Category: Georgia Politics

3
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 3, 2022

Cowboy is a 61-pound, young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Control in Winder, GA.

Moo Moo is a 51-pound, 2-year old male mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Control in Winder, GA.

Henry is a 48-pound, year-old male mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Control in Winder, GA.

3
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 3, 2022

John Willis Menard became the first black man elected to Congress on November 3, 1868 from the Second District of Louisiana. Menard’s election opponent challenged the results and prevented Menard from taking his seat, though in defense of his election Menard became the first black man to address Congress.

On November 3, 1913, details of the federal income tax were finalized and published after the ratification earlier in the year of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Bacon, Barrow, Candler, and Evans Counties were created on November 3, 1914 when voters approved Constitutional Amendments – prior to these Amendments, Georgia was limited to 145 counties. On the same day, Carl Vinson was sworn in to Congress from Georgia, becoming the youngest member of Congress at the time. Vinson would eventually become the first Member of Congress to serve more than fifty years. Vinson’s grandson, Sam Nunn would serve in the United States Senate.

The Chicago Tribune published the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline on November 3, 1948. Ultimately, Democrat Truman won 303 electoral votes to 189 for Republican Dewey.

Laika, a female Siberian Husky mix who was found stray on the streets of Moscow, was launched into space aboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957.

On November 3, 1964, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was elected President over Republican Barry Goldwater.

On November 3, 1970, Jimmy Carter was elected Governor of Georgia.

Democrat Cynthia McKinney became the first African-Amercian female elected to Congress from Georgia on November 3, 1992.

On November 3, 1998, Democrat Thurbert Baker was elected Attorney General and Michael Thurmond was elected Commissioner of Labor, becoming the first African-Americans elected to statewide executive office in Georgia.

One World Trade Center opened on November 3, 2014, more than thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

From the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting Database:

Total ballots cast: 2,101,448

Total mail ballots cast: 199,391

Total in-person ballots cast: 1,899,389

In-person October 17, 2022: 134,809

In-person October 18, 2022: 135,220 *

In-person October 19, 2022: 127,863 *

In-person October 20, 2022: 123,020

In-person October 21, 2022: 141,712

In-person October 22, 2022: 80,321

In-person October 23, 2022: 18,132

In-person October 24, 2022: 133,424

In-person October 25, 2022: 125,735

In-person October 26, 2022: 119,616

In-person October 27, 2022: 112,099

In-person October 28, 2022: 139,488

In-person October 29, 2022: 93,702

In-person October 30, 2022: 24,139 *

In-person October 31, 2022: 131,068

In-person November 1, 2022: 124,561

In-person November 2, 2022:134,366

In-person undated: 112

Total Electronic ballots cast (overseas and military voters): 2,668

Outstanding Electronic ballots (issued, not cast): 4,359

Outstanding Mailed ballots (issued, not cast): 81,495

* current number is lower than previously reported for this date.

Note: In Person numbers do not add up as one voter in Glynn County is recorded as having voted in person on 10/13/2022, when early voting was not open, and one voter in Pickens County is recorded as having voter in person on November 25, 2022.

2
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 2, 2022

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was born in Winder, Georgia on November 2, 1897.

In 1927, at age 29, Russell was named Speaker of the House – the youngest in Georgia history. In 1930, Russell easily won election as Georgia governor on his platform of reorganizing state government for economy and efficiency. Five months shy of his 34th birthday, Russell took the oath of office from his father, Georgia chief justice Richard B. Russell Sr. He became the youngest governor in Georgia history – a record that still stands. After Georgia U.S. Senator William Harris died in 1932, Gov. Russell named an interim replacement until the next general election, in which Russell himself became a candidate. Georgia voters elected their young governor to fill Harris’ unexpired term. When he arrived in Washington in January 1933, he was the nation’s youngest senator.

Russell had a long and storied career in the United States Senate, during which he served for many years as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, unofficial leader of the conservative Southern wing of the Democratic party and a chief architect of resistance to civil rights legislation. He also ran for President in 1952, winning the Florida primary.

Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States on November 2, 1976.

The current Georgia Constitution was ratified on November 2, 1982 by the state’s voters.

On November 2, 2010, voters elected Republican Nathan Deal as Governor, and the GOP swept all of the statewide offices on the ballot.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Friday is the last day to cast in-person early votes ahead of Tuesday’s General Election. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

This is the final week of early voting ahead of Georgia’s general election. Voters who want to cast in-person ballots before election day arrives on Nov. 8 have until Friday to do so.
Voters will decide a U.S. Senate race, the governor’s race, several other statewide office races, congressional races, state legislative races and county commission races.

Gwinnett County’s 11 early voting sites are open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., and voters who want are casting absentee by-mail ballots can drop them off at drop boxes located inside six of the early voting sites.

As of Monday afternoon, 111,300 Gwinnett voters had cast ballots in-person during early voting, and the county had received 11,689 absentee ballots from voters. There were 22,888 absentee ballots requested by voters in Gwinnett for the general election.

The county has also received 93 military and oversees electronic delivery ballots so far.

That adds up to a total of 123,082 ballots that Gwinnett elections officials had been received as of Monday afternoon.

A voting report that the Daily Post obtained from county officials on Monday shows the county’s election department is counting 565,088 active Gwinnett voters who were registered in time to cast ballots in the general election.

That means Gwinnett County is seeing a 22% voter turnout with a few days of early voting left and just under half of the requested absentee ballots not yet returned, according to the report.

Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Order #11.01.22.01, ordering to half-staff flags on state properties and buildings on November 5, 2022 in honor of the late Vince Dooley.

The United States Supreme Court lifted their earlier stay on a lower court order compelling United States Senator Lindsey Graham to testify in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s grand jury, according to the Associated Press via the Valdosta Daily Times.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for Sen. Lindsey Graham’s testimony in a Georgia investigation of possible illegal interference in the 2020 election by then-President Donald Trump and his allies in the state.

The court lifted a temporary hold on Graham’s appearance before a special grand jury, now scheduled for Nov. 17.

But in an unsigned order, the justices noted that Graham still could raise objections to some questions.

“Today, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause applies here. They also affirmed that Senator Graham may return to the District Court if the District Attorney tries to ask questions about his constitutionally protected activities. The Senator’s legal team intends to engage with the District Attorney s office on next steps to ensure respect for this constitutional immunity.”

The South Carolina senator, a top Trump ally, had argued that a provision of the Constitution, the speech and debate clause, shields him from being forced to testify at all.

