Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

16
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England, for the New World on September 16, 1620. Thirty-five of 102 passengers were members of the English Separatist Church seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. Originally aiming to reach Virginia, Mayflower eventually landed at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Forty-one delegates signed the United States Constitution, including Abraham Baldwin and William Few representing Georgia, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 before adjourning sine die. Constitution Day is celebrated September 17th, although sometimes it is observed on the weekday closest to the 17th and the National Archives has some great background materials.

The United States government took out its first loan on September 18, 1789, the proceeds of which were used to pay the salaries of the President, and First Congress. On the same day, future President Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to E. Rutledge in which he requested that a shipment of olive trees be sent via Baltimore.

President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the United States Capitol on September 18, 1793.

We know from that newspaper article, and from Masonic ritual, that Washington placed an inscribed silver plate under the cornerstone at the southeast corner of this building. However, we do not know whether that meant the southeast corner of the Senate wing, the first section of the building to be completed, or the southeast corner of the whole building as intended, which would locate it over on the House side. Two centuries later, the Architect of the Capitol is still searching for that cornerstone. Metal detectors have failed to locate the silver plate.

President George Washington gave his farewell address on September 19, 1796.

The period for a new election of a Citizen, to Administer the Executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person, who is to be cloathed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those, out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the sametime, to do me the justice to be assured, that this resolution has not been taken, without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation, which binds a dutiful Citizen to his country–and that, in withdrawing the tender of service which silence in my Situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness; but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

President Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act on September 18, 1850, requiring that slaves be returned to their owners even if they were in a free state.

The Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee met the Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles. Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Joseph Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted devastating casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane,” before the Southerners retreated. McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt.

The fighting ended by early evening, and the two armies remained in place throughout the following day. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. Union casualties included 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing, while Confederate casualties numbered 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing.

On September 19, 1863, the Battle of Chickamauga was joined between the federal Army of the Cumberland under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans and the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Braxton Bragg.

Thirteen marchers were shot and killed and forty more wounded in Camilla, Georgia at the Camilla Massacre on September 19, 1868 as marchers to a Republican Party rally were gunned down.

President James Garfield died on September 19, 1881, of wounds sustained on July 2d of that year. Garfield is one of seven Presidents born in Ohio – he and William McKinley, were both killed by assassins.

A single pistol shot on September 16, 1893 opened former Cherokee land in Oklahoma to white settlers in a “land run” to claim property.

On September 17, 1932, the Georgia Division of the Roosevelt Business and Professional League was created to work with the Georgia Democratic Party to support FDR’s Presidential campaign in the Peach State.

The original stimulus act was announced to bring $70 million in federal money to Georgia to build roads and public buildings on September 16, 1933.

On September 16, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Service and Training Act requiring males 26-35 years of age to register for the draft. On the same day, Sam Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and would go on to hold the post for 17 years total, the longest tenure of any Speaker.

On September 18, 1973, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter filed a report claiming that he saw an Unidentified Flying Object in the sky above Leary, Georgia in 1969.

Carter was preparing to give a speech at a Lions Club meeting. At about 7:15 p.m (EST), one of the guests called his attention to a strange object that was visible about 30 degrees above the horizon to the west of where he was standing. Carter described the object as being bright white and as being about as bright as the moon. It was said to have appeared to have closed in on where he was standing but to have stopped beyond a stand of pine trees some distance from him. The object is then said to have changed color, first to blue, then to red, then back to white, before appearing to recede into the distance. Carter felt that the object was self-luminous, but not a solid in nature. Carter’s report indicates that it was witnessed by about ten or twelve other people, and was in view for ten to twelve minutes before it passed out of sight.

Click here to view a copy of the report, allegedly on file at the Carter Center.

Jimmy Carter received the first ever endorsement of a national ticket by the National Education Association in his bid for President on September 17, 1976.

The Allman Brothers Band was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 19, 1998.

R.E.M. and Gregg Allman were among the inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 16, 2006.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Jim Barksdale campaigned in Athens at the University of Georgia.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, a small group of students and community members gathered in Room 267 of the Zell B. Miller Learning Center to hear an old man wearing his old-fashioned driving cap speak.

“I’m supposed to wear this hat so I’m in character,” he chuckled.

The man was Jim Barksdale, the investment millionaire hoping to shock normal political conventions by defeating U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson in Georgia’s big ticket race this year.

Actually, you’re not supposed to wear a hat indoors unless you’re a lady.

