Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 2, 2021

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 2, 2021

On April 2, 1513, Spanish Explorer Juan Ponce de Leon discovered Florida, claiming it for the Spanish crown. Today he is best-known in Georgia for giving his name to be mispronounced daily on a sketchy street in Atlanta. It is not known if he was wearing jean shorts, or if those were developed later. Georgians began mispronouncing his name immediately.

Georgia began its love affair with the regulation of what can and cannot be sold on April 3, 1735, when James Oglethorpe, founder of the colony, helped gain passage of “An Act to prevent the Importation and Use of Rum and Brandies in the Province of Georgia.” The act provided that after June 24, 1735, “no Rum, Brandies, Spirits or Strong Waters” shall be imported into Georgia.” Permission was also required to sell beer, wine, and ale.

On April 3, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized “privateers” holding a letter of marque and reprisal to attack British ships. This essentially legalizes what would otherwise be considered piracy. Issuing letters of marque and reprisal is among the enumerated powers of Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, though they have seldom been used.

On April 4, 1776, General George Washington began marching his troops from Cambridge, Massachusetts to New York, in anticipation of an invasion by the British.

President William Henry Harrison died in office on April 4, 1841, a month after his inauguration.

At the inauguration of America’s first Whig president, on March 4, 1841, a bitterly cold day, Harrison declined to wear a jacket or hat, made a two-hour speech, and attended three inauguration balls. Soon afterward, he developed pneumonia. On April 4, President Harrison died in Washington, and Vice President John Tyler ascended to the presidency, becoming the first individual in U.S. history to reach the office through the death of a president.

On April 3, 1865, Richmond fell. On April 4, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln toured Richmond, Virginia the day after the Confederate Capitol fell to Union forces.

On April 3, 1898, President William McKinley called on Georgians to contribute 3000 volunteers for the Spanish-American War.

On April 2, 1917, Jeanette Rankin took office as the first woman elected to Congress, representing Montana.

Born on a ranch near Missoula, Montana Territory, in 1880, Rankin was a social worker in the states of Montana and Washington before joining the women’s suffrage movement in 1910. Working with various suffrage groups, she campaigned for the women’s vote on a national level and in 1914 was instrumental in the passage of suffrage legislation in Montana. Two years later, she successfully ran for Congress in Montana on a progressive Republican platform calling for total women’s suffrage, legislation protecting children, and U.S. neutrality in the European war. Following her election as a representative, Rankin’s entrance into Congress was delayed for a month as congressmen discussed whether a woman should be admitted into the House of Representatives.

Finally, on April 2, 1917, she was introduced in Congress as its first female member. The same day, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress and urged a declaration of war against Germany.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., accompanied by Georgians Hosea Williams and Ralph D. Abernathy, was in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting a strike by sanitation workers on April 3, 1968. He delivered what is known as the “Mountaintop Speech.”

“[L]ike anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot in Memphis. James Earl Ray would later be arrested and plead guilty to the assassination.

On April 4, 1974, Hank Aaron hit home run 714, tying Babe Ruth’s record.

On April 2, 1985, Governor Joe Frank Harris signed legislation recognizing the Right Whale as the official state marine mammal.

On April 4, 1988, the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly was recognized as the official state butterfly of Georgia.

The Atlanta Braves played their first game in Turner Field on April 4, 1997, defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-4. Denny Neagle started on the mound for the Braves and Mark Wohlers earned a save. Atlanta’s Michael Tucker hit the first homerun in the new stadium.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp issued more than 60 Executive Orders yesterday, with the vast majority being appointments to boards, commissions, and the like. Executive Order #04.01.21.57, adopts a new Code of Ethics for the Executive Branch, and E.O. 04.01.21.60 extends the rioting and hooliganism State of Emergency Executive Order through May 8, 2021.

Governor Kemp also signed three Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp today signed three Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 in Georgia. The first, Executive Order 03.31.21.01, extends the Public Health State of Emergency through April 30, 2021. The second, Executive Order 03.31.21.02, extends the current COVID-19 guidance in Georgia until April 7 with an added provision allowing state agency employees to get a COVID vaccine without using sick leave or annual leave. The third order, Executive Order 03.31.21.03, will become effective on April 8 and will roll back many of the current COVID-19 restrictions in place.