Lower courts already have told Willis that she “may not ask about any investigatory conduct,” which is protected under the Constitution.

Former Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in Georgia yesterday with Governor Brian Kemp, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.

Former Vice President Mike Pence bolstered Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s case for reelection Tuesday during a Get Out the Vote Rally in downtown Cumming.

“We need Georgia to lead the way to a great American comeback by reelecting Brian Kemp,” Pence told cheering supporters as Kemp stood by his side.

Pence’s appearance with Kemp on the campaign trail Tuesday afternoon was one of two scheduled for Tuesday. The two also were due to speak in Gainesville later in the day.

“No governor has done more to create jobs, cut taxes … put criminals behind bars and protect the unborn,” Pence said. “Brian Kemp is singularly one of the most successful conservative governors in the United States of America.”

“Georgia was the first state in America to open again,” Pence added. Governor Brian Kemp led the way.”

“Stacey Abrams is going to fall in line with the Biden-Harris administration that has brought inflation to a 40-year high, facilitated a wave of crime and the worst crisis on the Southern border in American history,” Pence said.

Kemp urged his supporters not to let his solid lead in the polls make them complacent with just a week left before Election Day.

“We cannot let up,” he said. “Don’t believe the polls. Don’t believe the media. We’ve got to work like we never worked before.”

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

“No one in Georgia’s history has done more to create jobs, cut taxes, restore sanity to your schools, put criminals behind bars, protect the unborn and secure all the God-given liberties enshrined in the Constitution of the United States than Gov. Brian Kemp,” Pence told about 150 people in Cumming, part of a belt of Republican-dominated Atlanta exurbs key to Kemp’s reelection.

Pence’s visit, along with subsequent appearances this week by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will spotlight Kemp’s campaign in the closing days of advance voting and ahead of what the GOP hopes is a surge of Election Day ballots.

“We’ve been doing good in this day because we have been saying no to Stacey Abrams,” Kemp said, speaking in the parking lot of a cigar bar in heavily Republican Forsyth County.

“We were listening to you, and because we’ve done that, we’ve got an incredible economy,” Kemp said. “We’ve got the most people ever working in the history of the state, the lowest unemployment rate in the history of the state.”

Pence jabbed that “Stacey Abrams may be the weakest candidate on crime in the history of Georgia,” after Abrams in a Sunday debate dismissed Kemp’s endorsement by more than 100 sheriffs. She said she was not a part of a “good ol’ boys club” and said “I don’t have 107 sheriffs who want to be able to take Black people off the street, who want to be able to go without accountability,” before backtracking and saying “I don’t believe every sheriff wants that.”

“If she found her way back in the statehouse as governor, she’ll fall right in line with the failed Biden-Harris agenda,” Pence said.

Tuesday’s show of GOP strength noticeably did not include Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who has been dogged by multiple allegations that he paid for and pressured two women to have abortions, in opposition to the anti-abortion views he’s expressed as a candidate. Kemp has for weeks sidestepped questions about Walker, saying only that he’s trying to lead “the whole ticket” to victory. Walker campaigned on his own Tuesday.

From the Gainesville Times:

Mike Pence came through Gainesville Tuesday – one of several stops the former vice president has made in Georgia during a final push to rally Republican voters to turn out for Gov. Brian Kemp at the polls with less than a week left before Election Day.

Pence spoke at length to a raving crowd of more than 60 people in the parking lot of Carroll Daniel Construction, urging them to keep Kemp in office for another four years.

“I’m here because Brian Kemp is arguably the most successful conservative governor in the United States of America,” Pence said. “Finally, I’m here because Stacy Abrams must never be governor of the state of Georgia.”

“He stood strong for our values when he signed a Heartbeat Bill and stood for the sanctity for human life,” Pence said.

The former vice president went on to describe Kemp as “the first governor in America” to reopen the state economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which killed more than 3,900 people across Georgia.

“And (Kemp) took heat for it,” Pence said. “But I can tell you, having been shoulder-to-shoulder with him in that fight, he never took his eyes off the people of Georgia. He didn’t listen to the elites. He didn’t listen to the media. He listened to all of you.”

“I know that with four more years in the state house, Georgia is going to achieve even greater heights than ever before under Gov. Brian Kemp,” he said.

Other Republican candidates in attendance were State Sen. Butch Miller,  of Gainesville, and Tyler Harper, the GOP’s candidate for state agriculture commissioner. Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvillon was also among local leaders there to show support for Kemp’s re-election.

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Gov. Brian Kemp told a crowd of supporters at the Lawrenceville Lawn on Tuesday that he expects this year’s state elections will show a different story for Republicans in Atlanta’s northern suburbs than what was seen in the 2020 presidential election.

Two years ago, President Joe Biden picked up big support in the north metro suburbs, areas that had traditionally backed Republicans for decades, on his way to defeating then-President Donald Trump statewide. In Gwinnett, it was part of an ongoing trend which has seen no Republican candidate for governor or president win the county since 2014.

But, Kemp is confident that, although a blue wave has flipped the balance of power in Cobb and Gwinnett counties, he can chip away at some of the Democrats’ growing influence in this year’s general election.

“I believe with the momentum that we’ve got, we’re going to do a lot better in the suburbs in the urban parts of our state than we did in 2020,” Kemp said. “That’s why we’re spending the last week of the (campaign) bus tour north of I-20.

“We have pounded south Georgia over the last two weeks. We’re going to be north of I-20 (now) hitting metro areas. We’re heading up to Gainesville and Cumming later today. We’re going to northwest Georgia later in the week.”

Tuesday saw Kemp campaigning in Gwinnett, Hall and Forsyth counties, including stops with former Vice-President Mike Pence in Cumming and Gainesville.

The governor pointed to a comment Abrams made at a Gwinnett Democrats fundraising gala in May, when she called Georgia “the worst state in the country to live” while talking about quality of life issues. Kemp’s campaign has hammered Abrams since the spring over the comment, featuring it in campaign ads and mentioning at campaign stops.

“Stacey Abrams says that we live in the worst state in the country,” Kemp said on Tuesday. “Marty and the girls (the Kemps’ daughters) and I disagree. We believe Georgia is the best state in the country to live, work and raise our families and by gosh, we’ve got to vote this election to keep it that way y’all.”

And, two local candidates for state House of Representatives seats, Rey Martinez and Soo Hong, were recently featured in commercials that are in Spanish and Korean, respectively.

