Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 9, 2017

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 9, 2017

Herman E. Talmadge was born on August 9, 1913, son of Eugene Talmadge, who later served as Governor. Herman Talmadge himself served as Governor and United States Senator from Georgia.

On August 9, 1988, President Ronald Reagan announced his nomination of Dr. Lauro Cavazos as Secretary of Education, succeeding William Bennett. Cavazos was the first Hispanic to serve in a Presidential Cabinet position. Interestingly, he was born on the King Ranch.

On August 9, 1990, voters in the City of Athens and Clarke County chose to unify the two governments into Athens-Clarke County government.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Georgia State Senator Tim Golden will join Valdosta State University Professor Dixie Haggard to teach a course on recent Georgia political history.

The class, Political History of Modern Georgia, covers what’s happened in the state since 1980, and that’s where Tim Golden has the experience.

Golden is now a state board member for the Georgia Department of Transportation but he has decades of experience in politics, including eight years in the Statehouse and 16 years in the state Senate.

Him being in the classroom (means) you’re going to get an experience I can’t give you any other way. I can show videos, I can show recordings, (but) he was there,” Haggard said of Golden, who graduated from Valdosta State with a history and political science degree in 1977.

“A student (who) takes this class is going to have the opportunity to really see how history is done.”

To give some context to Georgia’s modern political scene, Haggard and Golden will reach back to post-World War II times and sometimes even as far back as the Civil War, specifically when it comes to the fight over the state flag.

“How do you explain the flag and the lottery and all the things we did from the ’80s on if you don’t go back and learn?” Golden said.

Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer (R-Duluth) addressed students at the Georgia Gwinnett College summer graduation.

In the theme of the day that was noted by GGC President Stas Preczewski, Durham and Shafer, the politician said that many of the graduates completed their coursework while carrying “significant family responsibilities” such as caring or providing for a relative, and working 20 hours a week.

“Your days of being nurtured were over,” Shafer said. “… You have been paying taxes and discharging adult responsibilities for years. … What made you stronger here at Georgia Gwinnett College was not the nurture, but the struggle. The challenge of completing your academic studies while leading a real adult life.”

Shafer, a veteran of Georgia politics, encouraged the graduates to treat everyone they meet like a friend, or a future friend, because in politics, for example, he said your enemy one day could be your friend the next.

The value of the institution, Shafer said, is in the improvement it made to each graduate. The liberal arts education teaches students how to think, how to learn and how to collaborate with others.

Lieutenant General Paul M. Nakasone, commander of the U.S. Army Cyber Command, spoke of Augusta’s role in cyber security.

Nakasone was in Augusta last November to help break ground at Fort Gordon for the new U.S. Cyber Command headquarters, which is now at Fort Belvoir, Va. It will relocate to Fort Gordon by 2020.

Before that, Nakasone last was in Augusta in 2004.

“Thirteen years ago when I left, it was interesting to see that everyone was talking about Boston or Austin as critical components to the high-tech revolution,” he said. “And so my thoughts this morning were, ‘What happens 13 years from now? Is Augusta going to be in that same league?’ I certainly think it will be because we have the opportunity, we have the momentum, we have the capabilities and we have the talent as convergent in the next couple years here in Augusta.”

“I would offer that Army Cyber’s move to Fort Gordon will increase Army readiness and technological superiority not only today, but well into the future,” he said. “The synergy created when we enhance operational effectiveness by establishing a single center here at Fort Gordon can’t be underestimated.”

The general said the headquarters’ move would bring Army Cyber into a “regional hub of innovation in cyber development,” alongside private-industry and academic partners.

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) held the first of nine Town Hall meetings he’s hosting during the August congressional break.

Tuesday morning in Jesup he held the first of nine town halls.

“Washington sometimes is described as a bubble and it is,” said Rep. Carter. “You get up there and you don’t see outside that bubble. That’s why it’s very important for us to stay grounded and come here and to interact with the people, this is my home, this where i was born and raised and i need to hear from them.”

And those in attendance are grateful for the opportunity to have their voice be heard.

“I think it’s a wise move,” said Gabe Madray, Jesup Resident. “It’s very positive to have the local availability option to be able to talk directly with your federal congressman.”

“My voting card has my picture on it,” explained Rep. Carter. “But it’s really for the First Congressional District of Georgia, that’s who it represents and I need to hear from them and I want to hear from them. I appreciate everyone coming out and giving me the opportunity to hear from them.”

Congressman Carter will hold five more town halls in our area over the next two days.

One will be in McIntosh County Wednesday at Darien City Hall from 10-11 AM.

On Thursday August 10, it’ll be held in Effingham County at the Rincon First Baptist Church from 10-11 AM.

From there, it’s onto Bryan County and the Bryan County Administrative Complex in Richmond Hill from 2-3 PM.

