Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 13, 2021

13
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 13, 2021

The Second Continental Congress opened in Philadelphia on September 13, 1775; Georgia was represented by Archibald Bulloch, Lyman Hall,  John Houstoun, and John Zubly.

On September 13, 1788, the Confederation Congress voted to implement the Constitution and authorized states to elect Senators and Representatives and called the first Presidential election, with selection of presidential electors in the states to be held on January 7, 1789, and February 4, 1789 as the day electors would cast their ballots.

The first two women to enter the Georgia General Assembly, Viola Ross Napier of Bibb County and Atlanta Constitution reporter Bessie Kempton of Fulton County, were elected on September 13, 1922.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp is talking with other Governors on how to oppose President Biden’s COVID mandates, according to Fox5Atlanta.

“It’s not just going to be us,” said Gov. Kemp. “I mean, there’s a lot of other states around the country that are very upset about this and you know, we’re standing up and fighting back for our business owners and hardworking Georgians and hardworking Americans all over the country.”

“This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you–the people you work with, the people care about, the people you love,” said President Biden.

Gov. Kemp described the president’s words as “disappointing.”

“To me it’s scary that we have an American President that doesn’t care about freedom and independence and liberty. That’s, to me, what this country is built on,” said Gov. Kemp.

“No. We’re not going to do that. Our schools have been doing a great job of getting their teachers vaccinated. If you’ll remember many, many months ago, we prioritized teachers to be able to get the vaccine. So, it’s readily available. They can make that decision on their own. I know a lot of schools are incentivizing that. But again, to mandate this and have the risk of people walking out of a classroom in the middle of the school year because they’re just not going to do that because the federal government is ordering them to, to me is not worth it,” said Gov. Kemp.

Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan released a statement responding to the mandate:

“President Biden’s vaccine mandate only served to harden the partisan lines around an issue that requires all of us working together and not against one another. I believe the vaccine is safe, effective and the only real way out of this awful pandemic, but mandates have not and will not be the answer, as President Biden has previously stated before reversing course yesterday. Forcing hard-working Americans to choose between mandated personal health decisions and a paycheck will neither reduce vaccine hesitancy nor move this country in a positive direction. Let’s all work together to redouble our efforts to get more Americans vaccinated through genuine leadership not anti-business mandates.”

From Fox Business:

Kemp agreed, saying “this is pandemic politics 3.0 now,” and that in addition to being an attempt to distract the public from the crisis in Afghanistan and at the southern border, it was taking attention away from “runaway inflation” caused by Biden’s policies.

“He’s using federal agencies as a political pawn,” Kemp said.

From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post:

“Look, the public already doesn’t trust the federal government because of the mixed messages about the coronavirus,” Kemp told Capitol Beat. “This is pandemic politics from a president who promised to unite the country, but instead is dividing us.”

“This is the wrong way to go,” Kemp said. “Small business owners already don’t have enough people in the workforce, and now they’re being asked to be the vaccine police.”

“It’s the president who’s being cavalier about the virus,” Kemp responded. “We’re allowing our local school superintendents to determine what is best for their kids. How in the world can President Biden figure out what is best for our local schools?”

From GPB News:

Shortly after Biden’s address, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, the staunch conservative from the 10th District who is running for Georgia secretary of state, said Biden and Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease official, “must go.”

“It’s no longer about science,” Hice tweeted. “It’s only about politics.”

“I strongly oppose the federal government mandating medical treatments of any kind,” U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk wrote on Twitter. “(Biden) and his Administration are executing a full-frontal assault on our Constitution and our freedoms. We need every freedom-loving American, no matter the party, to stand with us in opposition.”

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott tested positive for COVID-19 last year and was confined to the hospital on oxygen. He said he believes the vaccine is “safe and effective” but does not support requirements to get the jab.

“Getting a vaccine is a personal choice,” he said on Twitter. “This is America, & Joe Biden doesn’t get to dictate the health care choices of Americans.”

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, also up for reelection, also pledged to push back against Biden’s federal requirements.

