Gov. Nathan Deal: State Awarded $6.75 Million to Support Re-entry Services

Your Georgia Desk

From Governor Nathan Deal

Deal Leadership

Deal: State awarded $6.75 million to support re-entry services

Grant money to assist Georgia re-entry programs, reducing recidivism and saving taxpayer dollars

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Georgia was awarded $6.75 million in federal grant money to support re-entry services for rehabilitated offenders. The grants were administered by the U.S. Department of Justice to the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry (GOTSR) and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

“Since taking office, I’ve emphasized and implemented meaningful changes to our criminal justice system because Georgia could simply not afford the ever-increasing costs of incarceration,” said Deal. “By putting common-sense back into the equation, we’ve reduced our state’s prison population and recidivism rates. These reforms are working, and being awarded these nationally competitive grants is a testament to the fact that people are taking notice.

“The final step toward a lasting criminal justice overhaul is successful re-entry into society. This grant money will aid Georgia’s efforts to remove barriers to employment, housing and education for rehabilitated offenders. (more…)

David Perdue: Obamacare Is Not Fixable

Your Washington Desk

From David Perdue – U.S. Senate 

Perdue Senate Logo

Perdue: Obamacare Is Not Fixable

 Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, David Perdue, today commented on the one-year anniversary of the rollout of Obamacare. The failed law continues to hurt Georgia families and businesses.

“Obamacare cannot be fixed. For too many Georgians, it has not been working over the past year and it will never work as promised. As long as Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Michelle Nunn continue their liberal agenda in Washington, Obamacare will continue to hurt Georgia families. This is much more than a failed website. This is about the need to protect Georgians from Obamacare’s disastrous effects on families, businesses, and our economy. (more…)

Rep. Rob Woodall: Receives Legislative Excellence Award from Manufacturers

Your Washington – GA 7 – Desk

From Congressman Rob Woodall


Rep. Rob Woodall Receives Legislative Excellence Award from Manufacturers

Today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recognized U.S. Representative Rob Woodall (GA 07) as a recipient of the Manufacturing Legislative Excellence Award for the 113th Congress.  The award is presented to Members of Congress demonstrating a strong commitment to policies that enable U.S. manufacturers to create jobs, compete in a global economy, and improve living standards for their employees.  Woodall received a 100% rating on the key votes tracked by the organization.

“We have a tremendous manufacturing community in the Seventh District, and they are leading the charge to grow American jobs and provide quality products for consumers,” said Representative Woodall.  “Their success ripples through the entire economy and the best thing Washington can do is provide stable, commonsense policies that partner with their efforts rather than work in opposition to them.”

With a large and robust manufacturing presence throughout the Seventh District, the region is also host to the annual GA Manufacturing Expo, which seeks to highlight local manufacturers and increase awareness of these hometown products among consumers. (more…)

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 1, 2014

Original Communist (O.C.) Karl Marx published Das Kapital on October 1, 1867.

Voters in the state of Washington adopted the state constitution on October 1, 1889.

The first World Series of baseball opened on October 1, 1903.

On October 1, 1908, Ford introduced the Model T.

Former President Jimmy Carter was born on October 1, 1924 at Wise Sanitarium in Plains, Georgia, the first American President to be born in a hospital.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Warm Springs, Georgia for the 21st time beginning on October 1, 1931.

In a Special Election October 1, 1940, Florence Gibbs became the first woman elected to Congress from Georgia, completing her late husband’s term and serving through January 3, 1941, but no standing for a full term of her own.

Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the Communist People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

The Carter Center in Atlanta was dedicated on October 1, 1986.

Mikhail Gorbachev named himself Chairman of the USSR’s Supreme Soviet on October 1, 1988.

President George H.W. Bush condemned Iraq’s takeover of Kuwait in a speech to the United Nations on October 1, 1990.

Georgia Politics in Brief

On October 8, the State of Georgia and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will sign an agreement to begin the deepening of the Savannah River channel.

The signing will allow the Corps to accept bids for the first contracts to be awarded under the $706 million project. The Corps’ Savannah District will announce two of those contracts this week.

Deal said the signing next week means the physical dredging of the Savannah River channel can finally begin.

