Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal today announced his appointment of Rep. Jay Neal, R-LaFayette, to be executive director of the state's Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry.
That means Neal will resign his house seat to accept the appointment, setting up a special election, according to the website Peach Pundit. Longtime LaFayette, Ga., Mayor Neal Florence, who's stepping down from city politics, is looking at running for Jay Neal's seat, the website states.
The new office created by the governor's executive order works to reduce recidivism among criminals, enhance public safety and ensure that the state's convicted offenders can successfully re-enter society, according to the order.
Neal will replace Braxton Cotton, who is leaving to serve as a member of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Deal also appointed Robert E. Keller, now a member of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, to join Renee Snead as an additional deputy director of the Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry.
The appointments are effective Nov. 15.
Neal, who first was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2004, serves Walker and Catoosa counties and is known for his work in spearheading criminal justice reform in the state.
He now serves as vice chairman of the Insurance Committee, a member of the Education Subcommittee of Appropriations, a member of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, and a member of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee.