Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 19, 2021

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 19, 2021

On November 21, 1620 (November 11 under the calendar used then), the first governing document of the English colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Mayflower Compact, was signed by most of the male passengers of the Mayflower.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

The Georgia Trustees outlawed rum in the colony on November 21, 1733 after James Oglethorpe wrote them that it was responsible for sickness and death in Georgia. Two-hundred eighty-six years later, Richland Rum is being distilled with Georgia-grown sugar cane in Richland, Georgia.

North Carolina ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789, becoming the twelfth state to do so.

On November 21, 1860 Governor Joseph Brown called a Secession Convention following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President.

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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.”

November 21, 1922 was the first day of Rebecca Latimer Fulton’s service in the United States Senate from Georgia as the first woman to serve in that chamber.

Duane Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee on November 20, 1946.

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

President John F. Kennedy lifted the naval blockade of Cuba on November 20, 1962, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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

On November 20, 1975, Ronald Reagan announced he would run for President of the United States against incumbent Republican Gerald Ford. On May 4, 1976, Reagan won Georgia’s Presidential Primary with 68% over Ford.

Reagan Gorbachev 11191985

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

Newt Gingrich was reelected Speaker of the House on November 20, 1996.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Rotary Club of Albany hosted an annual event for hunters with disabilities, according to WALB.

The event allows people living with motor disabilities the opportunity to hunt deer in the fresh air and amongst friends.

“I love the outdoors and no matter if we are in a chair or not, it doesn’t matter because you know God, God gives us a way to do things. And that’s what we’ve, that’s what we’re out on earth to do,” said Charlie Mizell, a Social Security Administration employee.

“The event is a sportsman’s hunt that we do for hunters that are handicapped or in wheelchairs. And this is the 11th year that we’ve been doing it here at the Leach property. We’ve got six hunters that are participating this year,” said Chad Hancock, a member of the Albany Rotary Club.

“It gets us out, it gets us doing things. I mean people in wheelchairs, we have different opportunities and just different angles on life, but we can still do the same thing,” said David Thomas, a college student.

“It makes you understand how much these guys put into their day-to-day activities, just to be able to do something. But these guys do not let their limitations stop them, they come out, enjoy it,” said Hancock.

It was difficult to write the intro to that story without making it sound like people with disabilities were the game being hunted. Kudos to the Rotary Club of Albany.

Governor Kemp issued a Press Release touting Georgia’s record low unemployment.

Governor Brian P. Kemp applauded Georgia’s unemployment rate dropping for the eighteenth straight month to 3.1% for October 2021, an all-time low. Additionally, Georgia has now added over 200,000 jobs in the last year, and the number of unemployed Georgians was reported at the lowest level since June 2001 (158,107).

“Georgia’s economy continues to outpace the rest of the nation with strong job growth, an all-time low unemployment rate, and the fewest unemployed Georgians in twenty years,” said Governor Kemp. “As we pass 200,000 jobs added in the last year, we’re not taking our foot off the gas. Thanks to our pro-business environment, unmatched workforce development assets, and low cost of doing business, companies from around the world are looking to relocate to the Peach State, and Georgia-grown businesses are hiring more workers and expanding operations.”

Jobs in Georgia were up 21,000 over the month and are up 4.5 percent over the year to 4,605,600.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Employer demand for workers is unusually strong, economists say. Job openings are near record highs, but many businesses say they can’t find enough workers to fill the roles.

High worker turnover is one challenge for employers. Though many companies are trying to expand their workforces, they are simultaneously losing workers, said Evan Sohn, chief executive at Recruiter.com, a hiring and recruiting platform.

The quits rate—a measurement of workers leaving jobs as a share of overall employment—was 3% in September, a record high, Labor Department figures tracing back to 2000 show.

Workers are feeling emboldened to leave their jobs because they are more valuable in today’s labor market, there is less stigma about leaving a company than in the past and remote technology allows for a quicker, easier interview process, Mr. Sohn said.

Recruiters reported that about 53% of the roles they were filling in October were backfill roles—or openings because of worker departures—up from 44% in August, according to Recruiter.com. Recruitment for backfill positions exceeded recruitment for new jobs last month, one piece of evidence that employers are struggling with employee resignations.

Employers are raising wages and offering benefits such as training and signing bonuses to attract workers. The employment-cost index, a measure of worker compensation that includes wages and benefits, rose 1.3% in the third quarter from the second, the fastest pace since at least 2001, the Labor Department reported.

United States Representative Andrew Clyde (R-9th District) could end up in another Congressional district after redistricting, according to the Gainesville Times.

In Georgia’s latest proposed congressional redistricting map, U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens, would be drawn out of Hall County’s District 9 and into District 10.

