Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 19, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 19, 2014


President Abraham Lincoln delivered an 87-word speech at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On November 19, 1864, as Sherman marched toward Savannah, the Georgia delegation to the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, sent a message to the state,

“Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”

The first issue of National Review magazine was published on November 19, 1955.

Reagan Gorbachev 11191985

President Ronald Reagan met for the first time with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on November 19, 1985.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Morehouse College Republicans are in the spotlight in an article in The Source that is worth reading in its entirety.

The numbers are pretty bad; the Republican nominee for president has gotten over 10% of the black vote in a general election once since 1996. Black voters have been running from the Republican Party like a reverse stampede of elephants before Obama ran in 2008 but it’s only gotten worse since.

“Why do you think most black folks don’t vote Republican? Is it a policy thing or a perception thing?” I asked.

The chapter President Michael spoke out immediately:

“When Mitt Romney was running against president Obama recently I heard people around campus saying I’m not voting for Mitt Romney because I wanna keep financial aide.”

When I pointed out that the Obama administration has actually gutted HBCU’s across the nation by arbitrarily ending the Plus-One Loan program, the lifeblood of many African American college students, the irony wasn’t lost on the group. But it really didn’t matter, no one believed Mitt Romney was offering a better deal, African American voters just don’t trust most Republican policies. When I asked how the party can change that the answers were pretty straight forward.

“You have to SHOW a program that works” said Michael, a business student from Cincinnati, sitting in the back of the room “They [The GOP] can’t just say something works they have to show it to people, that’s the only way they’re going to get black votes.”

“[On Social issues] If they keep, if they keep their y’know, dogmatic and I’m not changing I’m not budging attitude they’re going to keep losing elections.  And they haven’t found that point where they can balance and not be so stubborn on social issues.” Said one freshman marketing major.

More than race, or abortion the students kept going back to things like gay marriage, saying that the Republicans were losing young voters [ like themselves] with their stances on those issues. Further, one student blurted out “And Stop bashing Obama”. While everyone in the room considered themselves a Republican or Libertarian, every single person in that room thought highly of President Barack Obama the man, if not the politician.

“I respect the man, he’s done historic things” says political director Mark, dressed in a dapper suit and tie in the middle of the room,

“But Policy is fair game”.

This morning, the funeral procession for former Governor Carl Sanders will pass by the State Capitol this morning.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced that former Georgia Gov. Carl Sanders’ funeral procession will pause at the state Capitol [on August 19, 2014] at 8 a.m. so the state may pay its respects. The procession will make a ceremonial lap and be formally saluted by the Georgia State Patrol honor guard on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive steps outside the Capitol.

The Augusta Chronicle remembers native son Governor Carl Sanders.

Sanders, who had remained in Atlanta after leaving politics to build a successful law firm, was also remembered in Augusta for lobbying President John F. Kennedy to halt closure of Fort Gordon, an effort that benefited the community for 50 years.

“Carl Sanders distinguished himself as a local and state leader over a long period of time,” said William S. Morris III, the publisher of The Augusta Chronicle. “He served superbly in the state Legislature. He then ran for governor and did an outstanding job. During his entire political career, he never forgot Augusta.

“When appropriate and proper, he did many good things for his hometown,” Morris said. “He helped particularly with Augusta College and the Medical College of Georgia. He secured the first funding for MCG’s Dental School.

“He helped us in many other ways too numerous to count. Carl Sanders was great for the state of Georgia and certainly for Augusta.”

An interesting fact about Sanders: when he left UGA to join the Army air force, he named his B-17 bomber “Georgia Peach.” The Chronicle also has reactions from several notable Georgia politicians to the death of Gov. Sanders, including this from former President Jimmy Carter,

“Carl Sanders was an outstanding governor of Georgia, a champion of education, and a courageous proponent of ending racial segregation in our state. I was proud of his service when I was in the state Senate, and continued to pursue many of his notable policies when I became governor.”

Governor Deal has appointed Jackson E. Cox to the State Court for Burke County.

Johnny Isakson, who will be Georgia’s senior Senator, is in the running to Chair one of two committees beginning in the next Congress.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) is currently in charge of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. But Burr has thrown his hat in the ring for chairman of Senate Intelligence. If he moves there, that would make Senator Isakson the highest ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs committee.

“And that would normally go to the chairmanship when we take the majority, but that would have to be ratified by a vote of the conference,” Senator Isakson said.

It’s something Senator Isakson’s hopeful about.

“You’re always optimistic in our business.”

University of Georgia Political Science Professor Charles Bullock said if Isakson becomes committee chair “it will likely mean good things for Georgia veterans.

