Category: Georgia Politics


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 9, 2021

Buddy is a nearly-13 year old senior male Beagle and Jack Russell Terrier mix who weighs 19 pounds and  is available for adoption from the Atlanta Humane Society in Atlanta, GA.

Hello! My name is Buddy! And, I want to be your “buddy!” I am a sweet older gentleman who is looking for a new forever home because, sadly, my mom became ill and could no longer care for me. I am a friendly, outgoing, healthy, little guy, still active, loves walks, and I get along with other dogs. I like getting my exercise daily and am always ready for a nice, nap—preferably on your lap or beside you. Take a look at my cute, sweet, happy face, and I know you will want to meet me. I sure hope so anyway. Love, Buddy.

**I qualify for Foster First which means you may foster me for 14 days before adopting me to make sure we all get along. Let’s give it a try.

Nala is a 5-year old, 59-pound female Shepherd and Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Atlanta Humane Society in Atlanta, GA.

Hello, I’m Nala. I’m a beautiful, very affectionate girl who can’t get enough pets. When my previous owner had to move and couldn’t take me along, AHS found me a wonderful foster home. My foster Mom said I’m the perfect height to lay my head in your lap when you are on the couch, and I would like to cuddle with you if you say it’s ok to get on the furniture. I just wanted to be wherever she is, so I slept on the floor next to her bed at night and woke her up with nose rubs when it’s time to go out to potty in the morning. She says I get along great with other dogs and would enjoy living with a “buddy” to keep me company when I have to be left alone.

Towee is a three-month old female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Atlanta Humane Society in Atlanta, GA.

Hi, I’m Towee. I am very excited to meet you, and I just know we are going to be best friends. My hobbies include sleeping (a lot!), exploring the world (there’s so much to see!), and getting into a little trouble (I’m a puppy after all!). I don’t have much life experience yet, but I’m willing to learn if you have the time to teach me. If you have other pets in your home already, I would love to meet them! Do you think I might be the perfect match for you? I sure hope so. Love, Towee


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 9, 2021

On July 9, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud to General George Washington’s troops at the parade grounds in Manhattan.

On July 11, 1782, British colonists including British Royal Governor Sir James Wright, fled Georgia.

Wright had been the only colonial governor and Georgia the only colony to successfully implement the Stamp Act in 1765. As revolutionary fervor grew elsewhere in the colonies, Georgia remained the most loyal colony, declining to send delegates to the Continental Congress in 1774.

Congress ordered the creation of the United States Marine Corps on July 11, 1798, after the Corps was inactive for a period following the Revolutionary War. From 1799 to 1921, Marine Corps Day was observed on July 11, but is now celebrated on November 10, the date of it’s Revolutionary War establishment.

On July 11, 1804, Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. Burr was the sitting Vice President of the United States and Hamilton a former Secretary of the Treasury.

After he shot Hamilton, Aaron Burr quickly fled the nation’s capitol, making his way to St. Simons Island, Georgia, spending a month as a guest of Pierce Butler at Hampton Plantation.

Burr was a fugitive, but his killing Hamilton in a duel held a certain justifiable reasoning since dueling was not illegal, though morally questionable, to be sure. According to H. S. Parmet and M. B. Hecht in their Aaron Burr: Portrait of an Ambitious Man, after the duel, he immediately completed, by mid-August, plans which he had already initiated, to go to St. Simons, “an island off the coast of Georgia, one mile below the town of Darien.”

Jonathan Daniels’ “Ordeal of Ambition” handles the situation this way: “With Samuel Swartwout and a slave named Peter (‘the most intelligent and best disposed black I have ever known’), Burr secretly embarked for Georgia. There on St. Simons Island at the Hampton Plantation of his friend, rich former Senator Pierce Butler, he found refuge…” As Georgia Historian Bernice McCullar, author of “Georgia” puts it, Burr was “fleeing the ghost of Alexander Hamilton” when he arrived on the Georgia island.

“Major Pierce Butler,” she relates, “had fought in the British army and remained in America after the war.” He had married a South Carolina heiress, Miss Polly Middleton, and acquired two Georgia Coastal plantations, which he ran like a general storming after the troops. In fact, he was so strict that none of his slaves could associate with any of the others. He also required anyone who visited his plantations to give his or her name at the gate. With this tight security, Burr should have felt safe..

Actually, Butler’s invitation to visit the island fitted the escapee’s plans nicely. Not only was the Hamilton affair a bother, but also Burr needed to get away from a lady by the name of Celeste; however, the real reason, aside from being near his daughter, who was also in the South, was the nearness of the Floridas. No real purpose is given why the Vice-President wanted to spend “five or six weeks on this hazardous and arduous undertaking.”

Daniels underscores that from this St. Simons point Burr could “make any forays into Florida he wished to make. He traveled under the name ‘Roswell King.” After his Florida odyssey, he planned to meet his South Carolina son-in-law “at any healthy point.”

Parts of the Hampton Plantation survive in the form of tabby ruins on St Simons.

Tabby Hampton Plantation TMR_0549 copy

Tabby Hampton Plantation TMR_0524 copy

A house in St. Marys, Georgia bears a plaque stating that Aaron Burr visited there in 1804.

Clark lived in the home from 1804 until his death in 1848. He was appointed in 1807 by then-President Thomas Jefferson as customs collector for the Port of St. Marys, a position he held until his death. The year Clark bought the house, he is said to have provided a temporary hideout to Aaron Burr, who was traveling in the South to evade federal authorities holding a warrant for his arrest after he killed Alexander Hamilton in their infamous duel in July 1804.

Verification of Burr’s stay in St. Marys is hard to come by. But it is confirmed that he stayed on St. Simons Island and Cumberland Island late in the summer after he killed Hamilton. That Burr knew Clark is not disputed. The two attended law school together in Litchfield, Conn., but there is no mention in either man’s records that Burr stayed in the home.

St Marys Aaron Burr Plaque TMR_1465

Aaron Burr House St Marys GA Front Side TMR_1470

Aaron Burr House St Marys GA Front

President Zachary Taylor died of cholera on July 9, 1850. Millard Fillmore was sworn in as the 13th President of the United States on July 10, 1850.

On July 9, 1864, Confederate troops retreated across the Chattahoochee River from Cobb County into Fulton County. Upriver, Sherman’s troops had already crossed and moved toward Atlanta.

On July 10, 1864, Conferderate forces retreated south across the Chattahoochee and burned the bridge behind them. General Sherman wrote later of the day,

General Garrard Moved rapidly on Roswell, and destroyed the factories which had supplied the rebel armies with cloth for years.

Over General Garrard was then ordered to secure the shallow ford at Roswell and hold it until he could be relieved by infantry, and as I contemplated transferring the Army of the Tennessee from the extreme right to the left, I ordered General Thomas to send a division of his infantry that was nearest up to Roswell to hold the ford until General McPherson could send up a corps from the neighborhood of Nickajack.

General Newton’s division was sent and held the ford until the arrival of General Dodge’s corps, which was soon followed by General McPherson’s whole army.

On July 11, 1877, a Constitutional Convention convened in the Kimball Opera House in Atlanta to replace the 1868 Reconstruction Constitution.

On July 11, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Aid Road Act, establishing a federal program of paying for highway development.

The Scopes “Monkey Trial” began on July 10, 1925, in which a Tennessee public school teacher was tried for teaching evolution, against state law. Three-time Democratic candidate for President William Jennings Bryan volunteered to help the prosecution, and famed lawyer Clarence Darrow defended John Thomas Scopes.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt accepted the Democratic nomination for a fourth term on July 11, 1944.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower was nominated for President by the Republican National Convention on July 11, 1952.

July 11, 1969 was an epic day in rock and roll history, with David Bowie releasing “Space Oddity” and the Rolling Stones releasing “Honky Tonk Women.”

On July 10, 1985, “Classic“ Coke returned, joining the new formula on store shelves.

On July 11, 1985, Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan became the first major league player to strike out 4000 batters.

The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games broke ground for Atlanta Olympic Stadium on July 10, 1993; after the Olympics, the stadium was modified for baseball and became Turner Field.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

From FoxNews:

As the first pitch in the relocated MLB All-Star Game approaches, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is targeting Stacey Abrams and other prominent Democrats in a new ad campaign and reiterating his pledge to fight legal challenges to the state’s controversial election law.

Set to debut Friday and air during the All-Star Game, the 30-second ad features Kemp outside the Atlanta Braves’ home stadium, Truist Park, the site once selected to host this year’s event. The Republican governor asserts Abrams and other members of what he describes in the ad as a “liberal mob” disregarded the economic losses of local small business in favor of partisan political goals.

“We’re going to keep fighting,” Kemp said in an interview with Fox News. “The Elections Integrity Act is a good piece of legislation that makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat. In my opinion, Stacey Abrams, all these activists, a lot of these corporate ‘woke’ cancel culture people, including Major League Baseball, overplayed their hand here and we’re going to push back.”

Kemp said the Biden administration’s lawsuit constituted a federal effort to influence election laws debated and passed by a state legislature.

“They lost the federal takeover that they wanted to do that was an unconstitutional power grab,” Kemp said. “I think this is just the next course of action to show the activists and the folks that are pressuring them. The president got way out there talking about the bill and labeling it was Jim Crow 2.0 and whatever else. Didn’t even read our bill, didn’t even know what the bill did.”

Kemp singles out Abrams for criticism in the ad, declaring that she and other members of “the liberal mob forced the All-Star Game to move, despite the fact that we made it easier to vote and harder to cheat.” He adds that critics of the election bill will “put their political agenda ahead of jobs, small business, even the truth.”

The Georgia governor also pushed back on reports that Abrams urged the MLB to keep the All-Star Game in Atlanta before the decision was made to relocate, asserting the Democratic voting rights activist had “flip-flopped” on the issue.

“When they figured out this was not a good political position for them to be in, they started trying to put the narrative out there that oh, you shouldn’t move the game,” he added. “Well, you can’t have it both ways and we’re calling them out on that.”

