1. How are you all feeling now in these last days of your tenure?

(I have) mixed emotions. 

2. Are residents reaching out to you to wish you good luck?

Many friends and constituents have called, stopped me while grocery shopping or come over at restaurants thanking me for my service and encouraging me to stay involved.

3. What are some of the proudest moments you all have had during your years in the state legislature? 

Being a member of the Republican Study Committee. The committee met each legislative day. It was an open forum to read and discuss every bill that made it to the consideration calendar (bills expected to surface for a floor debate), and to analyze it through our conservative lens. It was to foster, promote and filter ideas. We evaluated, debated and discussed policy based on 5 basic conservative principles that our great country was founded -- decreasing the size of government, lessening the tax burden, ensuring liberty and justice for all, promoting personal responsibility and exercising the proper role of government. Principles by which, we should govern. Georgia's Government Accountability Act (aka the Sunset Bill) would establish a review process for agency efficiency by creating a legislative advisory review committee. The Sunset Committee would review all state agencies and executive branch subsidiaries that receive funds through a state Appropriations Act. The goal was to stop perpetuating business as usual at the State Capitol where there is a continual expansion of state government either through new programs, legislation or incentives through federal dollars. The committee could suggest a change in mission, suggest a consolidation with other departments and agencies and eliminate duplication of services or other inefficiencies. The bill passed overwhelming in both the House and Senate, but Governor (Nathal) Deal vetoed the bill.

4. What do you think you could have done differently on any particular issue?

To build more consensus.

5. Were there any moments that would be considered "trying times?"

Sure. With the downturn of the economy the last few years, budget shortfalls and deep budget cuts.

6. What were some of the hardest decisions you all have had to make?

If you take the job seriously as I did, most major decisions were difficult. 

7. How do you feel about the future direction of the state now?

Every day is a struggle for the very heart and soul of the governing principles the people entrusted us to act on. The voters gave us a chance to govern right and now the fight is on right here in Georgia. It's a fight to determine the governing philosophy. It's a battle between the state legislature and the executive branch, and that too, is a battle over the future direction of our great state of Georgia. Georgia still has many challenges ahead: jobs, reducing taxes and providing right incentives to spur growth in Georgia businesses and create an environment to entice industries to move to our state. The budget, education, health care and ethics to name a few. 

8. Do you have any advice for the incoming state representatives?

If he/she were elected as a conservative, walk the walk not just talk the talk of principled based governing--stick to personal conviction and not the next election. It is important to know a piece of legislation is not always black and white, cut and dry when pushing the red or green button. And know there are consequences to one's vote.

9. What are your plans for the near future?

No immediate plans--spending time with (husband) Michael, traveling, improving my golf game. When God closes one door, He always opens another.

10. Any possibility of getting back into politics?

One never says never when it comes to politics--anything is possible.

11. What do you want to tell residents who have elected and supported you over the years?

I took my job seriously and with utmost respect. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve in the House of Representatives for the great state of Georgia. May God continue to bless Georgia and the United States of America. 


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