Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 6, 2017

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 6, 2017

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England for a voyage to America on September 6, 1620.

President William McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901. He is buried in Canton, Ohio, not far from the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

Alonzo Herndon founded the Atlanta Life Insurance Company on September 6, 1905, one of Georgia’s great success stories.

The first supermarket, a Piggly Wiggly, opened on September 6, 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee.

On September 6, 1941, Margaret Mitchell christened the cruiser USS Atlanta – Atlanta would later sink after being hit by 50 shells and a torpedo during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The Summerhill Race Riot broke out in Atlanta on September 6, 1966.

Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter returned to the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia, on September 6, 1976 to kick off the final phase of his presidential campaign.

On September 6, 2014, USS John Warner (SSN-785), a mighty Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine, was christened at Newport News Shipbuilding. Big John calls Naval Station Norfolk its homeport. USS John Warner was commissioned on August 1, 2015 at Norfolk Naval Station.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued yet another Writ of Election, scheduling a November 7, 2017 Special Election in State House District 42, to fill the vacancy caused by Stacey Evans, who resigned in order to run for Governor.

“Citizen Newt,” an authorized biography of the former U.S. House Speaker, was released last week.

An authorized biography spanning two decades from the 1970s to the 1990s, “Citizen Newt: The Making of a Reagan Conservative” explores how Newt Gingrich, a twice-failed nominee to Georgia’s sixth district of the House of Representatives, rose in influence in American politics, becoming one of the most significant conservative politicians.

When Newt Gingrich became a representative of Georgia’s sixth district in 1979 – the first Republican to ever be elected there – he came on a platform of cleaning up the corruption reeking the political world. In doing so, with concurrence with fellow outsider Reagan, Gingrich rose to popularity, winning the next nine congressional elections.

In the span of 20 years, Gingrich went from outsider to Minority Whip, to coauthoring the Contract with America in 1994, a promise to the nation among the Republican Party congressmen.

“Newt’s influence on American politics has not waned over the decades,” [author Craig] Shirley said.  “He was instrumental both as an adviser to Donald Trump in 2016 and continues to define the political landscape through his books, op-eds, videos and media appearances.  Very few have been as successful.”

Cherokee County School District Superintendent Brian Hightower sent a message that employees should refrain from sharing political views after a teacher was seen upbraiding students for wearing “Make America Great Again” t-shirts.

Brian Hightower reminded those who make up Cherokee County’s largest employer what their responsibilities are with regard to political activity. Hightower said activities employees are not allowed to take part in include, but aren’t limited to, sharing their personal political opinions with students during performance of their job duties and responsibilities.

This particular note comes just days after a math teacher at River Ridge High School in Woodstock expressed her personal opinions about President Trump and his Make America Great Again campaign slogan. The teacher on Aug. 31 incorrectly told two students that their T-shirts adorned with the slogan were not allowed in her classroom, the district said.

Along with federal laws, state legislators further restricted political activity by public agencies, including school districts, with the passage of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act. This bars entities or individuals, acting on behalf of an agency, from directly or indirectly making any contribution to a campaign committee, political action committee, candidate or political organization.

Hightower notes the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission — formerly known as the State Ethics Commission — interprets this rule as also outlawing the use of school or district expenditures toward promoting a candidate or referendum. Expenditures, according to the law, can also include an employee’s time, school facilities and an employee taking political action in any official capacity.

“The First Amendment absolutely guarantees each individual the right to engage in political speech,” Hightower added Tuesday. “However, employees may never express personal political views or campaign during school hours or in their capacity as an employee after hours.”

State Rep. Scott Hilton, (R-Peachtree Corners) will attend the 2017 Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills, Oct. 14-18 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Student Leadership Johns Creek will host a debate for candidates for Johns Creek Mayor and City Council.

Student Leadership Johns Creek will host a candidate debate from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18 at Chattahoochee High School. The Student Leadership Johns Creek Secretary of State Ambassadors are organizing the debate, which will be coordinated solely by students. The ambassadors are made up of nine students who work with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office to encourage citizens to get involved in local politics.