“We’ve done commercials together, we’ve done targeted mail to minority voters in this state with the message that is good for all Georgians, but specifically targeted to raise awareness in their community that, ‘Hey, it’s OK to vote for a Republican because they are the ones that’s been fighting for you the last three-and-a-half or four years,’” Kemp told reporters after his campaign stop in Lawrenceville.

[Insurance Commissioner John] King echoed those sentiments, addressing the issue of minority voter outreach as he spoke in Spanish and English while talking to reporters on Tuesday.

“We have an incredibly positive message, but it’s important for our community to hear that message in Spanish that addresses the needs, as the governor said,” King said. “It’s about the economy, it’s about public safety, the things that are important to every Georgian, not just Latinos, not just Asians. It’s important to all of them.”

“And hearing that message and how welcoming they are to the Republican Party, I think, is something refreshing for our state.”

From the AJC:

The former vice president told supporters outside a Cumming cigar bar that there’s “no better governor in America than Brian Kemp.”

“I can honestly say I was for Brian Kemp before it was cool,” he said. “I came in in that primary four years ago. I saw his quality. I sensed his commitment. I sensed his backbone. I knew he would lead Georgia to unprecedented prosperity and security.”

Even as Pence was preparing to speak, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan delivered an address to the Buckhead Club sharpening his vision of a “GOP 2.0″ without Trump at the center. Kemp, too, may have a say in the national narrative if he wins next week.

Early voters continue to show up at the polls, according to the Statesboro Herald.

After two five-day weeks and two Saturdays of in-person early voting, 8,103 Bulloch County residents, or 18% of the county’s 44,937 “active” registered voters, had voted in advance of the Nov. 8 general election, also including those who returned absentee ballots.

“It’s been fairly consistent here with the amount of people coming in,”  said  Bulloch County Election Supervisor Shontay Jones. “We’re seeing close to 600 probably, on average, every day.”

Statewide, early voting continued at a record pace through last week, especially in comparison to the last general election with a governor’s race on the ballot, in fall 2018, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office reported Monday. From the first day of early voting through last weekend, 1,505,447 voters had shown up at the polls.

Dougherty County Democrats want to extend early voting hours, according to WALB.

Gregory Fullerton is a member of the Democratic Committee for Dougherty County.

“Right now, the hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. There are a lot of people who are working, who basically their job hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.,” Fullerton said. “Or they have to drop children off at school in the morning. And it’s difficult for them to be voting early. And, of course, we don’t have the option of Saturday and Sunday voting between now and the election.”

Fullerton said these hours, and other contributing factors, are a form of voter suppression.

“Valdosta, Lowndes County have expanded their hours to 7 a.m.-7 p.m. And they’re now, they’re a county around our size. And they’ve already had about a 17% voter turnout so far. Whereas in Dougherty County, we’ve had 11%,” he said.

The Dougherty County Board of Elections will hold a meeting on Wednesday at the Government Center to make a decision on this issue.

The Floyd County Board of Elections will meet at 7 AM on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 and recess immediately but remain available to handle any voting issues that arise, according to the Rome News Tribune.

From the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting Database:

Total ballots cast: 1,955,922

Total mail ballots cast: 189,347

Total in-person ballots cast: 1,764,089

In-person October 17, 2022: 134,807

In-person October 18, 2022: 135,223

In-person October 19, 2022: 127,864

In-person October 20, 2022: 123,020

In-person October 21, 2022: 141,715

In-person October 22, 2022: 80,320

In-person October 23, 2022: 18,132

In-person October 24, 2022: 133,423

In-person October 25, 2022: 125,728

In-person October 26, 2022: 119,602

In-person October 27, 2022: 112,081

In-person October 28, 2022: 139,471

In-person October 29, 2022: 93,691

In-person October 30, 2022: 24,140

In-person October 31, 2022: 130,928

In-person November 1, 2022: 123,836

In-person undated: 106

Total Electronic ballots cast (overseas and military voters): 2,486

Outstanding Electronic ballots (issued, not cast): 4,359

Outstanding Mailed ballots (issued, not cast): 91,035

Note: In Person numbers do not add up as one voter in Glynn County is recorded as having voted in person on 10/13/2022, when early voting was not open, and one voter in Pickens County is recorded as having voter in person on November 25, 2022.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs stopped accepting new applications for its rental assistance program, according to the AJC.

The Department posted word on its website late last week that the pandemic-triggered efforts to help prevent disruption and homelessness were no longer accepting applications, but did not elaborate. The website said the department would keep processing those already filed.

The federal program, initiated in late 2020 when millions of people were still out of work due to pandemic-triggered shutdowns, was intended to prevent disruption, financial distress and homelessness.

In Georgia, a number of other agencies and municipalities have also been running rental assistance programs with the federal money. If they have not spent all the money they were given, the program can continue through next year.

In a call to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Tuesday, Christopher Nunn, the department’s commissioner, said that concern about having enough money was indeed the reason to suspend applications.

Nunn said emphatically that the program has not ended.

“That is confusing and inaccurate,” he said. “In no way shape or form has this program been cancelled. It is irresponsible to publish an article that says that it has been cancelled.”

State Rep. Bill Hitchens (R-Rincon) is running in House District 161 against Democratic challenger Margo Barbee, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Hitchens has held the post since 2012 and ran unopposed in 2020. This time, he has a Democratic challenger in Port Wentworth resident Margo Barbee, whose campaign call is that “District 161 needs leaders who are in favor of inclusiveness when making decisions for citizens and their communities,” according to her website.

Barbee declined further comment about her bid, citing a distrust of the media.

“I am pretty well known in the district now having been in the position for 10 years,” said Hitchens. “I was the commander of the State Patrol Office on Dean Forest Road for 13 years and was Georgia’s first homeland security director. Now, everyone knows me. But [campaigning] kind of ruins your summer. You have to work from March until November and go around and politic and spend a lot of money. But everyone has a right to run. It is not a negative thing.”

In an area that represents small chunks of Pooler, Port Wentworth and Effingham County, traffic safety is of key importance for Hitchens.

Public safety is his passion and there were several failed bills that Hitchens wants to see passed, including one that would require anyone charged with a DUI to have ignition interlocks in their car after their first offense.

“There are 37 states that have already implemented the law and have seen a 20% to 40% reduction in DUIs,” said Hitchens.

Hitchens said he would like to see changes regarding law enforcement training, saying stringent state trooper requirements have limited the number of applicants.