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 8, 2021

On July 8, 1776, the bell now known as the Liberty Bell rang in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House, now called Independence Hall, to announce the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as King George III’s 1761 ascension to the British throne and, in 1765, to call the people together to discuss Parliament’s controversial Stamp Act. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the bell was rung to announce the battles of Lexington and Concord. Its most famous tolling, however, was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned Philadelphia citizens for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence.

The Liberty Bell inscription includes a reference to Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

The first of General William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops, under Major General Schofield, crossed the Chattahoochee River between Powers Ferry and Johnson Ferry on July 8, 1864.

Former United States Senator from Texas Phil Gramm (R) was born on July 8, 1942 in Columbus, Georgia, where his father was stationed at Fort Benning.

On July 8, 1975, President Gerald Ford announced his candidacy for President in the 1976 elections.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

First Lady Jill Biden will tour a Savannah vaccination site today, according to the Savannah Morning News.

First lady Jill Biden will tour a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Savannah on Thursday to show her support for local efforts and to encourage community residents to get vaccinated.

The mobile clinic will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Beach High School, 3001 Hopkins St., in Savannah. Anyone age 12 and older who has not yet been vaccinated is encouraged to make an appointment at Walk-ins will be allowed, but appointments are preferred.

“We’re honored to welcome the first lady to Savannah,” said Chatham County Health Department Nurse Manager Tammi Brown. “Our Health Department has given more than 67,000 vaccinations, but a majority of adults in Chatham County are still unvaccinated and at risk. We aren’t at the finish line yet, so we appreciate her support.”

The first lady will be joined by Sen. Raphael Warnock and Savannah Mayor Van Johnson for the tour and to deliver remarks at Beach High School. The visit is part of the White House Administration’s nation-wide effort to increase education and outreach about COVID-19 vaccination, and to reach the millions of Americans who remain unvaccinated.

As of Tuesday, 40% of Chatham residents were fully vaccinated against COVID and 44% had received at least one shot, according to the state’s COVID vaccine dashboard.

From WTOC:

Thursday afternoon, the First Lady will tour a vaccination site at a high school alongside the Savannah mayor and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. The senator’s office released a statement saying, “In order to keep our economy moving forward, we must do all our part to help Georgia and our nation overcome this pandemic. I’m looking forward to joining Dr. Biden in Savannah to share this important message with coastal Georgians.”

Once the First Lady wraps up the events in Georgia, she’ll head down to Orlando to attend the Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals and congratulate students and their families.

Georgia currently has the ninth-lowest vaccination rate in the country, according to the White House. The good news is that a number of counties are reporting zero new cases in the past two weeks.

No word on whether FLOTUS will go door-to-door to check vaccination statuses.

United States Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Extreme Northwest Georgia) couldn’t help discussing the door-to-door efforts. From CNN via the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Responding to remarks from Biden about mobilizing officials to reach unvaccinated individuals at their homes, Greene tweeted, “People have a choice, they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations. You can’t force people to be part of the human experiment.”

Asked about Greene’s tweet by CNN’s John Berman on “New Day,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House does not take medical advice from Greene.

Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan (R-Forsyth County) is raising funds despite saying he will not run for reelection, according to the AJC.

[AJC writer] James Salzer found that Duncan’s June 30 campaign finance report shows he still had $827,500 in his account halfway through 2021.

He announced in mid-May he wouldn’t run for re-election and his chief of staff, John Porter, said Duncan has not been actively fundraising since he made that announcement. While there are no specific plans for what he’ll do with his remaining funds, Duncan has several options, including giving it to other candidates’ state campaigns, within legal limits, of course.

According to his latest disclosure, his campaign’s single biggest expense in the first half of 2021 was the $17,000 it spent in April on polling.

From another story by the AJC:

James Salzer — who reviewed the group’s latest campaign disclosure — noted that two of the three contributions were reported to have come during the General Assembly session: $20,000 from the American Federation for Children, an Alexandria, Va. school-choice lobby group, and $10,000 from health care mega-company Hospital Corporation of America. Both were listed on Advance Georgia’s report as being received Jan. 29, a few weeks into the General Assembly’s annual session.

Both groups have reason to give: Republicans have long pushed private school vouchers and other school-choice legislation. And few issues get as much legislative attention — and funding — as health care.

State officials like Duncan and lawmakers have long been banned from taking campaign donations during legislative sessions in an effort to eliminate the appearance that they are being bought off for legislation or state funding.

Governor Brian Kemp joined Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-West Point) and state legislators from Coweta County in responding to FEMA’s denial of individual assistance after a March 2021 tornado,  according to a press release.

“FEMA’s July 1st rejection of Georgia’s request for Individual Assistance for Coweta County, following significant damage to the City of Newnan and Coweta County by an EF-4 tornado and other severe weather during March 25th and 26th of 2021, is very disappointing. After FEMA’s initial denial, we all came together – the State of Georgia, city and county officials, as well as elected representatives and civic groups – to appeal their wrong decision and ensure they fully understood the devastation that families experienced during this traumatic storm. At a time when Congress and the Biden administration are proposing legislation to spend trillions upon trillions of taxpayer dollars, we continue to urge FEMA to do the right thing and grant the state’s request for individual assistance to help Georgians who were impacted and are now trying to rebuild their lives.”

Governor Brian P. Kemp
Congressman Drew Ferguson
State Senator Matt Brass
State Representative Lynn Smith
State Representative Philip Singleton
State Representative David Jenkins

United States District Judge J.P. Boulee rejected a lawsuit seeking to enjoin implementation of Georgia’s new voting laws, according to the New York Times.

In his order, Judge J. P. Boulee of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia said he was basing his decision on the imminence of the July 13 elections and not the merits of the case.

“The court certainly appreciates the gravity of the First and Fourteenth Amendment harms plaintiffs have alleged,” Judge Boulee wrote, but “concerns in this case with respect to the July 13, 2021 runoff elections, including the risk of disrupting the administration of an ongoing election, outweigh the alleged harm to plaintiffs at this time.”

He continued, “The Court reserves judgment regarding the propriety of relief as to future elections and will issue a separate order on this question at a later date.”

The Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, celebrated the decision, saying in a statement: “This is just another in the line of frivolous lawsuits against Georgia’s election law based on misinformation and lies. We will continue to meet them and beat them in court.”

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

“The underlying elections have already occurred, and Plaintiffs seek an order that would mandate different rules for the related runoff elections,” Boulee wrote in an 11-page order.

“Election administrators have prepared to implement the challenged rules, have implemented them at least to some extent and now would have to grapple with a different set of rules in the middle of the election.”

The July 13 runoff in Cobb County will pit Republican Devan Seabaugh and Democrat Priscilla Smith to complete the unexpired term of former Georgia Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta. Reeves left the legislature for an administrative position at Georgia Tech, his alma mater.

In southeast Georgia that day, Republicans Leesa Hagan and Wally Sapp will vie in House District 156, which covers parts of Appling, Jeff Davis, Montgomery and Toombs counties. Former Rep. Greg Morris, R-Vidalia, is now serving on the State Transportation Board representing Georgia’s 12th Congressional District.

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms will run for reelection in November, according to 13WMAZ.

The mayor and three city council seats are up for election. Wednesday, Mayor Randy Toms confirmed with 13WMAZ that he will seek reelection.

LaRhonda W. Patrick, an attorney, confirms she’s running for mayor.

Stephen Baughier, an accountant, says he’s strongly considering running. Former mayor Chuck Shaheen says he’s weighing his options. Former councilman Tim Thomas says he’ll decide in the coming weeks whether he wants to run.

Qualifying for city races runs August 16-20. Early voting runs October 12-29 — Election Day is November 2.

Augusta City Commissioner Sammie Sias has been indicted on federal charges, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia, Sias, 66, has been charged with destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations, and false statement or representation made to a department or agency of the United States. If convicted, the charges carry a maximum of 20 years in federal prison, along with substantial financial penalties and up to five years of supervised release.

“Federal investigations play a significant oversight role in maintaining integrity and transparency from elected officials and in government agencies at all levels,” Acting U.S. Attorney David Estes said in a release. “We commend our law enforcement partners in the FBI and GBI for their diligence in seeking timely and accurate information from those who are chosen to serve the taxpayers of our communities.”

The indictment alleges that Sias “did knowingly alter, destroy, mutilate, conceal and cover up records, documents and other objects, to wit, digital files belonging to Sandridge Community Association” on or about Aug. 5, 2019. The documents included invoices, spreadsheets, work orders, payments, agendas, minutes, financial reports and other documentation of the Jamestown Community Center, Jamestown Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, the SCA board of directors and SCA Summer Camp, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

The indictment states that Sias intended to “impede, obstruct and influence the investigation and proper administration of a federal criminal grand jury investigation.”

“The alleged cover-up was not only a violation of the oath taken by this elected official, but a theft of the public’s trust,” Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a release. “Public corruption is one of the FBI’s top priorities and we will do everything in our power to pursue officials who abuse their positions.”

More than half of Georgia’s counties have lagging broadband availability, according to USA Today via the Augusta Chronicle.

In about half of Georgia’s counties – 80 of 158 – measured by a Federal Communications Commission study, broadband access is available to at least 83% of residents. Yet in about half of the state measured by Microsoft – 80 of 159 counties – no more than 21% of households actually have high-speed access, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

In Georgia, 10% of residents don’t have adequate broadband infrastructure and 38.8% live in areas that have only one internet provider, according to the White House.

The proportions of Georgia households that have high speed access varies widely: In Echols County, it’s just 1%; in Baker County, it’s 2%; and in Clay County, it’s 2%. Leading the state are Forsyth County with 93%, Gwinnett County with 81% and Fulton County with 73%.

Statesboro City Council voted to authorize the police department to apply for a $1 million dollar federal grant to hire more officers, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Twiggs County will use a grant to upgrade its sewer system, according to 13WMAZ.

