Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 9, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 9, 2019

On July 9, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud to General George Washington’s troops at the parade grounds in Manhattan.

President Zachary Taylor died of cholera on July 9, 1850 and was succeeded in office by Millard Fillmore.

On July 9, 1864, Confederate troops retreated across the Chattahoochee River from Cobb County into Fulton County. Upriver, Sherman’s troops had already crossed and moved toward Atlanta.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp issued a Writ of Election setting a September 3, 2019 Special Election for House District 71, after the resignation of State Rep. David Stover.

Governor Kemp toured Augusta University yesterday, according to WDRW.

He talked today about the roles of the cyber and cancer centers here in Augusta.

One of the big topics Kemp hit on healthcare, along with a few others affecting the CSRA.

“I think it’s tremendous to be able to connect the researchers with the doctors and also have the students having access to that in one place,” said Kemp.

Improving healthcare is one of Kemp’s main priorities. His goal is to put patients first, which he is taking steps towards with the Patient’s First Act.

“Allow us to do a couple of different waivers for Medicaid and also to Obama care that’ll help us lower costs, increase accessibility, that’s a lot of what’s going on here on this campus,” said Kemp.

“I know that some of our rural communities around the CSRA and others are very interested in that because they know their economic viability is dependent on a lot of what is going on here and how we can collaborate really as a region, so I’m very supportive and focused on that in the future,” said Kemp.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

Kemp signed legislation earlier this year – the Patients First Act – allowing the state to pursue two types of waiver plans to the federal government’s Affordable Care Act. One allows the state to modify federal Medicaid rules; the other lets it modify rules related to the federal health care marketplace.

“I think what our plan is is to poach from any state that is being successful in lowering costs and making the access more accessible,” he said following a roundtable discussion on health care at Christ Community Health’s Olde Town clinic. “The ability we have here is to come up with a Georgia-based solution, and I’m not worried about what they’re doing in Texas or what they’re doing in another state. We’ve got to focus on what will work in Georgia.”

Georgia’s amended 2019 budget provides for $1.6 million – along with $1 million in federal matching funds – to hire consultants to develop low-cost policy recommendations that increase health care access and quality for low-income residents and the uninsured.

Kemp’s chief health care policy adviser, Ryan Loke, told the room of more than two-dozen local elected officials and area health providers that the study’s first phase will be completed this week. Draft versions of a policy could be ready for public review in October.

“The total project timeline is to have submitted both waivers by the end of this calendar year – which is incredibly aggressive – but with the governor’s commitment and a whole bunch of people on our team not sleeping, we’re going to be able to get it done,” Loke said.

Gov. Kemp also made a stop in Thomson, in McDuffie County, according to WJBF.

Kemp was also in Thomson, a town hard hit by job losses when a plant was destroyed by fire. Governor Kemp mentioned the Georgia Pacific plant and also spoke about a variety of issues facing the state of Georgia during his stop at the Belle Meade Country Club.

The governor also talked about the transformation of rural Georgia.

At today’s Coffee with Kemp event, Governor Kemp spoke about labor loss concerns and how lawmakers can help bring more jobs to the state.

Governor Kemp said he wants to keep future generations from moving away from their rural communities by helping them to find work.

From WFXG, discussing the Thomson event:

“We’re trying to find opportunities for those who live here that have not been able to be moved or found a replacement job just yet.” Gov. Kemp says his office will continue to stay focused on the area from a regional and local perspective.

Patsy Spear is with the Farm Bureau. “That’s a lot of jobs that are being lost in this county so it has a big impact on the county so to know that he’s concerned about it and is going to do some help for us, it’s a very good situation for us.”

McDuffie County is one of the 11 counties Senator Jesse Stone represents. He says the governor is a business man who understands what this area needs; and one thing is jobs. “Worker shortage is probably as big a problem as internet connections because incentives bring industry to communities but a good workforce keeps industry in communities.”

In the meantime, Gov. Kemp reported raising more than $700k dollars for his reelection campaign, according to the AJC.

Kemp reported Monday that his campaign had raised $726,000 between the end of the 2019 General Assembly session in April and June 30.

As of last week, his campaign for re-election had $1.27 million socked away for a possible rematch with Democrat Stacey Abrams, who has yet to indicate whether she’ll have another go at the Republican in 3 1/2 years.

In her end-of-the-year report, Abrams’ campaign said she spent $27.4 million, the most any candidate has ever spent to run for governor in Georgia. Kemp wasn’t far behind at $21.4 million.

Democrat Stacey Abrams, unencumbered by the responsibilities of actually serving as Governor, raised nearly $4 million for her Fair Fight Action political committee, according to the AJC.

The political action committee for Fair Fight Action, the voting rights groups started by Stacey Abrams last year after she narrowly lost the governor’s race, raised $3.9 million during the first six months of the year.

Abrams shifted $1 million from her campaign to the group after ending her bid to contest Brian Kemp’s election, and since then Fair Fight PAC has continued to raise big money nationally, with a vast majority of the group’s contributions coming from outside of Georgia.

Over $1 million alone came from Palo Alto, Calf. physician and philanthropist Karla Jurvetson.

The group’s political action committee reported about $1.1. million on hand as of June 30 after spending $3 million, much of it on contributions to several groups and candidates, consultants and staff.

