Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 4, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 4, 2018

Utah was admitted as the 45th state on January 4, 1896.

On January 4, 1965, shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson delivered the State of the Union and outlined his plan for a “Great Society.”

“He requested ‘doubling the war against poverty this year’ and called for new emphasis on area redevelopment, further efforts at retraining unskilled workers, an improvement in the unemployment compensation system and an extension of the minimum wage floor to two million workers now unprotected by it. … He called for new, improved or bigger programs in attacking physical and mental disease, urban blight, water and air pollution, and crime and delinquency.”

The Great Society legislation included “War on Poverty” programs, many created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which established jobs and youth volunteer programs as well as Head Start, which provided pre-school education for poor children. Johnson’s social welfare legislation also consisted of the formation of Medicare and Medicaid, which offered health care services for citizens over 65 and low-income citizens, respectively. In addition, the Great Society included the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Voting Rights Act of 1968.

On January 4, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon refused to turn over tapes recorded in the Oval Office to the Senate Watergate Committee.

Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich was elected Speaker of the House on January 4, 1995, the third Georgian to wield the gavel. This marked the first time in more than forty years that Republicans controlled the House of Representatives.

On January 4, 1999, in DeKalb County, State Court Judge Al Wong became the first Asian-American judge in Georgia and the Southeast.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Coastal Georgia received as much as four inches of snow yesterday.

An early morning of light rain and bitter cold in Chatham, Bryan and Effingham counties turned into beautiful blankets of snow like many have never seen on Wednesday.

From Bloomingdale to Pooler, Rincon to Tybee and Pembroke to the heart of Forsyth Park, residents experienced a winter wonderland with only a few problems.

Total snowfall ranged from 2 to 4 inches, according to weather and emergency management officials.

Bridges and some roads closed early in the day, with police departments reporting few major incidences. Savannah Fire responded to one blaze, with one person displaced.

The Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport had to shut down, too.

Click here for the Savannah Morning News photos of the bomb cyclone.

An Amtrak passenger train derailed as it entered the Savannah station.

Georgia Power has dispatched crews to areas with power outages.

As a cold front moved through the area late Tuesday night, we began experiencing outages early Wednesday due to sleet accumulation on trees and limbs. As temperatures plummeted the remainder of Wednesday, our crews began recovery for over 23,000 customers region wide. Currently we have approximately 11,500 outages, primarily in the Brunswick area.

In addition to our local crews and contractors, we will receive support from company personnel and tree crews from across the state tomorrow.

In the Savannah area, we have approximately 27 line crews working 16 hour shifts. All will begin work again tomorrow at 5 a.m. We hope to have service in Savannah restored by Thursday afternoon.

Restoration to Brunswick, St. Simons and Kingsland will likely continue into Thursday evening.

If you’re on the roads in these areas, keep an eye out for crews working to restore power.

President Donald Trump will visit Atlanta for the National Championship game between UGA and Alabama.

He is set to be hosted by Nick Ayers, a Georgia native who is Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, and his wife Jamie Ayers. First Lady Melania Trump is also expected to attend the game, which will be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

It’s not immediately certain whether two other top Trump allies in Georgia – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Sen. David Perdue – will join them.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders opened her press briefing Tuesday by congratulating the SEC schools “from two great states, both in the heart of Trump country” for bowl victories that propelled them to the championship.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has taken the gold medal for weird election outcomes.

A three-judge recount panel on Wednesday rejected Democrat Shelly Simonds’ efforts to overturn the tied result in a pivotal Virginia House of Delegates race, allowing Thursday’s random drawing to choose a winner to proceed as planned.

The recount court led by Newport News Circuit Judge Bryant L. Sugg issued an 11-page ruling refusing Simonds’ legal challenge and upholding its decision last month to review and count a disputed ballot for Republican Del. David E. Yancey in the 94th District.

On the ballot in question, a voter filled in bubbles for both Simonds and Yancey but drew a line through the mark for Simonds.

[T]he State Board of Elections will meet in Richmond at 11 a.m. Thursday to break the tie by picking a name out of a bowl.

The receptacle chosen for a starring role in the drama will be a blue-and-white bowl handcrafted by Steven Glass, a Richmond-based artist who serves as the resident potter at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

“It’s very pretty and sort of rustic,” said VMFA spokesman Anthony Backherms. “It looks like a lot of love went into making it.”

Election officials plan to write Simonds’ and Yancey’s names on strips of paper, put them in film canisters, shake the bowl and pick a canister at random.

Democrats flipped 15 Republican-held seats in last year’s elections, erasing what had been a 66-34 GOP majority but seemingly falling short of taking outright control or matching Republican numbers. The outcome of the 94th District race is expected to determine whether Democrats will achieve a 50-50 split or Republicans will have a 51-49 advantage.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch also profiles the bowl from which the winner’s name will be drawn.

Governor Nathan Deal helped break ground at the second building for the new Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center for Innovation and Training.

“This is a great facility that is going to provide promise, going to provide opportunity and going to change the lives of Georgians and the people of our great nation,” Deal said. “I’m just glad it is right here in Augusta, Ga.

The 165,000-square-foot second building, which will serve as an incubator for related cyber businesses in the private sector as well as additional training and workforce development space, comes while work still remains on the $60 million 167,000-square-foot center on Augusta University’s Riverfront Campus. That piece is on pace to open July 10 as Deal requested.

The expansion, which will essentially be a mirror building of the first, is expected to open in December. With a $12 million parking deck provided by the city of Augusta, the project easily tops $100 million

The center will house the AU Cyber Institute and School of Computer and Cyber Sciences, as well as the cyber crimes unit for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and will be the center for cyber training for all state agencies. The day after the building is opened and dedicated on July 11, it will host a conference on technology for about 150 state and local officials that used to be held in Atlanta, Rhodes said.