“This expansion project is vitally important for economic development and job creation on a local and national level,” the governor said. “After years of regulatory purgatory, we will soon start moving dirt. I’m grateful to all involved for working tirelessly to see this project through to fruition.

“Next Wednesday will certainly be a great day for Georgia.”

And a day that has been a long time coming. Initially approved by Congress in 1999, the project’s 15-year path to a 47-foot river channel has been anything but smooth.

That’s timely news, as Toyota announced it will use the Port of Savannah to export automobile built in the United States to Australia and New Zealand.

“When researching a location for exports to Oceania, Toyota’s experience in Brunswick made a GPA facility an appealing option,” Akahoshi said. “The challenge was in bringing together the service profile — vessel schedules, processing, survey requirements and direct rail service.”

Toyota’s collaboration with GPA, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines, Vehicle Services Americas and Norfolk Southern took the move from concept to reality within an abbreviated time frame, Akahoshi said.

“We had great confidence that with the GPA as a partner, the project would get done.”

The Japanese automaker will move thousands of Highlanders a year from its Princeton, Ind., plant through Ocean Terminal, which is located on the river just west of the Talmadge Bridge.

The vehicles will arrive in Savannah by Norfolk Southern rail, where they will be staged at Ocean Terminal prior to export. The GPA recently completed paving an additional five acres at Ocean Terminal, bringing the total parking area for roll-on/roll-off cargo to 40 acres on the terminal.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is in Atlanta today, and can be seen at 1:30 at The Varsity supporting Attorney General Sam Olens in the upstairs breezeway. Before that, Romney will be at a closed fundraiser for Republican Senate candidate David Perdue. Some supporters (and detractors) of Romney are taking his busy political schedule as a sign he may be considering a run for President again in 2016.

Libertarian Amanda Swafford, the only candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia who has ever been elected or held public office, gets her close-up in a Time magazine profile of “the Woman Who Could Keep Control of the Senate Up for Grabs”.

There is a nightmare scenario that keeps most politicos working on both sides of the aisle up at night: after the midterm elections, and even through the anticipated Dec. 6 run off in Louisiana, control of the Senate likely won’t be decided until Jan. 6, the date a run-off in Georgia will take place, if any one candidate fails to muster 50% of the vote. It is this scenario that Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford, who regularly pulls 5% in most polls, relishes.

“In that situation, if we did force a runoff,” Swafford tells TIME, “I’d say that’s a clear mandate from people of Georgia for a small government and less involvement in people’s lives.”

As of the end of June, Swafford had raised $7,683 for her senatorial bid. The single 37-year-old has kept her day job as a paralegal as she has mounted her campaign. “It makes for a lot of late nights and early mornings,” she says, “but I believe electing someone to the Senate like me, who knows what it’s like to work a job, have a boss, and make ends meet on a regular budget, would bring a valuable perspective to the Senate.”

Swafford is pro-choice and for the legalization of marijuana. And, like most Libertarians, she’s deeply suspicious of President Obama’s engagement abroad, particularly in Syria and Iraq. “Last year, the President wanted to bomb Syria for their chemical weapons, now he’s asking for their help to defeat another enemy,” she says. (Obama hasn’t actually asked Syrian strongman Bashar Assad for help in defeating ISIS.)

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission is back in business, issuing fines to Columbia County Chairman Ron Cross and dismissing a complaint against Jason Carter.

The Augusta Chronicle editors write that Georgia voters should keep Mark Butler on the job as labor commissioner.

As labor commissioner, he has pledged himself to putting as many Georgians as possible back to work, opening several avenues for job-seekers to find work as soon as possible.

And that’s why Butler deserves your vote to remain Georgia’s labor commissioner.

Butler also formed a Regional Coordinator Program and a Business Service Unit that help identify pools of work talent statewide that businesses and industries can access for job recruitment.

He might even be the only labor commissioner in the country with his own SWAT detachment. The Special Workforce Assistance Team helps jobless Georgians better market themselves to potential employers.

Butler’s newest program, christened just this year, is Customized Recruitment, which offers specialized, streamlined job-seeking assistance for newly located businesses.

