The influential position was recently vacated by Sen. Don Balfour, a Republican from Snellville. The new chairman will be named on Jan. 14 when the legislature convenes.
Mullis, who is currently secretary of the Senate Rules Committee, represents District 53, which includes Walker, Dade and Catoosa counties and part of Chattooga County.
"It is a prestigious appointment and I am very honored to be considered for the position," Mullis said.
The Senate Rules Committee chairmanship is a powerful position. The chairman sets the rules calendar. This decision could determine the future of legislation, either by pushing bills farther down on the calendar or bringing them to the forefront of discussion. This position also determines the length of time for debate on legislation.
“I think Jeff Mullis would be great in that position,” Walker County Republican Party chairman Nathan Smith said last week. “He served the state of Georgia for a number of years. He is very influential across the state and very well respected in the Senate and the House.”
Mullis has built a strong rapport with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Senate president pro tem David Shafer, a Republican from Duluth. These relationships give Mullis some leverage in the running for Rules chairman, according to Smith.
“ I believe Jeff would excel as our next Rules chairman,” Smith said.
Georgia Trend Magazine's 15th edition, published this month, listed Mullis as one of the 100 most influential Georgians, an “annual listing of the state's most powerful and influential citizens who affect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”
“That's pretty impressive of someone that lives in Chickamauga,” Smith said.
Gaining the Rules chairman position could be progressive for legislation in northwest Georgia. Walker County commissioner Bebe Heiskell is very pleased about the possibility of Mullis moving into the chairman seat.
“This is a good opportunity for our region and Walker County,” Heiskell said. “This is a powerful position and when decisions are made for this area he is in a position to help us.”
Heiskell thinks Mullis, who also is executive director of the Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority, has an excellent chance at getting the position, an opinion shared by most people that know him. The authority is designed to bring industry and businesses to Walker, Catoosa, Chattooga and Dade counties.
“Jeff would do an excellent job,” Chickamauga city manager John Culpepper said last week. “He is top-notch on the job he's done in the Senate and they could not pick a better person.”
Culpepper described Mullis as a mover and shaker, never leaving a stone unturned.
“I knew Jeff before he was a senator and he is a long-time good public servant,” Culpepper said.
Also in the running for Rules chairman is Renne Unterman, a Republican from Buford.
“I think she's done a great job of cutting down on human trafficking through Georgia, but beyond that she doesn't have the same rapport,” Smith said. “To be effective (as Rules chairman) have to have a good rapport.”