Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 22, 2021

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 22, 2021

The only major battle on Sherman’s March to the Sea occurred at Griswoldsville on November 22, 1864; on the same day, federal troops marched into Milledgeville.

Milledgeville-Old-Governor-Mansion-3

President John F. Kennedy became the fourth President of the United States to be assassinated in office on November 22, 1963. The next day, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been arrested for shooting Kennedy.

On November 22, 1988, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was first unveiled publicly at Palmdale, California.

Back to the Future II was released on November 22, 1989.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Brunswick Mayoral candidate Ivan Figueroa is profiled in The Brunswick News.

Early voting for the runoff to decide Brunswick’s next mayor is currently underway with the runoff Election Day set for Nov 30.

The News: Tell us a little bit about why you are running.

Figueroa: My wife Karen and I made our home in Brunswick because we were drawn by the strong sense of community. That sentiment has only grown over the years. We love our neighbors and enjoy walking into town to meet new friends and support our local businesses. In short, we love what makes Brunswick, our home. I had been looking for opportunities to get more involved but having served two terms on a Georgia City Council when my daughters were young, I know the commitment it takes to do the job and do the job right. When I retired last year, Karen and I discussed a run for mayor because in addition to having the time and experience, I have that commitment. In my professional life, I have worked for large and small companies that have provided municipal services to a variety of Georgia cities and counties. In 2011, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed me to the state Workforce Development Board of Directors where I served through 2018. More on my background can be found at VoteIvan.com. While experience and recognition matters, in my book, the most important thing a mayor can offer is the passion to serve Brunswick from corner to corner. We need someone whose priority is our city — our businesses, our residents and our quality of life. Karen and I make our home in SoGlo — you’ll see me often out in our yard or around the neighborhood. Say hello — regardless of the outcome of this election, we are not going anywhere because Brunswick is our home.

The News: What can be done to reduce crime in the city?

Figueroa: Public safety is everyone’s concern, and it’s my No. 1 priority. Major crimes in the city have dropped significantly over the past few years. That said, I have repeatedly warned that when we fail to fill open positions, we are inviting crime. At last count we have over 20 unfilled Officer positions. This is unacceptable and puts our community and our officers at repeated and unnecessary risk. While the city has slightly increased officer’s pay, we fall short of the county and sheriff’s office. We have officers in cars that should have been replaced years ago. Public service, and all those who serve our community will be at the center of my administration. Each employee will know they are valued and above all, responsible to our citizens and businesses. An investment in public safety is an investment in Brunswick’s future.

Georgia Supreme Court Justice Verda Colvin spoke to the Ledger-Enquirer.

“I promised myself when I was growing up that when I became an adult, I wouldn’t forget what it was like to be a kid, and all the emotional stuff you go through,” the Georgia Supreme Court justice said Thursday on a visit to Columbus, where she once served as an assistant U.S. attorney in federal court.

“You know, people tell kids all the time, ‘You don’t have any problems; you’re a kid.’ Well, that’s crap,” said Colvin, 56. “If it’s the biggest problem (a kid has) had, it’s as big as not being able to pay the mortgage that your parents might be thinking of.”

Appointed to the state’s highest court this past July, Colvin continues to speak with young people whenever she gets a chance, a practice she began as a Superior Court judge in Macon, where she regularly participated in a sheriff’s program for troubled youth.

Her oratory has been notable nationwide since 2016, when a video of her speaking to kids in trouble went viral. When she made her remarks that day at the sheriff’s program, she was more keyed up than usual because some girls in her audience had been posting nude photos of themselves online, she said.

“I had some kids [in a group for kids in trouble with the law] there who were placing pictures of themselves, nudity pictures, online, and just to see that a child would be in a place where in their mind, that would be an option, just was really disturbing,” she recalled.

So she addressed that: “Young ladies, whether anyone has ever told you before, you’re special. You’re uniquely made,” she told the girls. “Stop acting like you’re trash and putting pictures of yourself on the Internet. Stop being disrespectful to your parents. Care about your future. Be somebody. Anybody can be nothing.”

Colvin’s props that day were a diploma, a jail uniform and a body bag: “I had to really reach these kids in a real way,” she said Thursday. Her message was: “Get a high school diploma, so you can have some options in life.” Or else the kids would wind up in a body bag or a prison uniform, or poverty.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will preform a supplemental inspection of new nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia, according to the Associated Press via the Savannah Morning News.

Nuclear power regulators on Thursday affirmed giving greater scrutiny to two nuclear reactors being built at Georgia Power Co.’s Plant Vogtle after a special inspection found electrical cables were not properly separated.

Regional Administrator Laura Dudes wrote Wednesday that the commission will schedule a supplemental inspection of the reactors near Augusta to make sure the causes and the extent of the problems are understood and to make sure corrective actions address those root causes and keep the problem from happening again. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will make the inspection after Southern Nuclear says it is ready.

Southern had asked that two separate violations be combined into one, which could have reduced the commission’s view of the problem’s severity. Inspectors classified their findings on the electrical cables as having a “white” or “low to moderate” significance, one level above the lowest level of green.

The Georgia State Senate approved a Congressional map on Friday, according to the Associated Press via the Statesboro Herald.

Senators voted 32-21 along party lines to approve Senate Bill 2EX, sending it to the House for more debate. House members are likely to vote on the congressional map on Monday, sending it to Gov. Brian Kemp for his likely signature.

“This map represents all Georgians and is a map we can be proud of,” said state Sen. John Kennedy, a Macon Republican who chaired Senate redistricting efforts. “It’s a pretty map. You don’t see funky lines and weird-drawn districts. It’s a pretty map because you look at it and it is striking visually that it is not gerrymandered.”

