Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 19, 2019


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 19, 2019


President Abraham Lincoln delivered an 87-word speech at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On November 19, 1864, as Sherman marched toward Savannah, the Georgia delegation to the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, sent a message to the state,

“Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”

The first issue of National Review magazine was published on November 19, 1955.

Apollo 12 landed on the moon on November 19, 1969.

Reagan Gorbachev 11191985

President Ronald Reagan met for the first time with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on November 19, 1985.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp took his tour of Georgia manufacturing to Cordele, according to the Cordele Dispatch.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp toured Big Tex Trailers’ Cordele manufacturing and sales facility Monday morning as part of his statewide tour promoting products manufactured in Georgia.

“We have worked literally around the clock since taking office and I’m very proud of what we have accomplished, but I know we have much more to do,” Kemp told employees after his tour. “I believe that rural Georgia is the right place for investment.”

From WALB:

According to BigTex Trailers’ website, the company is “America’s No. 1 professional-grade trailer manufacturer.”

“I’ve been saying, in Georgia, we can make anything for anybody anywhere in the world and that’s what we’re doing and we gotta let people know that,” said Kemp.

Kemp continued to discuss his plan to advance business growth in rural Georgia. He’s calling his plan the Strike Team.

“But we’re gonna do a couple of different things with the Strike Team. Number one, we’re gonna work with local communities that wanna work with us to find sites that we can put a project of regional significance,” explained Kemp.

“To design that site with basically a shovel permit ready and then we’ll upmarket, because sometimes in rural areas, the folks on the ground don’t have the experience in marketing these types of projects, literally to international customers. But we’re gonna help with that but we’ll also help train the individuals. So, over the years, we’ll have more trained people to know how to sell our state and sell your local community,” said Kemp.

Gov. Kemp‘s deadline for applying for a senate appointment has passed, according to the AJC.

The group of candidates seeking the job include a long list of well-known figures. There are state legislators, a former congressman, company CEOs, a U.S. ambassador, decorated military veterans and radio commentators. A Democratic state senator has even applied.

And in the final days, three contenders who are likely to receive serious consideration emerged. Robyn Crittenden, who runs the state’s largest agency, the Department of Human Services, and briefly succeeded Kemp as secretary of state, applied Thursday.

Hours later, Allen Poole, a former county commissioner whom Kemp tapped to lead the highway safety office, applied, saying the nation needs “bold, conservative leaders to stand with President (Donald) Trump.”

And Monday brought one of the biggest names yet: Kelly Loeffler, the head of a financial services firm who co-owns Atlanta’s WNBA franchise and has long been interested in seeking public office. She seems certain to be a top-tier potential appointee to the seat.

A Republican mega-donor, Loeffler can self-finance a Senate campaign that’s expected to shatter fundraising records. She could also potentially help the GOP appeal to suburban women who have fled the party, leading to close margins in last year’s gubernatorial race.

“From working on the family farm to creating jobs and opportunity in the business world, I have been blessed to live the American Dream,” she wrote in her application. “I am offering myself to serve hardworking Georgians as a political outsider in the United States Senate to protect that dream for everyone.”

Like some other applicants, her stance on many of Georgia’s political debates is uncertain and she has no voting record on hot-button issues. Her degree of support for Trump is also unknown, but she pledged to back his agenda in a letter affixed to her application.

Dougherty Commission Chair Chris Cohilas endorsed Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard in the December 3 runoff, according to the Albany Herald.

“If I had to sum up why I’m endorsing Dot, it’s because I’ve worked with her for five years and I’ve gotten to know her as a human and a person and a friend,” County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas told The Herald during an interview following Monday’s Dougherty County Commission meeting. “I think a lot of time people don’t realize how much work she does behind the scenes.”

Hubbard, who is seeking a third term in the mayor’s seat, will face former Albany City Commission member Kermit “Bo” Dorough in the Dec. 3 runoff election for a four-year term. Hubbard finished first in the Nov. 3 municipal election with 30.25 percent of the vote, while Dorough garnered 27.7 percent of the vote.

Brunswick City Commission North Ward voters began early voting in the December 3 runoff election, according to The Brunswick News.

Running against three opponents, incumbent Johnny Cason garnered 45.6 percent of the vote while runner-up John Davis Perry II earned 24.4 percent. As both fell short of the required 50 percent, the race goes to a runoff between the two with the highest vote tallies.

Early voting polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Nov. 27, excluding Saturday and Sunday, in the Office Park Building, 1815 Gloucester St. in Brunswick.

Valdosta opened early voting for the December 3 runoff, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Early voting started Monday and will be held 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, through Friday, Nov. 22. Hours for next week will be 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, through Wednesday, Nov. 27. All early voting will occur at the Lowndes County Board of Elections, 2808 N. Oak St.

The runoff election will feature a mayoral race between Scott James Matheson and J.D. Rice and a race for the Valdosta City Council at-large seat between incumbent Councilman Ben Norton and Adrian Rivers.

Rey Rodriquez announced he will run as an independent for Bulloch County Sheriff, according to the Statesboro Herald.

A former Bulloch County sheriff’s deputy threw his hat into the ring recently by publicly announcing his intent to run for the office of Bulloch County sheriff.