“I am going to do whatever I can ensure to it is a good vocation,” said Hitchens. “The last trooper school we had when I was commissioner, we had 1,200 people pass the test. And after we got their background investigation, psychological evaluation, lie detector test and everything that they go through, we had 93 left. School is seven months and typically, we lose half of them.”

Hitchens, now 75, said working in the Legislature has allowed him to be a voice for the people, but there will not be any hard feelings if he is not reelected.

“If they vote me out, I will be retired,” said Hitchens.

State Rep. Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert) continues campaigning for reelection, according to the Albany Herald.

State Rep. Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert, praised the Dougherty County School System for its historic graduation rates and leading southwest Georgia in public education.

“As a former public school educator, I know first-hand the challenges students, teachers and school administrators may face in the classroom,” Greene said in a news release. “These graduation rates are particularly remarkable given the unprecedented lockdowns and virtual learning over the last few years. It’s certainly not been easy, but these graduation rates demonstrate it’s been worth it. I wholeheartedly believe in the transformative power of education and will continue investing in and fighting for our students and strong public schools.”

Greene was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1982 and is currently serving his 36th year as representative of House District 151, which includes all or portions of Calhoun, Clay, Early, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, Terrell, Webster and Dougherty counties. He taught in the Randolph-Clay School System for 32 years and was named STAR Teacher of Randolph-Clay System in 1977 and 1993 and Teacher of the Year for the school system in 1991.

Following the 2021 special session on redistricting, Greene is running in the newly drawn House District 154, comprising all or parts of Calhoun, Clay Baker, Early, Miller, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole and parts of Dougherty counties.

Assuming he is reelected, Rep. Green will be the “Dean of the State House,” or its longest-serving member.

Port Wentworth City Council is considering redistricting maps for their seats, according to WTOC.

The first workshop was Tuesday night for council members to discuss the new drafts with a virtual presence from the state’s reapportionment office.

Port Wentworth has home rule meaning changing the maps falls in their hands as long as they don’t change the number of districts or representatives on council.

“We’ve doubled in population since the last census. There’s a large disparity between districts by population with a deviation of about 89% which is clearly more than 10% suggested trigger for redistricting,” said City Manager Steve Davis.

Bulloch County Commissioners voted to adopt a new benefits plan for county employees, according to the Statesboro Herald.

County leaders say they have to find the happy medium of an attractive benefits plan for employees and one that’s affordable for taxpayers.

A quick vote gives more than 600 county employees access to a retirement plan through the Association of County Commissions of Georgia. It’s the plan recommended by an employee committee after more than a year of study.

“Hopefully, if we can offer better benefits than other counties, then we can retain the employees we do have,” said County Commission Chair Roy Thompson.

Despite the months of research, Thompson says his biggest worry is implementing a plan that taxpayers must eventually subsidize to get employees what they were promised.

Chatham County and its municipalities continue negotiating sales tax proceeds, according to WSAV.

The city and Chatham County have until the end of the year to negotiate how to split the money raised from the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST).

It’s a 1% penny tax paid on goods and services throughout the county. The agreement about how to divide the revenue between the county and its eight municipalities has to be renewed every 10 years.

Mayor Van Johnson said without money from LOST, the city is at risk of losing more than $55 million in funding and it would take more than 8 mils of property tax to make up for that. That translates to an additional $8 for every $1,000 of the property’s value.

“We will get this done because we must get this done,” Johnson said. “It makes no sense to me to celebrate Savannah’s lowest property tax in 35 years just to raise property taxes a couple months later to what will be unaffordable rates.”

The county and cities began the negotiation process over the summer, but have yet to find common ground.

Jones County is making emergency repairs to their courthouse, according to 13WMAZ.

According to Jones County Commission minutes the renovations are an emergency situation.

Also in the minutes, Superior Court Clerk Pam Dixon says the water puddles had been falling from the ceiling, and the issue was only getting worse.

Living in for 69 years, Cecil Ethridge has collected all the Jones County trivia knowledge — facts like how the first county courthouse was in Clinton, just outside what is now Gray’s downtown.

“The citizens there didn’t let the railroad come through and the railroad came through Gray, so Gray moved to be close to the railroad, and in doing so, our county seat was moved and established here in 1905,” he says.

He says part of Clinton even made its way over.

“The retaining wall that’s around our courthouse now used to be the original jail in Clinton,” he adds.

“History helps us to build and to move forward, so thank goodness we do have some markers around telling us about the history and who was involved in making all these things happen,” he says.

1
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 1, 2022

Georgia’s Trustees decided on November 1, 1732 that the first settlement would be named Savannah and located on the Savannah River.

Parliament passed the Stamp Act on March 22, 1765 with an effective date of November 1, 1765, to fund British military operations.

The Stamp Act, however, was a direct tax on the colonists and led to an uproar in America over an issue that was to be a major cause of the Revolution: taxation without representation.

Passed without debate by Parliament in March 1765, the Stamp Act was designed to force colonists to use special stamped paper in the printing of newspapers, pamphlets, almanacs, and playing cards, and to have a stamp embossed on all commercial and legal papers. The stamp itself displayed an image of a Tudor rose framed by the word “America” and the French phrase Honi soit qui mal y pense—”Shame to him who thinks evil of it.”

Outrage was immediate. Massachusetts politician Samuel Adams organized the secret Sons of Liberty organization to plan protests against the measure, and the Virginia legislature and other colonial assemblies passed resolutions opposing the act. In October, nine colonies sent representatives to New York to attend a Stamp Act Congress, where resolutions of “rights and grievances” were framed and sent to Parliament and King George III.

Georgia Commissioners and Creek leaders signed a treaty on November 1, 1783.

Jimmy Carter ended his first Presidential campaign with a rally in Flint, Michigan on November 1, 1976.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp continues campaigning this week, according to WALB.

Tuesday, November 1

Bus Tour Stop in Lawrenceville, 10 a.m. Lawrenceville Lawn
Lunch in Oakwood, 11:45 a.m., Curt’s Restaurant
Bus tour stop in Cumming with Vice President Mike Pence, 2:00 p.m., Cumming Cigar Company
Bus tour stop in Gainesville with Pence, 4:00 p.m., Carroll Daniel Construction Company

Wednesday, November 2

Breakfast in Douglasville with Arizona Gov. Governor Doug Ducey, 8:00 a.m., Gable Sporting Goods
Bus tour stop in Bremen with Gov. Doug Ducey, 10:00 a.m., Bremen City Hall
Lunch in Rockmart with Gov. Doug Ducey, 11:30 a.m., Pizza Farm
Bus tour sStop in Cartersville with Gov. Doug Ducey, 1:30 p.m., Bartow County Courthouse
Bus tour stop in Dallas with Gov. Doug Ducey, 3:00 p.m., Seven Hills Clubhouse

Thursday, November 3

Breakfast in Canton, 8:00 a.m., Keithsburg Cafe
Bus tour stop in Acworth, 10:00 a.m., Open Roads Complete RV
Lunch in Marietta, 11:30 a.m., Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q
Bus tour stop in Buckhead with former N.J. governor Chris Christie, 5:30 p.m., PENLEY Art Co.

