|Mrs. Ellen Williams Reynolds, Esq.|
Ellen Williams Reynolds believes clients deserve access at the Georgia General Assembly, and she delivers results. Her legislative track record proves she has the expertise to effect change for her clients. With over thirteen years of legislative and legal experience in both the public and private sectors, Reynolds has been repeatedly recognized as an expert in public policy and government relations by Georgia’s elected officials and other state leaders.
Reynolds is known for becoming an expert on the policy issues she undertakes. Based on her demonstrated expertise representing healthcare clients, Governor Perdue appointed Reynolds as Chair of the DCH Advisory Committee on Women’s Health. In 2008, Reynolds oversaw the granting of $2 million in breast cancer license tag proceeds in that role. Again in 2006, Speaker Richardson appointed ReynoldsReynolds to a House Study Committee on the budget. In 2005, Speaker Richardson appointed Reynolds as the state bar representative to the Office of the Child Advocate Advisory Committee where she served as Chair for two years. She had previously been appointed to this Committee in 2003 by Democratic Speaker Terry Coleman, and she was selected by the President of the State Bar of Georgia to serve on the Children and the Courts Committee in 2002. During his tenure, Governor Roy Barnes appointed Reynolds to both the Office of the Child Advocate Nominating Committee as well as the Commission on Family Violence.
Two of Reynolds’ most striking victories have come in passing legislation aimed at smoking prevention. In 2003, Reynolds led the effort to pass the first increase in the excise tax on tobacco products in 32 years, working with then Floor Leader Glenn Richardson and Governor Perdue to bring together a Republican Senate and Democratically controlled House to pass the legislation. It is the only tax increase that has passed the legislature in the last 40 years. Reynolds scored another striking victory during the 2005 legislative session with the passage of the Smoke Free Air Act. Georgia was the first tobacco farming state to pass such legislation. Reynolds’ exceptional relationships and expertise were integral in convincing the Speaker and the Governor to allow the bill to come to a vote and ultimately to be signed into law, both of whom were on record opposing the legislation.
During the 2008 legislative session, Reynolds was selected by her peers to successfully lead legislative efforts on behalf of the Georgia Real Estate Closing Attorneys. When the subprime mortgage industry collapse began with HomeBanc’s demise, real estate closing attorneys across Georgia found themselves holding in excess of $30,000,000 in bad checks that had been issued at closings by HomeBanc on which HomeBanc defaulted. This left closing attorneys scrambling to secure loans using their personal collateral to cover the insufficient funds. Reynolds led the effort to pass the law which now requires all banks and mortgage lenders to provide good funds at the time of the closing in a real estate transaction.
During 2007, Reynolds was hired by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce to consult with their lobbying team on passage of a regional transportation tax, which was ultimately passed by the House of Representatives in the final moments of the 2008 legislative session.
In 2004, Reynolds played a critical role in advancing tort reform legislation on behalf of healthcare interests in conjunction with a large team of lobbyists. This legislation has resulted in a 33% decrease in medical malpractice suits filed since 2006 and an increase in the number of doctors interested in practicing in Georgia.
In addition to Reynolds numerous legislative victories, Reynolds has proved adept at securing funding for numerous clients. Between the 2006 and 2008 legislative sessions, Reynolds secured an additional $40 million annualized to support childcare providers, bringing provider reimbursement rates up from an abysmal 17% to 50% of the market rate for state subsidized children. She was also able to convince the Perdue administration to give Pre-K providers a $3000 subsidy per classroom to replenish supplies, the first supplies replenishment bonus since the inception of the program in 1993. During that same time frame, she secured an additional $550,000 annualized for Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia, $2 million annualized to expand Georgia’s newborn metabolic screening program, and $300,000 annualized for the Center for the Visually Impaired. When support for the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs was lagging, Reynolds scheduled a wheelchair basketball game between high school program participants and the House of Representatives members including the Speaker, Speaker Pro Tempore, Majority Leader, and Appropriations Chair. Working together with Talking Heads Media, the event received major media coverage including an above the fold color photo and article in the Metro section of the AJC. As a direct result of the support built during that game, the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs saw an increase of $500,000 in annualized state funding, more than doubling their previous budget of $385,000. During the 2009 session as dramatic budget cuts were implemented, Reynolds protected her clients funding with no client receiving a cut greater than 10% and some receiving no cuts at all.