The Governor’s Executive Orders are available to read here. More details on all three Executive Orders are below:

Executive Order 03.31.21.01

▪ Extends current COVID-19 guidance through April 7, 2021
▪ Provides a mechanism for allowing state agency employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine without using sick leave or annual leave

Executive Order 03.31.21.02

▪ Extends current COVID-19 guidance through April 7, 2021
▪ Provides a mechanism for allowing state agency employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine without using sick leave or annual leave

Executive Order 03.31.21.03

▪ Will become effective April 8 through April 30, 2021
▪ Eliminates the Gatherings ban
▪ Eliminates Shelter-in-Place requirements
▪ Removes the critical infrastructure distinction and collapses all organization suggested measures into one main list, with a small number of additional industry-specific requirements remaining
▪ Reduces any remaining distance requirements (i.e. distance between parties at restaurants, bars, and movie theaters, and between patrons of group fitness classes)
▪ Eliminates the ability of law enforcement to close an organization for failure to comply with the Executive Order provisions

Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-LaGrange) responds to Delta CEO Ed Bastian’s unfounded claims.

Congressman Ferguson Fires Back at Delta CEO Ed Bastian

WEST POINT, GA – U.S. Representative Drew Ferguson (R-GA) sent a letter to Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian following his comments on Georgia’s new election law.

The full letter is attached and below.

Ed Bastian
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
1030 Delta Blvd.
Atlanta, GA, 3032O

Dear Mr. Bastian,

As CEO of Delta Air Lines, one of Georgia’s largest employers, you took to the airwaves to denounce the state’s election reform law and in the process offered a shockingly inaccurate and irresponsible assessment of the law.

In your internal memo and throughout the entirety of your interview, it became increasingly clear you have been misinformed — or are simply uninformed — about what the bill actually accomplishes. To be clear, the Georgia bill will not make it harder to gain access to the polls, despite your claims to the contrary.

Following your misinterpretation of the new election law, I wanted to outline a few facts:

• Voters will be able to vote by absentee ballot with no excuse, unlike in New York where Delta has invested billions of dollars in airport infrastructure upgrades.

• Large precincts will be required to add voting machines and election personnel to shorten voting lines.

• Early voting days are increased to include two mandatory Saturdays instead of one and the option of two Sundays for all localities, unlike Delaware where there are zero mandated days of early voting.

• Voter ID requirements — supported by 74% of Georgia voters, including 63% of Black voters — simply call for either a driver’s license or free state ID number.

• Drop boxes, never utilized before the pandemic, are preserved and will be available in every county at early voting sites to ensure the integrity of the process.

• Drinking water is not banned in voter lines as has been reported, it just can’t be distributed at the polls by groups advocating for votes.

People with hidden agendas suggesting these reforms are targeted to suppress the votes of African Americans so Republicans can win elections do so incorrectly and irresponsibly. According to a 2019 paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonpartisan research organization, “strict ID laws have no significant negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any subgroup.”

This suggestion also wrongly and stereotypically assumes that all African Americans are Democrats. Since Republicans have gained higher numbers of African American voters, suppressing these votes should not and cannot be assumed to benefit only Republicans. Republicans want to protect and restore the rights of all of our citizens to vote. Such efforts are quite the opposite of suppressing the votes of political opponents.

Without question, free and fair elections are the foundation of our democracy, and the security of our electoral system is vital to preserving its integrity. We should no longer accept the false choice between voter access and voter integrity. We should demand and achieve both.

Georgia’s law does just that. I represent a large number of Delta employees, and on their behalf, I request that you provide a detailed list of your issues with the new election law in writing. Establishing trust with your customers, employees, and our constituents starts with telling the entire truth in an open and transparent manner.

To this point, you have not been truthful, and it’s time to change the tack.

Sincerely,

A. Drew Ferguson IV, DMD
Member of Congress

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