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Friday, December 7, 2012 - 12:40pm

Bulloch Fought For Farmers

State Senator John Bulloch of Ochlocknee said Thursday he’s resigning following a bout with meningitis. Colleagues say he took independent positions that hewed closer to his rural constituents’ needs than the party line.

The 65 year-old Republican was elected to the state House in 1999 and the state Senate in 2003.

State Senator George Hooks of Americus served with Bulloch.

He says Bulloch defended the farm families in his southwest Georgia district, and fought fellow Republicans over the 2011 immigration law.

Hooks says he pushed to loosen rules aimed at migrant laborers that would have required more farmers to check workers’ immigration status.

“At the end of the day, he did convince our urban legislators of the plight we face with labor, required hand labor, with vegetables and fruits in Georgia that are so needed in agriculture,” he said.

Tom Crawford edits the Georgia Report, an online political digest. He says during the last legislative session, Bulloch also influenced another controversial bill.

“When the bill to criminalize abortion after the 20th week of a pregnancy was rolling through last year, John Bulloch was right in the middle of the efforts to take some of the hard edges off of it when it reached the Senate,” he said.

Bulloch also sponsored a bill that paved the way for retailers to sell alcohol on Sundays. The bill stirred up controversy, and was vocally opposed by the Georgia Christian Coalition. Bulloch said voters in his district would never approve it --- a position he respected -- but he said Georgians should be able to decide if stores in their neighborhoods could sell alcohol on Sundays.

A special election for his seat will be held on Jan 8.

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