A state lawmaker needs a quick exit from the Legislature, and a position at Georgia Public Broadcasting appears. Life can be magical that way.
We have excerpts from an interview with Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers below, but here’s the official press release from GPB:
Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Media) announced today that it is creating a new programming initiative designed to facilitate coverage of economic development and jobs in Georgia. GPB will use its statewide reach and multiple platforms to create programming that will aggregate job opportunities, job growth areas and career counseling.
State Sen. Chip Rogers of Woodstock has announced that he is resigning his Senate seat to accept a position at GPB spearheading this initiative beginning with a statewide weekly radio program examining current economic development trends and highlighting companies that are growing and creating jobs.
“GPB has a long history of serving Georgians with programming that is relevant to career and consumer issues, said Nancy Zintak, Vice President of Marketing and Communications of GPB. “We have long-wanted to create a forum for our communities to learn about jobs in Georgia and areas of growth around the state.”
The initiative will begin in January of 2013, and the radio program will debut in spring of 2013.
“I am honored by this incredible opportunity,” Rogers said. “Much of my career has been spent in broadcasting and helping my constituents. This melds both my passions. I look forward to creating programming on GPB that will move our great state of Georgia forward by helping connect Georgians to jobs.”
Rogers will be stepping down from the Georgia General Assembly on December 5, where he has served since 2002. Rogers and his wife, Amy, have four children and reside in Woodstock, Georgia.
An innovative programing concept here — bring some jobs, and we’ll build a TV package around you.
The AJC and Channel 2 Action News were shut out of any exit interviews with Rogers, presumably because of past reports on Rogers’ odds-making activities and his recent invitation to Republican senators to attend an all-day seminar on Agenda 21.
Here, in fact, is raw video of Rogers’ escape from WSB-TV’s Lori Geary and videographer Tracy Reeves:
But Sandra Parrish with AM750 and 95.5FM NewsTalk/WSB was kind enough to share the audio of her session with Rogers, and we’ve excerpted a few portions:
Rogers gave this description of his job, to which no salary has been publicly attached:
”I’ll be reporting directly to Director [Teya] Ryan. I’ll be working with her. One aspect of it will be global within the organization. But [I’ll] really be focusing a lot on a new project that we’re going to try to bring, and tell the story of Georgia business and Georgia businesses – combined with education, and how we can bring those together.
“When you get out and talk to a lot of employers, many of them will say, ‘Look, my biggest challenge is, I need a workforce that can adapt to what we’re doing. And the pace of change in Georgia’s economy, and the pace of change in Georgia’s education system are completely different. They’re going at two different speeds.
“We’re hoping that this project – and it’s still in its infancy – is going to bring those together….’
Parrish asked if this were a new position within GPB:
”This entire program – it’s going to be radio, television and online – is all going to be new, yeah….I’ll begin in January.”
What made you make this decision to get out of politics? Parrish asked.
”I have to thank the governor — he is a big fan of what GPB is doing – for having the vision, along with Director Ryan, of what we’re missing and what can be done, and bringing this opportunity to me. So it was a combination of an opportunity that I never dreamed would exist, with a point in life where you recognize that some of the responsibilities that you’ve taken on for yourself begin to conflict with others that are of higher priority.
“…When I first got elected I had a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old, and never understood what it meant to have a 13-year-old and a 12-year-old, and then add on top of that a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old. I found myself realizing that the greatest joys in life – I was missing some of them….
“It just so happened that this opportunity was made available at the same time, and it just sort of worked out. I’m very content with it. I’m very happy with it.”
Parrish: Is that why you didn’t run for majority leader?
”I had already committed to just about everybody that if I served as majority leader that it would only be for one more term. I had accomplished most of the legislative things that I had wanted to accomplish. These positions are not permanent….
Rogers noted his background in and love for broadcasting. “I assume that’s why they approach me about it,” he said. Parrish then asked Rogers about the Senate majority leader’s involvement in the 2010 move to strip Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of his powers:
”I think it was the right thing to do, and I think it remains the right thing to do. And I hope that people look at it from the perspective of not me or any other individual, but how should the Senate arrange its affairs….
“We have problems when we look at these things as one individual against another. And that’s how, unfortunately, it kind of got played out. It’s never been me against anybody personally. I just hope the Senate going forward has that same wisdom and maintains the control of the Senate in that body.”
Parrish asked Rogers about his sponsorship of a meeting on Agenda 21, the theory that state and local planning entities are acting in concert with a United Nations plan to deprive Americans of their property rights:
”I haven’t answered too many media questions on this, because when I first heard that there were questions about it, I just shook my head….I’ve never had an issue like this before, because I just don’t understand the so-called controversy around it.
“The constituents who came to me had presented that same presentation in this Capitol on a number of occasions to a number of different groups. They try to present it to anyone who will listen.
“It wasn’t my presentation. It was simply fulfilling a request by a group of constituents….I think sometimes people get caught up in attacking the messenger, and in this case, I wasn’t even the messenger.”
Parrish: Do you disagree with Agenda 21 conspiracy theory?
”Look, the Agenda 21 issue – it is an item that was passed by the United Nations back in the Bill Clinton years. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are all in favor of it. The Republican National [Convention] passed a resolution saying Republicans are against it. As a Republican, I would be against it. So I’ll just leave it at that.”
Just an FYI: Agenda 21 was approved at the “Earth Summit” held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, during the presidency of George H.W. Bush.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider