Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 8, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 8, 2018

March 8, 1862 saw the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads, VA, take ninety-eight hits from Union warships without sinking. Virginia sank USS Cumberland after ramming it, blew up USS Congress, and ran USS Minnesota aground. It was the worst day in US Naval history at that time.

On March 8, 1946, a conference convened on Wilmington Island, near Savannah, that would lead to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, commonly called the World Bank.

On March 8, 1946, a special train arrived at Savannah’s Union Station from Washington, holding nearly 300 delegates, government officials, technical experts and reporters from 35 nations. Thousands of Savannahians watched as a 100-car motorcade rolled along flag-bedecked streets to the General Oglethorpe Hotel on Wilmington Island.

Treasury Secretary Fred M. Vinson headed the American delegation; the British were led by John Maynard Keynes, “the father of modern macroeconomics.”

The stakes were enormous.

Two years earlier, as World War II neared its murderous end, the winning Allies pondered the nature of the postwar global economy. The United States was emerging as the leader of the free world, largely supplanting the British Empire, gravely weakened by the war.

The IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (better known as the World Bank) were born at a July 1944 conference in Bretton Woods, N.H., where 44 countries established rules for the global monetary system.

The IMF was intended to promote international economic cooperation and secure global financial stability, providing countries with short-term loans. The World Bank would offer long-term loans to assist developing countries in building dams, roads and other physical capital.

The Bretton Woods agreements were ratified internationally by December 1945. Vinson, seeking a site for the new organizations’ inaugural meetings, sent Treasury agents around the country. “They made some fine reports on Savannah,” he later told the Morning News. He had never visited the city.

On March 8, 1982, President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “an evil empire” for the second time, in an address to the National Association of Evangelicals.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Gov Deal Facebook Announcement

Photo by Governor’s Office.

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday formally announced that Facebook will build a data center in Stanton Springs.

Gov. Nathan Deal [] announced that Facebook will create at least 100 full-time jobs and invest $750 million in a new data center in Stanton Springs over the next five years. New jobs will include positions in engineering and management, as well as opportunities for data center technicians.

“Georgia’s business-friendly climate and world-class technological infrastructure continue to attract innovative companies like Facebook,” said Deal. “It is fitting that the No. 1 company in the world in terms of active users has chosen the No. 1 state for business for this project. We appreciate Facebook’s leadership for recognizing Georgia as a state that serves not only as a major hub for general business, but also as a place where tech firms can be successful in the future. This project represents a significant investment and will create meaningful opportunities for the surrounding community. We welcome Facebook to Georgia and look forward to the growth of this partnership.”

The Newton Data Center will be part of the highly advanced infrastructure that helps Facebook provide apps and services to more than 2 billion people around the world. The new facility will be Facebook’s ninth data center in the U.S.

“As a company, Facebook is committed to creating positive impact at the local level – that means hiring, partnering and investing locally,” said Rachel Peterson, VP of Data Center Strategy at Facebook. “We are thrilled to be making Georgia our new home and look forward to a long and strong partnership with the state, Newton County, and our new community.”

Facebook will construct two buildings to occupy 970,000 square feet. The buildings will be fully operational in 2020.

“We couldn’t be happier to have such an outstanding company like Facebook as one of our community corporate partners,” said Shane Short, executive director of the Development Authority of Walton County. “This is just the beginning of a long-term partnership that will continue to grow stronger. We value our partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), Commissioner Pat Wilson, and his professional team, especially EJane Caraway. We are appreciative that they helped us with this project.”

Facebook’s data centers are among the most advanced, energy-efficient facilities in the world. The Newton Data Center will be powered by 100 percent clean and renewable energy, and cooled using outdoor air instead of energy-intensive air conditioners. The facility will also house Facebook’s hyper-efficient hardware, which powers apps and other services.

Gov. Deal also announced that former State Rep. Amy Carter (R-Valdosta) will take a new job in the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Gov. Nathan Deal [] announced that Amy Carter will serve as Deputy Commissioner for Rural Georgia at the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). At GDEcD, Carter will lead state efforts to help rural Georgia communities become more competitive for economic development projects and identify new strategies for attracting jobs and investment outside the Metro Atlanta region. This change will take effect on March 15.

“Promoting the growth and success of rural Georgia is essential to securing a more prosperous state for generations to come,” said Deal. “Amy’s experience working with students and her time in public service have given her an understanding of the needs facing our educational system. Her background will help her to improve education and workforce development in rural Georgia, two areas proven to be critical in generating significant investment and economic opportunities. Amy will be an invaluable addition to the GDEcD team and will work diligently to advance these strategic initiatives, thereby improving the quality of life for those residing in Georgia’s rural communities.”

