ATLANTA (WSAV) – Lawmakers, city council members and business professionals traveled from the Hostess City to Atlanta Thursday for Savannah-Chatham Day at the Georgia State Capitol.

The group mingled with state leaders to address key issues impacting the Savannah region, from redistricting concerns within the school district to expanding rural internet access.

The top concern for many surrounded funding for tourism, jobs and the port to help boost the state’s overall economy.

“The number one issue for us is the drill for the Trade Center in Savannah,” said State Rep. Ron Stephens, who chairs the House Economic Development & Tourism Committee.

“The funding is still outstanding for that,” he continued, “we have funding for that in the governor’s bond package, but we are still about $13 million short.”

State Rep. Ben Watson agreed: “Completing the Convention Center is a big deal. It will draw people from all over the country and taste what we have in Savannah.”

Mayor Van Johnson boasted the $5 million in federal funding set aside for expanding the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, which builds on the $8 million investment to the Port of Savannah from the bipartisan infrastructure law.

“Georgia Ports is the lifeblood, if you will, and has been…for the past two years,” said Stephens. “They’re breaking records all the time, they’re getting the products to Georgians all over the state, from end to the other, and then they’ve become the economic engine for the southeast.”

Leaders took other issues to the table, too, including public safety. But when it comes to handling crime, some lawmakers said it’s something that has to be tackled locally.

“That’s really not something I want to get involved in,” said Stephens. “As a state legislature, we create the laws and it’s going to be up to those folks in the city and county to fix that problem.”

But Stephens and others said funding can help. Watson, who is an internal medicine specialist, said the state lawmakers are pushing for mental health funding to add co-responders to crime scenes.

“They are trained in mental health,” he explained. “The clinician will also join them wherever they may be.”

After meetings with legislators, Savannah-Chatham Day typically concludes with a Lowcountry oyster roast.

State lawmakers are a quarter of the way through this year’s legislative session.