Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 6, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 6, 2019

The expulsion of the Cherokee from Georgia began on June 6, 1838 as 800 members left by riverboat.

On June 6, 1944, seventy years ago, Allied forces under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower began the invasion of France, called D-Day.

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

On June 6, 1949, George Orwell published 1984.

The Augusta Chronicle spoke to Jim Dover, a 97-year old veteran who was part of the invasion on D-Day.

Dover was only 18 in 1943 when he enlisted as World War II dragged on in Europe and the Pacific. He joined the paratroopers, and a year later he would be at one of the most important days in history and a tipping point in the war.

Dover, now 95, went to Europe in 1944 when his training was completed. He was part of the 101st Airborne Division and one of the thousands of American troops that landed in Normandy on that day.

“We jumped out of one plane called a C47, a cargo plane. It had one door to jump out of,” Dover said. “The plane was set up, it had a bench down each side. There (was) 12 seats for 12 men on each side.”

He was on the left side of the plane and was with the first group of 12 men to jump. The plane was supposed to go over the drop zone, group one would jump, then it would circle back and the second group would jump. However, the plane never circled back.

“It was shot down,” Dover said.

Mr. Dover later served in Korea and Vietnam as well.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Some Democrat I’ve never heard of said Stacey Abrams would be Governor of Georgia if it weren’t for racists, according to CNN.

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton said Sunday Democrat Stacey Abrams should be governor of Georgia, and said she would be if the US “wasn’t racist.”

“We have a problem with racism in America today. If this country wasn’t racist, Stacey Abrams would be governor,” the Democratic presidential candidate said at a CNN town hall in Atlanta.

“I smoked weed when I was younger. I didn’t get caught, but if I had, I would’ve been fine. Because I’m a white guy,” he said, comparing his hypothetical situation to one involving a man in Louisiana who Moulton said was sentenced to life in prison last year for selling $20 of marijuana.

Sounds like maybe he smoked weed before going onstage.

Fellow failed Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke said Georgia isn’t a red state in Atlanta, according to the AJC.

The Democratic candidate told a few dozen voters in downtown Atlanta that last year’s gubernatorial race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp, which was clouded by concerns of voter suppression, helped inform his voting rights agenda.

“As I watched what happened in Georgia and I saw the lines that stretched hours long, voting machines that didn’t work … and the implication that some people weren’t intended to vote,” he said, adding it was proof “you need an incredibly strong civil rights division at the Department of Justice.”

The former Texas congressman also wants to make Election Day a federal holiday, allow automatic and same-day voter registration, abolish voter ID requirements and enact legislation that establishes independent redistricting commissions.

And O’Rourke proposes a constitutional amendment that would limit the terms of U.S. Supreme Court justices and members of Congress, along with new restrictions on campaign contributions from individuals and corporations.

“Texas and Georgia – they’re not red states. They’re non-voting states,” he said. “If everyone was registered … we would be voting. And at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important.”

The visit comes ahead of a busy day in Georgia politics. O’Rourke and three other presidential candidates will stump in Atlanta on Thursday at a string of events: Former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker.

Speaking of Democratic candidates coming to town, the AJC has more on the story.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and ex-U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke plan to attend a parade of events across the metro area before capping the evening with a fundraiser to benefit the national Democratic Party.

No, Georgia isn’t getting the attention of early-voting states that claim a sliver of its population. But the state is no longer an afterthought in picking the next president, a convenient spot for candidates to swoop in and raise money before spending it in more competitive territory.

On the heels of the state’s tight election in 2018, White House hopefuls are visiting Georgia earlier and more often than they have in decades. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis shows that major candidates have already made more than a dozen trips to Atlanta, and lesser-known contenders have made it a point to swing by, too.

“We are now more than an ATM for presidential candidates,” said David Brand, a Democratic donor and marketing specialist in Atlanta. “They see how close Stacey Abrams ran, and they want to come and invest here.”

All this is happening without a primary date on the calendar: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has yet to select a time for the vote, though most politicos believe it will be held March 3– a budding “Super Tuesday” when California, Massachusetts, Texas and a swath of other Southern states are scheduled to hold votes.

Local officials in Columbus told the Ledger-Enquirer they would support use of Fort Benning to house unaccompanied minor immigrants.

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson, who got a call Tuesday from HHS to let him know that Fort Benning was being considered, said officials didn’t tell him the specific sites at the base they were examining to house the children.

“Nobody has identified anything. I imagine they’ll let us know where it is and what they’re talking about,” Henderson told the Ledger-Enquirer. “But ultimately, this is an agreement between two federal agencies. Columbus just happens to be a really supportive neighbor.”

Henderson said, the city would provide support to Fort Benning, if it is selected to house migrants.

