Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 11, 2017


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 11, 2017

Marvin Griffin of Bainbridge was inaugurated as Governor of Georgia on January 11, 1955.

Marvin Griffin Monument

The first inauguration of Governor Joe Frank Harris was held on January 11, 1983.

On January 11, 1989, President Ronald Reagan gave his farewell speech.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections


Governor Nathan Deal delivers the State of the State address today at 11 AM in the House Chamber. You can watch the live feed online at GPB.

Committee Meeting Schedule

The Senate Committee on Assignments announced the Chairs of all standing committees for the 2017 Session.

Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee: Sen. John Wilkinson (R – Toccoa)

Appropriations Committee: Sen. Jack Hill (R – Reidsville)

Banking and Financial Institutions Committee: Sen. William Ligon (R – Brunswick)

Economic Development and Tourism Committee: Sen. Mike Dugan (R – Carrollton)

Education and Youth Committee: Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R – Marietta)

Ethics Committee: Sen. Dean Burke (R – Bainbridge)

Finance Committee: Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R – Rome)

Government Oversight Committee: Sen. Bill Heath (R – Bremen)

Health and Human Services Committee: Sen. Renee Unterman (R – Buford)

Higher Education Committee: Sen. Fran Millar (R – Atlanta)

Insurance and Labor Committee: Sen. Burt Jones (R – Jackson)

Interstate Cooperation Committee: Sen. Donzella James (D – Atlanta)

Judiciary Committee: Sen. Jesse Stone (R – Waynesboro)

Natural Resources and the Environment Committee: Sen. Frank Ginn (R – Danielsville)

Public Safety Committee: Sen. Tyler Harper (R – Ocilla)

Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee: Sen. Ben Watson (R – Savannah)

Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee: Sen. Rick Jeffares (R – McDonough)

Retirement Committee: Sen. Ellis Black (R – Valdosta)

Rules Committee: Sen. Jeff Mullis (R – Chickamauga)

Science and Technology Committee: Sen. Bruce Thompson (R – White)

Special Judiciary Committee: Sen. Curt Thompson (D – Tucker)

State and Local Governmental Operations Committee: Sen. John Albers (R – Roswell)

State Institutions and Property Committee: Sen. Ed Harbison (D – Columbus)

Transportation Committee: Sen. Brandon Beach (R – Alpharetta)

Urban Affairs Committee: Sen. Lester Jackson (D – Savannah)

Veterans, Military and Homeland Security: Sen. Hunter Hill (R – Atlanta)

Republican Chuck Payne won the Special Runoff Election in Senate District 54 yesterday, with a margin of 65.41% to 34.59% for Democrat Debby Peppers. From the Chattanooga Time-Free Press:

“I want to thank my family, friends, the voters of the 54th Senate District and those from across Georgia who believed in us and who stood with us,” Payne said in a statement Tuesday night. “Our positive, inclusive message carried the day. I can’t count the number of Democrats, Libertarians and Independent voters who told me that while they weren’t from my political party, they knew that I would always treat them with respect.”

Payne said he wants to stand up for “common sense, Conservative values” in Atlanta and plans to be accessible to his constituents.

The fight for the District 54 seat was a classic battle of party politics, a rarity in northwest Georgia, where most candidates compete between different brands of conservative values. Peppers ran as an independent in the non-partisan race, though she told voters that would caucus with Democrats in Atlanta if elected.

Still, Payne and local Republicans said Peppers was a Democrat in hiding, looking to trick voters into picking someone who doesn’t align with their ideals. A Whitfield County Republican Party advertisement showed a wolf wearing a dead sheep with the message “Debby Peppers is trying to mislead the voters.”

Payne received strong backing from established Republicans throughout the state. Of the $90,000 he received, according to campaign contribution reports, about $47,000 came from politicians. Another $19,700 came from political action committees.

“Chuck Payne is one of the finest people I know in Georgia politics,” said Justin Tomczak, his campaign’s spokesman. “It was my honor to help him out as he has helped so many fine candidates in the past.”

Total votes cast yesterday were 6,771 versus 4,964 in the December Special Election with five candidates.

I believe Senator-elect Payne will not be sworn in for a couple days as the counties certify their vote totals, but congratulations to Georgia’s newest state Senator.

Governor Nathan Deal spoke to the Georgia Chamber’s Eggs & Issues breakfast yesterday at the World Congress Center.

From Maggie Lee at the Macon Telegraph:

Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark took his moment in front of the crowd Tuesday to emphasize rural Georgia.

“We can’t have a healthy economy if over half of our counties lose population and close hospitals,” he said.

The chamber will work on legislation to help businesses in rural Georgia, he said, such as making it easier to navigate the complex business of providing broadband internet. The chamber will also hold more events statewide and open a regional office in Tifton that will focus on rural economic prosperity.

“I am excited about the emphasis on rural Georgia,” said Nipper Bunn, president of the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, who was watching from a table at the side of the packed room.

“It seems as though we’ve had ‘two Georgias’ for quite a while,” Bunn said, using a political phrase that’s been around more than two decades. One of the Georgias consists of the mostly urban and suburban counties that attract the most new residents, jobs and investments. The other Georgia is the rest of the state.

Cagle told the assembled business leaders that one of his top priorities this legislative session is “a comprehensive regulatory reform task force that will recommend reducing the unnecessary regulations that cost us jobs and make us less competitive in the marketplace.”

Ralston said he plans to work on issues that will move the state and its economy forward.

He’s pitching a new state commission on transit governance and funding. That does not just apply to the subway in Atlanta. MARTA is only the biggest of dozens of transit agencies statewide.

Ralston said Georgia must do more to mitigate road congestion, move freight and attract companies. Transit can help in all three areas, he said.

From the AJC Political Insider:

[T]he governor took a victory lap at the Georgia Chamber’s Eggs & Issues breakfast, proclaiming the state’s 10-year, $11 billion transportation plan an early success and trumpeting the state’s pro-business accolades.

He told the crowd of hundreds of politicians, executives and lobbyists the state’s rainy day reserve fund has now exceeded $2 billion and will likely hit $2.5 billion when he leaves office in two years. But he warned that the state’s 3.6 percent budget growth this year still leaves little room for maneuvering.

“Eighty-three percent of our budget is growth-mandated and required spending,” he said. “That leaves only 17 percent of our budget for discretionary spending – a difficult circumstance when one considers all the demands and desires of how that limited money should be spent.”

He outlined a new Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center, which he called “another tool in our arsenal for security and economic development.”

 WJCL-TV spoke to Savannah-area legislators about their priorities for the Session.

“There’s a lot of excitement this year. I just see a whole lot of people with all of the enthusiasm and dreams that I had whenever I started 20 years ago,” said Rep. Stephens.

He says this year, he wants to see funding from HB 170 be used to speed up existing road projects in the Savannah area.

“We bit the bullet. Now we have to find tune it a little bit just to make sure that everybody gets the projects done and they get them done on time and alleviate some of the traffic problems,” said Rep. Stephens.

State Senator Ben Watson says he wants to see that new transportation funding be used to expand the roadway and railroad systems at the Port of Savannah.

“This is important for the businesses and the business community and that goes to jobs and the economy in the state of Georgia and in Chatham County, and Bryan and Effingham and Liberty,” said Senator Watson.



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