Rey Rodriguez said he is running on the Independent ticket, in a move meant to bring people together and not be tied to political parties. He said he wants to be a sheriff for everyone and is “trying to bring people back to the middle.” He doesn’t agree with the sheriff position being partisan and said while he “leans toward conservative, I am a little to the left on some issues.”

Republican candidate Keith Howard announced his intent to run for sheriff earlier this year. Current sheriff Noel Brown, also Republican, has not yet responded to questions from the Statesboro Herald as to whether he intends to seek a second term or when he intends to announce his run.

Charles Rambo announced he will run for Fulton County Sheriff, according to the AJC.

Charles Rambo, 51, has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement and at one point served as national vice president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, according to a news release announcing his candidacy.

Rambo spent 25 years working at the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

This isn’t Rambo’s first run at sheriff. He vied for the top spot in 2004 and again in 2008. Rambo also ran against incumbent Ted Jackson in the 2016 race.

The Gainesville and Hall County Boards of Education voted to put a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) on the 2020 ballot, according to the Gainesville Times.

On Monday, Nov. 18, both school boards voted to put E-SPLOST VI and a quarter-billion-dollar bond sale for capital funding to voters in 2020.

For Hall County voters, the first ballot question will ask to extend E-SPLOST, and the second will ask for the ability to issue up to $258 million in bonds. Gainesville and Buford voters will see a different bond amount, which will be based on their local enrollment numbers.

The Buford City School Board will vote on the resolution during its Monday, Dec. 9, meeting.

Hall County voters will vote on both propositions on March 24, 2020.

Dalton City Council is considering allowing PTVs, gussied-up golf carts, on some downtown streets , according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The City Council held the first reading on Monday of a law that would allow personal transportation vehicle (PTV) shuttle services in the central business district. PTVs are already allowed on some residential streets.

“That would basically be the streets in the interior of the business district,” said City Administrator Jason Parker.

PTVs are essentially golf carts but by law must have a number of safety features — seatbelts, headlights, turn signals, etc. — that aren’t necessarily found on golf carts used on golf courses. They can only be driven on city streets by licensed drivers.

The state legislature changed the law a couple of years ago to allow PTVs to be operated on city streets if a city OKs them, subject to certain limitations. PTVs can’t be operated on federal highways, state roads or heavily-trafficked cross streets. They can only be operated on streets with speed limits of no more than 25 mph.

Savannah City Council members are working on the 2020 budget, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah’s elected leaders and city staff spent most of Friday going over the city’s proposed $425 million total budget for 2020.

The city still has to approve the budget and plans a first reading on Monday, Nov. 18, at the 2 p.m. council meeting. The date for the meeting that was originally scheduled for Nov. 21 was changed to Monday due to several aldermen attending a summit of the National League of Cities.

Adoption of the budget is expected at the Dec. 5 council meeting.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents elected a new Chair and Vice Chair, according to the Albany Herald.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia elected Regent Sachin Shailendra to a one-year term as the board’s chair and Regent James M. Hull to a one-year term as the board’s vice chair.

The Rome News Tribune spoke to local legislators about priorities for the next legislative session.

Rep. Mitchell Scoggins, R-Cartersville, took office this year in a special election. As a freshman legislator, he wasn’t assigned to a study committee over the break. But the retired probate court judge said he’s been preparing some bills.

“I’ve been working with the magistrate judges on a clean-up bill to tie their pay raises to the other courts, the constitutional officers,” Scoggins said.

He’s also continuing to push for restraints on robocalls. His House Bill 480 didn’t make it out of committee this year, but Scoggins said he expects to back legislation Rep. Dick Williams, R-Milledgeville, is planning to drop.

“We’re trying to make (phone solicitors) identify themselves, make them at least use their real number,” Scoggins said. “I’ve even had calls that come up with my own number. It’s crazy.”

Scoggins and the county’s other lawmakers — Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome; Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome; and Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee — are expected to meet with local officials in early December to discuss priorities for the coming year.

Clarke County School Board member Frances Berry resigned last week, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Berry was appointed to the board in February by a 6-2 vote to fill a seat vacated by Vernon Payne, who left due to health reasons. She submitted her immediate resignation on Friday.

The District 2 seat expires in December 2020. District officials said the vacancy will be filled by the school board. Others who sought the seat prior to Berry’s appointment were Mary Bagby and former Athens-Clarke County commissioner Harry Sims.

Augusta Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court Judge Douglas Flanagan is asking Augusta for , according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Citing a new category of juvenile case that falls outside the traditional system, Juvenile Court Judge Douglas Flanagan appealed Monday at an Augusta Commission budget work session to fund some of the positions he requested.

Augusta Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court Judge Doug Flanagan and Chief Superior Court Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. then weighed in. Flanagan said he got $100,00 of the $250,000 he requested for programs, and of the additional six personnel, none were funded.

But Juvenile Court is also dealing with a new state-mandated category of offender under a program called Children in Need of Services that covers low-level offenses for runaways, truancy and some minor drug charges to keep children from having a criminal record, Flanagan said. Those cases aren’t covered by the district attorney, public defender or the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the court is having to handle them and the follow-up on its own, he said.

“I have no one to do that,” he said. “I asked for new people because we need them.”

The Augusta Judicial Circuit serves Burke, Columbia, and Richmond Counties.

Chatham County Juvenile Court Judge Lisa Goldwire Colbert advised advocates to talk to their elected officials, according to the Savannah Morning News.

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