Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 24, 2019


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 24, 2019

The Library of Congress was founded on April 24, 1800 and is the largest library in the world today.

Jack Kingston was born on April 24, 1955. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1984 and served four terms and in 1992 was elected to the United States Congress.

“Georgia On My Mind” became the official state song on April 24, 1979, when Governor George Busbee signed legislation designating it.

IBM introduced the Personal Computer Model 5150 on April 24, 1981, though some authorities date the introduction to April 12. It sported an Intel 8088 processor at 4.77 Mhz, a whopping 16k of RAM, which was expandable to 256k, and a clicky keyboard. The initial price tag was $1565, equivalent to more than $4000 today.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will be in Atlanta today for the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, according to the AJC.

This will be the president’s first visit to Georgia in 2019. He made several stops in 2018, including a rally in Macon for Brian Kemp during the governor’s race and a tour of damage after Hurricane Michael struck in October. He also attended the national college football title game in Atlanta.

The four-day drug abuse summit attracts about 3,000 participants, and in past years it has featured public health officials and high-profile politicians. Kellyanne Conway, a White House counselor, talked to the group in 2018.

The visit is expected to snarl traffic around downtown Atlanta on Wednesday and attract protesters to the area.

Trump has allocated billions of dollars in his budget proposals to combating the opioid crisis, which claimed nearly 48,000 American lives in 2017. The White House said the president and his wife will each speak “about their fight to end the opioid crisis.”

Click here to watch the live stream of the President’s address at 1 PM.

Governor Brian Kemp begins a statewide tour today, according to AccessWDUN.

Kemp will participate in round table discussions with educators, healthcare professionals and law enforcement officials in different parts of the state. First Lady Marty Kemp will accompany him.

Wednesday’s schedule includes stops at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta at 8:30 a.m., Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon at 9:45 a.m. and Garden City Terminal in Garden City at 3 p.m.

A press statement from the Governor’s office said other visits are planned and will be announced once a schedule is confirmed.

Government agencies from the federal, state, and local levels will be at a Supermarket of Veterans Benefits in Warner Robins, according to the Macon Telegraph.

At Supermarket of Veterans Benefits, veterans may establish eligibility for state veterans benefits, apply for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care benefits, disability compensation or pension benefits and obtain help in obtaining military medals and records.

Veterans can also find out about education and job training grants, employment opportunities and get information on home mortgage and small business loans.

Additionally, veterans will learn about nursing home care and aging services, burial in veterans cemeteries, military retiree information, and veterans driver’s license and car tags.

Representatives of more than 30 federal, state and local government agencies are expected to be on hand.

[T]he free event is April 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Larry Walker Arena at Central Georgia Technical College at 80 Cohen Walker Drive in Warner Robins.

The Conasuaga Judicial Circuit (Murray and Whitfield Counties) held drug court graduation, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

[Olivia McDonald] gives the credit for the turnaround to the Conasauga Drug Court program.

Surrounded by a room full of family, friends and Drug Court staff members, McDonald and five other participants in the program — Brittani Curl, Samantha Silvers, Jason Chastain, Donnie Ensley and Lamar Hance — celebrated their completion of the program during the 73rd graduation ceremony held Feb. 21 at the Whitfield County Courthouse.

“If you had told me 27 months ago that treatment would have provided my life with so much improvement, I would have told you it was not possible,” McDonald said, reading to the crowd from a letter she had written to Judge Jim Wilbanks, who oversees the Drug Court program. “Hopelessness was replaced by faith, fear replaced by confidence, and anger replaced by peace.”

McDonald’s success story includes earning her GED while in the program. She will take classes at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, seeking a degree as an addiction specialist and social work assistant.

“My goal for this program — and it has been since the beginning — is permanent recovery,” [Judge Jim] Wilbanks said. “Some programs don’t use two words to describe recovery — I do. This is not just about recovery — this is about permanent recovery, so that’s why we focus on core issues. That’s why this is a 24-month program. It takes time just to get the chemicals out of the brain so you can start thinking like a real person again. So we work to get them to that point, and from there we grow with them as they grow in their recovery.”

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson unveiled his first proposed city budget, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The total balanced budget recommended is $282,597,030.00 in revenue and expenses, which is a 2.64 percent increase over the fiscal year 2019 adopted budget.

Big changes include a $1 million allocation for demolitions of blighted properties and pay raises for all city employees.

The proposed budget also includes a 1 percent raise for all full-time city employees hired on or before June 30, 2018 as well as a 1 percent cost of living increase for all employees.

Both of those raises will go into effect in January 2020.

Henderson said his proposed budget does not use fund balance to balance the budget. His budget also anticipates a slight increase in the tax digest.

The Bulloch County Board of Education budget is expected to pass $100 million dollars for the first time in FY 2020, according to the Statesboro Herald.

But much of a projected 5.8 percent, $5.57 million percent overall rise in revenue and a 7.9 percent, $7.39 million, rise in spending will be a pass-through of state funding for a pay raise and related benefit costs for teachers.

Those state-mandated raises will also go to administrators and other school employees with teaching certificates, and Brown and Superintendent Charles Wilson have suggested locally funded raises for all other regular employees.

[T]the state-funded teacher raise, which was reduced and increased again through the legislative process, ended up at $3,000.

The Bulloch County school system will receive a projected $2.55 million from the state to fund this raise. Another $1.1 million in added state money will be a pass-through for additional Teacher Retirement System costs resulting from the raise and from a small increase in the employer contribution percentage.

The American Lung Association released its annual air pollution scorecard, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

In the American Lung Association’s latest State of the Air air pollution scorecard, which looked at data from 2015 to 2017, Augusta recorded zero high ozone days and only a couple of days where fine particle pollution was a concern, earning it an A grade on ozone and a B on particle pollution.

Georgia as a whole improved on ozone, with only Atlanta-area counties failing to make the grade. The Atlanta area also did slightly worse in the level of overall particle pollution, according to the group. Those gains could be threatened by climate change and by rollbacks to federal protections that are responsible for many of those gains, said June Deen, the senior director for advocacy for the lung association in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Compared with years past, the air is much cleaner in Georgia, said Karen Hays, the chief of the Air Protection Branch at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

“Air quality has improved dramatically due to increased controls at industrial sources and power plants, and then also the cars that we drive, the buses that we ride in, even the trains are a lot more efficient and emit less pollution than they did even a decade ago,” she said. “All of those things factored together led to improvements in air quality.”

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division Richmond Hill Hatchery produces fingerlings to stock Georgia waters, according to the Albany Herald.

Millions of sport fish, such as striped bass, are produced each year at nine hatcheries in the state. Richmond Hill Fish Hatchery recently completed a major renovation that includes a new state-of-the-art hatchery and regional administrative facility. The new hatchery building has the capacity to increase fry production by more than 25 percent compared to the old facility, and since the incubation room has a recirculating water system, the new hatchery will also conserve water.

Funding for the hatchery was derived from mitigation funds from the Savannah River Deepening Project and other state monies. Anglers support the operation of the hatchery through their fishing license purchase and through the Sport Fish Restoration Fund by paying taxes on items like fishing equipment and boat fuel. Those tax dollars get returned to Georgia based, in part, on how many fishing licenses are sold. So by buying a license (, state anglers can make sure their dollars stay in Georgia.

Scott Addison has been promoted to Assistant Administrator in Dougherty County, according to the Albany Herald.

The City of Sugar Hill opened their new E Center, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The mixed use development includes a multi-use indoor theater, a gymnasium, outdoor gathering spaces, office spaces, and retail and restaurant spaces.

“The E Center is a long time coming and is a direct response to what the community said they wanted years ago: a downtown of our own where we can eat, shop, be entertained and engage with our neighbors,” Sugar Hill Mayor Steve Edwards said.

The E Center has technically been opening piecemeal since last fall, but Tuesday’s ribbon cutting made everything official. Before city officials cut the ribbon on the E Center, they unveiled two plaques that will installed at the E Center and the Eagle Theatre to mark the occasion.

In addition to Edwards, the City Council and Sugar Hill Downtown Development Authority, state Sen. Renee Unterman and Partnership Gwinnett Chief Economic Development Officer — and incoming Gwinnett Chamber president — Nick Masino also helped cut the ribbon to formally open the downtown district. A quartet from the Broad Street Band performed for attendees before and after the ribbon cutting as well.

Right Whales are still in numerical decline after this year’s calving season, according to The Brunswick News.

[T]he 2018-19 North Atlantic right whale calving season was not a baby boom — nothing like it — and ended in seven observed calves born. In fact, the species remains on a path toward extinction.

“Seven calves aren’t great — I think we probably remember the previous season we had zero calves, which was really our worst year ever,” state Department of Natural Resources biologist Mark Dodd said.

The assessment came during a meeting Tuesday morning at the state DNR’s Coastal Resources Division headquarters that primarily dealt with the beginning of sea turtle nesting season, but also involved discussion of area aquatic mammals and shorebirds.

Dodd said that for the population of right whales to stay stable, to simply break even there needed a minimum 16 calves born this season. As such, the past calving season represents a continued downturn.


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