The county plans to make sewer improvements increasing the capacity of their wastewater plant at the I-16 industrial park.

The money will come from the OneGeorgia Authority, which funds economic development in rural counties, and the American Rescue Plan.

“Right now we don’t have the capacity to handle new businesses, and this is what we’re going to do. This grant is going to help us upgrade our capacity for new businesses with sewage and water. We’ll be able to provide businesses with sewage and water,” said commissioner, Lonnie Ford.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 7, 2021

On July 7, 1742, General James Oglethorpe was victorious over the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh and the Battle of Gully Hole Creek; a week later Gov. Montiano would call off the invasion of Georgia from Florida, leaving Georgia to develop as a British colony.

Sliced bread was invented on July 7, 1928 at the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri.

On July 7, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act.

The first female cadets enrolled at West Point on July 7, 1976.

Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated to the United States Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan on July 7, 1981.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp declared a State of Emergency for 92 counties ahead of the landfall of Hurricane Elsa. From News4Jax:

Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency Tuesday affecting 92 counties in middle, south and southeast Georgia in preparation for the storm. Brantley, Camden, Charlton Glynn, Ware counties in Southeast Georgia were included.

In Glynn County, which includes Brunswick and St. Simons Island, officials urged people to prepare and stay off the roads. School summer programs, public pools and some courts announced plans to close, but Brunswick and Glynn County said they would keep their other offices open Wednesday.

If winds are high enough, the Georgia Department of Transportation could close bridges to St. Simons Island and a high-rise bridge going south out of Brunswick. Interstate 95 is unlikely to be affected, though.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said state officials are actively monitoring Elsa, with some coastal counties opening emergency operations centers. Georgia Power Co. says it’s ready to respond to any power outages.

From WALB:

The counties covered by the state of emergency include Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Chattahoochee, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Columbia, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Glynn, Grady, Hancock, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, McDuffie, McIntosh, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Muscogee, Peach, Pierce, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Ware, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Worth.

Unless renewed by the governor, the state of emergency will expire on Wednesday, July 14 at 11:59 p.m.

Governor Kemp interviewed applicants for appointment to the Georgia Supreme Court, according to the Georgia Recorder.Continue Reading..


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

On July 6, 1775, Congress issued the “Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms” addressed to King George III, stating that they preferred to “to die free men rather than live as slaves.” The document was written by John Dickinson after a draft by Thomas Jefferson.

The Republican Party was formally organized on July 6, 1854.

The party was born of hostility to slavery.

In February [1854] a gathering in Ripon, Wisconsin, resolved to form a new party and a local lawyer named Alvan E. Bovay suggested the name Republican for its echoes of Thomas Jefferson. In Michigan there were meetings in Kalamazoo, Jackson and Detroit, and after the Act had passed in May, the new party was formally founded in Jackson in July. A leading figure was Austin Blair, a Free Soiler lawyer who was prosecuting attorney of Jackson County. He helped to draft the new party’s platform, was elected to the state senate in Republican colours that year and would become governor of Michigan in 1860.

On July 6, 1885, Louis Pasteur successfully tested a rabies vaccine on a human subject.

Happy Birthday to George W. Bush, who turns 75 today.

The Cockspur Island lighthouse is receiving some restoration work, according to WTOC.

“The community loves this place; they love the lighthouse. When the scaffolding went up and we started seeing posts about it on Facebook from folks, everything has been super positive,” Fort Pulaski National Monument Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, Joel Cadoff, said.

In 1862, Union forces began their 36-hour bombardment of Fort Pulaski. The lighthouse, in direct line of fire, only suffered minor damage.

This 165-year-old structure has seen a civil war, several hurricanes, but it’s also living and breathing. It’s not just the history behind the structure. This is Savannah Gray Brick; it takes in water and then breathes it out.

While Cockspur has been traditionally painted white – as a day marker – the latest coat of white latex paint and some of the last mortar treatments kept Cockspur from breathing, actually suffocating it.

“And what this is doing – is keeping all the water and moisture inside the building and it’s not letting the building breathe; all buildings need to breathe it can’t be closed up and condemn. You can see all this latex is going to keep the moisture in,” Roman said.

Click here for the National Park Service history of the Cockspur Island Lighthouse.

A cemetery in Virginia may see the next and possibly last, interment of Civil War remains, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Archaeologists are looking for an available plot in Fredericksburg National Cemetery, which hasn’t seen a veteran burial since 1945, according to the National Park Service. The burial is considered “proposed” until a suitable site if found, officials said.

“The new grave will be the final resting place for the unidentified remains of US soldiers found in the City of Fredericksburg in 2015,” the military park posted Wednesday on Facebook.

“The remains were found near the Rowe–Goolrick House, which served as a hospital during the Battle of Fredericksburg.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Snellville City Council member Tod Warner donates part of his council salary to fight homelessness, according to the AJC.

Tod Warner became homeless when he was only 4, shortly after his parents divorced. His mother loaded him and his brother into a 1962 Volkswagen Beetle, and they slept in a vacant lot and garage for about a week.

Warner and his family found places to stay but never permanent homes.

Since January, the now 58-year-old has sent $100 each month of his $8,000 annual council salary to Lettum Eat, a nonprofit that delivers prepared meals to those in need at distribution events across Gwinnett County.

Headed by chef Hank Reid, Lettum Eat largely relies on donations, fundraisers and catering events to meet its goal. Snellville City Council recognized Reid for his work in early January, prompting Warner to begin donating to the nonprofit.

“Once Hank started taking food to people rather than having people come to him, it really hit home because there were many times in my life that was me,” Warner said. “If we don’t help when we can, then can we expect someone to help us?”

Grovetown, Georgia will be my new home if they continue giving away free Barbecue. From the Augusta Chronicle:

The City of Grovetown handed out nearly 4,000 to-go boxes of barbecue and sides Saturday to its residents free of charge. The cost of the food is part of a line item in the city’s budget each year and restaurants bid for the opportunity to provide the meals. This year’s meal was provided by Fish Eye Grill in Girard.

For the last 20 years, the city has hosted an event complete with the barbecue meal and activities at Liberty Park Community Center. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the city to cancel the event last year but this year it handed out the food in a drive-thru at the community center on a first-come, first-served basis. Each car was permitted to take four boxes of food.

“This year we wanted to make sure we didn’t have an issue with COVID so we decided to do the drive thru,” Mayor Gary Jones said. “It’s a way that we can give back to them and that we appreciate them and as a community celebrate July the Fourth.”

“This is what taking care of the community looks like,” she said. “We’re using tax-payer dollars in the right way and making sure they enjoy the benefits of those tax-payer dollars.”

Georgia deaths linked to Fentanyl more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, according to the AJC.

The number of fentanyl-involved deaths in Georgia more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, according to data from the state’s public health department. The synthetic opioid played a part in killing 803 Georgians in 2020, compared to 392 in 2019.

In each of the core metro Atlanta counties — Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett — the number of deaths nearly doubled or tripled.

Carol Terry, medical examiner for Gwinnett County, became concerned about the drug’s deadly presence toward the end of 2014. Now, the county is in the midst of a fentanyl “epidemic,” she said.

Fentanyl played a role in 60% of all drug-related deaths in the county in 2020, according to medical examiner’s office records obtained by the AJC. Seventy people died from fentanyl-related overdoses in 2020, compared to 26 in 2019.

The drug played a role in killing at least 33 people in the county from January to April of this year. Most people who died had a combination of fentanyl and other drugs in their system.

Cobb County Republicans voted in a straw poll over the weekend, according to the AJC.

Gov. Brian Kemp trounced party-switching former Democrat Vernon Jones, nabbing about two-thirds of the vote. Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black was the GOP leader in the Senate race, though Herschel Walker wasn’t on the ballot.

In the open lieutenant governor’s race, which is still forming, Savannah activist Jeanne Seaver edged out state Sen. Butch Miller by four votes.

Most interesting were the two GOP incumbents in hot water.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger finished last out of the four GOP contenders on the poll. U.S. Rep. Jody Hice led the field, thanks partly to Donald Trump’s endorsement.

The straw poll also amounted to a warning beacon for Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, a three-term incumbent who says he’s running again next year. State Sen. Bruce Thompson, who worked the crowd in a branded, blindingly yellow shirt, captured 81% of the tally.

CNN ranks Georgia’s United States Senate seat held by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Atlanta) as second-most likely to change parties in 2022, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Republicans are eager to redeem their trifecta of recent losses in Georgia. But they’re still in a waiting game when it comes to who will avenge the loss to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who’s now running for a full six-year term.

That’s because Herschel Walker, encouraged by Trump to run, continues to have a freezing effect on the field. Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black announced his candidacy in early June, becoming one of the most prominent candidates so far, while other Republicans have been reluctant to jump into the race if they know someone else will have Trump’s backing. Former Rep. Doug Collins, for example, already passed on a run.

Walker, who lives in Texas, teased a campaign with a June 17 video of him revving the engine of a car with Peach State license plates (in a garage). “I’m getting ready,” the former NFL running back said. Trump said in a radio interview last week that Walker told him he’s decided to run. GOP strategists, however, are nervous about a risky candidate jeopardizing a must-win seat.

Other Republicans are still testing the waters. Former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost to Warnock in the January runoff, recently tweeted about meeting with Trump. And she met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, too, telling CNN in mid June, “I haven’t ruled it out.” Rep. Buddy Carter, who’s friends with Walker, is waiting to see what Walker does before making a decision. While everyone waits on Walker, national Republicans are not wasting time attacking one of their top targets. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has hit Warnock on TV for supporting the For the People Act, the sweeping voting and elections bill they dub “the welfare for politicians plan” (because of a public financing provision).

The Associated Press looks at Sen. Warnock’s DC demeanor and back home conduct, via AccessWDUN.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Raphael Warnock assails Republicans’ push for tighter voting rules as “Jim Crow in new clothes,” while his campaign operation blasts emails bemoaning dire risks to democracy.

