Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 6, 2021

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Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 6, 2021

On April 6, 1776, the Continental Congress announced that all ports in America would be open to trade with other countries not ruled by the British. The action was taken several months after Britain passed the American Prohibitory Act which forbade trade with the colonies and was intended to punish colonists for the growing rebellion.

John Tyler was sworn in as the tenth President of the United States on April 6, 1841.

Tyler was elected as William Harrison’s vice president earlier in 1841 and was suddenly thrust into the role of president when Harrison died one month into office. He was the first vice president to immediately assume the role of president after a sitting president’s untimely exit and set the precedent for succession thereafter.

The first modern Olympic Games opened in Athens, Greece on April 6, 1896.

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917, when the US House of Representatives voted 373-50 on a declaration of war that passed the Senate two days earlier.

2001: A Space Odyssey was released on April 6, 1968.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced that more than four million COVID vaccine doses have been administered in Georgia, according to a press release.

As of Saturday, April 3, the Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) vaccine dashboard reported that Georgia has administered over 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Georgia crossed over the 3 million mark on Friday, March 19, meaning over 1 million doses of vaccine were administered in just 15 days in the Peach State. Currently, Georgia has administered 89% of total doses shipped to the state.

“We continue to make steady progress in our vaccine administration here in Georgia,” said Governor Kemp. “The life-saving COVID-19 vaccine is our key back to normal, and with all Georgians ages 16 and over now eligible to receive the shot we are well on our way as we head into spring and summer. I continue to ask all Georgians to follow best practices, public health guidance, and most importantly, schedule their vaccine appointment with a local provider or at one of our state-operated sites using MyVaccineGeorgia.com.”

Vaccine eligibility in Georgia is now open to everyone ages 16 and over. Note: Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine currently approved for children aged 16 and older.

Georgia’s vaccine dashboard and more information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available on the DPH website. Georgians can schedule an appointment at a state-operated mass vaccination site by visiting MyVaccineGeorgia.com.

Governor Kemp had some choice words for Demcrat Stacey Abrams, according to FoxNews.

Kemp told “The Story” that Abrams is appearing to have buyer’s remorse after watching Major League Baseball decide to pull the lucrative All-Star Game out of Georgia — and a flood of boycott promises from liberal voters and activists.

“Obviously [MLB] didn’t care what was said because they folded to the pressure. President Biden’s handlers couldn’t even get him a note card that told him what this bill did. Somebody is lying to you. It’s not me. You can read the bill and prove that out.” In that regard, host Martha MacCallum pointed to comments from Abrams, a high-profile Democrat in the state:

“Black, Latino, AAPI and Native American voters that are the most suppressed over [the new law] are the most likely to be hurt by potential boycotts of Georgia. To our friends, please do not boycott us. To my fellow Georgians, stay and fight, stay and vote,” Abrams said.

Kemp accused Abrams of “profiting millions off of this” politicking.

“People need to follow the money and see why they’re doing this and so effective and, quite honestly why they’re working so hard at this. It has nothing to do with the merits of the bill. It’s political pressure from a minority group of people, the cancel culture. They’re shaking people down for a long time,” he said.

“I think just the contrary [of Abrams’ remarks],” said Kemp. “I think people are ready to double down and get the truth out there.”

“You know, that is the biggest flip-flop since John Kerry I have ever seen. For someone that has been pressuring these corporations, pressuring Major League Baseball to now come out after the fact and say don’t boycott? People are getting screwed in this, Martha.”

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board has some choice words for the CEOs of some of Georgia’s largest companies.

The public debate on Georgia’s new voting law has become a stew of falsehood, propaganda and panic. Part of the blame lies with the partisan distortion of Democrats, part with their media echoes, and now part with CEOs of major companies who are uninformed at best or cowardly at worst.

Start with President Biden, the great unifier, who on Wednesday to ESPN called the law “ Jim Crow on steroids,” while saying he’d “strongly support” moving the Major League Baseball all-star game out of Atlanta. He’s picking up the smear about Georgia from Stacey Abrams, who still hasn’t accepted that she lost the race for Peach State Governor in 2018.

“You’re going to close a polling place at 5 o’clock, when working people just get off?” he said to ESPN. “This is all about keeping working folks, and ordinary folks that I grew up with, from being able to vote.” Mr. Biden either doesn’t know what’s in the Georgia bill or he is lying about it. We’d like to believe it’s the former, but that gets harder to credit as his falsehoods multiply.