Congressional representatives can run for any district in their home state, so Clyde could run again for his current seat, but the changes to the map could inspire a run in District 10 where incumbent Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, is vacating his seat next year to run for secretary of state.

Several Republican candidates have already announced their plans to run in District 10, including Georgia House Rep. Timothy Barr, R-Lawrenceville.

The current 9th District covers most of Northeast Georgia, going as far south as Jackson and Clarke counties. The new map would give that portion to District 10, and the 9th would gain part of northern Gwinnett County to compensate.

Higher utility bills ahead, just when Georgia consumers need them. From WSAV:

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols has always been a fan of the project to build two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Even though new figures indicate the project is once again over budget and behind schedule, he says it will be worth it once the reactors finally come online.

“Because this is carbon-free electricity emissions and that’s going to have more and more of a special value in our country,” said Echols. “I really want to move past the price of this to actually the great value that this is going to be to our customers.”

Still, new information this week from Georgia Power says the plan to build reactors 3 and 4 is over budget once again — this time by up to $600 millIon — and the project dates have been moved back another three months.

“Customers need to know that Vogtle is well behind its originally intended schedule, double the original budget. And at some point, they will start paying more than they are already paying,” said Bryan Jacob from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Echols acknowledged there has been an incredibly long list of problems with the construction and the scheduled opening, saying that “just about every prediction Georgia Power has made has been wrong.”

Echols says when finished, the reactors will provide a reliable source of energy, but also indicated that 2022 may be a challenging year for Georgia Power customers.

He says a final part of a rate increase approved in 2019 is scheduled to take effect in January, along with the Unit 3 Vogtle increase at the end of the year. He also said that natural gas prices are increasing, which will produce higher gas bills for customers.

Georgia Supreme Court Justice Verda Colvin visited Columbus, according to WTVM.

It’s a rare occasion for a state Supreme Court Justice to visit the Fountain City. However, because Justice Verda Colvin used to live in Columbus, she says she welcomed the opportunity to visit a place she once called home.

“It’s a great honor for Justice Colvin to have come and visited us, and we’re happy that she’s here, happy that she got to meet members of our bar association,” said Caroline Laney, President of the Columbus Bar Association.

While here, Justice Colvin gave a moving speech to the Columbus Bar Association at the Chattahoochee River Club that resonated with everyone in the room.

“I think that what she said made a lot of the judges happy because she was talking about respect for the litigants, respect for the trial judges and respect for everybody in the process,” said Laney.

State Senator Clint Dixon (R-Buford) will lead a study committee on making Board of Education elections nonpartisan, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced on Thursday that state Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Buford, will lead a study committee looking into nonpartisan school boards, building off legislation Dixon tried to push through this month targeting the Gwinnett County Board of Education.

Dixon pulled his bill targeting Gwinnett — Senate Bill 5 EX — for conversion to nonpartisan elections earlier this week. He announced at the time, however, that he would be shifting to instead look at partisan school boards across Georgia.

“Legislative proposals concerning education must be crafted in a delicate manner while encompassing input from leaders at all levels of government,” Duncan said. “With over 60% of Georgia’s school boards already operating as nonpartisan, and direct calls to remove partisan conflict from local education decisions, I look forward to seeing the outcome this committee produces through a transparent and collaborative process.”

The idea behind creating a study committee on nonpartisan school boards is to look at what the appetite will be for converting all school boards in Georgia that have partisan elections in November to a format where their members are elected in nonpartisan elections in the spring.

In addition to Dixon, the committee’s membership will include Sens. Jason Anavitarte, R – Dallas, Chuck Payne, R – Dalton, and Lester Jackson, D – Savannah. That means the committee will be made up of three Republicans and one Democrat.

State Senator Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) filed legislation to create the Buckhead City, according to the AJC.

“Over the past few weeks, we have heard testimony from Buckhead residents who feel their needs are not currently being addressed and what the proposed incorporation would entail,” said state Sen. Brandon Beach, who filled Senate Bill 324 on Thursday.

“I believe it is now the time for citizens in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta to have the ability to determine for themselves whether to form their own city and establish services which would be more responsive to their needs,” he said.

Beach and 12 of his Republican colleagues — none of whom represent Atlanta — are trying to bypass the traditional legislative process for cityhood, which generally requires support from local representatives.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved a plan to pay $1000 bonuses, according to AccessWDUN.

On Thursday, the board approved a one-time salary adjustment of $1,000 to all active, benefit-eligible employees. The employees will find the amount added to their December paychecks.

In a press release, school board members said that it was part of an effort to show the employees their appreciation. “In making their decision to approve this payment, School Board members indicated their support for this effort and their appreciation to GCPS employees for the work they have done and continue to do in this challenging year.”

