When Georgia’s legislative districts were redesigned after the 2020 census, northern Coweta was split into two districts, both located primarily in Fulton County.
In 2023, the west side of North Coweta will be part of House District 65, currently represented by Representative Mandisha Thomas, D-South Fulton.
Thomas gets to know Coweta and is excited to represent part of the county.
Thomas said she hopes to have a meetup event at the start of the New Year so that people in her new district can get to know her and she can know what their priorities are.
“I am very excited to come to Coweta County,” said Thomas, who was elected in 2020, defeating longtime Rep. Sharon Beasley Teague in the second round of the Democratic primary.
Although the new districts will not take effect until the 2023 session, Thomas said she wants to be proactive in hearing about new parts of her district.
While she won’t technically represent the people of Coweta for another year, she is happy to help her future voters if there is anything in particular they need legislatively.
“I want the residents of Coweta to know that I am extremely proactive; I am extremely accessible, ”she said. Her office responds quickly to calls and emails, she said, and during the session she sends out a weekly legislative update.
Over the summer, she is working on drafting legislation and said she has four bills she plans to introduce in the 2022 session.
These bills deal with urban youth farming, solar power, veterans and mental health, and COVID-19.
Thomas sits on the Committee on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, the Committee on Industry and Labor and the Committee on Information and Audits.
Thomas has been very interested in farming and works on farming programs in the town of South Fulton and Chattahoochee Hills, and also wants to focus on farming in Coweta. The west side of southern Fulton County is quite rural, with a good number of farms.
In fast growing places like Coweta, “farming is almost an endangered breed, and kids are selling the land and don’t want to farm,” she said. She is excited to add a new area that can benefit from the projects she is working on.
As a first-year lawmaker, she was able to secure funding for a program from the Georgia Young Farmer Association, in partnership with schools in Fulton County. One day a week, an educator from the program teaches an agriculture class at Creekside High School, and during the week he works in the community with local farmers and with local governments.
Every Thursday there are community classes, including a recent one on how to treat a deer and how to make sausages, Thomas said. There were also courses in drip irrigation and blueberry cultivation, and community garden work.
Thomas is working with the educator and facilitated a course on the business side of farming, including how to get your Farm Track ID number and different ways to organize your farming business.
“My goal is to bring the backyard farmer to the urban farmer and the urban farmer to the large area farmers,” she said.
Thomas said she was also working to increase the budget for cooperative extension and hoped for a pilot program to teach children and adolescents to become full farmers. On December 19, she hosted an agricultural Christmas event.
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service recently opened an office in Coweta, Thomas said, and she would like to see a full-service office serving Coweta, southern Fulton and Douglas counties.
Thomas’ interest in farming is fairly new and was sparked at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when store shelves were sometimes empty and people struggled to shop.
This is a significant problem in the district, and she sees an urgent need for more backyard agriculture and access to food. “While the pandemic hasn’t taught us anything else, it has revealed that we have a weak food system,” Thomas said.
It wants to revolutionize urban agriculture and pushes vertical farming techniques, as well as agricultural technology.
Thomas is the founder of the Georgia Environmental Justice Education and Awareness Symposium and is the executive director of a home health care consulting company.
You can contact the Thomas representative at 404-656-6372 or [email protected]