Floor and Committee Statements

“Mr. President, we debate a lot of heavy things in the United States Senate. We make tough decisions. Decisions of the fate of  our country lie in the balance. But day in and day out, sometimes we go an entire day or week without talking about the people who make America work: the entrepreneurs, the employees, the employers, the people who run the businesses, pay the taxes, and employ the citizens who make this country go.

“Today, I rise to talk about two citizens from my home county, Cobb County.

“The first is David Hankerson. David announced this week his retirement after being employed by our county for 33 years. He came to the community development department of the county 33 years ago, and 11 years later, he became the first county manager and served in that position for a record 24 years.

“During that time, the county doubled, not just in its population, but tripled and quadrupled in its revenue. It did new and different and innovative things. As tax rates went down, productivity went up. Its popularity as a place to locate became preeminent. He is one of the shining stars in the state of Georgia today, in Cobb County.

“I rise for a special reason to pay tribute to David Hankerson, however, because he represents something I was a part of in 1984. At the time he was being hired, I did not know him as an employee for the county. I was in the state legislature, trying to change the government for our county from an elected CEO to an appointed county manager, a professional operator of the county. That had not been done in Georgia.

“In other parts of the country, it had been done successfully. You had continuity of leadership--someone whose job was to be a good leader, who wasn’t an elected politician, someone who could do the job.

“David Hankerson was hired to do that job in Cobb County, Ga.

“He did one of the most remarkable jobs anyone has ever done. In fact, the great testimony is that every year since he was there--24 years ago as county manager--someone has tried to hire him away from Cobb County. Every year, he decided to stay because he once had said, ‘I have made a commitment. As long as the commitment is returned by the community to me, I am going to stay and see it through.’

“On this day, as I rise on the floor of the U.S. Senate to pay tribute to David Hankerson, I pay tribute equally to all those who make our government work, our businesses work, our communities work, and our country work – to the men and women laboring in the fields and toiling in the vineyards, working in the shops, working in the offices who make America the great country it is today, and to the great chambers of commerce that make it happen as well.

“I pay great tribute to David Hankerson and thank him for the contribution and sacrifice he made to the people of Cobb County, Ga., and the state of Georgia."