Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 2, 2019

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May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 2, 2019

On May 2, 1886, Jefferson Davis left Atlanta, headed to Savannah.

Savannah officials had successfully solicited Davis to attend a variety of special ceremonies and events being planned in Savannah. On the way, the train stopped briefly in Forsyth and Macon, where the ex-Confederate president was greeted by crowds and spoke briefly from the back of his train. Although he didn’t leave the train, Davis would return to Macon the following year for a more formal visit.

On May 2, 1939, Lou Gehrig benched himself as the Yankees took the field against the Detroit Tigers, ending his streak of 2,130 consecutive games.

The Weather Channel began broadcasting from Cobb County, Georgia on May 2, 1982.

United States forces killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

United States Senators Johnny Isakson (R) and David Perdue (R) called again for disaster relief, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

“We’re not here today to talk about an agricultural disaster. We’re not here to talk about a hurricane, a storm or a fire,” said Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson during the event, which was held in Washington, D.C., but broadcast over the internet.

“We’re talking about a disastrous failure of the government of the United States of America to respond to the needs of its people,” Isakson said.

The nearly $14 billion aid package would benefit a range of states, including California, Alaska, Florida, the Carolinas and some Midwestern states, but Democrats have argued that the additional $600 million proposed for Puerto Rico, which is still struggling from a 2017 hurricane, is not enough.

Georgia Sen. David Perdue, a Republican, said he believes the two sides are close to striking a deal behind the scenes but noted that it would have to be something that President Donald Trump is willing to sign. Trump has groused on Twitter about the island’s use of federal funds it has already received.

“Just rest assured that we are not going to give up on this until we get this resolved and get disaster relief flowing to all these people across 12 states that are hurting today,” said Perdue, who is a close Trump ally.

Democrat Stacey Abrams is working on her next initiative, after passing on a 2020 Senate bid, according to the Savannah Morning News.

With her decision this week not to run for U.S. Senate, Abrams is directing her political energy squarely into promoting voting rights, the cause that helped propel her unsuccessful bid in Georgia last year to be the nation’s first African American female governor and made her a star in national Democratic circles.

Abrams’s command center is now Fair Fight Action, a nonprofit she formed in December to increase access to elections and combat what she describes as Republicans’ systemic efforts to suppress voters of color. The organization, where at least four former campaign aides work, has already filed a federal lawsuit over the election, lobbied for legislative reform and released videos featuring Abrams.

If the group is successful, it could help further boost the ranks of voters of color in Georgia, a state that saw a record turnout of 1.9 million Democrats last year, when Abrams narrowly lost the governor’s race to Republican Brian Kemp. That could also bolster Democratic fortunes in 2020 – as well as Abrams personally if she decides to challenge Kemp to a rematch two years after that.

Rebecca DeHart, the past executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party, is Fair Count’s CEO. Abrams’s sister, Jeanine Abrams McLean, a longtime population researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the group’s program director.

Fair Count began in 1998 under another name: Third Sector Development, the group Abrams formed to provide technical assistance to community organizations in Southern states.

Fair Fight Action also got its start as a different organization that Abrams founded years ago, called Voter Access Institute. When Abrams changed the name in December, she also adjusted the group’s articles of incorporation to allow it to participate in political activity.

Governor Brian Kemp appointed Lynne Riley as State Treasurer, according to a state press release.

Riley, who previously served in the General Assembly and most recently led the Department of Revenue as State Revenue Commissioner, will be Georgia’s first female State Treasurer.

“A dedicated public servant throughout her entire career, Lynne was a strong advocate for her constituents in the General Assembly and led the Department of Revenue with integrity and skill. This promotion is well-deserved given her success within the Deal administration and mine. I am excited to appoint her to this position, and I am confident that she will excel in her new role,” said Governor Kemp.

“I want to thank Governor Kemp for this opportunity, and I look forward to beginning this new chapter in public service. To ensure that our best and brightest days are always ahead, I will work tirelessly in the Office of the State Treasury to make Georgians proud and keep the Peach State on solid financial ground,” said Lynne Riley.

“Lynne Riley is an excellent choice for State Treasurer, and I look forward to working with her in my capacity as Chief Investment Officer. The State Treasurer’s responsibilities are vast and increasingly complex, and while I have enjoyed serving in a dual capacity in recent years, I believe our state will be better served by having Lynne and I specialize in our respective areas and collaborate to meet the needs of Georgia’s citizens,” said Steve McCoy.

With Riley’s appointment, Steve McCoy will remain in his role as Chief Investment Officer. In the coming days, Governor Kemp will name Riley’s successor at the Department of Revenue.

Governor Kemp will today sign Senate Bill 48, by State Senator P.K. Martin, which includes dyslexia mandates for public schools, according to the AJC.

The legislation for the state’s first dyslexia mandate, Senate Bill 48, also requires new teacher training and a three-year pilot program to test out screening and intervention methods before the full-blown mandate to screen all kindergartners starting in 2024.

