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    Waste industry backs Rep. Randy Nix

     

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    Randall Otis Nix (R-LaGrange)

    District 69 (Carroll, Heard & Troup counties)

     

    Randy Nix
    (Photo: Jim Walls)

    Randy Nix, over the objections of conservationists and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, pushed passage of a 2011 law that allows certain municipal landfills, after a 15-year-old ban, to resume accepting yard waste.

    Nix promoted the measure as environmentally friendly by promoting recovery of methane gas from the waste and reducing trash haulers’ truck emissions. Critics contended the 2011 law will cause Georgia’s landfills to fill up more quickly; renewable energy arguments, they said, were just a smokescreen for the waste disposal industry’s efforts to make more money.

    The EPA, in a 2010 letter supporting the ban, said it had reduced dumping at Georgia’s municipal landfills by 13 percent.

    Georgia’s composting and mulching interests, which the 1996 ban had helped to grow, also objected that lifting the ban could cost jobs in their industry, according to a Georgia State University Law Review article analyzing the public policy implications.

    Industry giant Waste Management has acknowledged that the Georgia bill was part of its nationwide effort to repeal bans in 23 states on dumping yard waste. Nix’s top campaign donors include Republic Services Inc., the nation’s second-largest waste disposal firm; recycler Liberty Tire Services and LaGrange-based trash hauler G.E. Robinson Co. Waste Management has donated $2,000.

    Nix’s role earned him the “There’s Gold in Them Trash Piles Award” in Creative Loafing’s 2011 Golden Sleaze Awards.

    The American Legislative Exchange Council awarded a $375 “scholarship” to Nix in 2009, records show. Corporate donors — including petroleum, pharmaceutical, utility, tobacco and health-care interests — funded the scholarships, which were meant to cover the costs of airfare and lodging to attend ALEC functions. The donations generally are not disclosed as lobbyist gifts, since ALEC does not have a registered lobbyist in Georgia.

    Legislative website

    Campaign website

    Voting record

    Political career

    • Elected to the House in 2006, defeating a Democratic opponent by nearly 2-to-1.
    • Re-elected in 2012 with 76% of the vote and four other times with no opposition.

    Committees

    • Appropriations (2012 – present)
    • Banks & Banking (2007 – present)
    • Economic Development & Tourism (2007 – present)
    • Education (2009 – present)
    • Ethics (chair, 2017 – )
    • Judiciary (2010 – 2012, 2017 – )
    • Natural Resources & Environment (2007 – present)
    • Reapportionment (2013 – present; chair, 2013 – 2016)
    • Information & Audits (2007 – 2008)

    Occupation

    • Pastor, Hillcrest United Methodist Church.
    • For 2005 through 2008, Nix reported he was a banker for Branch Banking & Trust Co. in LaGrange and later Franklin-based First Georgia Banking Co., a bank that eventually failed in 2011.

    Business ownership interests

    • None disclosed.

    Fiduciary positions

    • Local pastor, Hillcrest UMC

    Investment interests

    • AT&T Inc.
    • Alliant Energy Corp.
    • BP PLC ADR
    • Coeur Mining Inc.
    • Lord Abbett Small Cap Value A
    • Southern Co.
    • USAA Money Market

    Real estate holdings

    • Personal residence in LaGrange valued at $193,000
    • Single-family house on West Point Lake valued at $110,000
    • Unimproved, 11-acre residential tract in Hogansville valued at $72,000

    Payments from state agencies

    • None disclosed.

    Campaign contributions

    Nix has raised more than $192,000 in political donations since 2006. The breakdown by election cycle:

    • 2006: $45,512
    • 2007-08: $21,985
    • 2009-10: $13,900
    • 2011-12: $65,995
    • 2013-14: $29,351
    • 2015-16: $16,025
    • Reported cash on hand (Oct. 2016): $16,645

    Top donors

    Nix’s top individual donor, G.E. Robinson Co., pleaded guilty in federal court in 2005 to filing a false unemployment tax return. In 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the company schemed to use a front company to qualify as a disadvantaged business to work on federal highway projects. The prime contractor, C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., paid $1 million to settle the federal government’s false claims case.

    • $22,900 Rep. Donna Sheldon & other current & former Republican legislators
    • $7,800 G.E. Robinson Co. Inc. (dump truck service)
    • $7,000 Torrance Construction Co. & executives
    • $6,354 Kimble’s Events by Design (in-kind, catering)
    • $4,750 Corley Drugs & Corley Home Healthcare executives
    • $4,250 Community Bankers Association of Georgia
    • $3,750 Georgia Optometric Association
    • $3,750 Republic Services Inc., waste disposal
    • $5,250 Liberty Tire Services LLC, tire recycling
    • $3,000 Waste Management Inc.
    • $2,800 Georgia Dental Association

    Campaign selfies

    Nix’s campaign has reimbursed him three times for a total of $1,685 without specifying the end recipient of his spending as required by state law.

    Campaign-to-campaign donations

    Candidates may make political donations with campaign funds, allowing prolific fund-raisers to share their contributions with other legislators or candidates. Some advocacy groups believe such transfers should be limited to an aggregate of $10,000 per election cycle. Nix’s committee made these political donations:

    • 2007-08: $6,250
    • 2009-10: $10,950
    • 2011-12: $6,250
    • 2013-14: $21,250
    • 2015-16: $25,100

    Lobbyist freebies

    Since 2007, lobbyists have reported paying more than $3,600 for meals and other gifts for Nix. The big spenders:

    • $590 Georgia Association of Manufacturers
    • $451 Georgia Electric Membership Corp.
    • $327 Georgia Power Co.

    Per diem & travel

    When out of session, members may collect $173 per diem plus mileage for committee meetings or other official business. Lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, which were originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging.

    • 2007: $8,483 (35 days)
    • 2008: $5,460 (24 days)
    • 2009: $2,033 (9 days)
    • 2010: $3,992 (17 days)
    • 2011: $3,882 (17 days)
    • 2012: $3,461 (15 days)
    • 2013: $7,591 (30 days)
    • 2014: $6,068 (25 days)
    • 2015: $8,717 (34 days)

    Updated Jan. 15, 2017

     

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