Back home, Georgia’s first Black senator is more subtle, pitching a “comprehensive view of infrastructure” and avoiding talk of his reelection fight already looming just months after he won a January special election runoff with Senate control at stake.

The high-wire act will test whether Warnock, who will seek his first full Senate term next year, can again stitch together a diverse, philosophically splintered coalition that tilted Georgia to Democrats in 2020. He’s still the high-profile freshman whose election gave Democrats unified control in Washington, but now he’s angling to be seen as a “senator for all Georgians” delivering for the state with nuts-and-bolts legislative work.

The approach is part necessity given Georgia’s toss-up status: Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff, also a freshman, each won their seats by less than 100,000 votes out of 4.5 million runoff ballots; Democrat Joe Biden topped Republican Donald Trump in the presidential contest by less than 13,000 votes out of 5 million last November.

Warnock’s gambling that he can be an unapologetic advocate for Democrats’ agenda, including on voting laws, yet still prove to Georgians beyond the left’s base that he is a net-benefit for them. Come November 2022, that would mean maintaining enthusiasm among the diverse Democratic base in metro areas and Black voters in rural and small-town pockets, while again attracting enough suburban white voters, especially women, who’ve drifted away from Republicans in the Trump era.

Candidate for Augusta Mayor discussed purchasing cards and other issues, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Prevented by term limits from a third run for mayor, [Mayor Hardie] Davis’ heavy use of his city credit card recently prompted the Augusta Commission to develop a policy for its use where none existed before but most members refused to discuss or audit the charges.

Since he took office in 2015, Davis has grown the office budget by 70% and staff by two or three and added an SUV to its resources, all with commission approval.

A number of Davis’ credit card charges appear associated with travel, and Williams said he supports the mayor as well as commissioners traveling to conferences and to other cities, to bring ideas back to Augusta.

Alpharetta City Council candidate Brian Will is taking issue with an ordinance that would block him from running as he holds alcohol licenses issued by the city, according to the AJC.

Brian Will said after submitting candidate paperwork to run for City Council he was notified by the code enforcement department of a qualification problem. Will’s restaurants, three of which are located in Alpharetta, serve alcohol.

“It was quite surprising,” Will said, of learning of Alpharetta’s law. “It really isn’t about me. It’s about disqualifying an entire group people at restaurants, hotels, markets … any establishment that serves alcohol.”

An Alpharetta ordinance reads that if you hold an alcoholic beverage license, or intend to, you are not eligible to be elected to a city office. During a June 21 City Council meeting, city attorney Sam Thomas encouraged Council members to amend the ordinance. The law was drafted in 1986, Thomas said, and conflicts with the city charter, which has no criteria prohibiting elected officials from having alcoholic beverage licenses.

Council members were divided on the law change during a first reading and it was not approved to go forward for a final vote at the June 28 meeting.

Will said he is moving ahead with his run for City Council. The candidate owns Cantina Loca, Central City Tavern and Tavern House in Alpharetta.

“We are running,” he said. “Our position is the ordinance is unlawful and unenforceable. We will deal with issues as they come up.”

Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed continues to take criticism over a federal probe of his past campaign spending, according to the AJC.

[H]is opponents and some residents say they were not shocked at all to read an AJC story last week revealing that Reed is the target of a federal wire fraud investigation, and that his campaign is fighting a subpoena that would require the grand jury testimony of his campaign attorney.

Reed allegedly used campaign funds to make personal purchases of jewelry, resort travel, lingerie and furniture for his mother, the AJC found after comparing details disclosed in a recent court ruling with Reed’s campaign disclosure reports.

It remains to be seen how the grand jury investigation could affect the Nov. 2 election.

A Reed campaign spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that Reed will focus his energy in the campaign “on the issues that matter: addressing violent crime and restoring our sense of community.”

The federal investigation of City Hall has been ongoing for several years, and has ensnared several members of Reed’s team. There have been bribery convictions against his chief procurement officer and a deputy chief of staff. Reed’s chief financial officer is currently under indictment for fraud and weapons charges, and his former director of human services is facing a 12-count fraud indictment.

Reed has repeatedly told the AJC and Channel 2 Action News that authorities never accused him of corruption and he apologized for the ongoing federal investigation.

Commercial bee removal services will now require a state license for removing bee hives from a building, according to WTVM.

It is now illegal in Georgia to remove bee hives from inside someone’s home or a structure unless you have a license from the state.

[Licensed Master Beekeeper Dale] Richter said the problem being seen is that many people with no license and no experience have been taking on the job of beehives in homes.

State lawmakers decided they needed to protect the consumer.

“If you exterminate the bees inside the structure, which is very difficult to do in the first place to do,” said Richter. “But if you are successful in doing it, you have the dead bees, the honey, the comb and all that kind of thing. And it just becomes a buffet for ants, roaches, and mice. So you are eliminating one problem, and creating 4 or 5 more.”

The new law states that only licensed people can try to kill or remove bee hives inside Georgia buildings.

The Lake Lanier Association and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting to discuss upcoming issues for the lake, according to the Gainesville Times.

The Corps is about to crack down on unauthorized brush clearing on Corps property, said Tim Rainey, Army Corps of Engineers operations project manager for Lake Lanier,

“We are going to start addressing these (cases) more frequently and more (harshly),” he said. To me, it’s unacceptable to have the amount of unauthorized clearing we have going on, and we’ve got to start holding people accountable.”

Rainey is closely watching the $973 billion infrastructure bill in Congress.

“It’s not specific to Lake Lanier, but we do feel good that the Corps of Engineers, as an agency, would get some of that money,” he said.

Rainey said he has totaled up about $22 million in projects for Lanier, from road paving and shoreline rock to park bathrooms.

“That’s what I’m going after,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to get. It certainly won’t be that much, but I hope to get some of it.”

The Georgia Department of Public Health will provide free back to school checkups in some areas, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Georgia Department of Public Health has scheduled a series of health clinics for students entering Georgia schools for the first time; or students returning to Georgia schools after an absence of one school year.

Free vision, hearing, dental, and nutrition screenings required for school entry will be offered at the clinics. Health screenings usually cost $30; immunizations will be available at a normal cost with most insurance plans accepted.

Students will be seen on a first come, first served basis and no appointment is necessary.

Bibb County public schools will team with Atrium Health Navicent to provide vaccination clinics before the return to school, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The effort from the school district, Atrium Health Navicent, the Georgia Department of Public Health and Macon-Bibb County held its first event last Wednesday at the Wellness Center on Northside Drive. Two other vaccination events are scheduled for July 24 (first and second doses) and Aug. 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (for second doses only).

Vaccinations are available by appointments for students 12 and up, and adults. A parent or guardian must accompany minors to appointments. To make an appointment, visit or call 478-633-SAFE.

“We must as a community in Middle Georgia step forward and lead that effort to make the system, and community a safer place,” said Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller. “We can only do that by starting that initiative to make sure children 12 or older are getting vaccinated.”

About one-third of Bibb County residents are fully vaccinated, according to the state health department, a percentage that concerns health experts and but ranks the county in the top 25% across Georgia.

Clarke County public schools are seeking public input on COVID relief spending, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The Clarke County School District is seeking input on how to spend $17 million — one-third of the money received through the American Rescue Plan.

District officials are asking the public to fill out a survey on how the money should be used from the federal act that has allocated a total of $48.5 million to the school system.

Some of these funds have already been earmarked for specific areas, though as of May, none of the money had been spent. The district has until 2024 to spend the federal funds. While the district has a plan in place, it can be adjusted, said Hope McGuire, the school district’s director of federal programs.

Tybee City Council will consider a 90-day contract with Chatham County to provide some leadership functions for fire services, according to WTOC.

On Thursday (July 8), Tybee Island City Council will discuss at its meeting a 90-day agreement with Chatham Emergency Services. The proposed agreement is for the subscription-based fire company to provide leadership positions for the Tybee fire chief and assistant fire chief roles.

According to a copy of the draft agreement, it would allow for remote leadership for the fire chief as long as that person stays in contact with the city manager. The assistant fire chief, however, would need to be on Tybee property for oversight of the Tybee Fire Department.

The proposed agreement does not lay out exactly how much it would cost Tybee taxpayers – only to say Chatham Emergency Services will bill the city on a monthly basis using its current payroll structure for the chief and assistant chief positions.

I wonder if the last eighteen months with remote workers and Zoom meetings made it easier for Tybee Island to consider “remote leadership.”

Gwinnett County Commissioners are considering retaining the existing property tax millage rate for the coming Fiscal Year, according to AccessWDUN.

The flat rate could cause property tax increases for some owners in the county. The board will hold three public hearings in the next two weeks with the first coming Monday, July 12 at 9:00 a.m. at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center on Langley Drive in Lawrenceville.

Commission Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson said the county is looking to use the added tax revenue to fund services.

“From engaging programs for our seniors, to our libraries, our roads and transit system and even how our court system runs – these are just a few services the tax revenue will pay for,” Hendrickson said in a release Saturday.

Stone Mountain City Council backtracked on a proposed property tax hike after citizens objected, according to the AJC.

Stone Mountain’s property taxes will hold steady in 2021 after multiple split votes and dozens of residents complained about the threat of rising taxes.

Every Georgia city has to advertise a property tax increase if property values rise and city leaders don’t commit to lowering the tax rate. Stone Mountain advertised keeping the rate the same, and since the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a housing market boom, a steady rate would have led to the city bringing in tens of thousands of extra dollars in taxes. Residents weren’t afraid to voice their opposition during the town hall.

Property taxes are charged based on a “millage rate,” which is the amount per $1,000 of property value that is used to calculate taxes. In 2020, Stone Mountain had a millage rate of 20 mills. Since the tax rate is tied to assessed property values, residents can end up paying more taxes if their home’s appraised value increases.

Led by Monroe, three councilmembers voted for a rate of 16 mills, but Mayor Patricia Wheeler overruled that proposal following a tie vote. The city ultimately passed a rate of 17.8 mills, which keeps property taxes at the same level as 2020, with Wheeler breaking another tie vote.