For all his laudatory work in helping others find jobs in this troubled economy, Butler deserves to keep his job in Atlanta.

I concur and will vote for Mark Butler. I heard him speak about his work at the Georgia Department of Labor at the Walton County GOP recently and his expertise in the subject matter and accomplishments in office are impressive.

Residents in the city of Gordon are asking a judge to hold their Mayor in contempt for allegedly violating the court order that reinstated her to office.

Two city councilmen and a group called the Concerned Citizens of Gordon filed a lawsuit early this year seeking Mayor Mary Ann Whipple-Lue’s removal from office. They alleged malfeasance and multiple violations of the state’s Open Meetings Act.

Whipple-Lue was suspended from office twice this summer, but she was reinstated in July on the condition that she abide by specific rules.

In the motion filed Tuesday in Wilkinson County Superior Court, the group alleges the mayor violated the order that reinstated her into office. Specifically, the group points out that Whipple-Lue sent City Attorney Joseph Boone a termination letter Sept. 25 that said “the city will take the next step and secure another city attorney.”

In the letter, Whipple-Lue told the longtime city attorney that although the city charter says the city’s lawyer serves at the City Council’s pleasure, two City Council members who took office with her haven’t voted for him to continue as city attorney.

Welcome to the Machine

Bill Barrow and Christina A. Cassidy of the Associated Press have a look inside the campaign machinery of a modern first-tier Democratic candidate. Via Macon Telegraph.

— Behind a nondescript storefront just outside Atlanta, Delores Washington makes telephone call after call in this Democratic stronghold using a list of potential voters handed to her by a young party staffer.

The retired high school principal doesn’t ask questions about the massive data collection behind the list compiled by expensive political consultants to predict and influence behavior at the polls.

But she knows what to do. “My job is to expand and get out that base,” Washington said. “That’s how we win.”

Democratic and Republican campaign committees from Washington have invested heavily in field offices here, with paid staffers and volunteers using national party voter databases that try to replicate turnout successes of President Barack Obama’s national campaigns. Both sides are pushing their identified supporters to vote early, and each camp agrees that it will take about 1.4 million votes to win in Georgia this year.

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 1, 2014


Laser is a one-year old Hound mix with a strikingly handsome coat who is available for adoption from the Sumter County Humane Society in Americus, Ga.


Lucie is a six-year old female Jack Russell Terrier who is available for adoption from the Sumter County Humane Society in Americus, Ga.


Cuba is a two-yeard old Boxer/Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Sumter County Humane Society in Americus, Ga.


Gov. Nathan Deal: Cartercare – Booming Costs, Few Benefits

Your Georgia Desk

From Governor Nathan Deal

Cartercare: Booming costs, few benefits

Recent federal reports show that Sen. Jason Carter’s plans for Medicaid expansion would far exceed the costs of President Obama’s plan while doing little to increase access to health care providers.

“Inadequate access to care and higher health care costs for taxpayers are the exact opposite of what President Obama and Democrats promised the program would do,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “Coverage does not equal access. Medicaid is a critical safety net for our most vulnerable patients and is in need of serious reforms. Rather than address these problems, however, Medicaid expansion doubles down on them.”

“Cartercare” would emulate the Arkansas model, the so-called “private option.” The federal Government Accountability Office recently issued a report showing that the Arkansas plan will cost $778 million more than traditional Medicaid over three years – a massive additional cost covered by taxpayers. (more…)

