Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 28, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 28, 2015

Lt. Colonel George Washington fought French and Indian scouts on May 28, 1754, beginning the Seven Years War.

On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, requiring all Native Americans to relocate west of the Mississippi River.

The Battle of Dallas, Georgia began on May 28, 1864. Click here to watch Week 7 of the Georgia Public Broadcasting/Atlanta History Center series on the Civil War in Georgia.

Happy Birthday to Gladys Knight, born in Atlanta on May 28, 1944. Try some chicken and waffles and traditional Georgia side dishes if you’re downtown today.

Fostering is not just for dogs

May is National Foster Care Month, and it’s been brought to our attention that they mean foster children not foster dogs. I’ve been asked over the years why we feature adoptable dogs but never children. For better or for worse, it’s because you can’t advertise adoptable children. It is against the rules.

Mrs. GaPundit and I were involved for a number of years supporting a group home for medically-fragile infants and children in the custody of DFCS. There simply aren’t enough homes for the healthy children, and public resources were strained to meet the needs of children who need constant medical care. It’s an issue very near and dear to our hearts. But during our years of supporting the organization, feeding and playing with these beautiful children, and cooking Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the staff and kids, we were never able to take a photo. A number of laws protect the privacy of these children.

We have a number of close friends whose lives are forever enriched through their adoptive or foster children, and if you feel like you are led to welcome a child into your home, we hope and pray you will make the best decision and have a life filled with joy.

In an interview with WABE, Georgia State Rep. Erica Thomas (D-Austell) speaks of her childhood in Tennessee’s foster care system.

Thomas has a personal stake in making the system work to the advantage of the children in need and the families who care for them.

She was in foster care herself as a child in Tennessee and experienced some of the problems first hand.

“Starting off in my first home I was about 14 years old and within about a year of that, turning 14 to 15, I went through about six different homes,” Thomas said during an interview on “A Closer Look.”

“I definitely saw what a lot of the foster care children see every single day moving from home to home to home.”

Click here to hear the entire 15-minute segment with Rep. Thomas.

From the Georgia Department of Human Services, we learned the following:

•  Georgia’s foster care rolls have consistently grown in the last two years. Approximately 9,700 children in Georgia are currently in the state’s custody.

• Gov. Deal has proposed $9.8 million in additional state funds for FY 15 to help DFCS cover the costs of providing room board and watchful oversight to these children.

• There is a dire need for foster homes in every community. When foster homes aren’t available locally, children who have been removed from their homes may have the added trauma of losing connections in their schools and their communities.• To help increase the number of foster parents in Georgia and provide the necessary support to those who step up to serve our most vulnerable, Gov. Deal has recommended adding $5.8 million in state funds for the recruitment and training of foster parents in FY 16.

Foster Month Flyer 628px

To put that number into perspective, the Fox Theatre in Atlanta seats 4,678 and you could fill it twice with the children who are in state custody today and still have a number of school buses filled with the overflow.

How Can You Help?

Foster Care Support Foundation serves children in foster care, grandparents raising their grandchildren and parents caring for the children of a relative. You can volunteer at their facilities in Roswell, learn more about becoming foster parents, mentor a teen in foster care, and donate money, toys, clothes and childcare equipment.

The Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children Services has online resources to help you find an agency or partner in your community.

Learn more about the different types of care provided to children in need and pray about how you can best serve the least among us.

Talk to your church leadership or community service organization about partnering with a local agency. From a special offering or fundraiser, an educational forum, or longer-term projects, everyone has something to offer.

Become a legislative advocate for foster care. If you know your state Senator or Representative, contact them and find out how you can help. If you don’t know where to start, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I might be able to help you.

Voices for Georgia’s Children is a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization working for the welfare of our state’s children, including those in foster care.

Georgia Politics

Georgia’s larger role in Presidential politics continues today with a visit to Atlanta by Hillary Clinton. It won’t include public events, just private events to raise money for her campaign. She will arrive by private airplane, according to CBS.

Walter Jones of Morris News wrote about John Kasich’s visit to Walton County, here via the Athens Banner-Herald.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich didn’t flinch or dodge Tuesday night when asked about issues where he knew he was out of sync with Georgia Republicans, and in the end, the 300 or so people attending the Walton County barbecue gave him a standing ovation.

His selling point?

“I have experience and results,” he said.

He was the only chairman of the House Budget Committee to enact a balanced budget in a generation. He spent 18 years in Congress as a budget hawk and member of the House Armed Services Committee, and he’s been an executive where he turned around Ohio’s economy by slashing spending and cutting taxes before winning re-election – in a purple state.

Republicans hungry to regain control of the White House recognize the practicality of a candidate who can win in states like Ohio, where he took sizable portions of the union and minority vote. They’re also frustrated that the last GOP tenant in the Oval Office erased the surplus Kasich’s last budget created.

The hard-core conservatives also didn’t like his rejection of the FAIR Tax proposal, a variation of a national sales tax in place of the income tax that originated with Georgia  former Congressman John Linder. Kasich said he instead favors flattening the income-tax rates.

