Sen. Johnny Isakson: Proud to Announce 30 Georgia Student Appointees to U.S. Military Academies for 2014

Your Washington Desk

From Senator Johnny Isakson:

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today proudly announced that 30 high school seniors from across Georgia whom he had nominated to the United States military academies have received appointments to the prestigious schools.

“Each year, I have the honor of nominating outstanding young Georgians to attend our country’s fine military academies,” said Isakson. “Our appointees will make us proud as they always have.” 

Members of Congress are tasked with nominating students to attend our nation’s military academies annually. Those nominees who are accepted into the academies are awarded full four-year scholarships that include tuition, books, board, medical and dental care.

Isakson will hold a congratulatory reception for nominees and their families on June 1, 2014.

The Isakson nominees who have been accepted by the academies (listed with their hometowns) are: Continue reading

GA 10 – Jody Hice Congress: Signs Death Tax Repeal Pledge

Your Washington – GA 10 – Desk

From Jody Hice Congress:

Jody Hice  DEath Tax

Jody Hice Signs the Death Tax Repeal Pledge

“I want to permanently abolish the death tax. When a loved one passes, the last thing family members should be worried about is how to pay the IRS. Continue reading

Gov. Nathan Deal: Named Governor of the Year

Your Georgia Desk

From Governor Nathan Deal:

Deal - Gov Year

Deal named Governor of the Year

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals honors leader in reform movement

 The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) today named Gov. Nathan Deal the 2014 Governor of the Year at its 20th annual training conference. The organization is comprised of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, probation officers, treatment providers, social workers and other court personnel.

“I’m humbled by this award and honored to accept it on behalf of all those who work relentlessly on enhancing our state’s justice systems,” Deal said. “I’m deeply grateful to those who’ve endeavored to create a safer Georgia with a more effective approach to corrections. Continue reading

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 29, 2014

Some folks struggle with seeing these dogs everyday because their home circumstances don’t allow them to save a life. Today, we’re featuring three dogs from Clayton County Animal Control especially for those readers. Each has a rescue group that is willing and able to save their life, they just need a few dollars to pay for vetting. Please join me in making an online donation today in lieu of a fancy coffee or a midafternoon snack.Hallie

Hallie is a beautiful female Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Clayton County Animal Control, where tomorrow is euthanasia day and Hallie is on the list. A rescue group is interested in saving her, but they need funds to help cover her vetting. Click here to pitch in — $180 saves this beauty’s life today. Your contribution of $20, $10, or even $2 can be part of another “happily ever after” for Hallie and her eventual family.


Belushi is a nine-month old mixed male who also has rescue interest but needs money to survive this week at Clayton County Animal Shelter. He’s terrified at the shelter and needs rescue immediately.


Apple is a beautiful female Shepherd or maybe Spaniel mix who needs funds to pay for her vetting so a rescue can save her today. She’s nearly halfway to her $350 goal with $160 donated today. Click here to help her out.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 29, 2014

On May 29, 1836, the United States Senate ratified the Treaty of New Echota, which required the movement of all Cherokee out of Georgia and led to the “Trail of Tears.”

On May 29, 1942, Adolf Hitler ordered all Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris to wear a yellow Star of David on their coats.

On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, became the first to summit Mount Everest.

On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.

News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition’s base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.

The lone surviving member of the Hillary-Norgay expedition tells his story of the assault on Everest.

In 1953, Kanchha Sherpa was just a young boy and had little idea that he would be part of history.

“I didn´t know much,” says Kanchha, now the lone survivor of the first successful expedition to the Mount Everest. “What I knew was I was on a very risky journey.”

Until then, no human being had ever set foot on the Everest. Edmund Hillary was on a risky mission to achieve that unprecedented feat. He was backed by a group of 16 Sherpas from Darjeeling, India. And Tenzing Norge was the leader of the Sherpas.

“Tenzing was a friend of my father,” says Kanchha, now 83. “So, he took me on his expedition. He treated me like his son. So did Hillary.”

The Biggest ‘Oops!’ Ever?

Last night I was on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “On the Story,” with Jim Galloway, Virginia “no relation” Galloway, Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson, and hosts Bill Nigut and Bobbie Battista. The opening segment was from Claire Simms with this bombshell — Georgia Carry is prepared to argue that legislation passed and signed this year struck the prohibition on carrying concealed weapons on school campuses, perhaps as an unintended consequence.