Shontay Jones now serves as Election Supervisor for Bulloch County, having previously served as Deputy Registrar, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Jones moves up from her position as the county’s deputy registrar and, effective Thursday, became the department’s second-ever supervisor, according to a release from the county.  She replaces Pat Lanier Jones, whose previously announced resignation took effect Wednesday and who is now the volunteer fire coordinator for the Bulloch County Fire Department.

“I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to continue my journey in Elections and Voter Registration as elections supervisor,” Shontay Jones said in the release. “I will continue to enlighten and serve the citizens of Bulloch County with the same enthusiasm, compassion and transparency regarding elections since I came to this office 22 years ago.”

Former State legislator and current Glynn County Tax Commissioner Jeff Chapman was named sole finalist for Glynn County Manager, according to The Brunswick News.

As Glynn County tax commissioner, Jeff Chapman understands he has to deal with people who don’t necessarily agree with some of the decisions made by his office.

“I’m tax commissioner so I hear it from both sides,” he said.

Chapman, a former county commissioner, state senator, state representative and candidate for governor and Congress, said being an elected official and a constitutional officer gives him a different perspective than most county managers.

Commissioner Cap Fendig, who once served with Chapman on the commission, made the motion to name Chapman the lone finalist. It passed 4-3 with Commissioners Sammy Tostensen, Wayne Neal and Walter Rafolski joining Fendig in favor of the motion. Commissioners Allen Booker, David O’Quinn and Bill Brunson cast the dissenting votes.

Fendig said Chapman’s long experience as an elected official and a lifelong Glynn County resident convinced him to be the swing vote because of his job as tax commissioner.

“He brought the tax office to the next level of efficiency,” he said.

Cave Spring City Council will hold a work session tonight to consider animal control ordinance revisions, among other things, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Zoning, animal control and the upcoming city elections are among the items on the agenda for the meeting set for 4 p.m. in City Hall, 10 Georgia Ave.

Also on Tuesday, the board is slated to discuss a potential animal control ordinance. Rome and Floyd County recently adopted new regulations.

The principle change is a ban on leaving animals tethered outside and unattended.

Also on the work session agenda is a report from City Clerk Judy Dickinson on the election schedule. Dickinson serves as Cave Spring’s election supervisor.

Three of the five City Council seats will be on the Nov. 2 ballot — those held by incumbents Nellie McCain, Charles Jackson and Nancy Fricks.
Qualifying is scheduled for Aug. 16-20. The qualifying fee is $45 and the terms are for four years.

Sea turtle nest counts are up in Georgia, but not to record levels according to The Brunswick News.

Mark Dodd, a senior wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources who coordinates sea turtle conservation efforts in the state, said Thursday that while nesting numbers are above average this summer, the approximately 1,630 nests found and recorded so far are below what’s been seen in recent years when nesting has taken place at high rates.

“We’re predicting maybe 2,400 nests, which is definitely lower than the biggest nesting year in 2019 when we had almost 4,000,” Dodd said. “It’s down from previous years.”

The fluctuations in total numbers are influenced by sea turtle nesting patterns. Female loggerheads do not nest every year and typically return every two to three years to lay their eggs.

Conservation workers, including staff at DNR and volunteers, walk the state’s beaches every morning and evening throughout nesting season, which begins in May, to monitor the beaches and keep track of and protect nests.

Beach visitors during the summer are asked to keep an eye out for nests, which are clearly marked, and to avoid using light on the beaches at night. White light can disorient a turtle or its hatchlings.

DNR and other state conservationists are closely watching the recovery of the loggerhead sea turtle population. Nesting numbers recorded so far this year offer a reason to continue being optimistic that the species is recovering, Dodd said.

“In 2004, we had only 350 nests in the whole state, so we’re luckily coming out of that and we appear to be in a recovery period,” he said. “We still have a long way to go to recover the population to where it was prior to the decline.”


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

On July 5, 1737, James Oglethorpe sailed from England to Georgia with a warship and troop transports carrying a regiment to be stationed at St. Simons Island.

On July 5, 1742, Spanish forces based in Florida sailed past Fort St. Simon, bypassing English forces there. That night, Oglethorpe’s troops left Fort St Simon and fell back to Fort Frederica.

Fort Frederica National National Monument on St. Simons Island

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted a resolution by Richard Henry Lee (father of Robert E. Lee) calling for independence from Britain. The delegations of twelve colonies voted in favor, while New York’s abstained, not knowing how their constituents would wish them to vote.

On July 4, 1776, the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.

On July 2, 1826, representatives from Georgia and Alabama met to begin surveying the border between the two.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826.

On July 2, 1861, Georgia voters approved a new state Constitution, which had been adopted by the state’s Secession Convention.

July 2, 1863 saw day 2 of the Battle of Gettysburg, with Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia attacking Meade’s Army of the Potomac.

Union cavalry under Gen. Kenner Garrard reached Roswell, Georgia on July 5, 1864, setting the town alight.

On July 4, 1868, the Georgia General Assembly convened for the first time after passage of the Constitution of 1868 with a legislature comprising 186 members, of whom 36 were African-American.

On July 3, 1889, the Georgia General Assembly held its last session at the Kimball Opera House, located at the corner of Marietta and Forsyth Streets in downtown Atlanta before moving into a new Georgia State Capitol. On July 4, 1889, the Georgia State Capitol was dedicated, then housing all three branches of the state government.

Happy birthday to Idaho, which became a state on July 3, 1890.

On July 2, 1898, the first pot of delicious Brunswick Stew was made in Brunswick, Georgia. I think I’ll celebrate with a bowl for lunch today.

On July 3, 1913, the Georgia state Senate tabled a motion to allow the Georgia Women’s Suffrage Association to address the chamber.

Construction of USS Augusta, a cruiser, began on July 2, 1928, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

She would be completed and launched in February 1930, “sponsored” by Evelyn McDaniel, of Augusta, who would later become the wife of a Superior Court judge.

Augusta saw service in the Pacific and later became a command ship during Operation Overlord and the D-Day invasion. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman traveled aboard her during wartime treaty endeavors, and the latter would publicly announce the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima from his office aboard the ship.

USS Augusta was built at Newport News Shipbuilding, where my father worked when I was a child, and where we occasionally attended christenings and launches.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, 1864. Major provisions included outlawing discriminatory application of voting laws, prohibiting racial discrimination in public accomodations, allowing the Attorney General to join lawsuits against states operating segregated public schools, and prohibiting discrimination by state and local governments or agencies receiving federal funds.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a witness to Johnson’s signature, standing behind the President in the Oval Office. Johnson presented King with one of the 72 pens used in signing the legislation.

Occasionally, pens from the Civil Rights Act signing come onto the collectors’ market. A collection of 50 pens used to sign legislation by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson went across the block in November 2013. This pen went unsold.

As a student of Dr. Merle Black in the political science department at Emory, we began our study of Southern politics from the premise that race relations and the legacy of racial discrimination shaped Southern politics. One book we read every year was The Longest Debate: A Legislative History of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which belongs on the bookshelf of any serious student of American politics, political history, and legislative process.

On July 3, 1970, the Atlanta Pop Festival was held in Byron, Georgia.

Among the artists playing at Byron were the Allman Brothers Band and Jimi Hendrix.

The Clash played their first live show on July 4, 1976 at The Black Swan in Sheffield, England.

Back to the Future was released on July 3, 1985.

On July 3, 1986, President Ronald Reagan reopened the Statue of Liberty after a two-year restoration.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is the deadline for absentee ballots to be received in the Special Runoff Election for Dougherty County Board of Education District 2, the first election under the rules put in place by SB 202. From WALB:Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 1, 2021

The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia on July 1, 1776 to debate a resolution by Richard Henry Lee that the colonies declare their independence of Britain.

The first U.S. Postage stamps were issued on July 1, 1847 in New York City.

The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1, 1863. July 2, 1863 saw day 2 of the Battle of Gettysburg, with Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia attacking Meade’s Army of the Potomac.

Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders charged San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War on July 1, 1898.

Coca-Cola marketed its current formula for the first time on July 1, 1916.

On July 1, 1956, a new Georgia flag bearing the state seal and a version of the Confederate Battle Flag became effective after being adopted by the Georgia General Assembly in the 1956 Session.

The current Georgia Constitution became effective on July 1, 1983 after its approval in a referendum during the November 1982 General Election.

Georgia native Clarence Thomas was nominated to the United States Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush on July 1, 1991.

Savannah’s Mayor and City Council received a report that recommends moving Confederate memorials fromForsyth Park, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Updated plans for the memorial initially developed by a task force in 2017 were reviewed by the Savannah Historic Sites and Monuments Commission on June 1. The commission meets again Thursday and will exam a recommended action plan drafted by Savannah City Manager Michael Brown.

The memo calls for moving forward with the task force’s recommendations, which include the relocation of the busts of Confederate officers Francis Stebbins Bartow and LaFayette McLaws that are park of the memorial in Forsyth Park.

Doing so would end a four-year effort to change the monument. The task force first recommended action in a 2017 report, one approved by council in 2018. The process stalled due to legal challenges when the state tightened restrictions on war memorial relocations in 2019.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The first election conducted under new state laws will be a Special Runoff Election for Dougherty County Board of Education District 2 on July 13, 2021, according to the Albany Herald.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 30, 2021

On June 30, 1665, England’s King Charles signed a royal charter for Carolina, defining its southern border and also claiming all land in what is now Georgia.

On June 30, 1775, the Continental Congress passed the Articles of War, laying out complaints against Britain’s Parliament.

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

Today could well be called Intermodal Transportation History Day in Georgia. The first four-lane highway in Georgia was announced on June 30, 1937 from Atlanta to Marietta. The first C5 air flight took place from Dobbins in Marietta on June 30, 1968 and MARTA rail service began on June 30, 1979.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell first went on sale on June 30, 1936; on June 30, 1986, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating Margaret Mitchell.