Barksdale is not the only clown to visit Athens, as police have received reports of menacing clowns.

A group of children aged 7 through 10 were terrorized Monday evening when five people dressed as clowns and wearing masks emerged from a van parked at the East Athens Community Center and began chasing them, Athens-Clarke County police said.

The vehicle was described as a white Ford panel van, apparently a work vehicle with coverings or tints on the windows.

In Macon, the clowns have gone to guns, with one man reporting being shot by clowns.

About 5:50 a.m. Thursday, Bibb County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a person shot in the 900 block of Tenney Avenue, which runs between Jeff Davis Street and Felton Avenue.

Marvin Leon Cooper, 24, who appeared to have sustained a superficial leg wound, claimed to have been shot by people dressed as clowns who got out of a car at Murphey Homes, or Alphabet City, as it also is known.

Right away, investigators doubted his story.

“They are checking to make sure it’s from a bullet and this isn’t a hoax,” said Cpl. Linda Howard, a public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office.

Howard later confirmed that the man had been shot but not by clowns.

He told deputies “he lied about the clowns because he was scared to report he was shot over drugs,” Howard said.

Clown reports in Newnan have led to greater local vigilance, according to the Times-Herald.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Facebook profile with the name “Robert Hall (Newnan Clown)” made several veiled references to child abduction.

While the profile hasn’t explicitly threatened violence, it mentioned knocking on doors in Highland Park and also attending the upcoming fair.

In his Facebook biography, the individual claims to be from Newnan and says, “If I see you, I will get you. I want kids and all.”

On Wednesday, Newnan Police Chief D.L. “Buster” Meadows confirmed that patrols were increased in the Highland Apartments area Tuesday night because of the threat. The police are actively investigating the threats, according to Meadows.

“We did have a name supplied to us, and we’re attempting to locate this individual if he’s local,” Meadows said. “If someone sees a threat online, please email us the link or take a screenshot of the information and email that to us along with where the information was displayed.”

“We will not put up with this and will seek to press charges against anyone that alleges to try and lure children into the woods, vehicles, or any other place,” Meadows said.

Former Gwinnett County Commission Chair Lillian Webb died this week, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

[B]efore SPLOST was a way of life, there was Lillian Webb throwing pennies on the floor while addressing a local Rotary Club, trying to make a dramatic point about how the new idea of a one percent sales tax could help build up the county’s infrastructure.

Webb made her point, and that penny tax helped pave the way for the largest building program in county history, with the addition of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, the Gwinnett County Detention Center and the Civic Center among others.

Said Gwinnett Chairwoman Charlotte Nash: “Lillian Webb was a visionary leader who helped lay the foundation for many of the important attributes and assets of Gwinnett … We all are affected today by Ms. Webb’s contributions to Gwinnett.”

Those contributions are numerous. Webb is recognized with helping build the foundation for Gwinnett’s nationally recognized parks system as well as building the library system. She also spearheaded major transportation projects such as Ronald Reagan Parkway and played a role in water and sewer improvements in the county. Under her watch, the county saw the creation of programs such as the Coalition for Health and Human Services and GUIDE.

County election boards will start sending out early voting ballots next week.

In less than one week, county officials will begin mailing absentee ballots to Georgia voters, and advance voting by mail will begin for the general election, to be held on Nov. 8.

To request an absentee ballot, voters can submit a written application to their local county registrar or log onto the office’s “My Voter Page (MVP)” to print the application and mail the completed form to their registrar.

“Through MVP, requesting an absentee ballot has never been easier in Georgia,” Secretary of State Brian Kemp said. “I was proud to bring this new innovation to our state along with other helpful web-based platforms, such as the online voter registration system and the ‘GA SOS’ smartphone app. Georgia is a national leader in utilizing technologies to educate citizens about elections, voting and the importance of participation in the electoral process for all levels of government.”

Voters are advised to request absentee ballots to vote by mail in the General Election well in advance of the Nov. 4 deadline. Under federal law, uniformed military voters are only required to submit one absentee ballot application to receive absentee ballots for an entire election cycle.

Click here to log into the Secretary of State’s MVP system where you can print the application to receive a mail-in ballot.

Bulloch County election officials discussed ballot security in light of fears of a “rigged” election.

“Our equipment is not linked to the Internet in any way, shape or form,” Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones said in an interview.

Bulloch County’s vote counts are sent to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office by Internet, but on a separate computer system from the voting and counting machines, and only after a local digital and paper record of the count is produced.

