A rainstorm Monday afternoon brought strong winds and buckets of scattered showers. But that didn't prevent Georgia representative Pam Dickerson, D-Conyers, from holding a planned town hall meeting at The Nancy Guinn Memorial Library, 864 Green Street, Conyers.
Also representing the Rockdale County state delegation at the town hall was state representative Dee Dawkins-Haigler, D-Lithonia, and Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia. The entire Rockdale delegation was invited to come, says Dickerson.
DeKalb County resident Debbie Hillman asked the trio of women two questions. First, she wanted to know what she could do to help aid in the advocacy for the increase in funding for child and family services.
"We are still very concerned about Medicaid expansion and Georgia's failure to accept those dollars," said Hillman, who participates in various community organizations in Rockdale. "While we love pre-k, the reality is we still don't have enough funding for pre-k."
Dawkins-Haigler responded by telling Hillman that the best way to get a bill passed is to "put pressure" on the opposition.
"There's strength in numbers. One way that we passed the Hailey's Hope Act (HB 1), the children came to the (Georgia State) Capitol, and they were in our face, so it's very hard to tell a child a no," said Dawkins-Haigler. "So one thing you might want to do is start bringing droves of children to the Capitol. On different days have a different set of children and then they'll get the message."
The second question Hillman had was about "how could we lend our support to the crafting of legislation?"
The answer was unanimous from all three delegates.
"Just talk to us," said Anderson. "Whatever you see the need is, say, ‘Hey I see need for (this).' We can give you some type of guidance or help... And bring you some type of draft or notes to see how specific you want it to be and we'll you get it from the delegation standpoint."
While the representatives were pleased to help those who came out, they weren't thrilled with the turnout of the event. The constituency of Rockdale failed to make an appearance. Only two citizens, one being Hillman and the other being a senior citizen Newton County resident, Paul Rice, attended the event.
"We want to let our citizens know that we are here for them," said Dickerson, who says that the town hall was advertised in various mediums. "It's up to them to come to us too. We are here so that they can be heard, and then we can voice their opinions on issues that are importation to them."
Anderson agreed with that sentiment.
"It's very important that we focus on bringing the information to the community and not focus on who doesn't show up but do everything we can to get the information out as much as possible," said Anderson.
The town hall lasted for about 45 minutes, from 6:15 to 7 p.m.
Just as the town hall was concluding, Post 2 County Commissioner Doreen Williams show up drenched from the storm outside.
"I would've been here earlier, but it started pouring rain," she said.