On Election Day in Georgia, anyone in line by 7 p.m. gets a ballot. The new law requires an extra Saturday of voting, while specifying early voting hours: The minimum is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but counties may run 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In metro areas, “you might not notice a change,” explains Georgia Public Broadcasting. Elsewhere, “you will have an extra weekend day, and your weekday early voting hours will likely be longer.”

Then there are the big companies racing out PR statements of condemnation, though what’s often most conspicuous is their vagueness. The voting law “is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values,” said the airline’s CEO, Ed Bastian. He groveled that he’d had “time to now fully understand all that is in the bill.”

What a clumsy emergency landing. Last week Mr. Bastian said that “concerns remain” about the law, while he explained—accurately—that it “expands weekend voting, codifies Sunday voting and protects a voter’s ability to cast an absentee ballot without providing a reason.” He added: “For the first time, drop boxes have also been authorized for all counties statewide.”

Or take Coca-Cola’s watery statement. “We are disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation,” said CEO James Quincey. “Our focus is now on supporting federal legislation that protects voting access and addresses voter suppression across the country.” He cited no specifics about either bill. Apparently Coke’s secret ingredient is pandering.

When woke progressives target a company with tactics like a “die-in,” as Coke received last month, CEOs seem to view a mealy-mouthed statement as cheap insurance. But surely we should expect more from senior business executives, who are supposed to have some backbone and concern for the facts. They’d react with high dudgeon if similar falsehoods were spread about their companies.

CEOs may think there’s no downside to hopping on a bandwagon that insinuates that Georgia’s GOP leaders are inveterate racists. But far from dodging our partisan political warfare, they’re taking a side and promoting more division. They and their companies may pay the price when the woke mob decides to turn on them and they need GOP protection.

United States Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) takes aim at one of the greatest perks of being a corporate titan – membership at the Augusta National Golf Club, according to The Hill.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Monday sent a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred asking if Manfred would give up his membership at the exclusive Augusta National Golf Club in the wake of the league’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s controversial new voting law.

Rubio took a personal shot at the head of MLB after Manfred said the decision to pull the All-Star Game and the MLB Draft from Georgia was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”

“I write to ask you whether you intend to maintain your membership at Augusta National Golf Club. As you are well aware, the exclusive members-only club is located in the State of Georgia,” Rubio wrote to Manfred.

Augusta National, the annual host of the Masters Tournament, one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf, didn’t invite a Black player to compete at the Masters until 1975, and the club itself didn’t admit its first Black member until 1990.

Rubio said the decision to move the All-Star Game “will have a bigger impact on countless small and minority owned businesses in and around Atlanta, than the new election law ever will.”

And he said it “reeks of hypocrisy.”

Rubio also said he has “no illusion” that Manfred will end his membership at August National because “to do so would require a personal sacrifice, as opposed to the woke corporate virtue signaling of moving the All Star Game from Atlanta.”

“Will Major League Baseball now end its engagement with nations that do not hold elections at all like China and Cuba? Will you end your lucrative financial relationship with Tencent, a company with deep ties to the Communist Party and actively helps the Chinese Government hunt down and silence political dissidents?” Rubio wrote.

“Taking the All-Star game out of Georgia is an easy way to signal virtues without significant financial fallout. But speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party would involve a significant loss of revenue and being closed out of a lucrative market,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, the Apex Predator of American Politics, United States Senator Mitch McConnell, had some advice for the newly-woke according to The Hill.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) weighed in more generally on Monday by warning corporate America not to get involved in high-profile political fights.

“I found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics,” he said. “My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights.”

From another article in The Hill:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened “serious consequences” for corporations that retaliate against Republican-led efforts to pass new state election laws, as Republicans in Washington and elsewhere intensified criticism over big corporations’ political stances.

“It’s jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves,” Mr. McConnell (R., Ky.) said in a statement Monday, warning against what he described as private-sector advocacy for progressive policy goals, from environmental regulation to gun control.