Jones had representatives from Georgia Technologies, the local firm that maintains the Bulloch County government’s regular computer systems, look at the voting machines. Ordinarily, the local company isn’t allowed into the room where the voting machines are locked away, but Jones asked a technician to try to access the Internet with a voting machine while she watched, she said.

“Per our review, none of the voting machines are connected to an outside network or the Internet, and ‘hacking’ from an external source is not possible when it is not connected to an outside network,” Joseph H. Eason of Georgia Technologies wrote in an email to Jones. “If an unauthorized person attempts to tamper with the internal components of a voting machine, the seal on that machine will be broken.”

The machines do produce a kind of paper trail.

“Each voting machine records votes on a printed summary tape. … The tape provides a paper trail of the votes cast on that machine. Non-electronic voting is also available by mail ballot for those voting absentee,” Eason included in his remarks.

The Trump-Pence campaign will open its 12th District headquarters in Augusta tonight, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Grand opening for the center at 247 Bobby Jones Expressway, which will be for training, phone banks and rallies, is tonight from 5 to 7 p.m., with a family-friendly atmosphere. It is open to the public, and voter registration will be available.

With a remarkably strong and presidential few weeks under his belt, GOP nominee Donald Trump has not only closed a considerable gap with Democrat Hillary Clinton, but has pulled ahead in some polls. The Los Angeles Times had Trump up by 6 points Thursday – after trailing Clinton by nearly that much in mid-August.

What seemed improbable, if not impossible, a month ago is now real: This election could swing either way in the next 50 days.

Trump’s platform also promises an infinitely greater chance for personal and national prosperity, with emphases on streamlined government, private sector freedom, energy development and more.
The local 12th District office opens tonight just as the race is really starting.

The Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare is not on the November ballot, but the Presidential election will determine the discussion going forward.

“If you want a president who will cut taxes, grow our economy, squeeze every nickel out of that bloated federal bureaucracy and repeal Obamacare lock stock and barrel,” [Indiana Governor and Republican VP Candidate Mike] Pence said to growing applause, “then I say to you here in Georgia, we have but one choice.”

The promise to repeal the ACA came more than half hour into Pence’s speech and was the only mention of the president’s signature health care law, while just years ago, the Republican Party built entire campaigns on repealing it.

Republican Donald Trump is calling for its repeal. Democrat Hillary Clinton wants to expand it.

“The election is going to settle that uncertainty on what is going to be the likely fate of the Affordable Care Act,” says Bill Custer, a health care expert at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.

“If Hillary Clinton wins, it’s pretty much going to be the status quo,” Custer says. “There certainly will be some changes to the Affordable Care Act, but it’s very much going to be fine tuning.”

Keeping Georgia Hospitals open is also part of the discussion going forward.

Five hospitals in Georgia have closed since 2013, and about 40 percent of them were operating in the red as of 2014, according to the Georgia Hospital Association. The planned cuts, which extend through 2025, could force more to shut their doors.

This reality has some state Republicans saying it’s time to end the longstanding opposition to expanding Medicaid, because with it, the state could pull down billions in federal dollars.

“I think it’s our fiduciary responsibility to leave that tool box open,” says State Senator Renee Unterman, R-Buford, who’s been leading the tepid conversation about Medicaid expansion.

Expansion here could have drawn down $33 billion in federal funding from 2013 to 2022, according to a report from the Urban Institute, with nearly $13 billion going directly to hospital reimbursements. The cost to the state, the report says, would be about $2.5 billion.

Broadband internet access is not available for more than half-a-million residents in rural Georgia, according to a statewide survey last year.

A statewide survey showed, as of last year, about 84 percent of the state had access to the broadband internet, which the Federal Communications Commission defines as 25 megabits per second.

That left about 638,100 people without broadband.

Some FCC data paints a rosier picture, with a Georgia Chamber of Commerce representative referencing a map showing Georgia with 97 percent coverage.

Rep. Susan Holmes, R- Monticello, bristled at that estimate.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if we had that kind of coverage,” Holmes said after Thursday’s meeting.

Holmes said addressing the problem will require action from the state.

“If the state doesn’t push this, it’s not going to happen, and if it doesn’t happen, shame on us,” Holmes said.

“I don’t mean regulate. I don’t mean fund. We’ve got to make it easier. We’ve got to push public-private partnerships,” she added.

After hearing from frustrated residents and community leaders, Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, who co-chairs the committee, sought to reassure service providers.