“The Biden-Harris Administration continues to flaunt its lack of respect for the rule of law,” he tweeted. “We will not stand for it and will protect the citizens and businesses of Georgia from this latest example of federal overreach.”

The Valdosta Daily Times is incorrectly reporting vaccination data. From the Valdosta Daily Times:

Georgia’s vaccinated population surpassed 10 million on Sept. 10 — which includes people with at least one dose and fully administered — approximately counting 10,001,117 million, according to the GDPH.

About 5.45 million have had at least one shot and 4.66 million are fully vaccinated.

Surpassing ten million vaccinated people would require nearly 100% vaccination of Georgia’s 10.6 million population, a large number of whom are ineligible for vaccination because they are too young.

What the data actually show is that 10 million vaccines have been administered. Since two of the three vaccines being administered require at least two shots, and some people are now getting a third shot, the number of people vaccinate is roughly 5.45 million, not the more than ten million reported by the Times.

Augusta Commissioners appointed a former Commissioner to temporarily replace suspended Commissioner Sammie Sias, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Tuesday appointment of former Augusta Commissioner Alvin Mason to serve as interim until indicted Commissioner Sammie Sias goes to trial isn’t sitting well with multiple residents of District 4.

The commission learned only four days earlier it was responsible for appointing Sias’ temporary replacement while his prosecution for felonies associated with his use of Sales Tax 6 funds continues.

Multiple District 4 residents and others complained the commission decision to appoint Mason was rushed and done with no district input, including Super District 9 Commissioner Francine Scott, whose district spans regular districts 1, 2, 4 and 5.

Herschel Walker commands more than 75% of likely GOP Primary voters for his Senate bid in a recent Trafalgar poll.

Georgia’s legislative redistricting will likely target two Congressional seats in suburban Atlanta, according to an excellent and fact-filled article in the AJC.

If successful, Republican redistricting efforts this fall could help reverse recent gains by Democrats who flipped the seats in north metro Atlanta through the election of Lucy McBath in 2018 and Carolyn Bourdeaux in 2020.

The GOP sees redistricting as an opportunity to regain an advantage after Democrats won over an electorate that became more diverse with Black, Asian and Latino voters over the past 10 years. Georgia Republicans have control over redistricting in the General Assembly, where their majority gives them the power to create maps that add more conservative voters and shrink the number of liberals.

Maps could be drawn to make congressional districts Republican-leaning again with more voters within their boundaries from the exurbs, which tend to be whiter and more conservative.

Winning in Georgia would move Republicans closer to the five seats they need nationally to garner a majority in the U.S. House.

Democrats across the country are already on the defensive in next year’s midterm elections, when the party of the sitting president usually loses congressional seats.

Combined with redistricting in Republican-controlled states such as Georgia, Democrats fear they could lose their House majority. The party’s campaign arm has said Bourdeaux will receive extra help defending her seat.

Brunswick city employees who are vaccinated could receive a $500 bonus payment, according to The Brunswick News.

Rather than require vaccines, city officials will consider at Wednesday’s meeting a different way to motivate unvaccinated employees to get the shot and to reward those already vaccinated with a $500 bonus.

“The number of COVID cases has risen in the past six weeks and has heavily impacted our workforce,” according to the proposal by City Manager Regina McDuffie.

According to recent data, 46 percent of the city’s workforce is vaccinated. The goal is to have at least a 75 percent vaccination rate.

Dougherty County will pay employees $300 to encourage vaccination, according to the Albany Herald.

Since initiating the program about a month ago, the county has seen the vaccination rate for employees increase from about 10 percent of the work force of 650 to nearly 50 percent. Employees who provide proof of full vaccination get $300 under the program.

“When we presented it to the board (Dougherty County Commission), we were around 68 fully vaccinated,” Dougherty County Administrator Michael McCoy said. “We had about 310 employees as of Aug. 27 that were eligible for the benefit. That puts us at about 47 percent, a huge increase.”

