David L. Burgess, who is campaigning to retain his seat on the Georgia Public Service Commission, told GlobalFax last week that he “treasures” the opportunity to speak to organizations composed of the state’s ethnic and recent immigrant communities.

      “I want to make certain that there is no demographic redlining,” he said about the state’s utilities during an interview in his office near the capitol, referring to the alleged practice by banks of uneven lending policies in different neighborhoods.

He also said that he wanted to make himself accessible to these groups because he felt the pricing of a wide array of utilities in the state could be confusing to recent arrivals from other countries.

In addition, he said that he was concerned that there may be a widespread lack of knowledge about the availability of services and special programs such as discounted services for low income, elderly people.

Mr. Burgess, the first African-American to hold a seat on the quasi-legislative, quasi-judicial agency, was appointed to fill a vacancy last year by Gov. Roy E. Barnes.  A Democrat, he is opposed for election to the six-year post by Elbert “Al” Bartell, a Republican, and Dick Withington, a Libertarian.

      A 1981 graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Mr. Burgess had been a member of the PSC staff for 17 years. He began his career as a public utilities engineer, rising through the ranks to become the commission’s director of rates and tariffs and then director of its telecommunications unit. He now heads the PSC’s efforts to implement the U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996, which calls for further deregulation of the industry.

He called the Internet “a great tool” to “inform and empower consumers,” and said he opposed its regulation. He also praised the PSC’s Web site, which may be found at www.psc.state.ga.us, as a means for informing people about the agency and providing useful information such as comparative natural gas rates.

      Mr. Burgess also said that he is a staunch supporter of the state’s economic development incentive policy including its efforts to encourage further foreign investment.

      He may be reached by calling (404) 656-2040, send a fax to (404) 656-2341 or an e-mail to davidb@psc.state.ga.us