“We need the Windstreams, the AT&Ts, the Comcasts,” he said. “We’re not running anybody off. We’re trying to keep them here, keep their jobs here, but encourage more investment.”

One proposal is the elimination of a sales tax on telecommunications network equipment..

Others have recommended boosting coverage by restoring state funding for local public-private projects and doing more to hold companies accountable when their service is not as advertised.

Religious liberty legislation is likely to make a comeback under the Gold Dome.

At an April candidate forum in Oconee County, in advance of a GOP primary which he won to return to the Senate, [Bill] Cowsert said the bill will be back in front of the Georgia General Assembly in 2017.

“We’re not giving up on that,” he said.

Speaker David Ralston visited Milledgeville to campaign for Republican nominee Rick Williams.

Williams is a candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives District 145 seat, which includes all of Baldwin County and the southern portion of Putnam County. Williams, a republican, is vying for the seat along with Floyd L. Griffin Jr., a democrat.

Voters will choose between Williams and Griffin in the Nov. 8 General Election.

It marked the second time of late that a prominent state politician has visited Milledgeville on behalf of one of the local House District 145 candidates. Recently, Jason Carter, grandson of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, visited at a campaign kickoff rally for Griffin. The younger Carter is a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate like his grandfather, who now lives in Plains.

Several state legislators welcomed Ralston when he arrived at the local airport, including state Sen. Burt Jones, (R-Jackson) and state Rep. Trey Rhodes (R-Greensboro). Several other local elected officials, including Baldwin County Board of Commission Chairman Sammy Hall, Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee and Putnam County District 4 Commissioner Billy Webster, were also on hand.

A former candidate for Henry County Commission has been indicted on murder charges.

Former Henry County Commission candidate Jennifer Rosenbaum and her husband, Joseph, are accused of abusing 2-year-old Laila Daniel while she was in state-supervised foster care in November 2015.

They were indicted Thursday on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery and first-degree child cruelty.

Athens-Clarke County is considering placing a transportation sales tax on the November 2017 ballot.

[County Manager Blaine] Williams, along with County Attorney Bill Berryman, presented Mayor Nancy Denson and the 10 district commissioners with the details of a state law passed last year allowing the assessment — with voter approval — of up to 1 percent in a special sales tax levy dedicated to transportation projects. The tax could be collected for a maximum of five years, at which time the issue would have to be sent back to voters.

Williams, with only token resistance from commissioners, went on to outline a timetable for getting the issue in front of voters for a Nov. 7, 2017 referendum. If voters approve the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax levy, collection of the additional 1 percent in sales tax — which would bring the total local sales tax rate to 8 percent — would begin on April 1, 2018.

Meeting that timetable, though, will require commissioners to take some action at their Oct. 4 meeting, where county management is asking they approve an implementation schedule laying the considerable groundwork needed for setting up the 2017 referendum.

The Georgia Department of Human Services has launched an app for making child support payments.

The app, GA DCSS, will allow parents to “make child support payments, review payment history, view scheduled appointments, and receive notifications/alerts on important information regarding their cases,” according to a press release from the Georgia Department of Human Services.

DHS Commissioner Robyn Crittenden said the app will help parents “fulfill obligations, resulting in stronger families.”

“Children need emotional and financial support from both parents,” she said. “The GA DCSS mobile app gives parents another avenue to meet their child support obligations. Ensuring children in our state are receiving much needed support from both parents helps build stronger families for a stronger Georgia.”

The Georgia Ports Authority announced a $128 million freight rail expansion program, according to BusinessInSavannah.com.

GPA’s Mid-American Arc will focus on the growth of intermodal rail, extending the port’s reach to new places such as St. Louis, Chicago and the Ohio Valley.

“This enhancement of our rail capacity is a game-changer,” Lynch said, adding that the key to expanding the arc of rail service is a $128 million project that will link Garden City Terminal’s two rail yards, improve efficiency and grow the terminal’s rail lift capacity to approximately 1 million containers each year.

“We are going to build a mega-rail terminal on this facility and we’re going to double the throughput capacity over the next three years,” he said, adding that Garden City Terminal’s two intermodal rail facilities – the Chatham and Mason yards – will be combined and connected.

“It will be a state-of-the-art facility the likes of which doesn’t currently exist – certainly not on the East Coast and maybe not on all (of) North America,” he said.

The project, known as the Port of Savannah International Multi-modal Connector, is expected to take three to four years to complete. When finished, it will allow GPA to build entire 10,000-foot-long trains on terminal without disrupting nearby traffic.

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