“We thought it was a great opportunity for us to be a good partner and also to go forward with a common enterprise,” Deal said.

The Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission released a short-list for a vacancy on the Superior Court for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit.

The list was announced last month and includes State Court Judge Ben Richardson, Juvenile Court and retired Aflac general counsel Joey Loudermilk, Chattahoochee Circuit District Attorney Julia Slater and Ben Land, a partner with Buchanan & Land LLP and the younger brother of U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land.

The four finalists, who came from nine applicants, will be interviewed by Deal at an yet to be determined time. From there, the governor will appoint someone to fill the vacancy that was created when Judge Frank Jordan retired at the end of last year.

The nine attorneys who applied for the job were interviewed by the JNC the week before Christmas in Atlanta. The commission is co-chaired by Atlanta attorney J. Randolph Evans and Pete Robinson, a Columbus resident who is managing partner of the Troutman Sanders LLP Atlanta office.

Houston County Superior Court Judge Katherine K. Lumsden will sit with the Georgia Supreme Court to hear arguments in a case from which Justice Nels Peterson recused himself.

The Cobb County Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 7 PM tonight to discuss changes to the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

Following tonight’s public hearing on the amendments, residents’ next chance to comment on the proposed changes will be another public hearing in front of the Board of Commissioners at a 9 a.m. meeting on Jan. 16, which will also be held in the Cobb Government Building. A vote on the amendments is expected to take place after the conclusion of the hearing.

State Rep. Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven) spoke to press yesterday about a hate crimes bill she’s working on for the 2018 session.

State Rep. Meagan Hanson said it is long overdue for Georgia to have a law on the books that would increase the penalty for someone convicted of the crime.

Hanson was joined during a Wednesday press conference at the statehouse by attorneys, members of law enforcement, representatives from the Anti-Defamation League and a victim of a crime motivated by his sexual orientation.

Hanson said she is working on final details of the bill, but she indicated it would mirror the federal law in providing protections for race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation. She didn’t say exactly what the new penalties would be, other than that they would be mandatory.

Opponents of hate crime laws say the measures limit their freedom of speech, something Hanson said she doesn’t believe is true.

“The freedom of individuals to do and say what they wish should be protected and secured by the government so long as it does not harm the liberty of others,” she said. “Those who hate cannot terrorize and intimidate to make their point.”

Gwinnett Technical College has been recognized as a top institution for veterans.

“Gwinnett Tech is honored to be named one of the top colleges in the nation for veterans. Our Office of Veterans Affairs continually strives to help prospective and current students transition from military life to civilian life,” Dr. D. Glen Cannon, president of Gwinnett Tech, said.

The school was ranked No. 4 in the nation by Military Time for its commitment to education and providing opportunities to America’s veterans, service members and their families. Last year, the school was ranked No. 19 by the same outlet.

Military Friendly ranked Gwinnett Tech No. 8 for its commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community. Gwinnett Tech also earned the 2018 Military Friendly Gold School designation by Victory Media.

Gainesville City School Board swore in two new members this week.

Jim Grier was sworn in as Mayor of Lula.

When Lula City Manager Dennis Bergin handed over the keys to the city on Tuesday morning, the weight of leadership finally fell on Jim Grier’s shoulders.

“Oh, Lord,” said Grier, the city’s new mayor who was officially sworn in just a few minutes later.

Grier defeated four-term Mayor Milton Turner in November, winning nearly 66 percent of the vote. He had previously chaired the Lula Downtown Development Authority for seven years.

Sandy Spring Mayor Rusty Paul used the swearing-in of City Council members to push his priorities for the city.

Mayor Rusty Paul laid out three goals for his second term: addressing the city’s contract with Atlanta for water/sewer services, revitalizing the North Springs area and “working regionally to improve mobility.”

“I appeal to the new mayor of Atlanta, … Keisha Lance Bottoms, to find out how that (first) goal can be obtained,” he said. “Sandy Springs has problems where leaks go unrepaired for up to years at a time. There is a dangerously high number of fire hydrants that are in need of repair, putting our citizens at risk.

“We believe we pay up to 20 percent over other users of the system, especially since the enterprise fund set aside for repairs is not being utilized fairly for us. A thorough audit, which we’re willing to pay for, will help resolve those issues. I will be sending out a letter to Mayor Bottoms soon.”

Dalton City Council voted unanimously to name Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker as the next city administrator.

The Floyd County Board of Education heard an update of projects being built under their Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-LOST).

Hall County Commission Chair Richard Higgins will deliver a State of the County speech at the local GOP headquarters on Saturday.

Catoosa County election officials released the amounts of qualifying fees for 2018 local elections.

Catoosa County Elections Director Tonya Moore disclosed the fees during the Dec. 19 Board of Commissioner’s meeting for the offices of Board of Commissioners (Districts 2 and 4), Board of Education (Districts 2 and 4), State Court Judge, and State Court Solicitor.

“The qualifying fee is three-percent of the total gross salary of the office paid in the preceding calendar year, including all supplements authorized by law in the salaried office,” Moore explained. “The set qualifying fees for Board of Commissioners districts 2 and 4 is $240, State Court Judge $3,409.16, State Court Solicitor $2,897.78, and Board of Education $90.”

Qualifying dates are March 5-9 beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 5, and ending at noon on Friday, March 9.

“Partisan offices will qualify with their local parties, non-partisan offices will qualify with the elections superintendent at the Freedom Center,” Moore said. “Just for your information, election dates for 2018 are May 22 for the general primary, July 24 is the general primary runoff, and Nov. 6 is the general.”

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