My name is Renee Unterman and for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to make a difference in my community. The innate need to contribute while helping those around me has been a lifelong passion. Fortunately, through my chosen career path in nursing, and efforts in public service, I am able to live out that passion on a daily basis.
My childhood was spent in Gwinnett County and upon graduation from Berkmar High School in 1972; I entered Georgia State University and studied nursing. While attending Georgia State, I had the opportunity to train at Grady Memorial Hospital. During my time at Grady, I witnessed the underbelly of life, quite different than my upbringing in a traditional suburban home in Gwinnett. Seeing victims of tragedy whether it be car accidents, stabbings or gun shot wounds, an indelible image was cast. Those images would forever stay with me, and teach me the importance of having empathy for victims and people that are often taken advantage of. After graduation, I worked in emergency rooms and critical care units, while furthering my education as a social worker at the University of Georgia. Little did I know that my companion degrees in Nursing and Social Work would set the foundation for my public service career.
Being in the medical field taught me the importance of caring for those that needed it most, while ensuring that the doctors, patients and family members were well equipped to handle whatever challenges the future had in store. It was only natural for me to take what I learned in the medical field and apply it to the community I loved. I realized along the way that citizens, much like my patients, needed to know that their public servants were looking out for them while equipping them for future challenges. After that realization is where my life in the public sector would begin.
At the young age of 33 I found myself jumping head first into the Loganville Mayoral race. It was the first time I would run for office and it was also the first time a female had ever qualified to run for Mayor. Serving as Mayor for Loganville, would be the beginning of a 25 year stint serving in the public arena. After a successful mayoral track record as a three term mayor, the people of Northeast Gwinnett County then elected me to serve on the Gwinnett County Commission, where I would serve one term. After serving at the local level for a number of years, I was humbled to be elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1999, representing east Gwinnett. After many years serving as a Representative, I would eventually be elected to the Georgia State Senate in 2003 where prior to redistricting, I served portions of Barrow, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Hall and Walton counties. Since 2010, I have had the pleasure serving citizens in north Gwinnett county.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to advocate on behalf of those that are most vulnerable in society- our children and the elderly. I am firm believer that our youth deserve the chance to live their days in a safe society while discovering their place in life. And much like those children deserve the best we have to offer, so does our growing aging population. While the youth of Georgia represents the future, our elderly and aging community represents a rich historical landscape of where we have been, where we are and where we are going. It is vital to protect the well being of these groups and I have made it my personal goal to ensure that they are taken care of through a number of pieces of legislation I have introduced during my time in office. I have been privileged to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for a number of years. Serving on this committee has given me the unique opportunity to combine my favorite things- sound healthcare policy and public service!
In short, my focus while serving the state of Georgia is much like that of my nursing career- to help those that need it most; to equip our citizens for what challenges lie ahead; and to ensure that the measures we adopt as a General Assembly are thoughtful and sound policy for the overall well being of our state. It is an honor to serve my home and the great people of Gwinnett County. I am truly humbled that they have elected me to do so in some capacity or another for a number of years. Thank you for believing in me, and most importantly, thank you for allowing me to live out my passion- serving and helping others on a daily basis.
Of course nothing would be possible without the constant support of my family. I would like to thank my husband Phil for “sharing me” with our Georgia citizens while I set out to serve the greater good. Without Phil and the loving support of my family, nothing would be possible!
I have spent 25 years working within the Public Sector and throughout my career I have experienced, victory and loss. I have heard the word “No” more times than I can remember and the phrase, “Give Up” more than I would like to admit. However, the word NO, at times, is not an option and GIVING UP is not in my nature. Resiliency would become a common theme throughout my career and with each battle came success or more determination to overcome adversity and do what’s right for the betterment of Georgia and her citizens.
Senator Unterman began her career in public service after winning the 1986 Loganville Mayoral race. Throughout her tenure as Mayor, Renee worked hard to ensure that ethics, honesty and hard work were the focus of Loganville city government. Renee tirelessly focused her efforts on cleaning up city government.
Shortly after Mayor Unterman took office, audits revealed that the local police department was mis-allocating funds. Keeping her promise of ethics and transparency, Mayor Unterman would make the controversial decision of relieving the current Police Chief of his duties. The decision was met with mixed emotions from the public.
Following the final decision regarding the police department, police chief loyalists would make a failed attempt to remove Renee as the Loganville Mayor. Despite all of this, Mayor Unterman successfully began construction on the senior center and library. She also successfully reorganized the Loganville Public Safety Department.
Resiliency would become the theme of Mayor Unterman’s first term as she met adversity and controversy head-on. Determination and a resilient nature are themes that she has carried throughout her public service career. Learning how to overcome various situations through the years has proven helpful, and today, Senator Unterman is known as one of the most effective legislators under the Gold Dome.
Gwinnett County Commission
After completing three terms as the Loganville Mayor, Renee would eventually run and be elected to the Gwinnett County Commission. During her time in office, Commissioner Unterman was successful in completing numerous projects benefiting Gwinnett citizens. Her focus in serving the elderly continued as she ensured funding was secured for the Senior Center, a project close to her heart. Commissioner Unterman was instrumental in building numerous green spaces including parks and recreation fields for citizens. She was also heavily involved with Gwinnett county’s economic development ensuring that the water and infrastructure was sound for continued growth. During her time in office, Gwinnett was the fastest growing county in the state of Georgia. Her leadership with fellow Commissioners ensured that Gwinnett would flourish and meet the demands of an ever expanding population.
Georgia General Assembly
Renee Unterman began her service in the Georgia General Assembly in 1999 and continues to serve today. Renee was elected to the House of Representatives where she would serve two terms before becoming the regions state Senator in 2002. During her time in the general assembly, her contributions have been numerous. Senator Unterman has been successful in passing major legislation in areas such as healthcare, sex trafficking prevention, metal theft as well as many elderly and child protection measures. Today Senator Unterman is known as one of the most effective legislators under the gold dome who has been recognized state and nation wide for her efforts. She currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services committee where she uses her background in healthcare to ensure Georgia citizens are well taken care of.
In the little spare time I have, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Being born and raised in the south, hunting and fishing have always been a passion. I also love football, spending time on the lake, traveling to places I’ve never been, gardening and my animals of course….