Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 14, 2015

14
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 14, 2015

Representatives of three cities in Connecticut adopted the “Fundamental Orders,” the first written Constitution in an American colony and one of the first founding document to cite the authority of “the free consent of the people.”

On January 14, 1733, James Oglethorpe and the rest of the first colonists departed Charles Town harbor for what would become Savannah, and the State of Georgia.

The Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris to end the Revolutionary War on January 14, 1784. The Treaty was negotiated by John Adams, who would later serve as President, and the delegates voting to ratify it included future Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

On January 14, 1835, James M. Wayne took the oath of office as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. A Savannah native, Wayne had previously served in the Georgia House of Represestatives, as Mayor of Savannah, on the Supreme Court of Georgia, and in Congress. His sister was the great-grandmother of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, and his home is now known as the Juliette Gordon Low house. When Georgia seceded from the Union, Wayne remained on the Supreme Court.

On January 14, 1860, the Committee of Thirty-Three introduced a proposed Constitutional Amendment to allow slavery in the areas it then existed.

Julian Bond was born on January 14, 1940 in Nashville, Tennessee, and was one of eleven African-American Georgians elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965. After his election, on January 10, 1966, the State House voted 184-12 not to seat him because of his publicly-stated opposition to the Vietnam War. After his federal lawsuit was rejected by a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the United States Supreme Court ordered Bond seated.

True story: Julian Bond was the first Georgia State Senator I ever met, when I was in ninth grade and visited the state Capitol.

On January 14, 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamation No. 2537, requiring Japanese-Americans, including American-born citizens of Japanese ancestry, as well as Italians and Germans to register with the federal Department of Justice. The next month, Roosevelt would have Japanese-Americans, including my grandfather, Joe Yamamoto, interned in concentration camps in the western United States.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Avondale Estates will hold a Special Election for Mayor on March 17, 2015 following the resignation of former Mayor Ed Rieker. The next Mayor will serve the balance of the term, which ends December 31, with an election to a full term to be held in November. Architect Paul Brown was the first candidate to qualify and more candidates may qualify between now and Friday. From Decaturish.com,

We’re a very small city and with the development of the multi-use project and the issue of annexation, it’s going to change the perception of our city,” Brown said. “It will certainly set a standard.”

Brown said if he is elected he will work to enhance the city’s quality of life.

“My first priority is learning what the city’s priorities are as far as what the residents are concerned about, and adding to the quality of life,” he said.

Rieker, the dynamic and sometimes controversial former mayor, resigned in October with about one year left on his term to take a university teaching job. The former mayor is credited with bringing development into city’s downtown, but his style of leadership also brought him into conflict with some longtime residents wary of change.

Mayor Pro Tem Terry Giager will not run for Mayor, retaining his Council seat instead. Disclaimer: I’m working for Paul Brown’s campaign.

Johns Creek will hold Special Elections in November to fill the remaining terms of former City Council Members Brad Raffensperger and Kelly Stewart, who are in a runoff election for the House District 50 seat vacated by former State Rep. Lynne Riley. With Council Districts 2,4, and 6 up in the regular rotation, that will mean that four of six Council seats will be up in November.

State of the State

Governor Nathan Deal will deliver the State of the State address today at 11 AM. The speech will be carried live online by Georgia Public Broadcasting or you may watch it tonight at 7 PM on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Click here to find your local GPB TV station.

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At 7:30 PM, I’ll be on GPB with Bill Nigut, Democratic consultant Liz Flowers, Leo Smith of the Georgia Republican Party, and Greg Bluestein of the Atlanta Journal-Kardashian Constitution. The show will also be live online at 7:30 PM today.

I’ll be at the State of the State and will be tweeting from my personal account @toddmr and you can also check-out the @gapundit account.

Eggs and Issues

Yesterday, the Big Three of Governor Deal, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston all spoke out in favor of some form of increased funding for transportation infrastructure. From Kathleen Foody at the Associated Press:

In his most outspoken comments yet on the issue, Deal said he backs increased funding for “strategic transportation investments” and promised more detail in his State of the State address on Wednesday afternoon. Deal later told reporters that lawmakers who are firmly positioning themselves against any new taxes or fees “need to understand that things do change” like the state’s growing population.

“Changing circumstances require that you reevaluate, I think, your position on issues,” Deal said.

Ralston warned that the debate “is not the time for naysaying.”

“A fixation on the rhetoric of ‘no’ won’t get us to the next level of greatness in Georgia,” he said as the crowd of chamber officials and business representatives applauded.

Walter Jones of Morris News writes that no word has come yet on a source for additional funding.

Gov. Nathan Deal acknowledged the need for a spending boost and promised to make the case for it in Tuesday’’s State of the State Address. Experts have estimated $1.5 billion in additional annual spending is needed to maintain existing roads, highways and bridges and that as much as $20 billion would be necessary for substantive improvements.

“A lot of options have been put on the table, but I think the important point we need to make at this time is to emphasize … we cannot persist in the manner in which we are currently operating,” Deal told reporters. “The process of answering the final question of ‘how are you going to generate that additional revenue’ is really the process of debate in the General Assembly. Hopefully, I’ll give them some general direction as I talk about it (today).”

Each speaker agreed on the need, but dodged the politically dicey question of raising taxes ‑ either a sales tax or the gasoline tax ‑ as has been listed as among the options laid out by a joint House-Senate study committee.

“I’m not certain what the final package will look like,” said Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. “I’m sure we’ll accept some options and reject others. But let me be clear on one point: Doing nothing is not an option.”

In the Gainesville Times, Jeff Gill writes of some of the options that are on the table.

[Deal] referred to the legislative Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding, which released a 23-page report Dec. 30 suggesting funding options for lawmakers to consider this session.

Options include a 1-cent statewide sales tax that would generate some $1.4 billion per year; increasing Georgia’s motor fuel tax, which has not been increased since 1971; and establishing an annual road usage fee for alternative fuel vehicles.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said inaction isn’t just a “political talking point.”

“I am confident … we can finally address the problem with real, concrete solutions,” he said.

I wonder if the phrase “concrete solutions” was taken as a victory by the concrete lobby and a devastating blow to asphalt.

WABE notes that Gov. Deal also discussed a potential film academy to integrate the Technical College System of Georgia and the Universities to meet the need for skilled workers in Georgia’s booming film industry.

Deal said the academy will be a partnership between the state university system and the technical college system.

“Therefore, my budget recommendations this year will take a step to start the process. Georgia cannot afford for another state to do to us what we’re doing to Hollywood,” Deal said.

Deal said he’ll also propose a plan to extend technical school tuition waivers to those going into the film industry. He said the state’s growing movie business has created a need for set and costume designers and production assistants.

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