Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 15, 2016


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 15, 2016

On February 15, 1796, Georgia Governor Jared Irwin and legislators gathered with a crowd for the burning of the “Yazoo Act.”

On February 15, 1898, the battleship U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana harbor, Cuba.

On February 15, 1952 Gov. Herman Talmadge signed a joint resolution directing the purchase of Stone Mountain for development as a Confederate Memorial.

On February 15, 2011, Georgia Congressman John Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in the civil rights movement.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The General Assembly is not in session today, and will resume tomorrow.

Two Cobb County judges took to the aisles of a local grocery store to lend a hand to MUST Ministries.

Cobb County Superior Court judges Reuben Green and Rob Leonard were serving the community in a different way: They got out from behind the bench and filled shopping carts at Wal-Mart.

When they were finished, they had four carts full of heavy twin blankets, socks, paper towels, laundry detergent, fresh fruit and breakfast foods — items they then loaded up into Leonard’s truck and took to MUST Ministries. The items are among the ministry’s needs, especially as it operates a winter weather shelter for women and children on nights when temperatures dip below freezing.

Green and Leonard were joined by several of their Superior Court colleagues as they dropped off the items Friday. A number of the judges are splitting the cost of the almost $925 in items the two bought on the shopping trip, the genesis of which was days earlier when Green saw an online post about the ministry’s current needs.

“I reposted it on Facebook, and Judge Leonard saw my post and said, ‘Hey, we need to do something,’ so we reached out to all the Superior Court judges in Cobb County. Everyone pretty much said ‘yes’ and put some money together,” Green said. “We went and did our shopping, and brought it over here.”

Leonard said he and his fellow judges saw that additional need and came together to help the nonprofit.

“We’re just really blessed to be in the position we’re in as public servants. We feel like you lead by example,” he said.

State Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Cobb) continues working to expand the HOPE Grant programs for technical school students, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

More than 1,300 Cobb residents attending classes at Chattahoochee Technical College would be among the students across the state who could benefit from a local legislator’s proposal to increase the award amount of the HOPE Grant.

State Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Smyrna, is the primary sponsor of House Bill 22, which, if enacted, would increase the amount of the HOPE Grant to the full amount of tuition at technical colleges in Georgia. Currently, the grant only covers a percentage of tuition at technical colleges depending on revenues brought in by the Georgia Lottery, which funds the state’s HOPE Program.

Evans said under her bill, no taxpayer dollars would be needed to fund the increase to the HOPE Grant award amounts. Its estimated $21 million impact could be covered by the Lottery’s unrestricted reserve fund, which has grown at an average of $63.6 million a year since 2011, according to a memo supporting the bill.

“It’s not nothing,” Evans said of the $21 million cost. “But in the grand scheme of what the lottery produces and what we spend in the HOPE Program, it’s a relatively small amount, especially when you consider the good that the bill does. The bill is going to help drive students into technical college, which means it will put folks into jobs that are open and need to be filled by properly trained workers.”

Presidential Politics

The Twitter tells me that Billy Kirkland, who helped manage David Perdue’s 2014 Senate campaign will lead the John Kasich campaign in Georgia. Meanwhile, Jared Thomas will lead the Georgia effort of New Day for America, the SuperPAC supporting Kasich.

Donald Trump will likely be in Atlanta on February 21st, assuming they are able to determine a suitable venue.

Former Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston takes stock of the Presidential field as the GOP nomination turns right South from New Hampshire and heads to South Carolina before March 1st SEC Primary Day, including Georgia.

In the next few days, I expect to make an announcement of who I will be supporting, voting for, and endorsing in the 2016 Presidential Primary. Georgia’s March 1st primary is going to be key for any candidate’s campaign and I hope everyone reading gets out to vote.

Between the time I originally drafted this and its release, our nation has learned of the tragic death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The possibility of an appointment by a lame duck President makes the choice of our Republican nominee that much more important.

With the EPA’s economic wrecking ball, the “Clean Power Plan” stayed by the Court on a 5-4 decision, the economic consequences of an Obama appointment would hit especially hard in Georgia, where we’re transitioning away from a greater reliance on coal and building two new nuclear reactors at great cost to Georgia ratepayers.

Likewise, property rights, any restrictions on abortion-on-demand, including the ban on partial birth abortion, and the Second Amendment protections Georgians rely on, all hang by a thread in the Supreme Court.

Justice Scalia’s passing places two great tests before the nominees – first, do they have the wisdom to choose a conservative, Constitutionalist of the caliber of Justice Scalia, and second, for the Senators in the race, are they willing to stand by the Senate’s Constitutional mandate to “advise and consent” on Supreme Court nominations, and advise the President that a lame duck appointment is inappropriate.


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