Holly Comer was appointed to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence by Gov. Nathan Deal. The 37-member commission was created by the General Assembly in 1992 to develop a comprehensive plan to end family violence in the state. The agency provides training about domestic violence, monitors legislation affecting domestic violence and certifies intervention programs.
“To be appointed to a board such as this by the governor is humbling,” she said. “It means a great deal to me, and I appreciate the confidence he has in me.”
While Cobb’s court system works to get protective orders for domestic violence victims, Comer, 50, said the commission will work to develop a strategic statewide response to deal with the problem that victimizes one in four women.
“There are some gaps across the state,” she said.
Family violence commission executive director Greg Loughlin said Comer is one of three advocates for battered women appointed to the commission. She was already part of a sub-group to help develop the statewide plan under review.
“The plan both looks at traditional criminal justice elements to end family violence, but also looks at prevention,” he said. “The perspective that Holly brings to the table is invaluable. We really need an advocate like Holly to keep us grounded in the reality that women, children and sometimes men face.”
Comer will serve a two-year term, Loughlin said. She is eligible for up to two consecutive terms, though members can stay on until the governor appoints someone else.
Deal spokeswoman Stephanie Mayfield said Comer, a Marietta resident, was highly recommended by several community members as well as Loughlin.
“The governor believes that her proven leadership within the community made her an excellent choice for the appointment,” Mayfield said.
Comer hopes that serving on the state commission will help bring more awareness to the YWCA.
“Our vision is a community free of domestic violence and sexual assault,” she said. “Anything we do along those lines is going to have an impact on that.”
Since taking over leadership of the YWCA in April 2007, Comer has overseen a $4.5 million renovation of the agency’s building at 48 Henderson St. in Marietta, near the intersection of Whitlock Ave. and South Marietta Parkway.
The YWCA is also raising funds to renovate its domestic violence shelter at an undisclosed location in Cobb. So far, Comer said the YWCA has raised $5.7 million toward the shelter and has about another $1.5 million to go.
“That last bit of money is always the most challenging, and the economy doesn’t help,” she said. “But this is a great community to work in, and I feel confident we will do it.”
Comer would like to have the renovated shelter up and running by the end of 2013.
“While it’s a safe place for them to come, it’s not at the level it should be to provide a healthy environment,” she said of the current shelter.