Friday, November 4

Breakfast in Jefferson with Chris Christie, 8:00 a.m., The Jefferson House Restaurant
Bus tour stop in Winder with Chris Christie, 10:00 a.m., Downtown Gazebo Park
Lunch in Watkinsville with Chris Christie, 11:30 a.m., Hadden Estate at DGD Farms
Bus tour stop in Madison with Chris Christie, 1:45 p.m., Farmview Market
Bus tour stop in Monroe with Chris Christie, 3:30 p.m., Walton County Historic Courthouse

Saturday, November 5

GOTV breakfast in Evans, 9:00 a.m., Evans Towne Center Park

Sunday, November 6

Lunch in Ringgold, 12:30 p.m., The Outback

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Kemp’s campaign announced it will host a bus tour stop at the Lawrenceville Lawn at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. The Lawrenceville Lawn is located at 210 Luckie St.

The visit to Lawrenceville is part of a four-stop tour of Gwinnett, Hall and Forsyth counties that will take place on Tuesday. The governor is set to leave Lawrenceville and appear in Flowery Branch at 11:45 a.m.

Kemp will then appear with former Vice President Mike Pence later in the day during campaign stops in Cumming and Gainesville at 2 and 4 p.m., respectively.

From the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting Database:Continue Reading..

31
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 31, 2022

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.

The United States Congress admitted Nevada as the 36th state on October 31, 1864. Kind of fitting, in a way.

The carving on Mount Rushmore was completed on October 31, 1941.

President Bill Clinton hit the campaign trail to help his wife, Hillary Clinton, in her race for United States Senate from New York on October 31, 2000. On October 31, 2014, Bill Clinton came to Atlanta to campaign for Michelle Nunn for United States Senate.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp debated Democrat Stacey Abrams. From the New York Times article titled 4 takeaways from the Last Kemp-Abrams Debate Before Election Day:

Abrams tried to catch up.

With just about all of Ms. Abrams’s arguments against Mr. Kemp well worn by now — she has been making parts of them fairly consistently since their 2018 race — she sought a new approach to chip away at Mr. Kemp’s advantage in the race and remind her supporters that the election isn’t over.

Kemp: Check my record.

Ms. Abrams criticized Mr. Kemp for a majority of the policy decisions during his term as governor, like ignoring public health guidance to keep businesses open at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and supporting a law that allows the purchase of firearms without a permit. But Mr. Kemp dismissed her arguments with an I’m-rubber-and-you’re-glue argument.

“This debate’s going to be a lot like the last one,” he said early on, before delivering a line he’d repeat throughout the hour. “Ms. Abrams is going to attack my record because she doesn’t want to talk about her own record.”

Here’s my takeaway about the NYT’s takeaway: when the New York Times writes that Stacey Abrams’s arguments are “well worn,” it suggests to me two takeaways: 1.) the elite left are done with Stacey Abrams and tired of it; and 2.) they’re cutting their losses.

From the Savannah Morning News:

The economy in Georgia is, as in many elections, top of mind for voters headed to the polls. The specific policies each candidate put forward, and the specific issues that the economy is facing, however, may matter less than other things like partisanship and incumbency.

Mary-Kate Lizotte, professor of political science at Augusta University, said there may be some independent voters who are swayed by economic proposals — but that includes a relatively small number of voters. The fact that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is the incumbent in his race against Stacey Abrams may influence the election more.

“The state of the economy matters and it can influence who turns out, and who’s enthusiastic,” said Lizotte. “But (the economy is) not going to make as much of a difference in terms of people changing who they vote for, just like whether or not they actually show up.”

“Voters are really looking at the economy; they’re looking at the price of goods, the price of gas, inflation,” said Kerwin Swint, professor of political science at Kennesaw State University. “So this looks like it’s going to be a real pocketbook election, which right now might benefit the Republicans.”

“Stacey Abrams wants to do things that are going to target lower income people, like housing; Brian Kemp sort of looks at economic things that sort of spread around the state, such as taxes, and he wants to give a rebate to homeowners, for example, around the state,” Swint said. “Sort of a different philosophical approach.”

“Republicans really want to hear, you know, a tax message,” Swint said. “Democrats really want to hear, you know, a justice message and a lower income support message. So I think as far as motivating voters, it’s really the base — I think it’s the independent voters swing voters that are going to be more motivated by you know, how’s my pocketbook feeling? You know, where do I think things are headed?”

From USA Today via the Savannah Morning News:

The final question dealt with whether Kemp and Abrams would respect the results.

“Yes,” Abrams answered quickly.

“Absolutely,” Kemp said, moving on to describe how safe his state’s voting laws are and accusing the Democrat of stoking fears about voter suppression. He also touted the record voter turnouts in past state elections, refuting any claims of voter suppression within the state.

Kemp used his closing statement to repeat his claim that his record as governor entitles him to a second term.

He cited falling employment and rising economic growth, and told voters he “put them first” over the status quo.

“I want to do better by Georgia. I want to put you first every single day,” said Abrams. She pushed for Medicaid expansion, stronger gun control laws, and repealing Georgia’s six week abortion ban.

When asked about what the governor of Georgia can do when it comes to the economy, Kemp first attacked President Joe Biden and full Democratic control of Congress.

“Americans are hurting right now because of a disastrous policy agenda by Joe Biden and the Democrats that have complete control in Washington, D.C.,” Kemp said.

Kemp then pointed to his current administration’s passage of flat income tax cut and suspension of a gas tax, arguing his tenure as governor has been successful in confronting inflation and the economy.

So far, over 1.6 million voters have cast their ballot early so far – a 40% increase in turnout compared to the 2018 midterm elections at this point in the election, according to data from Georgia’s Secretary of State office. Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, projects that number to hit 2 million before Election day.

“One in five active voters have already gotten their vote in, and we will hit the 2-million-mark next week,” Raffensperger said in a statement announcing the record turnout.