Reynolds graduated with honors from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in psychology in 1993 and from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1996. Prior to entering governmental affairs, Reynolds practiced law with Drew, Eckl & Farnham, LLP, a civil defense litigation firm in Atlanta, Georgia. From 1998 – 2000, Reynolds worked as the in house lobbyist for Prevent Child Abuse Georgia (then known as the Georgia Council on Child Abuse). She left in 2000 to form her current consulting firm, Reynolds Consulting Group, Inc. She is an active member of the community, chairing the advocacy committee for Susan G. Komen for the Cure Atlanta Chapter, serving as Board President of the Inviolet Repertory Theater Company in New York City, and chairing the Women’s Health Advisory Committee to the Department of Community Health. She and her husband, Bernard Reynolds, have resided in Atlanta for over 15 years. She is the proud step-mom of their 11-year old son, Carter.
|Mr. Bernard Reynolds, M.B.A.|
Bernard Reynolds is currently a Principal of Atlanta based True North Public Affairs. Before starting his own firm, he was Manager of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (GEMC), leading the state and federal governmental affairs efforts for the 42 EMC member organizations and their 4 plus million members. Prior to joining GEMC, Bernard served as an Assistant Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Programs under his direction included the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Office of Community Services and the Governor’s Rural Development Council. The Governor’s Rural Development Council focused on five major areas fundamental to long-term success in Georgia’s rural areas: education, leadership, infrastructure, community / economic development, and healthcare. He also served as the agency liaison to the Georgia General Assembly while at DCA. Reynolds started his career with the Georgia Power Company in their governmental affairs area. He then focused on federal legislative affairs for the Southern Company where he managed the Political Action Committees for all of the Southern system companies.
Reynolds has built a reputation for hard work and creative solutions to tough problems. Reynolds' experience in management and strategic advice comes from many years in leading roles with state and national business and government organizations. Reynolds’ specialties include representing clients before the Georgia General Assembly, the Georgia Public Service Commission, and state agencies such as the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
Bernard Reynolds brings over 15 years of political experience to the team. This experience includes time spent in arenas such as campaigns, corporate, government and associations.
Reynolds has an extensive background in grassroots and coalition development. He managed Georgia Power’s grassroots network made up of employees, retirees, and local opinion leaders to advance the company’s legislative agenda. This grassroots network allowed the company to effectively communicate with these stakeholders regarding issues that would adversely impact the company’s ability to conduct its business. He managed a similar network while at the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation with over 4 million members of the 42 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations to achieve legislative goals. Reynolds’ grassroots experience was seen when in three consecutive years over 550 parents and students from the Georgia Families for Public Virtual Education descended upon the Georgia Capitol to let their voices be heard about continuing support for public virtual education.
Reynolds’ legislative successes include leading the 2007 legislative battle to reduce the epidemic of metals theft that was affecting many business’ bottom lines and public safety. The legislation passed both houses and went to the Governor’s desk for signature. The new law gave prosecutors a new set of tools to deal with those who were victimizing these businesses. In the 2009 session there was a push to take the law to a new level and Reynolds provided assistance when the bill got held up in committee. He was able to get the bill moved out in the final days and passed.
Reynolds is not only strong with passing legislation; he is highly successful in stopping bad legislation that has negative consequences for his clients. In 2008 the cable industry introduced legislation that would cost the EMCs of Georgia millions of dollars. It was legislative battle between two of the largest industries in Georgia with advocates on both sides. The session was spent building coalitions who joined the EMCs in this battle and clearly making their case to the legislative leadership. At the end of the day, the legislation failed to make it out of committee saving the customers of Georgia’s EMCs millions of dollars.
In addition to Reynolds’ legislative accomplishments, he has served several appointments to commissions, task forces and committees. They include the Georgia State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless, the Governor’s Commission for a New Georgia and the Green Building Task Force
Reynolds holds a BA degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Business Administration from Brenau University. He is a Governor’s appointee to the Georgia State Housing Trust Fund Commission and the Green Building Task Force. Bernard and his wife, Ellen W. Reynolds, have resided in Atlanta for 15 years. He is the proud father of their 11-year-old son, Carter.