And it all wraps up in Savannah at Bible Baptist Church from 6-7 PM.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods helped deliver backpacks to students at Jenkins-White Elementary in Augusta.

Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods and Deputy Superintendent for School and District Effectiveness Stephanie Johnson visited the school, delivering 30 backpacks filled with school supplies. Faith Outreach Ministries supplied an additional 100 backpacks.

“It’s one less thing they have to think and worry about,” Woods said about the school supplies. “Providing these supplies gives them the assurance that they have all the school supplies they need to come into a classroom, sit down with a teacher and focus purely on the academics.”

The donations were made possible through the Georgia Foundation for Public Education. Monetary donations were made on the foundation’s website, while some people chose to donate backpacks and supplies.

“We do struggle with poverty throughout [the state],” Woods said. “One thing I have found out is that Georgia is a very generous state and when there is a need…they have risen to the occassion.”

Woods and his team made previous stops in Tifton and East Sylvania to deliver backpacks and will conclude the tour in Columbus on Thursday.

Muscogee County Sheriff Donna Tompkins ran over her department’s budget by about $400,000, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Tompkins said most of the money was spent on bailiffs and reserve deputies used for security at the City Services Center, Government Center and local courts. She said the expense was budgeted at $311,000, when historically it has cost about $700,000.

Two of the cost-savings initiatives that she planned for the year just went into affect, she explained, and it’s too early to see results.

“First off, I’d like to say, this is not really shocking to us,” she said. “When I took over, we estimated that this particular budget would probably be around $400,000 over, and there really wasn’t a lot that we could do about that.”

In the end, councilors approved the additional funding with a unanimous vote. They also approved more funding for Probate Court Judge Marc D’Antonio, who exceeded his fiscal year 2017 budget by $3,800.

Tompkins replaced John Darr as sheriff in January, after defeating him in a 2016 run-off election. Before leaving office, Darr sued the city over budgeting issues, arguing that the budget set by elected officials had hindered his ability to fulfill his constitutional duties. Tompkins dismissed the lawsuit after being elected to office.

Morris Communications announced the sale of the Savannah Morning News, ten other daily newspapers, and associated assets to GateHouse Media.

“With the announcement of a transition in ownership of the Savannah Morning News from the Morris family to Gatehouse Media, our mission to provide credible, accurate and timely local information remains the same,” said Michael Traynor, publisher of the Savannah Morning News. “In the more than 57 years since the Morris family purchased the Savannah newspaper, we have evolved into a diversified, multi-platform media company that includes print, digital, events and ticketing solutions. We are excited about the next chapter in our future with GateHouse Media and look forward to the many available opportunities to serve our readers and advertisers in new and compelling ways.”

“Since my father took a job as bookkeeper at The Chronicle in 1929, our family has been dedicated to journalism, and to the readers and advertisers in the communities we serve,” said William S. “Billy” Morris III, chairman of Morris Communications. “Although this has been a difficult decision for me, we have found a wonderful buyer for the newspapers in GateHouse, as they are strongly committed to providing good community coverage for readers and effective solutions for advertisers.”

Under terms of the sale, Michael Traynor will remain as publisher of the Savannah Morning News. Billy Morris will continue as publisher of The Augusta Chronicle and will oversee editorial-page policy for the three Morris newspapers in Georgia – The Chronicle, the Savannah Morning News and the Athens Banner-Herald. The Morris family will retain ownership of the Savannah Morning News building and property on Chatham Parkway where the Savannah Morning News will remain in what is now a multi-tenant facility.

GateHouse Media is a division of New Media Investment Group, a publicly traded company (NEWM) on the New York Stock Exchange. It is one of the largest newspaper companies in the country, owning more than 130 daily newspapers and more than 500 non-daily publications across the United States.

Daily papers included in the sale, in addition to the Savannah Morning News, are The Augusta Chronicle, the Athens Banner-Herald, The Florida Times-Union and The St. Augustine Record in Florida, the Amarillo Globe-News and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in Texas, The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, Conway (Ark.) Log Cabin Democrat, and the Juneau Empire and Kenai Peninsula Clarion in Alaska.

Non-daily publications included in the sale under the Savannah Morning News portfolio include Bluffton (S.C.) Today, the Jasper County (S.C.) Sun Times, La Voz Latina, the Tell-N-Sell Shopper, BiS (Business in Savannah), Effingham (Ga.) Now, Bryan County (Ga.) Now and Beaufort (S.C.) Today.

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree asked Augusta Commissioners for pay raises for his department.

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree is pushing for across-the-board pay increases for his department that would likely require a tax hike next year, city officials said Tuesday.

Roundtree pitched his budget request at an Augusta Commission meeting as city officials begin the 2018 budgeting process. He told commissioners the need is greater in the Sheriff’s Office than other city departments because starting salaries for his deputies are among the region’s lowest while call volume is highest.