From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald:

Abrams vowed to repeal the “heartbeat bill” if she is elected governor. The legislation, which the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed three years ago, bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically six weeks into a pregnancy.

Abrams said the law exposes women who have suffered the trauma of a miscarriage to investigation and potentially prosecution if authorities believe they had an illegal abortion.

Kemp said she misrepresented the legislation, which he helped steer to passage during his first year in office.

“Women are not going to be prosecuted under this piece of legislation,” he said. “Doctors who perform illegal abortions would be.”

Kemp said record low unemployment in Georgia is due to his decision to reopen businesses across the state during the early months of the COVID pandemic, well before most states.

The tax revenues generated by Georgia’s booming economy built up a record $6.6 billion budget surplus the governor used this year to cut taxes, a step he said he plans to repeat if he’s reelected.

Kemp said Abrams criticized his decision to reopen the state’s economy and instead called for dealing with COVID-19 with mask and vaccine mandates.

“We’re one additional COVID variant away from Ms. Abrams wanting to lock our state down,” he said.

The governor and other Republican leaders have pointed to record turnout across Georgia during the first week of early voting last week as proof the election reforms they championed are not putting an undue burden on voters.

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

Kemp denied claims by Democrats that under Georgia’s abortion restrictions, which restrict most abortions after cardiac activity can be detected in the womb, women could be prosecuted for abortions or investigated after miscarriages. The governor revealed that his wife had miscarried one of what had been twins, while the other survived to become his eldest daughter, calling it a “tragic, traumatic situation.”

Abrams, though, said it was up to local law enforcement and district attorneys and that it wasn’t clear local authorities won’t attempt prosecutions. Abrams said women “should not be worried about the knock on the door is the sheriff coming to ask them if they have had an illegal abortion.”

Kemp took credit for wage growth and low unemployment while blaming sustained inflation on “disastrous” policies of Democrats in Washington, while Abrams sidestepped her party’s role in the federal government and pointed the finger at Kemp.

“We have the lowest unemployment rate in the history of our state,” he said. “We have the most people ever working in the history of our state. We’re seeing economic opportunity in all parts of our state.”

Kemp touted his use of state and federal funds to suspend gasoline taxes and issue income tax rebates, repeating his pledge to seek more income tax rebates plus property tax rebates in a second term.

Unlike the first governor’s debate on Oct. 17, Sunday night’s event did not feature Libertarian Shane Hazel, the third candidate on the ballot. Hazel interrupted that debate several times trying to make his points because he wasn’t asked as many questions. Hazel’s presence on the ballot means it’s possible that there will be a runoff on Dec. 6, because Georgia law requires candidates to win an absolute majority.

From the AJC:

During a lengthy back-and-forth between the candidates about whether the law allows women to be investigated for having a miscarriage, Kemp revealed for the first time publicly that that first lady Marty Kemp experienced a miscarriage early in their marriage.

“I have been in the doctor’s office with my wife and seen two heartbeats on ultrasound. I’ve gone back a week or so later and saw one heartbeat,” Kemp said. “My wife and I both had a hard time having our first child. She miscarried.”

Kemp said that their oldest daughter, Jarrett, was born from that pregnancy and called miscarriage “a tragic, tragic, traumatic situation.”

In response to the governor’s revelation, Abrams said, “The tragic stories of miscarriage should not be political fodder, but they should also not be fodder for investigations. And the problem with this bill is it does not discern the difference.”

Also from the AJC:

The exchange started with Kemp’s boast that 107 Georgia sheriffs support him for reelection, including several Democrats. He said their approval proves they know who “is going to be with them, who has their back and who continues to have their back.”

That’s when Abrams responded that she didn’t expect their blessing because she has never been a member of the “good ol’ boys club.”

“So no, I don’t have 107 sheriffs who want to be able to take Black people off the streets, who want to be able to go without accountability,” she said. “I don’t think every sheriff wants that, but I do know that we need a governor who believes in both defending law enforcement but also defending the people of Georgia.”

From the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting Database:

Total ballots cast: 1,667,790

Total mail ballots cast: 159,362

Total in-person ballots cast: 1,506,409

In-person October 17, 2022: 134,798

In-person October 18, 2022: 135,222

In-person October 19, 2022: 127,852

In-person October 20, 2022: 123,019

In-person October 21, 2022: 141,713

In-person October 22, 2022: 80,315

In-person October 23, 2022: 18,131

In-person October 24, 2022: 133,412

In-person October 25, 2022: 125,684

In-person October 26, 2022: 119,596

In-person October 27, 2022: 111,800

In-person October 28, 2022: 138,888

In-person October 29, 2022: 93,014

In-person October 20, 2022:

In-person undated: 91

Total Electronic ballots cast (overseas and military voters): 2,109

Outstanding Electronic ballots (issued, not cast): 4682

Outstanding Mailed ballots (issued, not cast): 119,463

Note: In Person numbers do not add up as one voter in Glynn County is recorded as having voted in person on 10/13/2022, when early voting was not open.

* this appears to be down from previous numbers for in person voting

Georgia voters continue to turn out in early voting, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Two weeks into voting for the 2022 midterms, early voting is pacing near that of the 2020 presidential election, when many voters utilized pre-Election Day balloting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 1.5 million Georgians had cast ballots either in-person or via absentee as of Oct. 29, compared to 1.64 million through two weeks of early voting in 2020. Early voting continues through Nov. 4. The absentee ballots request deadline has passed, although those with ballots can return them through 7 p.m. on Election Day, which is Nov. 8.

From The Brunswick News:

“Georgia is demonstrating to the nation why our election system is the gold standard for security, accessibility, and accuracy,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “County election directors are our everyday heroes.”

Christina Redden, deputy supervisor of elections in Glynn County, said more than 12,000 early votes were cast by Friday afternoon. Four years ago, 17,000 early votes were cast for the midterm elections. Redden said she expects that number to be easily eclipsed with another week of early voting remaining.

“I would absolutely say we’ll pass than number by Tuesday,” she said.

Redden believes the motivation for the turnout in the Golden Isles and statewide is because of the results in the January 2021 runoff where manny stayed home.

“I think a lot of people didn’t vote in the 2021 runoff,” she said. “Many people wish they had voted in that election.”

After the polls closed Saturday, 14,809 people had cast early votes in the Golden Isles. The St. Simons polling place has been the busiest with 6,241 votes cast there. The Ballard Community Building polling place has had 4,854 votes cast, with the main Board of Elections office having 3,714 early votes cast.

