Coomer to be sworn in Oct. 31

♦ Af­ter eight years rep­re­sent­ing Floyd and Bar­tow coun­ties, the Cartersville law­maker moves to a seat on the Ge­or­gia Court of Ap­peals.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Diane Wag­ner DWag­ner@RN-T.com

State Rep. Chris­tian Coomer will take his seat as a judge on the Ge­or­gia Court of Ap­peals at the end of the month.

Gov. Nathan Deal will ad­min­is­ter the oath of of­fice at a cer­e­mony sched­uled for 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 — Coomer’s birth­day — in the House cham­ber at the state capi­tol in At­lanta. Deal ap­pointed the Cartersville at­tor­ney to the bench to re­place Jus­tice Char­lie Bethel, who was el­e­vated to the state Supreme Court.

Coomer is un­op­posed for re-elec­tion to the House Dis­trict 14 seat on the Nov. 6 bal­lot. He is ex­pected to send an of­fi­cial let­ter of with­drawal af­ter he takes the oath. It’s too late to re­move his name from the bal­lot, but a spe­cial elec­tion to fill the seat must be held within 60 days of his with­drawal.

The 14th dis­trict cov­ers the north­ern half of Bar­tow County and the south­east­ern quar­ter of Floyd County.

Coomer has rep­re­sented the dis­trict in the Ge­or­gia Gen­eral As­sem­bly for eight years. He served as Deal’s floor leader for a num­ber of years and was elected by House mem- bers as ma­jor­ity whip for the 2017-18 term.

Dur­ing that time, he was also one of 11 mem­bers on the Court Re­form Coun­cil, formed by Deal in 2017 to find ways to make the ju­di­cial court sys­tem and ad­min­is­tra­tive hear­ing sys­tem op­er­ate more ef­fi­ciently. One of the Coun­cil’s rec­om­men­da­tions, cre­ation of a sep­a­rate busi­ness court sys­tem to han­dle com­plex lit­i­ga­tion, is on the Novem­ber bal­lot as a pro­posed con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment.

He also spon­sored the 2016 leg­is­la­tion that ex­panded the num­ber of seats on the Ge­or­gia Supreme Court to nine from seven.

Coomer spon­sored few bills dur­ing his ten­ure as ma­jor­ity whip. How­ever, he quickly wrote and passed HB 999 in late Fe­bru­ary, fol­low­ing the Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School shoot­ing in Florida, when 17 stu­dents and staff were killed and 17 oth­ers in­jured. The mea­sure closes a loop­hole that made it eas­ier for a men­tally ill per­son to get a gun per­mit in Ge­or­gia than in many other states.

Be­fore tak­ing on the court re­form and whip du­ties, Coomer chaired the House Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee and served on the cham­ber’s Ju­di­ciary Non-civil, Retirement, Banks and Bank­ing and Ju­ve­nile Jus­tice com­mit­tees.

Coomer also chaired a 2014 House study com­mit­tee that was in­stru­men­tal in up­dat­ing the Ge­or­gia Code of Mil­i­tary Jus­tice, which had not been sub­stan­tially re­vised since it was adopted in the 1950s.

A lieu­tenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Re­serve, Coomer has served for the past 17 years in the Air Force Judge Ad­vo­cate Gen­eral’s Corps. JAG of­fi­cers han­dle all le­gal mat­ters in the mil­i­tary, from courts­mar­tial to en­vi­ron­men­tal law. He served first on ac­tive duty, then as a re­servist and mem­ber of the Ge­or­gia Air Na­tional Guard.

Coomer earned his Juris Doc­tor de­gree from the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia and grad­u­ated Magna Cum Laude from Lee Univer­sity in Cleve­land, Ten­nessee, with a Bach­e­lor of Arts de­gree.

He and his wife Heidi Coomer have two sons, Chris­tian and Collin.

Chris­tian Coomer

/ Con­trib­uted

State Rep. Chris­tian Coomer, who went from ac­tive duty to the re­serves, now wears the rank of lieu­tenant colonel in the Judge Ad­vo­cate Corps of the U.S. Air Force.

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