Muscogee County School Board held two meetings on the property tax millage rate and no citizens spoke on the issue.

After keeping the millage rate at 23.37 for 21 straight years, the nine-member board voted 5-1 Aug. 25 to tentatively adopt the rollback rate of 23.321 – amounting to a decrease of $250,204 in the local revenue the Muscogee County School District could receive but actually being an increase of approximately $4.9 million in revenue because of the Columbus Consolidated Government’s controversial revaluations, which have increased tax assessments on some parcels by as much as tenfold.

The school board’s tentative rollback of the millage rate translates to a savings of $1.79 on the property tax bill for the owner of a parcel with a homestead exemption and a fair market value of $125,000 and a savings of $3.43 for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $175,000.

Renaming Savannah’s Talmadge Bridge drew 300 citizens to a forum.

City council members; Mayor Eddie DeLoach; Sen. Lester Jackson III, D-Savannah; and many prominent local grassroots coordinators were among those in attendance.

The event was piloted by Span the Gap, an association of local artists and community activists, which partnered with the Beach Institute to schedule the public forum.

The discussion was led by former Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson.

The bridge was named after former Gov. Eugene Talmadge, who held office from 1933 to 1946. Residents have advocated for years to rename the bridge into Savannah because of his staunch support of segregation and white supremacist views. A bid by the previous City Council to get the state Legislature to change the name failed to get support of state lawmakers to pass after strong opposition from some of Talmadge’s descendants.

Effingham County Commissioner Reggie Loper will serve as Chair of the Coastal Regional Commission, which comprises ten counties and 35 cities.

It provides local and regional comprehensive planning services as well as specialized planning services in transportation, water resources and historic preservation. The CRC also helps with grant information and funding opportunities.

It also provides Geographic Information Services and Information Technology Services to local governments. And it manages transportation services such as the Coastal Regional Coaches and the Regional Vanpool Program.

The CRC also serves as the Economic Development District for Coastal Georgia and the Area Agency on Aging.

The CRC is directed by a body of elected and appointed officials representing public and private sectors.

On a daily basis, CRC activities are managed by an executive director, Allen Burns, and a strong staff, including program directors for Planning Services, Aging Services, Transportation and Finance, all of whom file a report to the CRC council at the monthly meeting.

Augusta elected officials will hold a barbecue to benefit Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Mayor Hardie Davis, the Augusta Commission and representatives from the Augusta Fire Department, Augusta Utilities and other city departments, in addition to the Richmond County tax commissioner,the clerk of Superior Court, the Marshal’s Office and other agencies and groups gathered Tuesday to announce the fundraiser, set for Friday at the Augusta Municipal Building.

Davis said the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross.

Pork and chicken plates will be available for a minimum $10 payment, starting at 11 a.m. Friday until supplies run out, in the Linda Beazley Community Room at the municipal building, 535 Telfair St.

“We’re going to have a good time, we’re going to raise some money and we’re going to support our brothers and sisters in Houston, Texas,” Fennoy said.

Dalton City Council voted 4-0 to table a resolution encouraging the Dalton Building Authority to issue $18.2 million in bonds backed by E-SPLOST proceeds.

Hall County‘s plan to remove three ambulances from rural areas and deploy them to more-densely populated parts of the county hit opposition in Gillsville.

A Georgia Court of Appeals panel will hear oral arguments in Gainesville on September 27, 2017.

Presiding Judge Christopher J. McFadden, Judge Elizabeth L. Branch and Judge Charles J. Bethel will hear arguments in the Commission Meeting Room on the second floor of the government center beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The oral arguments to be heard on Sept. 27 are open to the public.

“Hall County is honored to have been selected as the host for these proceedings,” Hall County Chief Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller said in a press statement.  “Our hope is that this serves as an opportunity for area students and citizens to learn more about the role the appellate courts play within our justice system.”