Superman made his first appearance in Action Comics #1 on June 30, 1938.

Ohio became the 39th state to ratify the 26th Amendment on June 30, 1971, lowering the voting age to 18.

Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing was released on June 30, 1989. Lee was born in Atlanta and graduated from Morehouse College.

The Savannah Morning News has a great story on the coastal city’s role in the American Revolution.

Georgia’s participation in the revolution began in a bar. When you and your compatriots get riled up about something, what better place is there to meet up and vent about it than at your local watering hole? That is what Georgia colonists did when they convened at Tondee’s Tavern in Savannah on August 10, 1774 to complain about British rule.

Nine months prior, the Boston Tea Party had occurred in Massachusetts sparking what would soon become the American Revolution. With colonists in an uproar about British policy and a Continental Congress called for in Virginia, Georgia’s Royal Governor James Wright issued an order forbidding gatherings and speaking out against Great Britain.

That didn’t stop 30 Georgia representatives, calling themselves the Sons of Liberty, from meeting at Tondee’s Tavern to draft resolutions condemning the Intolerable Acts and unfair taxes. Peter Tondee himself stood at the door with a list like a bouncer to make sure no uninvited guests got in.

On June 5, 1775, the rebellious Sons of Liberty met at Tondee’s again to celebrate the king’s birthday. With war breaking out, the pumped-up patriots erected a liberty pole, drank 30 toasts with accompanying cannon fire, and paraded the streets with rifles and bayonets.

It is important to note that it wasn’t only Georgians that fought for independence in Savannah. Black foreign soldiers also fought valiantly to help America win the war.

The Americans were joined by the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue, an all-Black regiment from what is now Haiti. The Chasseurs-Volontaires were all volunteer soldiers, recruited from free men of color, and enlisted as part of a contingent of French troops sent to the South to assist the Americans.

It’s a great story to spend a few minutes with as we head toward a weekend of sober remembrance drunken revelry. Just like the Sons of Liberty.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former President Donald Trump said Herschel Walker will run for United States Senate from Georgia, according to Politico.

Trump was asked about Walker’s Senate run on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a conservative talk radio program, on Tuesday.

“He told me he’s going to, and I think he will. I had dinner with him a week ago. He’s a great guy. He’s a patriot. And he’s a very loyal person, he’s a very strong person. They love him in Georgia, I’ll tell you,” Trump said.

“I think he’d win. I think it would be very, very hard to beat Herschel,” Trump continued. “They have the ballads, they made ballads to Herschel. They still sing them all the time. So I think beating him would be very tough. And I think he’s going to run.”

From the AJC:

Walker issued a statement late Tuesday saying that he’s “looking at the race closely” and will make a final decision soon.

“Georgia is my home — I love Georgia, and I love this country,” Walker said in the statement. “And I believe we need fighters to step forward and help save both. Know this much: If I run, I’ll be all-in, and we will do whatever it takes to win for Georgia.”

Earlier Tuesday, Republican state Sen. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta told “The John Fredericks Show” that he’s “99%” sure that Walker would enter the race after July 4, when he settles a string of business considerations.

From the Associated Press via WTOC:

“Herschel is the ultimate wild card — high upside, but plenty of risk,” said Chip Lake, a Republican strategist in Georgia and around the South.

Randy Evans, a Georgia Republican and U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg under Trump, argued that Walker, who is Black, could expand the GOP’s appeal among Black votes in a general election, denting a Democratic advantage that helped elect Warnock. Other Republican players say that notion is exaggerated.

“If Hershel runs, Donald Trump will come to Georgia as many times as Herschel will have him,” Evans predicted.

[Eric] Tanenblatt countered: “That cuts both ways.”

“There are traditional Republicans and donors who are still salty about losing those Senate seats, and they blame the president,” said Tanenblatt.

“This whole thing just captures the issue for Republicans right now in Georgia,” said Lake. “We have a whole lot of Republicans who love Donald Trump and everyone who supports him. And we have a faction that just wants to move on. To win, we have to get those two groups to vote for the same person without realizing it. Can Herschel Walker or anybody else do that?”

Governor Brian Kemp created three committees to advise on how to spend $4.8 billion in federal COVID relief funding, according to the AJC.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday announced three bipartisan committees made up of lawmakers and agency leaders to consider applications to spend the $4.8 billion the state is getting as part of the relief package.

The state has already received half the money. It will get the second half next year.

State agencies, local governments, industries and nonprofits will be eligible to apply between Aug. 1 and Aug. 31 at Ultimately, under state law, Kemp will make the final decision on whether to approve committee recommendations, and grants are targeted to be announced in mid-October.

“These committees will ensure federal coronavirus relief dollars are allocated strategically across our state and address one-time fund needs in three key areas,” Kemp said.

House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, and Senate Appropriations Chairman Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia, will serve on all three committees. Of the 20 lawmakers Kemp appointed to committees, only two are from the five core metro Atlanta counties, and not one is from Atlanta itself.

From the Associated Press via WABE:

Each of the panels has between seven and nine lawmakers. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England of Auburn and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Blake Tillery of Vidalia, both Republicans, are on all three panels. Each panel includes one or two Democratic lawmakers.

Lawmakers agreed to use some of the money from one of the earlier rounds of federal relief to create a $40 million rural innovation fund and to spend $10 million to extend high-speed internet in rural areas.

Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp will work with Georgia alcohol distributors to fight human trafficking, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

First Lady Marty Kemp has announced a partnership with leaders of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Georgia and the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association to help end sex trafficking in Georgia.

Through the partnership, wholesaler delivery vehicles will be fitted with bumper stickers that read “See Something. Say Something. End Sex Trafficking in Georgia.” along with the national anti-human trafficking hotline 1-888-373-7888. In the coming months, Georgia wholesalers and their staffs also will complete the Human Trafficking Awareness Training Program created by First Lady Kemp and the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education (GRACE) Commission.

“While we are making progress in the fight against human trafficking, there is much more work to be done,” Marty Kemp said. “I am grateful for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Georgia and Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association for joining us in this fight and raising awareness across the state. This partnership will help identify victims and get them the support they so desperately need.”

“Sex trafficking is modern human slavery, and we are excited to join the fight to hopefully end it once and for all,” KC Honeyman, executive director of the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of Georgia, said. “Our delivery fleets span all 159 of Georgia’s counties and frequently service high-traffic commercial areas where sex trafficking is often suspected. I cannot thank First Lady Kemp enough for her dedicated effort to end this evil industry.”

“Georgia’s Wholesalers are committed to help end human trafficking and are proud of the leadership First Lady Kemp has taken on this effort,” Martin Smith, executive director of the Georgia Beer Wholesaler Association, said. “Our trucks are moving billboards seen in every part of Georgia. There is no doubt that the training, awareness, and advocacy spearheaded by First Lady Kemp are saving lives. We feel privileged to be a part of this important project.”

Georgia Supreme Court Justice Carla Wong McMillan spoke to the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

McMillan’s ancestors emigrated to the United States from China more than a century ago and settled in Augusta, The city’s first Chinese immigrants arrived in the 1870s to help construct an extension of the Augusta Canal.

“If you take anything away from my family’s story, I hope it’s the importance of reaching out to people who may look different from you, act differently or speak a different language,” she said. “The help that my family and I got along the way, directly and indirectly, has opened up so many opportunities for me and brought me to the place where I am now. I’m extremely grateful to all those people and hope in turn to pass along whatever help I can give.”

Gov. Nathan Deal appointed McMillan to the Georgia Court of Appeals in 2013, which led to her election milestone the following year as the state’s first Asian-American elected officeholder. In 2020, Gov. Brian Kemp appointed her to the Georgia Supreme Court, making her the first Asian-American on that bench and the first Asian-American to serve on a state’s highest court in the southern United States.

“The young people who were honored today, you’re leaders in the community, and I hope to encourage you to do the same – that you reach out and help those who may come from different backgrounds and experiences, and whatever circumstances that you may fall under, I hope that you’ll be able to pass on the privileges that you’ve been given,” she said.

Retiring Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court Harold Melton will join the Troutman Peppers law firm, according to the AJC.

Melton, 54, will start as a partner in the firm July 19, days after leaving the state’s high court where he has served for 16 years. He will handle business litigation cases.

In February, Melton announced his retirement, effective July 1. David Nahmias was later elected by the justices to succeed Melton as chief justice.

Troutman Pepper is one of the 50 largest law firms in the nation, by revenue, following last year’s merger between Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton. The firm’s largest office is in Atlanta, with 214 attorneys.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education will host public hearings for feedback on the proposed FY2022 property tax millage rate, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The proposed school system millage rate — which is the rate used to determine how much property owners owe in school taxes — is 21.6 mills, which is the same rate from 2020. This includes 19.7 mills to cover maintenance and operations in the district and 1.9 mills to cover debt service.

“By state law, local taxing authorities, such as GCBOE, must either keep their tax collections revenue-neutral (by decreasing the millage rate to offset the gained taxes from the property value updates) or announce a tax increase (even though the actual millage rate is not increasing),” school system officials said in an announcement about the public hearings. “The Board is considering adopting a combined millage rate of 21.60, a rate unchanged from FY2021. The total millage will still generate more revenue for FY2022, requiring the announcement of a proposed property tax increase. However, taxpayers whose property values have not increased due to reassessment will see no increase in their school tax bill.”

The Washington Post reports on questions about the sale of a grain facility to a company owned by former Governor Sonny Perdue, according to the AJC.

Sonny Perdue bought a grain plant in South Carolina from one of the biggest agricultural firms in the nation at a small fraction of its estimated value shortly after Donald Trump tapped him to be U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, The Washington Post reported.

The investigation found that Archer-Daniels-Midland sold the grain storage facility in Estill, S.C. to AGrowStar, a firm then-owned by Perdue, for $250,000. Six years earlier, ADM paid more than $5.5 million for the same land, a figure that lines up with estimates from independent analysts who reviewed the records for the Post.