Employees who are eligible include teachers, administrators, and support personnel. There are 21,500 employees who be receiving the additional funds. The school board has said that this does not affect the current or future budget and stated that, “due to the district’s conservative approach to budgeting, will not decrease the year-end budgeted ending fund balance.”

Two women were arrested as they attempted to attend a Gwinnett Board of Education meeting, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Snellville resident Karen Pirkle and Suwanee resident Brenda Stewart were arrested at a security screening area outside the board meeting chambers, according to district spokeswoman Sloan Roach.

Roach said Pirkle was arrested on a criminal trespass charge. Roach said Pirkle was the woman who got into a stand off with Board Chairman Everton Blair over her refusal to wear a face mask at the October school board meeting.

“After misbehavior at the last meeting, a criminal trespass warning was issued, and that’s a letter that basically explains you’re not allowed to come on GCPS property,” Roach said. “That was communicated with her and then she showed up tonight still attempting to come to the meeting, so she violated that order.”

Meanwhile, Roach said Stewart was arrested and charged with willful obstruction of law enforcement officers after she got into a scuffle with a police officer at the metal detector that all attendees were required to go through before they could enter the meeting chambers.

“During a search of her bag, scissors were found. She was told she could not bring those into the meeting and grabbed for the scissors and struggled with the officer and the officer actually was scratched during the struggle.”

United States Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Atlanta) is working to deliver… the U.S. Mail to Columbus residents in a timely fashion. From WTVM:

Senator Ossoff secured commitment from a Biden Administration official to solve mail delivery delays in the Chattahoochee Valley.

Many people in the Chattahoochee Valley have experienced mail delays – and Georgia’s senator wants to work with Biden administration officials to ensure timely delivery.

I assume this means those stickers of President Biden pointing and saying “I did that” will begin appearing on mailboxes as well as gas pumps.

Athens-Clarke County has proposed redistricting maps for County Commission seats, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Following new census data, Athens-Clarke County redrew the map of the 10 commission districts. The local board of elections submitted the map for commission approval on Nov. 9.

Commissioners approved the new map 6-3 during a Tuesday meeting. The map now must be approved by the state.

Commissioners Allison Wright, Mike Hamby and Ovita Thornton voted against the map, with Commissioner Russell Edwards presiding over Tuesday’s meeting and not voting.

Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar and at least one City Council member are in a disagreement over liquor store policies, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Mayor Jonathan McCollar said Tuesday that he will veto any liquor store-enabling ordinance that does not limit the number of these “package shops” that can open in Statesboro, but District 1 Councilman Phil Boyum argued that would be the wrong approach.

With no city law or regulations drafted in advance, 74% of voters in a Nov. 2 referendum agreed to let the council and mayor license liquor stores in Statesboro for the first time in living memory. So, City Attorney Cain Smith delivered information on the relevant rules of other cities across Georgia during Tuesday’s 3:30 p.m. work session. During that session, three council members – Boyum, District 4’s John Riggs and District 5’s Shari Barr – directed Smith to prepare an ordinance including only the basic state requirements as a framework to which further local rules can be added.

“There needs to be a limiting on the licenses. I don’t want to see an alcohol store on every corner,” McCollar said during the work session. “And so I’m going to tell you, I’m going to veto anything that does not have a limited number of alcohol package stores on there. We have to do what’s responsible, and I’m concerned that we’ve been thinking too much about the time line, instead of good policy, and I think that it’s important for us to take our time.”

“You mentioned limiting licenses,” Boyum said. “When you do that kind of thing you also limit opportunity and play into the hands of the very wealthiest and most connected people in this community.”

The policy that emerges should allow small business and minority business owners “the opportunity to break into this field,” McCollar said.

A federal grand jury indicted a former Valdosta State Prison corrections officer, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The former supervisory officer was indicted for obstruction of justice and “misprision of a felony” in the beating of a prisoner Dec. 29, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

The beating involved retaliation against an inmate for an interaction with a female guard, past justice department statements said. Two other guards later pleaded guilty to federal offenses in the beating.

The officer indicted Wednesday was accused of not reporting the beating to authorities and of trying to get the other two guards to not write up the incident in reports and providing false statements to the FBI, the Wednesday statement said.

“Misprision of a felony” is the crime of knowing a felony has taken place but not alerting authorities, according to the Legal Information Institute.

Buford City Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Downs announced his resignation effective June 30, 2022, according to AccessWDUN.

Dawson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs announced he will retire at the end of this school year, according to AccessWDUN.

Flowery Branch named current Waycross City Manager Tonya Parrish as the sole finalist for the Flowery Branch City Manager search, according to AccessWDUN.

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