Newt Gingrich: Reflections on the Contract with America – 20 Years Later

Your Washington Desk
via Speaker Newt Gingrich
On Wednesday I had the privilege of meeting with S. Ganbaatar, a member of the Mongolian Parliament.
When he entered the room, Ganbaatar walked up excitedly to examine a framed document that has hung for years in my offices. The document is a list of commitments to the people, signed by dozens of candidates for public office who promised to vote on a specific policy agenda if they were elected to office. It’s framed alongside a picture of the candidates who signed and campaigned on it. Many of them went on to be elected in a historic vote that tossed out a party that had held power since the 1920s.
Ganbaatar was looking at a framed copy of the 1996 “Contract with the Mongolian Voter.” That contract was, as the Washington Post reported the next year, “the most widely distributed document in Mongolian history.” The Mongolian voters — with a 91% turnout — elected the democratic opposition, which four years earlier had held just six seats. With a program of “private property rights, a free press and the encouragement of foreign investment,” they defeated the Communist Party that had ruled since 1921.
Ganbaatar, who was elected to Parliament as an Independent in 2012 and is already one of his country’s most popular politicians, recounted emotionally how the Contract with the Voter was a watershed event in modern Mongolian history. The ideas in that document, he told me, “gave us our freedom.”
Mongolia’s peaceful, democratic transition of power from the communists to a republican government was one of the few hopeful stories to come out of the former Soviet states in the early years after the Cold War.
It was fitting, but only a coincidence, that Ganbaatar visited just a few days before the 20th anniversary of the Contract with America, the inspiration for Mongolia’s Contract with the Voters.
On September 27, 1994, more than 350 candidates for Congress gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to sign a pledge to the American people, a promise to vote on 10 key reforms if we won a majority in the House of Representatives. That campaign, which I helped organize, earned Republicans control of the House for the first time in 40 years.


Rep. Doug Collins: What’s #stuckinthesenate Now

Your Washington – GA 9 – Desk

From Congressman Doug Collins

What’s #stuckinthesenate now
Last week I told you about legislation I’ve offered to stop the threat of the Islamic State. I also told you that in the midst of meeting this challenge, the House had still been hard at work trying to meet your priorities.
There are now 387 bills passed by the House awaiting Senate action–Senate action of any kind. One of those is now H.R. 2, the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act. The cost of American energy doesn’t just affect what you pay at the pump, but it’s tied to more than 150,000 jobs in this country. It’s a logical place for job creation, and the House action to spur that industry deserves Senate attention as soon as possible.
The House also passed an economic growth package aimed at alleviating the pressure of regulations on smaller businesses.  One piece of that package was my legislation to keep the federal government accountable and open about the ways some regulations are enacted. The House Majority Leader has a great write-up about how these bills work here.
It’s my hope that we’ll see the Senate act soon. As always, you can let me know your views on this or any other issue.


GA Ports Authority: Toyota Chooses Savannah for Exports to Australia, New Zealand

Your Georgia Desk

From The Georgia Ports Authority 


Toyota chooses Savannah for exports to Australia, New Zealand

Ocean Terminal to move thousands of Highlanders every year

The Georgia Ports Authority has doubled its Toyota export business, as the company is now moving Highlander SUVs bound for Australia and New Zealand through the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal.
“The efficiency and world-class customer service at our roll-on/roll-off facilities in Savannah and Brunswick have made GPA a trusted name in the movement of vehicles and heavy equipment,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Combined, our terminals moved more than 700,000 cars, trucks and tractors last fiscal year, and we’re on track to beat that record in FY2015.”

Toyota began exporting Venza crossovers via the Port of Brunswick to Eastern Europe a year and a half ago. (more…)

Gov. Nathan Deal: I-285/Ga. 400 Interchange Project Funding Plan Approved

Your Georgia Desk

From Governor Nathan Deal


Deal: I-285/Ga. 400 interchange project funding plan approved

Interchange improvements will provide congestion relief for hundreds of thousands of motorists

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the Atlanta Transportation Improvement Plan, which includes funding for I-285/Ga. 400 interchange project. The FHWA determined the plan met federal air quality regulations — the final hurdle in moving the project forward and delivering congestion relief to the more than 400,000 motorists.

“These interchange improvements are crucial to improving Georgia’s transportation infrastructure and expanding our role as a major logistics hub for global commerce,” Deal said.  “We are utilizing all the tools that the state has available — accrued motor fuel revenues, authorized bonds, private participation through the Perimeter CIDs, Georgia’s strong AAA bond rating and an improved schedule of debt payments — to facilitate this project and provide much needed relief for commuters and area businesses. This decision is good news for Georgia, and especially the metro region. Now that our funding plan has been approved, we can begin construction on a project that will certainly provide important economic and quality of life benefits for many years to come.”

The improvements include the construction of new flyover ramps, new collector-distributor lanes and other facilities to aid east-west travel on along I-285 and north-south travel along Ga. 400. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) estimates the design-build cost (more…)