An ADM spokeswoman denied that the company sold the property at a discount and said the negotiations were underway in 2015, long before Perdue was selected to join the Cabinet. She said the company couldn’t find another buyer other than AGrowStar, Perdue’s former company.

Elections Democratic Party Style

As I suggested last week, the elections held under the tighest Democratic Party control have become a cluster of confusion, anger, and second guessing. From Politico:

The New York City Board of Elections accidentally included results from a mock trial of the city’s new ranked-choice voting system in unofficial primary returns released Tuesday — a snafu that threw the election process into chaos.

Tallies released Tuesday afternoon indicated that Kathryn Garcia had come within 2.2 points of leading Democratic candidate Eric Adams after ranked-choice tabulations were processed. But, shortly after the results were released, reporters and campaign staffers noticed there were roughly 135,000 more votes counted than those reported on election night.

Three hours after releasing the numbers, the Board of Elections issued a statement acknowledging a “discrepancy” and subsequently took down the totals from their website.

After 10 p.m. Tuesday, the board finally came clean with a statement: The “test“ ballots were never cleared out of the tabulation system and thus added the additional votes into the total, skewing the numbers. The board said that it has removed all of the erroneous ballots from the count and will re-run the results — though when the new rankings will be ready was still unclear.

The board said it would re-run the results Wednesday, but the delay has already dealt a significant setback to the process. Absentee ballots, which could prove decisive in the final outcome, won’t be counted until next week. And campaigns that end up on the losing end of the final tally are likely to file a flurry of legal challenges based on the board’s prosecution of the election so far. The worst-case scenario — a manual recount of the votes — could delay a final outcome for months.

“This error by the Board of Elections is not just failure to count votes properly today, it is the result of generations of failures that have gone unaddressed,” she said in a statement. “Sadly it is impossible to be surprised.”

“The Board of Elections betrayed us once again and didn’t properly educate and get information out,” Adams said at a Lower Manhattan campaign stop in early June. “It would be lucky if we get these results by January 18. We don’t know how long this is going to take. I’m really troubled about the outcome of this, I hope the counting does not equal the rollout.”

From a New York Times article from October 2020:

The official who oversees voter registration in New York City is the 80-year-old mother of a former congressman. The director of Election Day operations is a close friend of Manhattan’s Republican chairwoman. The head of ballot management is the son of a former Brooklyn Democratic district leader. And the administrative manager is the wife of a City Council member.

Already this year, the New York City Board of Elections failed to mail out many absentee ballots until the day before the primary, disenfranchising voters, and sent erroneous general election ballot packages to many other residents, spreading confusion.

Now, the agency is facing perhaps its biggest challenge yet: a heated general election, during a pandemic, under a president who has fomented distrust in the legitimacy of the vote — including by pointing to the problems in New York as evidence of widespread fraud, an unfounded claim.

As the June primary approached this year, the board — despite assuring the state it could handle a surge in residents seeking to vote by mail — grew so overwhelmed that it called two upstate companies for help printing absentee ballots on the weekend before the election, officials acknowledged.

The companies worked through the night. But in all, 34,000 ballot packages were not mailed to voters until the day before the primary, and many likely did not arrive in time to be returned and counted. Ultimately, about one-fifth of primary ballots were thrown out for arriving late or other defects; in other states, the rate was 5 percent or less.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The preliminary ranked-choice calculation doesn’t factor in the more than 124,000 Democratic absentee ballots that the Board of Elections still must count next week. State law allows any absentee ballots postmarked on the day of primary to be counted.

The board will go through the ranked-choice elimination rounds again with the absentee ballots for the final result. An official winner in the race for mayor won’t be declared until the week of July 12, according to the board.

Results on the day of the primary showed Mr. Adams in the lead with more than 31% of first-place votes, according to the city’s Board of Elections. Ms. Wiley had 22%, and Ms. Garcia had 19%, according to the Board of Elections.

The ranked-choice process kicked in because no candidate won a majority of first-place votes. Under the process, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The ousted candidate’s votes get redistributed to the voters’ second choices. That continues until only two candidates remain.

Tuesday’s results of the ranked-choice process showed Ms. Garcia gained tens of thousands of votes after former presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang was eliminated in a round of the ranked-choice process.

Candidates who aren’t in first place at the start of the ranked-choice process rarely end up the winner, according to political analysts.



Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 29, 2021

On June 29, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sailed from Cadiz, Spain to invade Florida.

Johan De Kalb was born on June 29, 1721 in Germany. In 1777, De Kalb joined the Marquis de Lafayette in supporting the Americans against British forces, dying in Camden, South Carolina in 1780. In 1822, the Georgia General Assembly created DeKalb County.

On June 29, 1767, the British Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, levying a tax on glass, paint, oil, lead, paper, and tea in order to raise funds from the colonies.

The United States Supreme Court released its 5-4 opinion in Furman v. Georgia on June 29, 1972, holding that the death penalty violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

On June 29, 1993, Governor Zell Miller bought the first ticket in the Georgia Lottery.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp will speak at the Cobb County Republican Party’s Celebrate Freedom event on July 3, 2021, according to the AJC.

The Cobb County Republican Party invites the community to “Celebrate Freedom” and put Cobb First on Saturday, July 3rd at the Cobb Civic Center.

This family friendly event is indoors and features live music, a BBQ lunch, a tribute to our armed forces, and a kid’s zone with fun activities.

The patriotic program salutes the 245th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and our freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Local citizens and community leaders will give inspirational speeches about how our freedoms bring opportunity and hope and inspire us to serve.

Sponsorships and discounted tickets are still available.  Doors open at 11:30 am, following the Marietta Parade; the event concludes at 3:00 pm.  Children ages 10 and under are admitted free. Tickets purchased in advance by June 30th are priced at $20 for Cobb GOP members and $25 for non-members. Tickets will be sold at the door for an additional $5.00 per ticket. Commemorative T-shirts are also available.  Visit for sponsorships and ticket sales.

Governor Kemp visited students in Savannah, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Gov. Brian Kemp, first lady Marty Kemp, and DECAL Commissioner Amy Jacobs were on hand Friday at the Avant Learning Academy in Savannah to see its program first hand.

For the 11th year DECAL is offering a six-week summer transition program to support students who either did not attend a pre-K or Head Start program or who need additional help prior to entering kindergarten.

Due to COVID, state officials say this year’s program is even more important and to that end, DECAL more than doubled its offerings of classes for rising kindergarteners – students who will be five years old before Sept. 1.

“We have been focused on that from a state perspective. We’ve been working with our school superintendents,” said Gov. Kemp. “We got a lot of great activities for the kids; but it is a learning program to make sure that they’re ready going into the fall.”

Because of learning loss that may be evident after students return to school, Gov. Kemp added this summer transition program may have to continue for several years to fill that gap. Funding for the program is from the state’s allotment of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Gov. Kemp will launch his reelection campaign in Perry on July 10, according to the AJC.

Kemp is headed for the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, blazing hot in the summer and the beating heart of the state’s agriculture industry.

Perry is also the backyard of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, who was most recently Donald Trump’s top official at the USDA and is still angling to be the next chancellor of Georgia’s higher education system, with Kemp’s support…

Georgia is asking the Biden Administration for a delay in implementing its Medicaid waiver, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

In a letter dated June 24, state Community Health Commissioner Frank Berry cited a decision during the early weeks of the Biden administration to withhold approval of a Georgia Medicaid waver application then-President Donald Trump’s administration signed off on last year.

Biden’s Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services objected to provisions in the proposed Georgia Pathways program requiring Medicaid recipients to work, attend school or volunteer at least 80 hours a month. CMS officials argued recipients would have a particularly hard time complying with a work requirement during the pandemic.

“Georgia Pathways provides a wide range of qualifying activities in which individuals can engage,” the commissioner wrote. “Moreover, there is also a temporary ‘good cause’ exception if, after enrolling in Medicaid through Georgia Pathways, an individual or immediate family member experiences a hospitalization or serious illness or needs to quarantine due to COVID exposure.”

Gov. Brian Kemp rolled out the limited Medicaid expansion plan early in 2019 as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act then-President Barack Obama steered through a Democratic Congress in 2010. The General Assembly passed legislation later in 2019 authorizing the governor to submit two waiver applications to the feds.

Lucy Kemp was honored as an honorary Statesboro citizen, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Lucy Kemp, daughter of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp, was recently made an Honorary Citizen of Statesboro by proclamation of Mayor Jonathan McCollar in the presence of City Council. The presentation was also made in memory of Bulloch County resident Harrison Deal, who was Lucy Kemp’s boyfriend.

Harrison, the 20-year-old son of Bulloch County Commissioner Curt Deal and Jenni Deal, died in a motor vehicle crash on Interstate 16 near Pooler Parkway in Chatham County on Dec. 4, 2020.

United States Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Atlanta) visited a solar manufacturing facility in Dalton, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

“I’d love to see that,” said U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia. “I think it’s possible. It’s something I’m trying to support. That’s why we are here at the largest solar manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere, which is in Dalton.”

Warnock spoke Monday after touring the Hanwha Q Cells solar module manufacturing plant in the Carbondale Business Park just south of Dalton.

“I think it’s important to say that we can create a future that is both ecologically sustainable and economically sustainable,” he said. “We cannot we have one without the other. That’s why companies like this are so important. This is a company, and this is a community, that will help us transition from the old industrial era to the industries of the future — green, sustainable.”

Since taking office, Warnock has made “clean energy,” which doesn’t rely on fossil fuels such as petroleum and natural gas, one of his main focuses.

“I am committed to President (Joe) Biden’s goal of getting us to carbon neutral energy by 2035,” he said. “I think it is possible. The technology is real and present. We have seen some of it here today.”

Warnock and Georgia’s other U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, also a Democrat, are among the sponsors of the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act, which was introduced on June 21. Warnock says the act will boost solar manufacturing in Georgia and the rest of the United States. Ossoff toured the Hanwha Q Cells plant in May.

