Georgia Political News for April 25, 2012

“23380” is one of nine shepherd mix puppies from several litters available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Executive Branch

Governor Nathan Deal visited Augusta’s Georgia Health Sciences University yesterday and stated that his goal is to help the University move into the top 50 academic health centers in the nation.

In Savannah, Gov. Deal said that if federal funds are not forthcoming for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, he is prepared to spend Georgia’s money to keep the project moving forward, and ask for federal reimbursement.

Asked what would happen if the president and Congress fail to find dredging money for the harbor soon, Deal said, “We’ll spend our money.”

“We hope we don’t get to that point,” Deal said. “But it may be one of those things that, if that becomes necessary, we begin the project and hopefully get (federal) funding after the fact to reimburse the state.”

“We’re not going to let anything slow us down, because time is of the essence,” Deal said. “We need to make it as close to that time frame as possible.”

In Statesboro, Deal signed legislation transferring Herty Advanced Materials Development Center to Georgia Southern University from the Department of Economic Development.

“This strategic realignment will expand economic development opportunities for Georgia,” Deal said. “It has the real potential to make Savannah and this larger coastal area an even more attractive market for manufacturing, as well as research and development.”

Governor Deal continues his victory lap tour today with stops in Valdosta, Albany, Warner Robins, and Columbus.

Gov. Deal appointed former Georgia Republican Party executive director Toby Carr as Planning Director for the Georgia Department of Transportation. Carr’s appointment must be confirmed by the House and Senate transportation committees.

DOT board chairman Rudy Bowen said he liked working with Carr. “I think it’s a great choice from the governor’s office,” Bowen said. “He’s a very capable young man.”

Bowen said he did not believe the choice would make transportation choices any more political than they already are, and he noted that the DOT board will still have its vote over the projects.

House Bill 1176 by Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) will require more adults to report suspected child abuse.

Once the bill is signed by the governor, as of July 1 employees or volunteers at nearly any child service agency, members of the clergy and volunteers at centers for reproductive health will all be required to report suspected abuse.

Gov. Deal is expected to sign the measure.

Gov. Nathan Deal said his office is working with Department of Human Services Commissioner Clyde Reece to ensure current resources are being used efficiently. But he couldn’t say how funding for the agency might change if the workload increased dramatically because of the law.

“That’s a delicate balance when you try to deal with the responsibilities that the law places on individuals to report activities — obviously, reports have to be investigated,” Deal said. “So if by adding additional people to the mandatory reporting list — if that does increase the number of reports — then, obviously, there would be some correlation to an increased workload.”

An updated list of bills the Governor has signed is here.

Campaigns, Elections, and Politics

Newt Gingrich expects to go down with his ship stay in the Presidential race this week, with stops in North Carolina.

At an event in support of Republican Senate District 52 candidate David Doss, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle predicted an improving state economy.

“All wealth, traditionally, has been created in economic downtowns,” Cagle said. “We’re beginning to see great positive momentum going forward.”

Cagle attended a meet and greet for Senate District 52 candidate David Doss.

“David is one of those guys that you’re not going to always agree with, you’re going to butt heads with from time to time,” Cagle said. “I have learned to respect him.”

Cagle cited recent announcements from Caterpillar and Baxter Pharmaceuticals, each bringing about 1,500 jobs to Georgia.

“We haven’t seen those kind of announcements in forever,” Cagle said. “I can’t remember back-to-back deals like that being announced.”

Kristopher Moutray, who works for Gulfstream, will run in the Republican Primary for house district, to succeed Ann Purcell. Jesse Tyler, who lost the 2009 special election to Purcell is also considering a run.

On May 1st from 6 to 8 PM, Chatham County Commissioner Dean Kicklighter and Garden City Councilman Bessie Kicklighter are holding a public meeting to discuss the Savannah River deepening project at the Garden City gym, next to the stadium, at 160-D Priscilla D. Thomas Way.

Atlanta Young Republicans will host the GOP candidates for Senate District 6 tonight at 7 PM at 5 Seasons Restaurant & Brewery, 1000 Marietta Street in Atlanta.

Former Hall County Chief Deputy Jeff Strickland, who led in fundraising and spending for the last disclosure period, is being criticized by opponents for issues that occurred during his tenure.

Lee County Commissioner Bill Williams will seek reelection. Williams will face challenger Greg Frich.

Dick Yarbrough has written a thank-you note to Governor Deal:

First, I like your low-key style and the way you’re willing to work with both parties if it will benefit the people of Georgia. That’s rare in today’s political environment, which is dominated by political whackos on both the left and the right.

You seem to be shooting the lights out in economic development. Your willingness to approve major tax incentives as well as your efforts to promote the biosciences industry were a big part of the reason why Baxter International is moving here.

The Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office is opening a new dormitory to house incarcerated veterans and offer greater access to community resources such as PTSD counseling, mental health services, and a Veterans’ Court.

The Georgia Taxpayers Alliance will make Gwinnett County a battleground for passage of T-SPLOST, citing concerns after the opening of HOT lanes in the county.

Surprisingly, Snellville’s Mayor and City Council butted heads over everything on the agenda the hiring of a Police Chief Roy Whitehead as interim city manager.

Soviet references on the rise

Metro Atlanta homeowners compared their Homeowners’ Association to communism, saying “It’s like living under communism – someone gets to dictate every possible thing you do,” after the HOA denied their request for permission to install solar panels on their home.

Several days earlier, Presidential campaign loser Jon Huntsman said of the GOP “This is what they do in China on party matters, they punish you, if you talk off script.” Huntsman later said that his comments were taken out of context, without actually saying that he didn’t speak them.

After I attributed to Cherokee County Young Republicans the characterization of T-SPLOST as ““another funding source for [politicians of both parties'] Soviet-style centralized planning schemes,” the Cherokee YRs chair clarified that the event containing that description was not setup by the YRs, but was placed on their Facebook page by a non-member and it has now been removed. Cherokee YRs meet the 2nd Monday of every month and their upcoming meetings will feature local candidates for office.

 

Parks and Recreation

Augusta Parks and Recreation Director Ron Swanson Tom Beck was fired by the City Council for approving a time card that indicated an employee worked days they didn’t.

National Parks are offering free admission through April 29th in celebration of National Parks Week.

Also free is the Robins Airshow on April 28th and 29th, which will feature the Blue Angels, the F-22 Raptor and other displays and performances.

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