James Magazine’s “Lawmakers of the Year” (L-R): Rep. Richard Smith, Sen. Jeff Mullis, Sen. Lester Jackson, and James publisher Phil Kent


Atlanta’s Commerce Club was the venue Wednesday evening for the James Magazine “Influential Georgians” reception sponsored by the Atlanta law firm Hall Booth Smith. Approximately 80 attendees– ranging from various state and local elected officials to prominent business, judicial and political leaders– were welcomed by James CEO and Publisher Phil Kent.

Delta’s Jeff Davidman (R) accepts Ed Bastian’s “Georgian of the Year” award from Phil Kent (L)

The magazine’s “2021 Georgian of the Year” award went to Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian for efficiently running the world’s Atlanta-based premier international airline. Kent noted that Bastian “is one of Georgia’s leading citizens deeply involved in everything from business and politics to community and family.” Accepting the honor on behalf of the absent Bastian was Delta’s Vice President for Governmental Relations Jeff Davidman.

Kent also presented three James “2021 Lawmakers of the Year” awards. The first recipient was state Rep. Richard Smith, R-Columbus, who has served eight terms in the House of Representatives and chairs the influential House Rules Committee.

A second honoree was state Sen. Jeff Mullis, R- Chickamauga, first elected in 2000 and who chairs the powerful Senate Rules Committee. Mullis particularly singled out James and its sister company InsiderAdvantage Georgia as “well-read and highly-respected publications.”

State Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah, who is the chairman emeritus of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, was the third recipient. A dentist by profession, he chairs the Urban Affairs Committee and has authored several landmark pieces of legislation including the hate crimes bill that was passed into law last year.

Attendees included prominent CEOs and various businesspeople, several judges and lawyers, Republican and Democrat activists, high-powered lobbyists of government affairs firms, a bipartisan group of state legislators, representatives of several Georgia congressional offices and top state officials including Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry and University System of Georgia Board of Regents Chairman Sachin Shailendra. Atlanta mayoral candidate and Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore also attended.


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