“Isakson will be well-positioned to look out for their concerns. A concern not just of Georgia veterans, but of all veterans, will be the condition of healthcare provided to them. We all are familiar with stories about the breakdown in that aspect of veterans’ services, and undoubtedly in the next two years we will see Congress looking into those conditions and trying to come up with corrections.”

I suspect that becoming Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, another possibility, would be sort of a second prize.

The Marietta Daily Journal writes that Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) could be in line to chair the House Budget Committee if current Chair Paul Ryan takes the gavel of House Ways & Means. The MDJ also notes that Thom Tillis (R), newly elected United States Senator from North Carolina formerly called East Cobb home.

Senator Isakson held a Skype session with a Bryan County High School class for the second year.

United States Senator-elect David Perdue released a statement on the Keystone XL pipeline vote:

“The Keystone XL Pipeline should never have been a political issue. It’s disappointing that tonight Senate Democrats prevented its passage. Building Keystone would create thousands of American jobs and help lower energy costs for Georgia families. In the new Congress, I’m hopeful that the Republican majority will finally act on jobs and energy bills once blocked by Harry Reid and get the Senate working again. Unleashing our nation’s full energy potential remains one of my top priorities in the U.S. Senate.”

“I will work to advance serious policies that responsibly develop all of our energy resources, create good jobs, and make America more energy independent.”

United States Congressman-elect Rick Allen is in Washington, working on transitioning the Twelfth District from Democrat John Barrow, whom he defeated.

Allen said Barrow offered to meet in his concession phone call on election night.

“We had a great conversation,” said Allen, whose wife of 41 years, Robin, will fly to Washington on Thursday for orientation events for spouses of newly elected officers. “He (Barrow) said representing the 12th District was the best job he ever had and that he wanted to work closely with my staff to provide for a smooth transition.”

Allen said his first order of business was organizing his staff and getting them prepared to hit the ground running when he is sworn in Jan. 6.

It is unclear whether he will promote from within his campaign, but Allen applauded his team for executing his strategy of turning out Republicans to vote district wide. He said his staff made 180,000 telephone calls and knocked on 60,000 doors since the May primary.

State and Local Politics

WABE has an interview with State Rep. Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell) about the horse racing resolution he introduced.

“When you realize that we’re talking about generating somewhere between $200-300 million, that’s critical and serious money. The state needs revenue, we need to find new revenue. Not only will we get new revenues from the racing industry, but we will get new revenues from people coming to the track,” Geisinger told WABE.

The AJC has more details on how Geisinger’s gambling proposal would work:

Geisinger’s House Resolution 1 would allow a public vote on amending the state constitution to allow parimutuel betting. It requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to pass. With it, legislators can vote to put the measure on the ballot without Deal’s signature.

A sister bill, House Bill 2, outlines how the process would work with state oversight. That includes the ability for local residents to petition to place the matter on their local ballot.

Democrat Jason Carter sat for an extended interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting and Jeanne Bonner,

GPB Jeanne Bonner:I’m sure that there are questions that you’re asking yourself, potentially decisions that you might be rethinking, even something along the lines of did you focus too much on education and not enough on the economy that kind of thing and if the answer is no because I see you shaking your head, what were the lessons learned?

State Senator Jason Carter: There’s a lot of things you can’t control. And a national wave election like this, there’s nothing that we could have done differenty. When folks stop me on the street and they say ‘hey man you did everything that you could’ – and I think that’s true. There is some solace in that.

But looking back I think there are things that I’ve learned, number one: I wish I had started earlier because it just takes a lot of time to build a fundraising infrastructure, to build a statewide infrastructure and to develop the sort of human connection that you’re going to need to overcome the onslaught of television and the onslaught of everything else that comes in the course of the campaign and so building that human connection with people over time is crucially important.

State Senate Democratic Leader Steve Thompson (D-Tucker) has pledged to support Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer for a second term in the highest job elected by the chamber.

“I congratulate Sen. David Shafer on his re-nomination as President Pro Tempore. Sen. Shafer has always had an open door for the Minority Caucus and is willing to work fairly with us to address the concerns of the people we represent. I will be proud to second his nomination and fully expect Senate Democrats to support his re-election to the position of Pro Tempore.”

This makes Shafer’s election by the entire body a formality.

A State House committee discussing the role of the federal government in education is set to release its recommendations tomorrow.

Lawmakers created a study committee earlier this year in response to questions and criticisms, primarily among conservatives and tea party activists, of federal invovlement in education as well as Georgia’s participation in the hotly debated Common Core education standards. Common Core was created by state education departments and private nonprofit groups to be a common set of education standards nationwide.