State Sen. Elena Parent, an Atlanta Democrat, said a “partisan and rushed process” delivered “a map that fails to reflect the population changes we’ve seen in Georgia. It aims to give Republicans a 64% majority of the congressional delegation in a 50-50 state. It does not add any minority opportunity districts despite all the population increase having come from communities of color.”

Democrats offered and Republicans rejected a map that was likely to result in a 7-7 split between the parties.

The Senate’s map is likely to shift Georgia’s 6th Congressional District from Democratic to Republican control. Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath wrested the seat once held by Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich away from the GOP in 2018 and won re-election in 2020. But the new map removes parts of it from close-in Atlanta suburbs, into much more Republican exurban and rural territory.

From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Athens Banner Herald:

New legislative maps Georgia lawmakers adopted during this month’s special redistricting session are likely to let minority Democrats gain half a dozen seats in the GOP-controlled state House of Representatives and pick up at least one seat in the Georgia Senate.

By targeting the 6th Congressional District seat held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, final passage of the Republicans’ new congressional map expected Monday likely would build on the GOP’s current 8-6 advantage in the state’s congressional delegation, yielding a 9-5 split.

In both the General Assembly and congressional delegation, Republicans could have done better, argues Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia who has written extensively on redistricting.

“Democrats overreached 20 years ago.” Bullock said, referring to the last time Democrats controlled the legislature and, thus, were in charge of redistricting. “They ended up slicing up some of those districts so thin they couldn’t defend them.”

Bullock said a more aggressive strategy aimed at gaining Republican seats in the General Assembly and picking up more than a single seat in the congressional delegation could have backfired on the GOP.

“The state’s changed a lot over the years,” Bullock said. “The seats [Republicans] could narrowly hold in 2022 or ’24 might not be winnable in subsequent elections. … They could see control slip away from them.”

From the AJC:

Republicans could pick up a seat by shifting the borders of a north Atlanta district currently held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath. The new district lines would move into conservative areas to the north in Dawson and Forsyth counties, easing the election of a Republican candidate in next year’s elections.

The House Redistricting Committee voted 10-4 along party lines to advance the map to a full vote on the House floor on Monday.

Republican leaders in the Georgia General Assembly have worked quickly to pass the new congressional map, which was first made public on Wednesday and is on track to head to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk five days later.

Five of Georgia’s six congressional districts held by Democrats are majority nonwhite, and the new congressional maps also include five districts where most residents are people of color. The district currently held by McBath would become 64% white, while the 7th Congressional District held by Democrat U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux would become a safe Democratic seat with 70% people of color.

Public speakers from Cobb County objected to being mapped into a heavily conservative district held by Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, saying she wouldn’t represent their views.

Daniel Blackman, a former Democratic candidate for Georgia Public Service Commission, was nominated as Southeast regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.

Biden appointed Daniel Blackman to head an Atlanta-based EPA region covering six states. Blackman was recommended for the post by U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga.

“I am confident and expect that he will bring vision and focus to environmental protection in the Southeast region,” Ossoff said.

“As climate change presents a real and urgent threat to our country, Daniel has been a steadfast champion for environmental stewardship and creating opportunities for underserved communities across Georgia,” added Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga. “EPA’s Southeast region will benefit from his leadership.”

He ran for the commission last year, forcing Republican incumbent Lauren “Bubba” McDonald into a January runoff before losing by a narrow margin.

In addition to his 202o campaign for PSC, Mr. Blackmon also ran for the same seat in 2014, and for State Senate District 27 in 2016.

An electric vehicle factory may be headed to Morgan County, Georgia, according to the Morgan County Citizen.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp broke his silence Wednesday on a historic manufacturing deal nearing its final stages, rumored to result in a multibillion electric vehicle plant built in Morgan County near Rutledge.

Kemp hinted that Rivian Automotive, an electric vehicle manufacturing company worth $100 billion, is on the verge of choosing the site for its second plant, noting that Georgia has recruited complimentary industries in recent years that aid a company like Rivian in producing top-of-the-line electric-powered vehicles.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” said Kemp in an interview with Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News. “I mean, we put, I think, a good proposal out there, we’ll see what the company decides.”

Kemp pointed to the green tech battery plant in Commerce from SK Innovation as such an industry that could serve as an extra draw for Rivian.

“You know, you mentioned Rivian. We’ve got, obviously SK, but we got 20-something other parts manufacturers that are going into automobiles, or the future EV,” Kemp said.

Gwinnett County will open five warming stations, according to AccessWDUN.

The Ledger-Enquier looks at projects that will be funded by the SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) passed this month by Columbus voters.

Athens-Clarke Police Chief Cleveland Spruill announced the results of operations targeting a local gang, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

An Athens street gang known as 1831 Piru was targeted in a federal investigation that culminated this week, landing several of its “high-level members” in jail, Athens-Clarke Police Chief Cleveland Spruill announced Friday.

Besides the recent arrests of 13 men on various drug and gun charges, Spruill announced the seizure of 60 firearms, more than $1 million in cash and various amounts of drugs ranging from cocaine to fentanyl and heroin with a street value of more than $800,000.

The undercover investigation codenamed “Operation Tourniquet” and the resulting federal indictments were revealed during a news conference at police headquarters, where Spruill was joined by Middle District U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary, FBI Agent Andy Smith and Athens-Clarke County Sheriff John Q. Williams.

Piru is also affiliated with the more widely known street gang the Bloods. The 1831 tag was adopted from the year of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, according to the federal document. Athens-Clarke police have estimated there are more than 100 Piru gang members in the Athens area.

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