“At the end of September we’ll have updated numbers, and I anticipate they’ll be even higher,” he said. “We want to reach 75 percent as an organization and countywide, and our incentive program is really helping in achieving that goal.”

Through August, the county had spent $1.1 million in testing and health care costs for employees sickened by the disease.

Glynn County public schools reopen for in-person instruction today, according to The Brunswick News.

Bulloch County Board of Education members heard from members of the public about COVID precautions, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Floyd County public schools will offer online learning for students required to quarantine, according to the Rome News Tribune.

In an effort to facilitate that remote learning preparation and parent-teacher conferences, the school system will have a teacher planning day/student holiday on Sept. 17 and Sept. 20.

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, the school system will begin offering remote learning capabilities for families who chose to quarantine their child as a result of a COVID-19 exposure.

The school system does not require students who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine.

“Remote learning is the practice of moving a current in-person student to learning online with their current teachers during their quarantine period,” a press release stated. “There will be alternate learning assignments for quarantined students who do not have internet access at their homes. It is the responsibility of students to complete their assignments. Traditional learning will continue face-to-face for all students, including those who have chosen not to quarantine.”

Gwinnett County Public Schools Superintendent Calvin Watts said it’s unclear how long masks will be required in their schools, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“It’s hard to determine,” Watts said about when the mandate could end. “Like anything else in this COVID environment, it’s hard to predict really anything with a degree of certainty.

“But, what I can say is as long as we have our mask mandate, we’ll be doing so to ensure the safety of our students and our staff. We believe it is certainly the right thing to do during this time until such time that data or recommendations from the CDC change.”

As of Friday, there were 919 current active confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gwinnett schools. That number is up from the 706 total active cases reported in the district on Tuesday, but it is also down from the 1,054 active cases that were reported on Sept. 1. The district reported it has 211 current probable cases of COVID-19, however.

“Like most school districts, we are still grappling with the challenges community spread provides for us because our students live in the community, but they also join us in our schools,” he said. “We do have our mitigation strategies operating at current high levels, whether they be masks being worn by students and staff, providing incentives for vaccinations and doing what we can to make sure our schools are safe.”

Some University System of Georgia employees will demonstrate seeking stricter COVID mitigation measures, according to the AJC.

Faculty members and students from about 20 public colleges and universities in Georgia are scheduled Monday to begin a weeklong series of demonstrations demanding tougher COVID-19 safety measures, such as a mask mandate, in all campus buildings.

Several thousand faculty members and supporters statewide have signed petitions seeking mandates and latitude to teach remotely. Their argument is based in part on a rise in reported COVID-19 cases across most of the system’s largest universities. Several faculty leadership groups at each of the largest universities have voted in favor of measures in recent days seeking mandates or the ability for campus administrators to enact their own prevention policies. The demonstrations are being led by the Georgia chapter of the American Association of University Professors. The United Campus Workers of Georgia are supporting the protests.

Milledgeville is asking residents to conserve water, according to 13WMAZ.

The city of Milledgeville issued an emergency water conservation request on Sunday for all customers using the city’s water and sewer utility services.

The city says these measures are needed because the system is experiencing problems with a high service pump at the water treatment facility.

The Whitfield County Courthouse has been gutted as part of extensive renovations, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Starting last February, crews from Multiplex Construction Co. out of Duluth stripped the inside of the 45,000-square-foot, three-story building all the way down to the concrete floors and outer walls, and now they’ve started the rebuilding process that is expected to be completed early next year.

Acting County Administrator Kent Benson has been overseeing the 2020 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) project in his normal role as county engineer and said construction remains on target to be completed by early 2022.

“Everything was removed completely — all plumbing, electrical, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), down to the concrete floors and walls,” Benson said during a tour.

The renovation will bring the 1961 portion of the courthouse up to modern standards, Benson said. When the courthouse was expanded in 2005, a matching brick wall was constructed around the outer perimeter of the old building, which received only minor cosmetic upgrades inside. Eventually, mold became a problem because of the outdated systems that remained.

 

Comments ( 0 )