The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Room 606, 18 Capitol Square, in downtown Atlanta.

There will be no public comment at the meeting.

The Joint Legislative Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding will hold a public meeting in Rome at The Forum civic center Thursday from 9 AM to 1 PM.

The group, which includes state senators and representatives, is tasked with identifying new sources and methods of funding for roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure needs.

The committee is co-chaired by Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, and Rep. Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla.

According to a preliminary agenda, Thursday’s meeting is scheduled to include unnamed guest speakers until noon, followed by a period for public comment until 12:45 p.m.

Former State Rep. Tom Buck has been named to the Columbus City Council to fill the seat vacated by the death of Red McDaniel.

Buck, who served in the state House of Representatives for 38 years before retiring in 2003, told councilors that he has no interest in seeking to District 8 seat in the next municipal election in 2016.

Buck, 76, was elected to the first of his 19 terms in 1966 to replace Jack Brinkley, who was elected to represent the Third District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Local infrastructure will be a priority for the Columbia County delegation to the Georgia General Assembly in 2015.

Republican lawmakers in the state Legislature said they plan to work with community leaders to improve highway infrastructure, expand broadband coverage and reform income-tax regulations to attract new businesses to the area.

“The stage has been set for us to succeed,” said Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, during the chamber’s annual pre-legislative breakfast.

Jackson told a crowd of more than 300 people inside Savannah Rapids Pavilion that Gov. Nathan Deal hopes to take a “forceful approach” towards industrial growth in the next four years.

Jackson and other area legislators said that with continuing innovation in telemedicine at Georgia Regents University and cyber defense missions coming to Fort Gordon, their sights are set on policies that allow mobile technology to reach its full potential and bring private-sector jobs to the area.

Leaders argued that increasing cyber capacity will spur significant growth, justifying the need for the $841 million in transportation special purpose local option sales tax revenue expected to be pumped into the region through the end of the decade to fund roads, bridges, airports and public transit projects.

The Cherokee County Legislative Delegation will hold a Town Hall meeting with local elected officials and members of the public on December 10, 2014.

Rep. Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton) said the meeting is an opportunity for local elected officials to meet with their delegates and present plans or initiatives they have for legislative action in the upcoming year.

“The eight members of the Cherokee County Legislative Delegation arrange these meetings in order to have all members of the delegation present to meet with locally elected officials on a single day,” she said.

Elected officials from the cities or county speak with each of their delegates throughout the year, Ballinger said, but the meeting is a chance to meet with all delegates collectively.

Ballinger said residents are welcome to sit in on the meeting between elected officials at 10 a.m., but a town hall meeting will be specifically for public input at 6 p.m. the same day.
Both the meeting with local officials and the town hall meeting for residents will be on the Terrace Level at the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, at 3605 Marietta Highway, in Canton.

Folks in DeKalb County failed to come to agreement on cityhood borders.

Lakeside, Briarcliff, and Tucker scrambled at the end of this year’s legislative session to agree on a map for three new cities. In the end, lawmakers threw up their hands; the spirit of compromise had worn thin under the Gold Dome.

To head off a repeat next year, lawmakers told the groups they would have to agree on a map by this past Saturday or a House committee would draw it for them.

Lakeside and Briarcliff came together to create a proposed city of LaVista Hills and released the map on Monday, Nov. 17.

Venet says LaVista Hills is willing to keep talking, and Tucker’s Penkava says the same thing, but she says her group’s focus is now on the next step: the House Governmental Affairs Committee.

State Representative Amy Carter of Valdosta heads that committee. She did not return out calls by deadline but has said previously, unless all three groups agreed by the deadline, her committee would draw the boundaries itself.

I propose the name “Clusterville” for the lot of them.

Gwinnett County police and fire employees could receive a raise under the proposed 2015 budget.

While the pay increase is big news for public safety personnel and other county employees who have gone years without a raise, the amount allocated for the increase — $7.3 million — is a relatively small portion of the proposed 2015 budget of $1.4 billion. That amount includes an operating budget of $1.05 billion and a $370.6 million capital budget.

Along with pay increases for employees, the budget also adds several new positions for the courts and sheriff department, additional road services, the opening of the new Level Creek Park, transit service enhancements and increased library funding.

Additionally, the budget includes funding for two new animal control officers. The police department had requested six new full-time positions and one part-time position. Though the 2015 budget proposal fell short of what the department had hoped for, Ayers is still grateful for the new positions.

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