From FACS legislative aide to Superior Court judge
July 31, 2023
Author: Cal Powell  | 706-542-6402  | More about Cal

In 2005, Trey Taylor was a fifth-year senior needing a few credit hours to complete his degree.

Faculty member Anne Sweaney suggested he consider the College of Family and Consumer Sciences’ Legislative Aide internship, an innovative program that pairs FACS students with members of the Georgia General Assembly during the legislative session.

Taylor was assigned to an ambitious businessman from Athens, State Senator Brian Kemp.

“It was something new to me and out of my comfort zone,” Taylor said of the internship. “I’m forever grateful I did it because it’s led me to the path I’m on.”

Kemp, of course, went on to become the Georgia governor. After completing his degree in consumer economics, Taylor eventually settled back into his hometown of Dublin in 2010 and began working in private practice.

In July, nearly two decades after Taylor interned in Kemp’s office, the governor appointed Taylor to be the Superior Court judge on the Dublin Judicial Circuit bench.

While Taylor doesn’t attribute his selection to an old friendship with Kemp – “I’ve done the hard work to put myself in this position,” he said – the internship did allow him the opportunity to prove himself to the future governor.

“I think he came to know me and appreciate my work ethic and my dedication to doing the things asked of me,” he said. “The value of hard work was instilled in me at a young age, and I think hard work and preparation will get you a long way down the road.”

Taylor credited FACS and the Legislative Aide program for helping establish an early passion for public service.

In addition to Sweaney, he said faculty member Doug Bachtel, a well-known demographics researcher who passed away in 2013, was especially influential.

“I still have the county guide that he produced,” Taylor said of Bachtel. “He was always willing to pour into students and take time with them. Speaking with him was what really got me interested in policy and the legislative process because of his area of expertise and study.”

Inspired by his grandfather, an attorney in Savannah, Taylor said he was drawn back to his hometown for the opportunity it offered to serve his fellow citizens.

“I wanted to come back to my home community and make a valuable contribution,” he said.

As an attorney, he handled a variety of cases, from personal injury litigation to adoptions and felony criminal cases.

“Dublin is a smaller town, so you have to be able to handle anything that walks in the door if you want to make a living,” he said. “It has well-prepared me for sitting on the bench and encountering those matters from a different perspective.”

His latest appointment comes after a rigorous six-month vetting process.

Kemp called Taylor about a week before the news was announced publicly to congratulate him, and while Taylor said he never saw the role as a possibility, he’s grateful for the opportunity.

“My phone started ringing and it hasn’t really stopped since then,” he said, laughing. “My initial reaction was an excitement and a real sense of gratitude. It’s a large responsibility and not one I take lightly, and I’m just ready to get to work.”

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