The state burn ban is now in effect through the end of September, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Every year, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division imposes restrictions on outdoor burning to comply with Federal Clean Air Regulations.

“During the summer months in Georgia, the ozone in the air we breathe can reach unhealthy levels,” said Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge. “The EPD has identified outdoor open burning as a significant contributor of the pollutants that form ozone. Consequently, outdoor open burning in metro Atlanta and larger counties is restricted during the warm-weather season.”

For more information about the state burn ban, visit epd.georgia.gov/air.

Former Governor Nathan Deal will speak at a University of North Georgia commencement this month, according to a press release from the University.

Deal, who was in office from 2011-19, is the keynote speaker at the 6 p.m. May 3 commencement, which honors graduates of UNG’s Mike Cottrell College of Business, College of Science and Mathematics, and Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis

Deal represented Georgia’s 9th District in Congress from 1993-2010 before his two terms as governor. He is also a retired U.S. Army captain.

Joy Hawkins, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, is the keynote speaker for the 3 p.m. May 4 ceremony, where she will address graduates of the College of Education and College of Health Sciences and Professions.

Hawkins previously served as director of Literacy for All and was a policy adviser and deputy chief operations officer for former Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) blames the Democratic Chair of the Judiciary Committee for the lack of direct testimony by Attorney General William Barr, according to AccessWDUN.

Collins issued a statement Wednesday, saying [Congressman Jerry] Nadler sabotaged the hearing by refusing to read a less-redacted version of the report.

“It’s a shame Members of the House Judiciary Committee won’t get the opportunity to hear from Attorney General Barr this Thursday, because Chairman Nadler chose to torpedo our hearing. The attorney general gave clear, informative testimony in the Senate Wednesday, as he offered to do more than a month ago in the House tomorrow.”

“By rejecting the chance to question Attorney General Barr or read the materials he’s provided, Democrats are trying to prolong an investigation the special counsel completed. Ultimately, though, they’re ignoring the will of the majority of Americans who want Congress to move on and secure our border and continue to strengthen our economy.”

The United States House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee approved legislation aimed at helping Right Whale populations, according to The Brunswick News.

A bill that would open up $5 million in annual grants to protect North Atlantic right whales received approval Wednesday in the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

House Resolution 1568 — whose lead sponsor, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., is one of nearly two dozen people running for the Democratic nomination for president — provides $5 million per year from 2019 to 2029 that would go to relevant state and tribal agencies, research institutions and nonprofits with expertise required in right whale conservation.

“The SAVE Right Whales Act would authorize financial resources for research and to develop and test innovative technologies to reduce entanglements and ship strikes,” [Congressman Jared] Huffman said. “It would also direct NOAA to conduct a survey and map food sources in the Atlantic Ocean, which would valuable insight into the needs of right whales.”

U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., spoke for the Republican minority against the legislation.

“The Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife did hold a hearing on this issue on the North Atlantic right whale back in March, and what we also learned was that the right whale was hunted nearly to extinction through the late 19th Century, and that the North Atlantic population’s so small that it lacks a sufficient genetic pool to produce a growing population,” McClintock said. “We’ve heard shipping, other commercial activity, seismic testing blamed, but the fact is that other whale populations in the North Atlantic have been growing at a very healthy rate.”

The Gwinnett Daily Post brings more on the announcement by State Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero (D-Norcross) for the 7th Congressional District.

“We have a unique opportunity to elect someone who reflects the values and the rich diversity of our district,” Lopez Romero said in a statement. “I know that I am the right person for the job.”

The immigration attorney joins a growing field of Democratic candidates including Georgia State University professor Carolyn Bourdeaux, former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign official Nabilah Islam, former Fulton County Commission chairman John Eaves and Snellville-based attorney Marqus Cole.

There has never been a Hispanic member of Congress elected from Georgia, although Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials Executive Director Jerry Gonzalez said he believed a Latino candidate did run for the Fourth Congressional District seat several years ago.

“But she certainly is the first Latina running for Congress and she would be the first Hispanic to represent Georgia in Congress,” Gonzalez said.

“I think it is a national race,” Gonzales said. “In the last election, we saw Rep. Rob Woodall win by less than 500 votes in a highly contested race so that certainly makes this a very competitive race.”

“And that was in a mid-term election. For a presidential election, with the growth of the Latino electorate in Gwinnett County in particular, certainly you’re going to see a tremendous amount of attention to that race not only locally, but certainly nationally I think.”

“I’ll continue to use my expertise on immigration and international affairs to improve our world standing as a beacon of hope for democracy,” she said. “The narrative of Washington Republicans couldn’t be further from the truth. The immigrants I know are hard-working and embrace the best of American values.”

“I will push for comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act.”

Derik Minard has been appointed as the new Fire Chief for Savannah, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Brunswick Commission approved an intergovernmental agreement with Glynn County regarding flooding problems, according to The Brunswick News.

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