Gainesville City School Board will hold its final meeting on adopting a new property tax millage rate tonight.

The public hearing is set for 6 p.m. at the school district office located at 508 Oak St. in Gainesville. The board has scheduled the called meeting/work session at 6:30 p.m. where a final vote on the tax rate is on the agenda.

By a 3-2 vote last month, the school board approved a tentative tax rate of 6.85 mills for the 2018 fiscal year. The millage rate equals $1 of taxes on every $1,000 of taxable value.

Despite remaining the same, the tentative tax rate would still mean a tax increase for 4,908 properties subject to school taxes, according to Steve Watson, chief appraiser for the Hall County Board of Assessors.

The 6 p.m. public hearing is the third of three required hearings since the tentative tax rate is more than the full rollback rate. The rollback rate is computed as the tax rate that would produce the same total revenue as the previous year had there not been a reassessment. Only two people attended the two hearings last week.

MARTA CEO Keith Parker is stepping down to accept a job with Goodwill Industries of North Georgia.

Led by chairman Robbie Ashe, MARTA’s board will vote to approve an interim general manager in an upcoming session and will launch a national search for a permanent chief executive.

“We are deeply grateful for his stewardship and proud of the many strides we made as an agency during his tenure, Ashe said in a news release. “As chief executive, Parker helped to usher in a new day for MARTA’s customer service, fiscal responsibility, and service expansion. He leaves MARTA stronger and healthier than ever before.”

DACA

From Senator Johnny Isakson:

“Children who received status under President Obama’s deferred action executive order should not be punished for their parents’ choices. Congress should protect these young people while also working toward stronger measures to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws going forward.”

From Senator David Perdue:

“President Obama acted outside of his constitutional authority when he unilaterally changed our immigration laws through executive order. It is clear President Trump and Attorney General Sessions are committed to tackling the problems with our broken immigration system. Moving forward, it is imperative that any immigration proposals considered by Congress protect the interests of working Americans, including immigrants. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past with a comprehensive immigration bill that does not work. The RAISE Act’s changes to our legal immigration system should be part of the solution. I will continue working with Senator Cotton and my colleagues to advance this merit-based system that is pro-worker, pro-growth, and proven to work.”

From Congressman Rick Allen (R-Augusta):

“It is the job of Congress to write our laws, and President Obama’s DACA program was a clear example of executive overreach. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to find a feasible permanent solution. I thank President Trump for keeping his promise to the American people to work with Congress on meaningful immigration reform.”

From Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville)

“Americans have always been champions of legal immigration and the rule of law. President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memo demonstrates his understanding of the law, to which we are all bound. Unfortunately, the previous administration disregarded the law in a 2012 decision that remains unconstitutional.”

“Because the Department of Homeland Security under the previous administration circumvented the legislative process and ignored the law, it saddled undocumented young people with ambiguity regarding their immigration status. At the same time, the decision undermined the role of Congress in making laws that uphold the Constitution and promote the security of Americans.”

“The president is thoughtfully correcting the error he inherited, recognizing that our strong commitment to the rule of law serves both America and her neighbors. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the Trump Administration to bring needed reform to the immigration system while continuing our nation’s legacy of upholding the law and the separation of powers.”

From Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler)

“President Trump made the right move today by ending this unconstitutional and illegal amnesty program. President Obama should have never implemented this program which he himself said he did not have the authority to do. Now, President Trump has called on Congress to act.”

“We are a nation of laws and we must enforce our immigration laws. This is one way we uphold our greatest responsibility of providing for the common defense. It is in the best interest of the citizens of the United States and our homeland security that we ensure that all those wishing to come and stay in our nation not only contribute in a positive way to our American society, but also come here in the proper and legal way. Amnesty should never be the answer. As Congress moves forward with responsible immigration reform, I will work to ensure any actions are made in the best interest of American families, tax payers, and those seeking to come to America through proper, legal channels.”