Some Gwinnett property owners expressed their thoughts about proposed property tax increases, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

One by one, Gwinnett residents got up in front of their county commissioners Monday and asked them not to do it.

Don’t raise the millage rate, which would mean an increase in property taxes, they said.

“From the outside, and my point of view, maybe you need to prioritize how things are being spent,” Grayson resident Maria Mangum said. “Maybe figure out if we’re spending too much on this, then maybe we can make it better.”

County commissioners are expected to vote on the proposed general fund millage rate of 7.4 mills at their 2 p.m. business meeting July 16. There will be one more public hearing before that vote.

That hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. July 15 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, which is located at 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville.

“A decision has not been made about what te millage rate will be,” [Commission Chair Charlotte Nash] told residents at the second of two hearings held Monday. “There’s some differences of opinions and I think people’s minds are open to listening to the comments that we’re hearing.”

The Savannah Morning News looks at how the heartbeat abortion bill may affect the local film industry.

The Savannah industry has been posting gains each year, providing hundreds of well-paying jobs and numerous opportunities for local businesses, but with production companies and others threatening to boycott the state should Georgia House Bill 481, also known as the Heartbeat Bill, take effect next year, the industry could be facing a slowdown. Officially called Georgia Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act, it goes into affect Jan. 1, pending decisions on law suits opposing the law.

Savannah Regional Film Commission Executive Director Beth Nelson said there’s a misconception that the controversy surrounding the legislation is all about Hollywood, but in reality it’s working class Georgians who support the state’s film industry that will be most affected.

“We’re just rolling along, rolling along, (having) some great conversations with some companies that are talking to us about building a sound stage, which we really need (in Savannah), but all of that now is just kind of stopped, so I feel like we’ve been going, going, going and now we’re just in limbo waiting for this to be figured out so we can hopefully pick up again and move forward,” she said.

“We’ve been so successful in Georgia and we’ve taken a lot of business from California and other places and been successful, so I think that makes us a target, the target for this,” she said.

“We’re kind of taking the brunt of it because we do have such a great industry here.”

Whitfield County Commissioners gave 2% raises, effective July 1, for county employees, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

The pay increase was not on the agenda released to the public on Friday. Board members unanimously voted at the start of Monday’s meeting to amend the agenda to include an item called “county employee pay adjustment.” There was little discussion of the increase before the vote, but after the meeting, commissioners said they thought it is deserved.

“They (the employees) haven’t had an increase in two years,” said Commission Roger Crossen. “I’m glad it was put on the agenda.”

“They haven’t had a raise in two years, and we felt like they deserve one,” said Commissioner Greg Jones.

Commissioners hadn’t discussed a pay increase in their recent work sessions, but board Chairman Lynn Laughter said they discussed a pay increase during their budget meetings last year.

Whitfield County and its municipalities have reached a new intergovernmental agreement governing the use of encrypted radios for public safety, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

The Hall County Commission will vote on an intergovernmental agreement covering recycling that has already been approved by the Gainesville City Council, according to AccessWDUN.

The Brunswick City Commission will hold a planning meeting on Monday, July 15th, according to The Brunswick News.

Qualifying for two Brunswick City Commission seats opens next month, according to The Brunswick News.

Commissioner Julie Martin, who has held the South Ward seat the past eight years, said she plans to seek a third, four-year term in the at-large election because there is still more she wants to accomplish on behalf of the city.

Commissioner Johnny Cason’s term is also expiring. Cason, who could not be reached for comment on Monday, has served two terms as the South Ward commissioner.

All registered voters in the city are eligible to vote for the candidate of their choice in both seats. Both seats are non-partisan.

The first day for candidates to qualify at the Glynn County Board of Elections Office is Aug. 19 and the period ends Aug. 23. The candidates who qualify will face each other in the Nov. 5 elections.

Voters have until Oct. 7 to register for the general election. Early voting begins Oct. 14.

Bryan Thomas Johnson has raised $32,000 in his campaign as the only candidate so far to replace retiring Floyd County Superior Court Judge J. Bryant Durham, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Durham, who was appointed to the bench in 2003 and elected to four full terms, said in mid-May he would not seek a fifth term in the May 19, 2020, nonpartisan election. He listed no money in his campaign coffers in his latest report, filed July 3 with the State Ethics Commission.

Monday was the deadline for elected officials and active candidates to disclose their campaign financial activities between Feb. 1 and June 30.

Johnson reported contributions totaling $31,920 and expenses of $257 – mainly website hosting fees – which left him with $31,663 in the bank. The next reporting period runs through Jan. 31, 2020.

In the most recent Superior Court judge race, in 2018, Kay Ann Wetherington spent about $80,000 to win the open seat over Emily Matson, who spent about $57,000.

The Clarke County Board of Education has a vacancy for District 4, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The Clarke County Board of Education is looking for someone to fill its vacant District 4 seat.

The person chosen will fill the unexpired term of Jared Bybee, which ends Dec. 31, 2020.

Bybee, who was also the board’s president, resigned in May after his wife accepted a job as a law professor at a California school. The board last month elected LaKeisha Gantt to replace Bybee in the president’s role.

The board established an Aug. 1 deadline at 4:30 p.m. to receive applications in person or by mail.

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