There have also been 1,397 absentee by mail votes cast and five provisional/challenged ballots.

Shannon Nettles, supervisor of elections in Camden County, said more than 6,000 early votes have been cast.

“We’re getting close to the 2020 elections for early voting turnout,” she said.

She said local city council races in St. Marys and Kingsland will be added motivation for voters to show up to the polls.

Eleanor Gale, McIntosh County’s supervisor of elections, said 2,139 early votes were cast by Friday, an estimated 21% of the county’s registered voters.

“I’m hoping to beat my numbers from 2018,” she said. “There’s nobody standing in line.”

From AccessWDUN:

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger issued a statement Saturday morning and said 1,389,200 voters have cast a ballot during the 12 early voting days so far. In comparison, 922,568 ballots were cast through the same day during the 2018 midterm elections.

Early voting for the 2022 midterm elections is only slightly behind early voting for the 2020 presidential election, which saw 1,643,428 cast.

Turnout on Friday, October 28 was 36 percent higher than day 12 of early voting in 2018.

“One in five active voters have already gotten their vote in, and we will hit the 2-million-mark next week,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a release. “The strength of our voter registration system and our county election directors are on full display.”

Voters are returning absentee ballots at a quicker pace, too. As of Friday, 144,394 ballots have been returned to county election offices. Only 899 ballots have been rejected, but these voters have received notices that explain how to cure any discrepancy.

From WRDW:

More than 18,000 Richmond County voters have walked in and out to cast their ballots early.

“If anybody’s is concerned about getting out here early voting, don’t worry about any long lines,” Charles Dunn said. “Just come out here make sure you exercise that right.”

On the last and only Sunday of Richmond County’s early voting, the energy was still high.

From the Rome News Tribune:

Through the close of advance voting on Saturday evening, Floyd County had seen 10,010 in-person voters over 13 days as well as 1,082 absentee ballots already accepted (out of 1,720 issued).

With 11,092 advance/in-person ballots in as of Saturday, Floyd has seen more than a third of the votes counted here in November 2018. Total ballots cast came to 30,440 or 58.02% of the 52,469 active voters on file four years ago.

More strong analysis from the RNT writers.

Two Republican candidates released foreign language ads, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Rey Martinez and Soo Hong appear in the ads, which were released by A Strong Georgia Inc., and address voters in Spanish and Korean.

Martinez, a native of Puerto Rico who is the former mayor of Loganville and made history as the first Hispanic mayor of a city in Georgia, is running for the state House District 111 seat. Meanwhile Hong, an immigrant from South Korea who works as an attorney, is running for the state House District 103 seat.

The pair say in their respective ads that they are two of 40 minority candidates who are running as Republicans for seats in the Georgia General Assembly this year.

“This year, the Republican Party is diverse and our ballots reflect that,” Martinez and Hong say in the ads in Spanish and Korean.

“Just as the Republican Party must expand and grow to continue to have success in the states, so do our methods of outreach to voters,” Republican State Leadership Committee spokeswoman Stephanie Rivera said.

“Running ads in different languages is a great way to connect with the minority communities that Democrats have taken for granted for far too long and we hope more candidates use this tactic in the future.”

Herschel Walker campaigned in Statesboro, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Herschel Walker, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, referred to himself as a “warrior for God” early in his remarks during a Statesboro campaign stop Friday morning. Before he was done speaking, he had called the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Raphael Warnock, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and a “trickster.”

The rally in front of Anderson’s General Store on U.S. Highway 80 East was announced for 9:30 a.m. By the time the big, red bus with Walker’s image on the side rolled up nearly an hour later, the crowd had grown to 200 to 250 people, many with signs or shirts touting support for Walker this year and some also with hats favoring a return of Donald Trump as president in 2024.

“I’m also going to tell you I’m going to win this election, and tell you the reason why, because as I stand here today you can see that I don’t look like a politician, do I? I don’t sound like a politician, do I? and because I’m not a politician. I am that warrior for God that he’s prepared me for this moment right now.”

“But God was getting me ready,” Walker said.

“But God knew then. He said, wait, wait, wait, that’s not enough, because I’m getting ready to put him up against a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Walker told the crowd.

He said his next challenge was being told he had “a mental problem” although he had never drunk alcohol or used drugs. He described sitting in a hospital for treatment of mental illness.

“I go, ‘Whoa! These people here are crazy. These people here are crazy; I’m not like them. And then the Lord showed me that we all fall short of the glory of God, and God started working me, he was molding me, getting me ready, and then he brought me back out. So he redeemed me.”

Other speakers at the rally included U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tennessee; U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Georgia 12th District; Republican National Committee-Georgia member Ginger Howard; Georgia state House Majority Leader Jon Burns; and Faith and Freedom Coalition Founder and Chairman Ralph Reed.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

Asked about Schumer’s assertion that Democratic candidates are “going downhill” in Georgia and that “it’s hard to believe that” Georgia voters “will go for Herschel Walker,” the challenger said the comments are an example of Schumer being out of touch with Georgians. Schumer’s words, spoken to President Joe Biden and not to the media on Thursday, were captured by a nearby microphone belonging to a television crew covering the president.

“He represents New York; I’m from Georgia,””Walker said of Schumer in an interview following his campaign rally. “He’s the reason we’re in this mess, the policies he puts out.”

Walker was quick to tie his opponent, Warnock, to Schumer and Biden. Warnock is an incumbent who won his seat in the same election in which Biden was elected president and the Democrats won control of the U.S. Senate.

“Georgians expect a senator who represents them and doesn’t represent the Washington elite and President Joe Biden,” Walker said.

Democrat Stacey Abrams campaigned in Grovetown, according to WRDW.

She stopped by a shopping center on Horizon South Parkway, where supporters showed up.

Meanwhile, Kemp was in the Savannah area.

“You look back and say who was fighting for me? Who was fighting for my pain? Who was fighting for my job to get my child back in the classroom? Who was standing up with our men and women in law enforcement,” asked Kemp?

In Grovetown, Thursday’s message: it’s time for a change.

“I’m running for governor because we have to have a governor who believes in every single Georgian from cradle all the way to career,” said Abrams.

“She criticized me when I reopened small parts of our economy during the pandemic. When I was catching grief from her, I was listening to you all. I was listening to the barbers and cosmetologists to the folks that work in the restaurants. I was listening to people in the service center,” he said.

“Georgians want to be safe in their community. I know this community prides itself on that. And I do too. And we’re in the fight with you all to do that. And as long as I’m your governor, you can count on me to stand with our men and women in law enforcement,” said Kemp.