“How many other agencies have one of these hanging in their lobby,” or have to plan and train for funerals, Roundtree said, pointing commissioners to memorial images of officers killed in the line of duty. “How many agencies in this government garner this type of community support?”

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle mentioned that city officials are completing a comprehensive study of all city salaries, which would require funds to implement, but said he is “not opposed” to the sheriff’s request. Guilfoyle asked City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson for a source of funds.

“I’m not sure how you do it without a tax increase,” Jackson said.

Commissioner Bill Fennoy asked Roundtree if the Sheriff’s Ooffice would grow community support for a tax increase. Roundtree said he was “more than happy to openly ask the public for their support.”

Augusta millage rates are subject to a decades-old cap that has only about three-quarters of a mill, currently about $5 million, before it reaches the cap, officials said.

Friction with elected officials led Wayne Stradley to resign from the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Citizens Advisory Committee.

Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller told Stradley before the meeting he believed Stradley had overstepped his bounds to the extent that he should resign from the Citizens Advisory Committee, and if he didn’t, Miller would ask Hall County Commissioner Billy Powell to replace him.

Stradley is Powell’s appointee on the committee, which works to give citizen input to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, the local area’s lead transportation planning agency.

[I]n emails, Stradley said there’s an issue of autonomy.

“Either the CAC is a ‘citizen’ committee, representing the citizens, or not,” he said.

“I think the CAC should be autonomous and able to form subcommittees as long as they know the purpose, the members and (have) a deadline.”

Lawrenceville City Council voted to adopt a $182 million dollar budget for FY 2018.

The Port of Savannah‘s record cargo hauls are driving warehouse space shortages.

While not in agreement on the exact numbers, both Colliers International and Cushman &Wakefield – two major global commercial real estate companies — concur that the Savannah area industrial vacancy rate is too low for comfort.

Both companies released their mid-2017 industrial market reports last week, with indications that the demand for space around the ports is not slowing. If anything, it’s putting increased pressure on the market.

According to Colliers, total industrial inventory for the Savannah market at the end of June was 50.9 million square feet, with 5.2 million square feet under construction and only 999,000 square feet vacant.

“The industrial vacancy rate dropped to 1.96 percent in the last quarter, reminiscent of the all-time low of 1.93 percent recent this time last year,” said David Sink, a principal in Colliers’ Savannah office.

Campaigns and Elections

Former Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck announced he will run for Insurance Commissioner next year.

Jim Beck, successful businessman, entrepreneur, and a former Deputy Commissioner, announced his candidacy for Georgia’s Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.

Georgia families deserve bold, experienced, and innovative leadership in the Insurance Commissioner’s office. Jim Beck’s incredible insight into the workings of the insurance business, gained through over 30 years of experience on the front lines, guides his vision for comprehensive change in the insurance department. As Commissioner, Jim Beck’s single focus will be advocating for and protecting Georgians. In making the announcement Beck said, “Dramatic insurance rate increases have left many Georgia families struggling to pay premiums for even the most basic protection. Simply put, the family budget has taken an unprecedented beating. While the job of Insurance Commissioner is very technical in nature and generally there is a long learning curve, I can say with absolute confidence that I will be a “Day One” Commissioner. I know how to effectively serve as the consumer’s champion, while capitalizing on untapped opportunities to improve the insurance marketplace and hold companies more accountable. I will fight for your right to be treated fairly and I would be honored to earn your vote and support to be the next Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner for our great State. “

Lawrenceville City Council member Rey Martinez will resign to run for Mayor in an open seat election this November.

Martinez’s council seat, like the mayor’s seat, was already scheduled to be on the ballot in November — since his term ends in December —before he announced his plans to run for mayor .

Martinez is in his second term on the City Council, serving on the city’s public safety, planning and development and transportation committees. He is also a retired Navy veteran, having spent 25 years in the military, including three deployments during Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom.

He has served on the City Council since 2010 and is also a member of American Legion Post 233, the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity and president of the Loganville Lyon’s Club.

He was also the chairman of Georgia Hispanics for Trump during last year’s presidential election.

Former State Senator Dan Moody has endorsed Matt Reeves for the Senate District 48 seat being vacated by David Shafer, who is running for Lieutenant Governor.

Joe Musselwhite will join the growing field of candidates for Mayor of Warner Robins.

Joe Musselwhite, a former Warner Robins public works director, formally announced his candidacy for mayor Tuesday.

Musselwhite, 64, ran for mayor in 2013 in a field of six candidates. He landed in a runoff with Randy Toms, but he lost by nearly a 2-1 margin.

I have a clear vision for our city’s government, and I have many innovative ideas to share as the election process continues,” he said.

He is the first candidate to formally announce that he is opposing Toms, who has said he plans to run for re-election.

Councilman Chuck Shaheen said during a debate Monday on whether to establish a city administrator that he also plans to run for mayor, but he declined to confirm that intention afterward.

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