“It will provide tax incentives at every stage of the manufacturing process for production just like this,” he said. “This is the future. It is economically smart, and it is ecologically smart.”

“Jobs cure a whole range of problems,” he said. “A job is about supporting yourself and your family, but it should also be about dignity. And one of my jobs as Georgia’s senator is to make sure we have these kinds of jobs and these kinds of industries here in Georgia.”

Sen. Warnock also visited Rome yesterday, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Sandwiching a lunch visit with invited community leaders in Rome between visits to a solar panel manufacturing plant in Dalton and the Appalachian Regional Port in Murray County, Warnock said many Georgians are still in a position where they need the extra $300 in federal unemployment assistance which was cut off by the state Saturday.

“We’re making our way out of this pandemic but we’re not out of the woods yet,” Warnock said. He explained that the Georgia economy and U.S. economy are experiencing a “reset.”

The goal, he said, is to meet with business and government leaders to ensure their needs are being met by Congress as well as to take advantage of an opportunity “to re-imagine the future.”

Rome Mayor Craig McDaniel and County Commission Chair Wright Bagby joined Warnock for lunch along with City Commissioners Sundai Stevenson, Bonny Askew, Wendy Davis and Bill Collins. Rome Floyd Chamber Board Chair Cassandra Wheeler and a few others also attended the session at Jazzy Hot Wings on Redmond Circle.

His message also concerned plans at the federal level to bolster Georgia’s economy as well as boosting public health coverage and local economies. Warnock took the state legislature to task for being one of just a dozen states to not expand Medicaid.

“That’s a drag on the Georgia economy,” Warnock said. “A baseline of health care support gives people the capacity they need to work and pursue various job possibilities because their health care is already covered.”

United States Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Atlanta) will visit Columbus touting child care tax credits from the federal government, according to WTVM.

Ossoff, along with Mayor Skip Henderson and State Representative Carolyn Hugley, will be at the East Columbus Boys and Girls Club on Forrest Road Thursday.

The tax credit plan includes families receiving $300 in monthly tax refunds per child under age 6, and $250 per child from 6 to 17 years of age.

This is to assist families financially who may be affected by the pandemic. Some people will start receiving checks July 15th.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr (R-Cobb County) announced his reelection campaign, according to the AJC.

Carr is facing a tough general election fight next November, with two Democrats already in the race to challenge him – state Sen. Jen Jordan and former prosecutor Charlie Bailey. It was Bailey who almost bested Carr in 2018, capturing nearly 49% of the vote.

In his remarks, Carr focused on fighting crime around the state as AG and touted his ties to the former giants of the Georgia GOP who hosted his official campaign kickoff.

If there was a theme it was “protecting lives and protecting livelihoods” — a phrase he invoked several times.

Along with his time with Deal, Carr also served as Isakson’s chief of staff in the Senate and worked with Chambliss while he was there.

“These are three individuals that I emulate, that I want to be like and I’ve tried to be like over the past five years and will continue to do,” Carr said. “Because I think the legacy that they have left, the legacy of success for this state, is something that needs to continue.”

State Senator Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla) will run for Commissioner of Agriculture, according to the AJC.

Republican state Sen. Tyler Harper launched his campaign Tuesday for agriculture commissioner with an emphasis on his family’s deep roots in farming and a pledge to keep “liberal Washington, D.C. policies out of Georgia.”

The Ocilla legislator is the first prominent Republican in the race to succeed incumbent Gary Black, who is running for the U.S. Senate after three terms as the state’s top agriculture official.

“I’ll stand up to foreign competitors,” Harper said in his announcement video. “Stand up to those who want to change our way of life. And I’ll protect Georgia values. Defending our farmers from bad policies.”

Democrat Nakita Hemingway, who lost a suburban Gwinnett County legislative race last year, is also in the running.

Harper, who is close with former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, is expected to make what his aides say is a significant investment in his campaign. He’s also eager to remind voters of his south Georgia background in a state power structure that’s increasingly tilted toward metro Atlanta.

“For me, being a farmer is more than just a job— it’s a way of life,” he said. “As Agriculture Commissioner, I will use my background, experience, and record of results to fight for our farmers, the consumer, our conservative values and our way of life here in Georgia.”

Longtime Democrat Vernon Jones spoke in South Georgia, according to The Brunswick News.

Jones, who is Black, switched parties earlier this year and is now seeking the Republican nomination for Georgia governor. He made his first campaign swing in the Golden Isles on Sunday, with other stops in Jesup, Darien and Blackshear.

Jones said Trump should have won the election in a landslide, blaming drop boxes for changing the results. He said the drop boxes, approved during the pandemic, were never approved by the state legislature and none of the votes cast in them should have been counted.

“Every ballot in a drop-off box was illegal,” he said. “Only the legislature can change election laws. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the executive branch can change election laws.”

Gov. Kemp should have called a special session to consider approving drop boxes in the November elections and in the U.S. Senate runoffs in January, he said.

“Brian Kemp is the reason Joe Biden is in office,” he said. “Brian Kemp it the reason Georgia has two Democratic senators.”

Gwinnett County Sheriff Keybo Taylor (D) settled a lawsuit alleging he attempted to extort a bail bonding company, according to the AJC.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Keybo Taylor has settled a lawsuit with a bonding company that accused him of shutting them down after attempting to extort the company as a candidate, according to the company’s lawyer.

Taylor was scheduled to testify in Gwinnett County Superior Court Monday morning. But the hearing in Anytime Bail Bonding’s lawsuit was cancelled when the two sides agreed on a settlement Sunday night, company attorney Bob Cheeley said.

The settlement allows the company to resume operations in Gwinnett but does not include monetary damages, according to Cheeley.

… Scott Hall, one of the owners of Anytime Bail Bonding, contended his business was shut down after he forwarded security camera footage to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation of Taylor saying, “if folks don’t support me, I’m not gonna let them bond here.”

Cheeley said he plans to dismiss a federal civil case that he brought against the sheriff. Mike Bowers, an attorney for two other bonding companies that were also shut down, said those cases are ongoing.

Bowers said he expects the central question of the cases — to what degree can a sheriff exercise discretion? — to be decided in appeals.

“You can’t let elected officials just do as they please,” said Bowers, a former Georgia attorney general. “The question is, how much discretion does he have? There is no such thing that’s unlimited discretion.”

The Gwinnett County Board of Elections voted to hire Zach Manifold as the new Elections Supervisor, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Manifold is from Franklin County, Ohio — which is the Columbus area — and is expected to begin his new job as Gwinnett’s elections supervisor in August, county Elections Board Chairwoman Alice O’Lenick said during the called meeting.

“Our decision to confirm Mr. Manifold as the new elections supervisor was a thoughtful one,” O’Lenick said in a statement after the meeting. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to this position, having served in various election administrative capacities — including leading a bipartisan staff of Democrats and Republicans to conduct a controversy free-election in Columbus.”

Two Augusta Commissioners called for forensic audits of all departments, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The pair – commissioners John Clarke and Catherine Smith McKnight – have been two of the biggest critics of Mayor Hardie Davis’ credit card spending.

“If we don’t do it, it doesn’t say a lot about us as city leaders,” McKnight said. “This isn’t a personal attack – let’s be transparent for the citizens of Augusta, Ga. They want to know what’s going on. It’s taxpayers’ money.”

“Any department that receives funds from the taxpayers of Richmond County,” he said. “I never singled the mayor’s office out.”

An exhaustive forensic audit – which would include a search for unlawful spending – could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but could ease the din of community suspicion about how the city spends taxpayer dollars, he said.

Cave Spring City Council meets today and is expected to adopt a budget for FY 2022, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Spencer Lee will retire from his position as Dougherty County Attorney, according to the Albany Herald.

The Dougherty County Commission approved a budget that inclues a paid Juneteenth holiday, according to the Albany Herald.

The addition of Juneteenth as a paid holiday for Dougherty County employees, included in the county’s 2020-2021 budget, will replace a floating holiday that was eliminated some two decades ago.

While the $73.7 million budget approved by the Dougherty County Commission on Monday does not include a pay increase for workers, it does include funding for a pay study that will be conducted in coming months.

One of the biggest issues in putting together the spending plan for the fiscal year that begins Thursday was dealing with a steep hike in health insurance costs that totaled some $3 million. That included $2.3 million in direct health plan costs and the balance for the risk management insurance plan for the county’s self-insurance system.

The commission did not increase taxes to handle the additional costs, but earmarked up to $6.6 million in the county’s fund balance of $14.4 million to balance the budget.

The Northeast Georgia Inland Port will receive more than $48 million dollars in federal funding, according to the Gainesville Times.

The Georgia Ports Authority, in partnership with the Norfolk Southern Railway and Hall County, received this grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation INFRA Grant, which the authority applied for in March. U.S. Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff and U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Gainesville) were notified of the award by the U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday June 25.

“The new Inland Port will link the Ninth District directly to the Port of Savannah, bringing with it significant economic advantages to businesses in North Georgia and the Greater Appalachian Region,” Clyde wrote in a statement Friday. “Undoubtedly, this smart and targeted investment will bolster communities and businesses across the Ninth District and completion of the Inland Port will be pivotal to ensuring that Georgia remains among the top states for doing business for years to come.”

Hall County recently received $3 million in grants from the Economic Development Administration and the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank to improve White Sulphur Road, which would connect to the port.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 28, 2021

On June 28, 1742, Spanish forces based in Florida invaded Georgia.

On June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson’s second draft of the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

On June 28, 1887, John Pemberton patented Coca-Cola Syrup and Extract.

Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia on June 28, 1914, sparking the First World War.

The first production Corvette was assembled on June 28, 1953 in Flint, Michigan.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The United States Department of Justice announced Friday it would sue over Georgia’s 2021 election law revisions, according to the Associated Press via WTVM.Continue Reading..