Starting July 1, licensed gun owners may be able to bring their firearms onto school and college campuses in Georgia, even though the “campus carry” provision was stripped from a controversial bill that will allow guns in many churches, bars and government buildings.

That’s because a separate piece of legislation may have snuck under the radar and paved the way for campus carry after lawmakers removed it from the so-called “guns everywhere” bill (House Bill 60).

The lesser-known bill, House Bill 826 sponsored by Representative Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) is aimed at doing away with “zero tolerance” policies on school campuses. Under current Georgia law, schools are required to expel and report to police any student who brings a weapon on campus whether it be a handgun, a fishing knife or any “hazardous object” in between.

But Setzler’s legislation was designed to give school administrators, superintendents and school boards the flexibility to determine a student’s punishment on a case-by-case basis.

The bill did much more than that though. Under current law, permit holders are only exempt when dropping off or picking up a student from school. Under the new law, which goes into effect July 1, lawmakers struck the language pertaining to drop-offs and pickups from the bill. As a result, licensed gun owners are exempt from any of the provisions of the bill when in a school safety zone or on a school bus. And some say that means permit holders can carry their firearms onto school property, including college campuses, at any time starting in July.

The relevant section of the bill reads:

(c) The provisions of this Code section [prohibiting guns in school safety zones] shall not apply to:

(6) A person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10, when such person carries or picks up a student at a school building, school function, or school property when he or she is within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the a school or a person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10 when he or she has any weapon firearm legally kept within a vehicle when such vehicle is parked at such school property within a school safety zone or is in transit through a designated school safety zone;

While this story has been out there for several weeks, I had missed it, and so did much of the media and Georgia’s elected officials.

Here’s WSB’s story on the issue from May 1, 2014:

Advocates say a loophole in a state law will give them the right to carry guns on college campuses in July.

Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston went to Kennesaw State University on Thursday for reaction. Gun advocates say when the school’s new football program starts in 2015, people will have the right to bring their licensed gun to the game.

“I think it’s wonderful, I’ve been fighting for this for years,” said Luke Crawford, president of KSU’s students for concealed carry.

He and other gun advocates like Georgia Carry say  the loophole in House Bill 826 now allows licensed gun owners to carry weapons on any real property or building owned by or leased to any school or post-secondary institution.

If you’re keeping political score at home, it’s worth noting that Jason Carter did not cast a vote on this bill.

For an issue that has consumed so much of the legislature’s time and effort over the last couple of sessions, this points out a major flaw in the General Assembly’s process that something so consequential could slip by without anyone appearing to notice. didn’t take a position on the bill during the Session, as far as I can tell.

Politically, the problem is that there’s no good answer to this. Either it was snuck through the legislature, which I find highly improbably, or it was a blunder. Neither answer is okay.

Campaigns and Elections

Here’s a video of the entire press conference yesterday in which Karen Handel endorsed Jack Kingston in the Republican primary runoff election for United States Senate.

Here’s what Walter Jones of Morris News took away from the presser:

Handel, who came in third behind Kingston and frontrunner David Perdue, said she didn’t know Kingston well before the campaign, but had grown to admire him for his integrity and fighting spirit. Plus, she was impressed that the First District he has represented for 22 years in Congress turned out heavily to give him 74 percent of the May 20 vote ‑ a margin most observers say cost Handel a spot in the Republican runoff for Senate.

“That is one outstanding job-approval rating,” she said.

The former Georgia secretary of state laughed off critical comments she made about Kingston during the primary about being ineffective. Instead, she said it was more important that he had the political experience to start working the moment he is elected and that he is best able to deny Nunn the Senate seat.

Kingston told reporters he doesn’t have a defined role for Handel in his campaign, but that he wanted to tap her connections in north Georgia and gain tactical advice.

“The best thing in the world for Harry Reid, Michelle Nunn and Nancy Pelosi would be a divided conservative family,” Kingston said. “Karen and I aren’t going to let that happen.”

Greg Bluestein of the AJC covers Handel’s discussion of women and the Georgia Republican Party:

Not a single female Republican running for higher office advanced to a runoff last week. Karen Handel, one of those candidates stymied at the polls, hopes she can help another contender appeal to women.

