Jay Neal was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2004 and served until being appointed by Governor Deal to serve as Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support, and Reentry (GOTSR) effective Nov 15, 2013. Jay led GOTSR, in collaboration with State Agencies and Stakeholders, in the development and implementation of the Georgia Prisoner Reentry Initiative (GA- PRI).
In September of 2015 Jay joined the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council as Criminal Justice Liaison and was appointed Executive Director July 1, 2016.
As a freshman Representative, Jay served as Vice-chair of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and was asked to carry Agency legislation for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He quickly became the “go to” House Member for GBI legislation. Also in his freshman year, Jay authored legislation that reduced the number of meth labs in Georgia by 65% in the first year.
Jay also served on the Children and Youth Committee, Economic Development and Tourism Committee, Appropriations Committee, Insurance Committee, and Juvenile Justice Committee. Jay also served as Co-Chair of the Legislative Behavioral Health Caucus from 2010-2013 and Chair of the House Committee on State Properties from 2011-2013.
In 2011, Jay sponsored HB265 establishing the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform for Georgians and worked closely with Gov. Deal in pursuing Criminal Justice Reform.
Jay was a leading advocate for Recovery in the General Assembly from 2006 until his appointment and helped establish the annual Addiction Recovery Awareness Day (ARAD) Rally at the Capitol.
Jay joined Penfield Christian Homes (a 6-week Residential Treatment Program) in 2009 and served as Campus Director of the North Campus until Nov. 1, 2013. Prior to his employment with Penfield, Jay was a partner at Weichert Realtors, First Choice and has served for 30 years as a Bi-Vocational Pastor.
In 2017, Jay was certified as a coach, trainer, and speaker with The John Maxwell Team. Jay and Gretchen have been married for 37 years and make their home in Chickamauga, GA. They have two daughters, Jessica Woods and Brittney Tomczak, and 7 Grandchildren.