Now that the new Georgia governor and legislators are sworn in, Melvin Everson can begin his new job as the director for the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development.
Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Everson to the position to help get Georgia’s job force back on track. As Everson transitions to his new role, he leaves his old post as state representative of District 106 to his friend and peer, Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville).
“Melvin is one of the finest representatives this state has ever had," said Sue Everhart, state GOP chairwoman. "Gwinnett County citizens will, I’m sure, miss him.”
The seriousness that Everson brought to his time as a state representative, will surely come with him to his new position, she added.
Everson, an African-American Republican and Tea Party supporter, is considered a rarity in politics. However, he asserted that “there are more African-American Republicans than it seems; they just choose not to identify themselves.”
Either way, Everson has the support of many political friends and hometown neighbors.
"He's among the most decent, honest, hard-working people I've ever met in my life," Rep. Harrell said. "He is just a true servant of God and a servant of the people.
"You couldn't ask for a better friend.
With 23 years in the military and a past career at the J.C. Penny Co., Harrell said Everson will bring the right tenacity for helping Georgians get back to work.
As Everson gets started, he will have much to accomplish. The state's unemployment rate still is among the highest in the country, 10.1 percent in November, according to the state Department of Labor.
Although unsuccessfull in a bid for state labor commissioner, Everson is bringing his ideas to address the issue with him to the Office of Workforce Development. He wants Georgia to be fertile ground for businesses and jobs.
“When companies succeed, they are able to employ more people, increase employee benefits, and the taxes received enable (the government) to provide services,” Everson said.
Some state officials have created problems, he added, “by allowing things to creep into the budget that we did not have money for.”
To help redirect Georgia, Everson plans to, among other things, improve the General Educational Development (GED) certification program.
If the state increases workforce education and provides opportunities for Georgians to find jobs "a lot of the issues that we have will completely disappear," Everson added.
Harrell, who will be watching closely what Everson does in his new position, is confident he will do well. He tackles whatever task is set before him, he said.
"Work gives meaning, gives value to people, and you can see that in him," Harrell said. "He's worked hard his entire life. It makes him who he is."