From Jill Nolin for the Valdosta Daily Times:

“Our metropolitan areas like Atlanta and Savannah are economic engines, and we celebrate the success of those cities,” Carter said. “But we know rural Georgia isn’t experiencing the same prosperity.”

“My job is going to be to serve as a champion of rural Georgia,” she said, adding that she wants to “help rural Georgia not only survive – but thrive.”

The governor appointed “one of our own” for the task, said Rep. Sam Watson, R-Moultrie, who chairs the legislative rural caucus and who is vice chair of the House Rural Development Council.

“I cannot think of a more qualified person who understands education in rural Georgia, who understands workforce development in rural Georgia, who understands this body and this legislative process and the resources we have as a state to improve rural Georgia,” Watson said from the House floor Wednesday.

“But most importantly, I don’t know anybody else who knows how better to raise a family and live and work in rural Georgia – and that’s the most important part,” Watson added.

Under the Gold Dome

The Legislative Day clock continues running on Friday with Legislative Day 32.


8:00 AM SENATE APPROP – Fiscal Mgmt and Gen Govt 123 CAP

8:30 AM House State Govt Admin Sub Govtal Affairs 406 CLOB


9:30 AM House Elections Sub Govtal Affairs 406 CLOB

9:30 AM HOUSE Ways & Means Income Tax Sub 133 CAP

9:45 AM HOUSE Ways & Means Ad Valorem Sub 133 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE Ways & Means Public Finance and Policy Sub 133 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE Driver’s Safety and Services Sub 415 CLOB

10:30 AM HOUSE Insurance – Property & Casualty Sub 606 CLOB





1:00 PM HOUSE Res Mgmt Sub Natl Res & Envt 506 CLOB




2:00 PM SENATE APPROP – Economic Dev Sub 341 CAP





2:00 PM HOUSE Transportation Sub Railway & Transit 506 CLOB

2:30 PM HOUSE Game, Fish and Parks Sub 403 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE APPROP – Ag & Natl Res Sub 450 CAP



3:00 PM House Sub JUDY (Non-Civil) 415 CLOB


3:00 PM HOUSE Transportation Sub State Hways 506 CLOB


State Appropriators are considering adding $8 million to $16 million to the FY 2019 state budget for school security improvements, according to the AJC.

House budget writers included $8 million in the spending plan for fiscal 2019 — which begins July 1 — that won committee approval Wednesday. House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, is hoping the Senate ups it to $16 million.

“As we saw the unfortunate events played out in Florida a couple of weeks ago now, we began realizing our schoolchildren in many cases are protected by those around them,” England said, “but sometimes their buildings may actually let them down a little bit by allowing too easy passage for individuals who intend to do harm.”

The Georgia House is expected to vote out the $26 billion budget for fiscal 2019 on Friday, and then the Senate will have a few weeks to pass its version and come to an agreement on a final spending plan. Lawmakers must approve a budget before they end the 2018 session later this month.

If you’re interested in what else is in the state budget, that article is worth reading in its entirety.

State Legislators are considering moving Georgia elections from the current electronic-only system, according to the AJC.

Georgia needs to change its voting system after tech experts exposed security vulnerabilities in such machines during the DefCon computer hacking conference in July in Las Vegas, said state Sen. Bruce Thompson, the sponsor of the election legislation, Senate Bill 403.

“The citizens of Georgia right now are very concerned. Their confidence in elections is not very high,” said Thompson, R-White. “It’s time for us to implement a system that will provide a paper ballot and audits so we can do spot checks.”

Under the legislation, either paper-and-pencil or machine-generated ballots could be used for the state’s next voting system. Georgians have been voting on electronic machines since 2002.

The bill calls for election companies to submit bids starting in January, and for Georgia’s incoming secretary of state to pick an election system. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp leaves that office at the end of this year.

House Bill 673 by State Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta), aimed at preventing distracted driving, may hit a roadblock in the Senate, according to the AJC.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the Republican frontrunner and president of the Senate, said it faced an “uphill battle” in his chamber — signaling that it’s unlikely to pass without significant changes.

Cagle said at the forum that sometimes lawmakers have a “sense of wanting to go a little bit too far in one direction” when it comes to public safety and that it’s likely to get a tough reception in his chamber.

House Bill 660 by State Rep. Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven) failed to pass before Crossover Day, but some supporters hope it can be added to other legislation, according to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

House Bill 660, introduced by Rep. Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven) and endorsed by the Anti-Defamation League and the Coalition for a Hate-Free Georgia, never got out of House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. It had a hearing Feb. 13 before a subcommittee chairman who took the view that the measure was unnecessary because all crimes are hate crimes.

“I had more hopes before the hearing,” said Shelley Rose, the ADL Southeast deputy regional director, who said the meeting started late and didn’t provide enough time for supportive testimony.

While H.B. 660 is dead, the push for a hate-crimes law is not. Advocates hope to amend another bill to include at least the law enforcement aspects of H.B. 660 if not the whole measure.