Mr. McConnell accused companies of “dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government,” and said that they “will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”

Delta’s CEO has publicly clashed with Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp over the state’s voting law, and Coca-Cola’s chief executive publicly criticized the law, saying the company had always opposed the legislation. But civil-rights groups also accused both companies and other Georgia-based corporations of not doing enough to push back against the law.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued a news release on Monday announcing that he would decline to throw a ceremonial first pitch at a Texas Rangers baseball game over MLB’s decision to move its All-Star Game out of Georgia.

“It is shameful that America’s pastime is not only being influenced by partisan political politics, but also perpetuating false political narratives,” Mr. Abbott wrote in an open letter to Neil Leibman, president of business operations for the Texas Rangers.

Meanwhile, Gwinnett County’s Democratic Solicitor General announced that he will substitute his own judgment for that of the Georgia General Assembly. From 11Alive:

In a statement released on Monday, the office took issue with a portion of Georgia Senate Bill 202, signed into law late last month, which makes it a misdemeanor to give away water within 150 feet of the outer edge of the polling place or within 25 feet of any voter in line.

“The Gwinnett County Solicitor’s Office will not prosecute individuals arrested for distributing nonpartisan beverages and/or food to voters waiting in line for long hours on Election Day in Gwinnett County as there is no rational, legal basis for this law.”

The response comes in direct response to the section of the law that reads: “No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method…or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector.”

From the AJC:

[Gwinnett County Solicitor General Brian] Whiteside, a Democrat, said in and interview that he was “not going to be part of” punishing people for sharing food or water in long voting lines.

“It’s unjust to criminalize giving someone some water,” he said. “The state law is not constitutional, what they did.”

In a press release, Whiteside said the provision that makes it a misdemeanor to give away food or water within 150 feet of the outer edge of a polling place or within 25 feet of any voter in line has “no rational, legal basis.”

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler (R-Carrollton) may face opposition in 2022, according to the AJC.

State Rep. William Boddie, an East Point Democrat, said Monday he’s running for the statewide post with promises to dramatically speed up how quickly unemployment claims are processed and to improve workforce retraining programs.

“It’s time for a change at the Georgia Department of Labor,” said Boddie. “We need a labor commissioner who puts Georgia workers first and will make sure the jobs lost during the pandemic can be recovered.”

He’s one of several Democrats angling to challenge Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, the incumbent Republican who was first elected to the position in 2010. State Sen. Lester Jackson is expected to soon announce a run. And Republican state Sen. Bruce Thompson has filed paperwork to campaign for the seat.

From the Savannah Morning News:

[State Senator Lester Jackson, (D-Savannah)], said he decided to run largely because of two issues: the expansion of Medicaid and the public-facing side of the labor department. Jackson cited constituent issues with delayed unemployment checks and communication woes from the labor department.

“It is time for someone to step up to address the needs of the citizens of this great state,” Jackson said. “So I’m sticking my head in so that Georgians can have a labor office that is technologically savvy, and people can get their concerns addressed in a timely fashion.”

He just entered his 13th year as a senator, and will complete his 14th before the 2022 election. Before that, he was a Georgia House representative for 10 years. He served as Chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus and is currently the chairman for the Senate Committee on Urban Affairs.

Gwinnett County Public Schools confirmed that teachers will receive a $1000 bonus from the state in their paychecks, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County Public Schools officials confirmed that $1,000 bonuses for educators that Gov. Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced earlier this year will indeed show up in paychecks set to go out at the end of this month.

The bonuses are designed to thank school employees for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be available to active benefits-eligible employees such as teachers, paraprofessionals, school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, custodians, bus drivers, school nutrition staff, media specialists, clerical staff, school principals, assistant principals and instructional coaches.

GCPS officials said employees who fit the criteria and were employed as of last Thursday will get the bonus.

Jeremy Baker was sworn in as a new Valdosta Municipal Court Judge, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Cumberland Island National Seashore has opened all its docks, according to The Brunswick Times.

Public docking is now allowed at Plum Orchard, Dungeness and Sea Camp at the north dock extensions. Any docking that interferes with the ferry or National Park Service boats is prohibited.

The docks were damaged by hurricanes Matthew and Irma in 2016 and 2017, limiting the number of vessels that could be safely docked there. The work forced the closure of the docks while the repairs were done.

The main passenger ferry dock in downtown St. Marys has also been rebuilt after it too sustained heavy damage from the hurricanes. Passengers to the island, accessible by boat, had to walk two blocks to the St. Marys Gateway property to board the ferry until the new dock was completed in March.

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