At her formal endorsement of Rep. Jack Kingston’s Senate bid on Wednesday, she noted the GOP drought but said she could help the Savannah Republican counter Democrat Michelle Nunn’s message. Handel picked Kingston over businessman David Perdue in the July 22 runoff.

“Women will look at who Jack surrounds himself with,” she said, adding: “I’m confident that Jack and I will be able to work together and ensure that as U.S. senator he will have women in key roles and be a supporter of women in key races.”

The lack of top-ticket Republican candidates is a concern for the GOP. None of the female Republicans running for superintendent made the runoff. Ditto for Tricia Pridemore, Vivian Childs and Donna Sheldon, contenders for U.S. House seats. Handel, the former Georgia Secretary of State, finished in third place in her Senate bid.

Jim Galloway, also with the AJC provides this analysis, one of the best I’ve read on the 2014 Senate race:

Post-election endorsements are always awkward affairs in which the losing candidate must find a way to retract all the nasty things uttered about one’s new BFF.

Possibly, somewhere in ancient history or a few weeks ago, Handel did condemn Kingston and two other members of Congress in the race as ineffective lumps of inside-the-Beltway clay.

But on Wednesday, the former secretary of state said her doubts about Kingston’s lengthy D.C. resume were pushed aside by 74 percent of Republican voters in the Savannah congressman’s First District – who voted for their man, and knocked Handel out of the race.

“An extraordinarily positive job performance rating,” Handel declared.

So what’s all this about?

In fact, you are witnessing one of the more admirable maneuvers of the 2014 campaign. Elsewhere in the nation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and tea party forces in open war.

The Kingston campaign is attempting to knit the two enemies together. Handel and her followers represent a good chunk of the tea party movement in Georgia. The U.S. Chamber has already endorsed Kingston over Perdue, who on the surface might seem the more natural fit.

GOP runoffs have traditionally been low-turnout affairs populated by hardcore, dues-paying activists. Kingston noted that he and Handel are both members of that club.

“She and I came up through the precinct level as Republicans. We have stuffed envelopes. We have made phone calls. We have put up yard signs,” Kingston said. “We have voted in Republican primaries and have been in the Republican trenches for many years.”

I highly recommend reading Galloway’s piece in its entirety.

And from Associated Press writer Bill Barrow, a more nationally-oriented view of the Handel-Kingston endorsement.

For all the wrangling between the tea party and establishment conservatives in this midterm election year, key players from both sides are closing ranks behind one candidate in Georgia’s Republican Senate primary runoff.

Kingston’s endorsement list puts the chamber – which has promised to spend lavishly to quash the tea party influence in the 2014 midterms – alongside several notable conservatives who’ve switched their allegiances from Handel. They include national Tea Party Express leader Julianne Thompson and editor Erick Erickson, both Georgia residents. Kingston already had an endorsement from Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

In the Senate, that could force Kingston into a tight spot on certain issues. The chamber supported a Democratic-led overhaul of immigration law and a bipartisan deal to reopen government last fall and raise the nation’s borrowing limit. In the House, Kingston sided with tea party interests in opposing both efforts.

At my other job with, I covered yet another piece of the puzzle.

A couple weeks ago, on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s On the Story, I mentioned after the GOP Senate debate that the brilliance of Perdue’s anti-Washington and anti-Insider strategy was that it allowed him to frame criticism from any of the other major candidates as more of the same Washington politics, both deflecting the critique and reasserting his campaign theme.

But the other side of that sword cuts too – perhaps most sharply when Perdue crowed on election night of having retired “three career politicians,” – by giving Kingston, Handel, and the others more common ground once the field was winnowed.

In the coming days, I would be surprised if Rep. Phil Gingrey doesn’t also endorse Kingston. This will be valuable as Gingrey’s home district hosts a contentious runoff between former Congressman Bob Barr and charter member of the state legislature’s Tinfoil Hat Caucus Barry Loudermilk.

I failed to note yesterday that I have previously done work for the Barr campaign in the 11th District in voter analytics, an inadvertant omission for which I apologize, though I have noted that fact on previous occasions, including several of the morning emails.