“The only thoughts I have on it right now is Columbus, as a community, has always supported Fort Benning and the soldiers,” Henderson said. “So, if Fort Benning needs anything from Columbus, we’ll do our best to try and provide it.”

Sanford Bishop, the Georgia congressman whose district includes Fort Benning, said that housing the children at Benning would be better than having them live in other overcrowded facilities.

“Senator Perdue is aware of the site visit at Fort Benning and looks forward to receiving more details from Administration officials,” the statement reads, “The Senator has seen the crisis at our southern border firsthand and continues to work with the President, and his Senate colleagues, to find commonsense solutions to fix our immigration system.”

Mac Sims, a gay Army veteran, is running as a Democrat for State House in Savannah, against incumbent Democrat J. Craig Gordon, according to Project Q.

The 23-year-old West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran got the political bug after working on Stacey Abrams’ campaign for Georgia governor in 2018.

“That was how I got my feet wet in Georgia politics and discovered that I really loved it,” Sims (photo) told Project Q Atlanta. “I loved the issues-based advocacy and figuring out what we can do to make people’s lives better in Georgia.”

Sims hopes to unseat state Rep. J. Craig Gordon in House District 163, which includes Savannah.

“I know him well, he’s a good guy, but at the end of the day I’m philosophically opposed to 14-year incumbents,” Sims said.

A fire safety reclassification in Statesboro will save homeowners on insurance premiums, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Effective last October, areas outside the city limits but within the five-mile district and near hydrants on the city’s water system, as well as Statesboro itself, were assigned a “2.” Statesboro’s previous rating had been a “3,” and Grams noted that a “2” is almost unheard of for fire departments this size.

However, the new rating for the entire district was a split 2/2Y,” where “2Y” represented a lower level of protection available for addresses that are not on the city’s water system and had a private water supply not certified to provide sufficient flow. As he explained in February, households with a “2Y” had the equivalent of an old-style “8B,” or roughly a “9,” rating.

Many homeowners’ annual insurance premiums in those areas actually increased, in some cases by thousands of dollars.

But after submitting a new report to the ISO in March, the Fire Department received a “flat classification,” with a slight reduction in overall score but still well within the range for class “2,” [Statesboro Fire Department Chief Tim] Grams told Statesboro City Council.

The Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education adopted a $632 million dollar budget that requires no millage rate increase, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Savannah-Chatham County school board agreed Wednesday to tentatively adopt a $632 million budget at the existing 18.881 millage rate for the upcoming fiscal year.

The expected 2019 tax levy, which was posted Wednesday as required by law, indicates the tax digest will provide Savannah-Chatham County schools with $267 million in 2019, up $13.56 million or 5% from the amount provided in 2018. Tentative adoption of the millage rate was required to meet the timeline for the board’s official vote on the budget June 19, according to a board document.

The board voted unanimously to tentatively adopt budgets totaling $631.65 million for fiscal 2020. They include a general fund budget of $445.6 million, a general obligation debt budget of $5.45 million, a special revenue fund budget of $69.26 million, an “other funds” budget of $15.47 million and a capital projects funds budget for $95.92 million, chief financial officer Larry Jackson said.

Besides the $3,000 raise for teachers and a 2% classified personnel pay raise, most of which the state is providing for, the proposed budget includes $3.7 million in a mid-year step increase for teachers.

Demolition has begun on the federal courthouse annex in Savannah, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Brunswick Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission is considering projects for inclusion in a 2020 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to The Brunswick News.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is considering two routes for a truck bypass around downtown Valdosta, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Paul Tanner, GDOT state transportation planning administrator, said an analysis has been completed for creating two potential routes with variations on each for a truck bypass in Valdosta from U.S. 84 and State Route 38 around downtown. Included in the bypass project is a railroad crossing overpass on St. Augustine Road south of U.S. 84.

The overpass is not contingent on the truck bypass project, but would be a piece of the overall bypass. The $19 million project would be funded by the transportation special purpose local option sales tax, better known as TSPLOST, and is proposed for construction for Fiscal Year 2028, according to a GDOT release.

The analysis of the truck bypass shows about four possible options with the cost of each ranging between $55 million and $103 million.

Tanner said the next step of the process is getting the public involved deciding to choose the route, which will go to the Valdosta-Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization, a federally designated transportation planning organization for the Valdosta urbanized area.

Jerry Bridges Sr. resigned as Jones County Coronoer after being indicted and arrested, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Jerry Bridges Sr., 76, faces two counts of misappropriation of funds and 22 counts of theft by conversion, said Jones County sheriff’s Lt. Kenny Gleaton. Bridges is accused of pocketing at least $100,000 from funeral home clients with pre-need accounts.

Bridges is free on a $100,000 property bond pending trial. Bridges could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Bridges is accused of misappropriating funds from pre-need funeral accounts from his business, Bridges Funeral Home, that closed in 2018, Gleaton said.

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