Political Insider

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Georgia ‘religious liberty’ advocate joins state insurance office 

Incoming Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck went with a well-known Capitol figure for his first hire: State Sen. Josh McKoon, a force behind ethics overhauls who is perhaps best known as a champion of “religious liberty” legislation. 

The Columbus Republican, an attorney who waged an unsuccessful campaign for secretary of state, was set to continue the push for the legislation as the new director of the state chapter of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. 

But McKoon is putting that on hold for at least a few months as he helps jumpstart Beck’s administration. Beck praised McKoon’s legislative experience as well as his record as an advocate for tighter ethics rules. 

“As one of my key goals is to increase transparency in our operations,” Beck said, “I am excited to have a dynamic leader who has been at the forefront of ethics and transparency in state government as part of my team.” 

Beck, a former insurance lobbyist and state staffer, defeated Democrat Janice Laws in November with a campaign that pledged to bring more openness to the office. He faced scrutiny after a federal grand jury subpoenaed his state work records in May amid reports that he was holding state and private-sector jobs at the same time.  

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McKoon becomes one of several former legislators who will play a prominent role in Gold Dome politics after electoral setbacks. 

State Rep. Sam Teasley will be incoming Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s external affairs director, and Buzz Brockway is a vice president of the nonpartisan Georgia Center for Opportunity advocacy group.

McKoon said he’s looking forward to “setting the department on a course for great successes in the years ahead.” 

 

About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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