Bowman seeks vote recount this week | Henry Daily Herald

Election and Registration Director Janet Shellnutt said one card did not get uploaded Tuesday night because a technician missed a voting machine, and there were also six people who voted in the wrong district.

“That’s why the election report is unofficial or incomplete because we knew the next morning that something wasn’t right, but we couldn’t run them again until that Friday,” Shellnutt said.

Shellnutt said the elections department does give people the opportunity to vote in different districts, but they would vote on a paper ballot and only the state races would be valid.

“Yes, we had six people that voted in the third (district) on a paper ballot that should have voted in District Four, but those people, and I don’t mean to be ugly, at some point you need to be responsible for themselves and check out where you’re supposed to be voting and not wait until 10 (minutes) to 7 p.m,” she said.

The final vote tally separating incumbent Reid Bowman from contender Blake Prince was by only two votes instead of the originally reported 21 vote margin.

It was originally determined Prince, who had 50.47 percent of the vote with 1,120 votes, defeated Bowman by less than a percentage point. Bowman had 1,099 votes with 49.53 percent.

However after the unofficial results were certified Friday, it was determined Bowman had 1,125 votes while Prince had 1,127 votes.

“In order to protect the integrity of the voting system, I have respectfully asked for a recount,” Bowman said in a statement on his election page. “As I have stated before, God does not make any mistakes. However, with that being said, people do. Example 21 votes to 2 votes.”

via Bowman seeks vote recount this week | Henry Daily Herald.

Runoff will decide 384-vote tie in Harris County commissioner’s race | Local News | Columbus Ledger Enquirer

Harris County Commissioner James R. Woods and challenger Andrew M. Sivell will battle for the District 2 seat in a July 22 runoff after Tuesday’s election ended in a 384-vote tie, an official said Friday.

With a close vote margin in the Republican primary, both candidates could have requested a recount but no one asked for one. The candidates also rejected the coin flip to decide the contest, Jarrett said.

A runoff also will decide the Harris County Board of Education race between incumbent Timothy Edgar and Morgan Marlowe in District 2. Edgar collected 420 or 47.5 percent of the vote but not enough to avoid a runoff with Marlowe who recorded 335 or 38 percent of the votes.

Jarrett said Tuesday’s election was certified for all the races, including the tied race.

Turnout for the election was low. In a county with 19,054 registered voters, only about 18 percent cast ballots in the election.

via Runoff will decide 384-vote tie in Harris County commissioner’s race | Local News | Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 28, 2014


Gladys is a 4-year old female English Spring Spaniel who is sweet, well-behaved, housetrained and crate trained. She is settling in nicely with her foster family, learning basic commands and her new name, and enjoying playtime in the yard and family cuddle time on the couch. She is mostly ignoring her canine and feline siblings, though it is tempting to chase those cats if they run. After a trip to the vet, we also found out that she has probably raised some puppies in her past life. That won’t be happening again as she is now spayed.

Gladys is not your typical Velcro Springer. While she likes and welcomes attention, she tends to hang back and take it all in. Gladys is a little shy around new people at first, but when it’s clear they’re friendly, she warms right up and gives kisses. If she’s nervous or stressed, she takes refuge in an out-of-the way corner until things quiet down.

We think this pretty lady would fit right in with almost any family. She is currently living with pre-teen children and enjoying their company. She hasn’t been interested in playing with the resident dogs, so she would probably be fine as an only dog or with another friendly dog. She does best crated when family members are away, and she likes to have a window perch to watch the outdoor action.

Gladys is available for adoption from English Springer Rescue America in Atlanta.


Pip (1) is a 4-month old female hound mix who is up to date on shots and already fixed so she can go home the day you adopt me. Pip love dogs of all shapes and sizes but is unsure about cats and I have no intentions on hurting them. Pip is in the process of potty and crate training but she’s just a puppy so will need some patience. Pip is available for adoption from BARC Humane Society in Valdosta, Ga.


Pip (2) is a two-and-a-half year old Siberian Husky & German Shepherd mix who weighs about 70 pounds.

Pip has turned into a very handsome and big boy. He is very well taken care off and very easy going and sweet. He is used to going to the dog park, social with other dogs and playful. Good around children. NO idea about cats

Pip would make a great family companion no doubt. Pip is available for adoption from STARS Save The Animals Rescue Society of Georgia in Statesboro, Ga.