From Congressman Rob Woodall (R-Gwinnett)

“Laws can only be made by the President and the Congress working together. That is what the Constitution requires. President Obama’s ‘go it alone’ approach was always going to end with the anxiety that DACA participants are experiencing today, and I applaud President Trump for committing to work with Congress on real, permanent solutions.”

From Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville)

“Congress must secure our borders, overhaul the convoluted immigration system, and effectively enforce the laws. Tweaks by Congress, and executive orders by various administrations, have created an immigration policy that favors illegal immigration and punishes those who want to legally come here to work. President Barack Obama’s executive order was outside the constitutional authority of the executive branch, and I agree with President Trump’s decision to reverse the order and call on Congress to fundamentally reform our immigration policy.”

Elections

Bruce McPherson announced he will run against incumbent Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-Albany).

Bruce McPherson, 33, entered the race Wednesday to represent the sprawling southwest Georgia district with a vow to focus on economic development and steer clear of culture-wars that could jeopardize his chances in the left-leaning district.

“I have moral stances on social issues and I’m not afraid to share those, but I’m not going to be leading the fight to make huge sweeping changes,” he said. “The message we need is an economic one. We need to focus on changing the business environment, pushing tax reform and rolling back Obamacare.”

McPherson said his background brings a different sort of appeal. After graduating from the University of Georgia, he served 10 years in the military, first in the U.S. Army infantry and later as a special forces officer. He completed two deployments in Afghanistan and now serves as a major in the Army Reserves.

“When it comes to leadership and character, there is no place that forges that better than the front lines in combat,” said McPherson.

Republican Charlie Fiveash announced he will run for Senate District 6, which is being vacated by Sen. Hunter Hill. From a press release:

Conservative Atlanta businessman Charlie Fiveash announced today that he’ll run as a Republican candidate in the special election to succeed Hunter Hill in state Senate District 6.

“I am a businessman and a political outsider, and I’m running because I believe that’s the type of experience and leadership we need for ideas that will bring greater prosperity to Georgia families,” Fiveash said. “I have lived in this district for 28 years, and my wife and I raised our family here. Our community needs excellent schools, greater access to our flagship universities like UGA and Georgia Tech and a business environment that attracts high-paying jobs.

“As a conservative businessman, I will fight for lower taxes and less regulation, while insisting that the transportation tax dollars we send to the state come back to this district to address our significant congestion issues. Mobility is critical not only for attracting high-paying jobs but also for the quality of life for the people who live in this north metro district.”

With 30 years of experience in the commercial real estate, Fiveash is a partner at Lavista Associates. The University of Georgia graduate is the incoming president of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks. He is active in his community as a youth sports coach, Sunday school teacher and neighborhood association board member. He and wife Lang live in Atlanta and have three children, with two in college and the youngest a sophomore at North Atlanta High School. They attend Northside Methodist Church.

“We have a short-term election that will have long-term implications,” Fiveash said. “I’m going to work every day to communicate with voters about my conservative vision for Georgia and to earn their support. I’ve always sought ways to serve my neighbors, and I think that’s the kind of outsider we need representing us in the General Assembly.”

Smyrna City Council member Teri Anulewicz announced she will run in the Special Election for House District 42.

Evans officially resigned her seat in the Legislature on Tuesday as part of her 2018 gubernatorial run.

“Stacey has done an incredible job representing House District 42 down at the Legislature,” Anulewicz said. “She leaves big shoes to fill, but I really feel like I can build on the work that I have done in the city of Smyrna for the last 10 years to represent with respect and responsibility and look out for the integrity of families, businesses and all stakeholders in House District 42.”

Anulewicz said her resignation is coming with short notice because she wants the city to be able to put the election for her replacement on the same Nov. 7 ballot voters will use to elect Evans’ replacement, thereby sparing the city the expense of holding two special elections.

“It’s a little bit of a faster timeline than I wanted, but I think it’s important that this election be on the Nov. 7 ballot,” she said. “I don’t want to add any costs.”

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