“We haven’t given up,” Rose said. “I’m cautiously optimistic we can move something along.”

State House District 144, currently held by State Rep. Bubber Epps (R-Dry Branch) has at least five candidates – two Republicans and three Democrats – to succeed the retiring Epps.

David Belle Isle campaigned for Secretary of State in Southwest Georgia.

Belle Isle is a sixth generation Georgia resident, but it was his first time taking a trip to Thomasville, Cairo and Bainbridge. However, he really enjoyed the trip and found it as a great opportunity to see Georgia firsthand. In addition to that, he said he has tasted some great barbeque along the way.

Belle Isle’s first stop on his tour was Thomasville, where he hosted a meet and greet at their country club and later at Grassroots. He proudly participated in the ribbon cutting of Thomasville’s newest local business, Hubs and Hops and attended the Thomasville Rotary Club meeting. He said he loved being immersed in the community and seeing the reinvention of Thomasville’s downtown.

After visiting Thomasville, Belle Isle headed off to Cairo and made his final stop in Bainbridge.

Democrat Ceasar Mitchell aid he’s considering running for Attorney General against incumbent AG Chris Carr, according to the AJC.

Mitchell said in a statement that challenging Carr would give him an opportunity to put his legal background and elected experience on the council, the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Municipal Association to use. He said he will make his decision quickly.

Mitchell was elected to the council in 2001 and eight years later won the race to become the group’s president. He finished in sixth place in the crowded race for Atlanta mayor last year after raising more than $2 million for his bid.

Donna Kosicki qualified to run for Cherokee County Board of Education District 4 against incumbent Rick Steiner, according to

Steiner, who qualified earlier this week to run for re-election, was first appointed to the board in November 2005 to fill a vacancy. He won the election to the seat in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010 and 2014. Fellow School board member Republican Mike Chapman of District 6 will face challenger Scott Phillips in the Republican primary. School board members John Harmon of District 3 and Clark Menard of District 5 have also qualified to run for re-election in the Republican primary.

Two Floyd County Democrats qualified to run against incumbent Republicans, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Evan Ross, a logistics manager from Rome, is seeking the state Senate District 52 seat held by Chuck Hufstetler.

And Stephanie Wright, a psychology professor at Georgia Highlands College, announced she’s running for the Floyd County Commission Post 1 seat held by Rhonda Wallace.

A model solar ordinance is being developed by three universities, according to the Savanna Morning News.

the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, and the University of Georgia are developing a model solar zoning ordinance to provide county and city officials and other decision-makers in the state access to best practices and a common baseline from which to work.

The resulting document will address zoning for multiple scales and types of solar energy systems that counties and cities can adopt and adapt to their needs.

To get public input on the draft ordinance, organizers are holding three public meetings around the state, the first being 4-6 p.m. Thursday March 8, 2018 at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, 2 Canebrake Road in Savannah.

Columbus is considering ways to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

[Muscogee County Coroner Buddy] Bryan said he received a memo two weeks ago from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner’s Office, requesting that he report cases where it is apparent that the pills are being pushed by a local physician or clinic.

“It’s a nationwide epidemic, but it is prevalent in Columbus, Georgia,” Bryan said. “And it’s got the attention of the higher-ups – you know, the Governor on down the line, now, for sure.”

Last week, Columbus Council voted to hire a group of attorneys to go after manufacturers and distributors of opioid prescription drugs flooding the local market — much like municipalities went after Tobacco companies in previous years.

City Attorney Clifton Fay said the decision is part of a national movement by cities and counties filing civil action against pharmaceutical companies and other businesses profiting from the abuse of opioid prescription drugs.

The lead lawyers on the case are DuBose Porter of Dublin, Ga., and Mike Fuller out of Hattiesburg, Miss.

In the resolution approved by Columbus councilors, the local opioid epidemic was described as a serious local problem, affecting public health, safety, security, as well as city finances.

Lowndes County Board of Education has two contested seats this year.

Bulloch County has two contested County Commission elections so far.

Gwinnett County Public Schools rescinded an earlier vote that would have put a school bond on the May 22d ballot.

Muscogee County School District announced it will discipline students who participate in the National School Walkout on March 14th.

Savannah-Chatham County school board members are considering taking action to enhance school safety, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Board member Shawn Kachmar said at Wednesday’s regular board meeting that he is “fired up,” and ready to fund more resources.

“And I don’t mean at budget time, I mean tomorrow,” Kachmar said.

Board member Julie Wade said she is willing to consider millage rate hikes if necessary to implement additional safety measures.

School Board President Jolene Byrne asked staff to get numbers on costs for school resource officers, counselors and other recommendations and bring it back to the board.

Some Savannah State students held a vigil to remember lives lost to gun violence.

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