SENATOR HUGH M. GILLIS 20th District
Senator Hugh Gillis, Sr., of Soperton has served in the General Assembly longer than any other Senator currently in office. He has represented the 20th District in the Senate continuously since 1962.
He served one term in the Senate during the 1950s and served a total of 12 years in the state House of Representatives for a total of more than 50 years of legislative experience.
Gillis, a Democrat, has held a number of influential positions during his Senate career. He is currently chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee and serves as secretary for both the Reapportionment and Economic Development, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Committees. He is also a member of the Finance Committee and influential Appropriations Committee.
In addition to his standing committee posts, Gillis has headed or served on a number of interim legislative study panels, including the Solid Waste Management Study Committee; the Head Injury Treatment and Rehabilitation Study Committee; the Joint Study Committee on Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation, and Natural Areas; and the Senate State Parks System Study Committee. He has served on the Senate Rural Hospital and Health Care Study Committee and the State Commission on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services.
Gillis is chair of the Joint Comprehensive Water Plan Study Committee. He is a member of the Joint Georgia Agriculture Exposition Authority Overview Committee. He previously served on the prestigious Fiscal Affairs Subcommittee.
Gillis also represents Georgia on the Environmental Quality and Natural Resources Committee on the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC). He is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and served for six years as the Senate President Pro-Tempore, the highest-ranking Senate official next to the Lieutenant Governor.
Born September 6, 1918 in Soperton, Senator Gillis is the son of Jim L. Gillis, Sr., and Annie Lois Walker Gillis. He graduated from Soperton High School, attended Georgia Military College, and earned a BS degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia.
Gillis, a farmer and timber grower, is active in community and civic activities and has received numerous awards for his outstanding legislative service from organizations, such as the Soil and Water Conservation Service; the Georgia Poultry Federation; the Georgia Forestry Association; the Veterinary College of Georgia; the Private Colleges of Georgia; the Association of Retarded Citizens; the School of Forest Resources; the Medical Association of Georgia; the Georgia Municipal Association; the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia; the Future Farmers of America; Easter Seals; and the Georgia Wildlife Federation. He has also been honored as the Treutlen County Citizen of the Year.
Gillis is a deacon emeritus in the Soperton First Baptist Church; a former trustee of Brewton Parker College; a member of the Board of Governors of Mercer Medical School; a director of the Treutlen County Farm Bureau and the Treutlen County Development Authority; and a member of the Lions Club. He served as chairman of the Treutlen County Hospital Authority for 22 years.
Gillis is the father of two sons, Hugh Jr. and Donald, and a daughter, Jean Marie.
The 20th Senatorial District includes: Treutlen, Laurens, Emanuel, Candler, Wheeler, Washington, and Johnson Counties and portions of Jefferson County.