Still, at the end of his 40-minute talk, everyone stood and applauded, and many stuck around for photos and autographs.

Here’s another thing that I find striking about the reactions I’ve heard from people who heard Kasich speak at one of the events. People talk about his willingness to take questions and answer them without dodging or apologizing for his position or his actions.

Here’s some more from the AJC Political Insider,

The GOP field for president will be large and unwieldy. Standing out will require a distinct message, and Kasich appears to be ready to market himself as the truth-teller in the pack – the fellow who is unafraid to let the base know that an “us vs. the moochers” approach might play in a primary, but it won’t get you the White House. Here was Kasich’s final pitch:

“I’m not interested in a book contract, a television show or anything else. That’s not my interest. People want me to criticize the people running – I won’t do it…

“What you see here tonight, this is what you get. There’s no secret talk in the back room, there’s no secret talk in a car. This is what you get. You get direct. You get knowledgeable. When you look at the field, nobody has the experience on national security, the accomplishments in Washington, and has been an executive in a big state – like the state of Ohio.

“And remember: Ohio is a microcosm. When I talk to you all about unity, bringing people together, ending the polarization – if we do not do that, we will not win Ohio.”

And no Republican presidential candidate has won without his state.

The Monroe Local News has a photo gallery from the Walton GOP Barbecue.

Here are a couple of other facts about Ohio under Kasich.

U.S. News & World Reports ranks Ohio 7th among the states for high schools and Education Week ranks the Buckeye State 10th.

The Tax Foundation ranks Ohio’s income tax rate as 23d lowest among states that have an income tax and ranks the state’s business tax climate as 44th.

Site Selection in 2015 ranked Ohio #9 among the top competitive states for business, ahead of Georgia, which fell from #1 in 2014 to #10 this year.

The Ohio State University football team is the reigning national champion.


Earlier this week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a US District Court injunction against the Obama Administration’s executive action on immigration, which would protect some  from deportation and allow some immigrants to work in the United States.

Two of three judges on a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, left in place an injunction by a Federal District Court judge in Brownsville, Tex. The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Texas and 25 other states against actions President Obama took in November. Many of the initiatives were scheduled to take effect this month.

The appeals court found that the states had sufficient legal grounds to bring the lawsuit and that the administration had not shown that it would be harmed if the injunction remained in place and the programs were further delayed.

Also denied was a request by the administration to limit the injunction to the states bringing the lawsuit. The ruling is a second setback for programs the president hoped would be a major piece of his legacy, raising new uncertainty about whether they will take effect before the end of his term and casting doubts on the confidence of administration lawyers that their case was very strong.

The Justice Department could appeal the ruling on the emergency stay to the full appeals court, but legal experts said it was more likely that the administration would skip that conservative court and ask the Supreme Court to allow the programs to proceed.

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens applauded the court’s decision, saying

“I am pleased with the 5th Circuit’s decision to keep the President’s illegal executive action on hold. We are a nation built on laws, and the President simply does not have the power to bypass Congress and single-handedly change the law to achieve his policy goals. There is no question that immigration reform is needed, but it must be accomplished in accordance with the Constitution.”

“Just as troubling as the President’s disregard of the Constitution are the Administration’s misrepresentations to the court throughout the course of the litigation. First, we learned that, contrary to what the federal government’s lawyers told the court, the Obama Administration had already begun granting expanded employment authorizations to people who came to this country illegally. Then came the revelation that the Obama Administration had approved three-year deferred action grants for undocumented immigrants after the injunction was issued. This conduct by our federal government is nothing short of appalling.”

Senator David Perdue lauded the court decision and called on President Obama to reverse the actions in question,

“This is a victory for Georgians who want a federal government that respects the rule of law. Once again, a federal court has reaffirmed that President Obama’s executive amnesty was unlawful and unacceptable overreach. We must stop the President’s abuse of power before his imperial presidency does any more damage to our country. I call on President Obama to reverse his unilateral executive amnesty, which exceeded the executive’s authority and disrupted the Constitutional balance of powers.”

Congressman Buddy Carter also backed the Court of Appeals’s decision,

“This is a big win in our fight to stop the president’s blatant overreach on amnesty,” Carter said. “The Fifth Circuit has provided yet another warning to the president that he will not get away with unilaterally rewriting our nation’s immigration laws. Every branch of government – including President Obama himself – has made clear that this approach to backdoor amnesty is unconstitutional. I will not rest in my fight to stand for the rule of law and restore the balance of power laid out in the Constitution.”

Congressman Jody Hice released a statement on the decision,

“I am very pleased that the Court’s decision rightly upholds the injunction against President Obama’s Executive Amnesty plan. It’s astounding that a President who specialized in Constitutional law has routinely flouted our Constitution; in this matter by attempting to grant amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants without the consent of Congress. We need immigration reform not Executive Amnesty. I am proud that Georgia is one of many states leading the charge in an effort to defend our Constitution by holding the Administration accountable through the Courts. ”

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