Abrams said: “Guns are the number one killer of our children. We have the ninth-highest gun violence rate in the nation. And his answer is to weaken gun laws in the state of Georgia. I’m here to tell you, we can protect the Second Amendment and protect second graders at the exact same time.”

Albany Republican Tracy Taylor is running for House District 153, according to the Albany Herald.

He is competing against Democratic nominee David Sampson for the seat formerly held by CaMia Jackson, who did not seek re-election due to moving out of the area. The district is the only district wholly within Dougherty County. The other three state House seats that include portions of Dougherty County are currently held by Republicans.

“I’m running to put get my community the right representation in Atlanta, Georgia,” said Taylor, whose previous campaigns include contests for Albany mayor, Dougherty County Commission and the state Senate. “We have not been receiving state resources to benefit Dougherty County in quite some time.”

“We need streets resurfaced, we need bridges fixed. I’m running on community economic development.”

Taylor, who has served on the Albany Community Development Council for several years and as chairman since December 2002, said he would like to bring the government and business world together with residents to tackle tough issues like economic development.

“I can be a liaison between the manufacturers, the communities and state- and federal-level (elected officials),” he said. “I want to be able to bridge the gap and give a chain of command. I think there’s no chain of command in that regard.”

Quoting his former political mentor, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, whom he briefly considered challenging this year, the candidate said that the debate for the 2023 legislative session “is about who gets what, when and how” in reference to a projected $6.6 billion state budget surplus.

State Rep. Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert) is defending his seat, according to WALB.

Democratic Nominee John Hayes and Incumbent Republican Gerald Greene are in a heated race for State House for District 154.

The district spans nine counties from the Alabama-Georgia Line to parts of Albany.

Greene believes it’s his experience that makes him the right candidate for the job. When it comes to issues, he’s focusing on what people are talking about at the dinner table. That being rising inflation and job security.

“Good jobs, good schools, facilities that can take care of the elderly. Those become important issues to me,” Greene said.

Before Greene became a full time politician, he was a teach in the Randolph Clay school system

“They talk about it being a part-time job. It is every day. I’ve touched about all the students in several counties. They have been individuals that I have relied on for resources,” Greene said.

When his current term ends in January, Greene will have been the Georgia State Representation for 40 years. His first year in office was 1982.

If elected, Greene says one of his next priorities is to help south Georgians become homeowners.

“We found out in my research that about 64% of homes in Albany are rental and that was astonishing. My constituents are saying ‘Hey I want to be able to own a home. I want to become a citizen that really is productive,’” Greene said.

Black Voters Matter is sponsoring a bus tour to drive turnout, according to WALB.

The Black Voters Matter bus tour came through Valdosta Friday, encouraging people of color to go to the polls.

“The theme of our bus tour this year is ‘we won’t black down’ And that means in the face of adversity and in the face of everything that is thrown at us in our community, we won’t black down. We’re still going to black up the ballot box,” she said.

Members of Delta Sigma Theta found that it’s important to not only help educate voters but to lend a hand too.

“We are providing free rides to the poll, utilizing the Valdosta on Demand transit system and we will give out free codes to anyone that needs a ride to the polls,” says Tameka Miller, Social Action Committee Chair for Delta Sigma Theta.

Black Voters Matter will continue their bus tour around Georgia with members of the NAACP alongside them.

Atlanta News First looks at one of the statewide referenda on the ballot, via WRDW.

Georgia produces the most timber of any state. Now the state is letting voters decide if timber producers should be given a break on taxes for their machines similar to the tax break for agriculture producers.

On every Georgia ballot, voters can vote yes or no to this question: “Shall the Act be approved which grants a state-wide exemption from all ad valorem taxes for certain equipment used by timber producers in the production or harvest of timber?”

The Georgia state legislature passed House Bill 997 to approve the tax break unanimously with bipartisan support.

Georgia will appeal a ruling by Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Brenda Holbert Trammell that shot down a bond issuance supporting the Rivian economic development project, according to the AJC.

In a September ruling, Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Brenda Holbert Trammell declined to validate bonds at the center of the incentive package. She said a local development authority “failed to establish” that the bonds were “sound, feasible and reasonable.” She also agreed with residents who challenged the Rivian incentive deal, ruling that the type of land lease negotiated with Rivian is one subject to property taxes.

The ruling struck down local property tax incentives totaling some $700 million that were the largest component of a $1.5 billion inducement package state and local leaders offered Rivian to build a vehicle and battery plant along I-20 in southern Walton and Morgan counties.

In a Friday statement, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties (JDA) said they filed a notice of appeal with the state Court of Appeals and briefs will be submitted once the case has been docketed.

“We absolutely disagree with Judge Trammell’s ruling regarding the structure of incentives for this project, and we are confident in the merits of our appeal,” Pat Wilson, Georgia’s commissioner of economic development, said in a news release.

Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard wants an independent review of her office spending, according to the Gainesville Times.

Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard has requested an independent state review of her offices’ finances a day after a TV news report alleged funds intended for crime victims went for her personal use.

The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia appointed Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr to investigate Woodard for “allegations of theft by conversion and violation of oath by a public officer,” according to an order obtained by The Times.

Fox 5 aired a story Thursday, Oct. 27, detailing questionable spending by Woodard that was reimbursed to her or bought with her Hall County purchasing card.

Woodard said in a statement provided to Fox 5 and to The Times that most of the items cited by the news stations were “legitimate items provided to victims that ranged from furniture and bedding for rehousing to work-related or personal family needs.”

“Unfortunately, some personal education expenses and other items submitted were confused as victim expenses by mistake and have since been reimbursed by me personally,” Woodard said in her earlier statement.

Woodard sent a statement Friday, Oct. 28, saying she felt the review was necessary to “clear the air of any hint of wrongdoing in light of recent accounting errors” that led to personal expenses being reimbursed from the crime victims’ fund.

Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh said he had recused himself from the investigation of the case when contacted by The Times Friday.

The Savannah Morning News trots out the upside of the Chatham County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST) yet again.

If approved by majority vote, TSPLOST would mean an additional 1% sales tax on goods and services sold within Chatham County to be collected for the next five years, increasing the overall sales tax from 7% to 8%. TSPLOST revenue can only be used for transportation-related projects.

The TSPLOST project lists submitted by Chatham County and its eight municipalities total $420 million, representing a portion of the funds needed for the heavyweight improvements targeted by local government leaders. For many projects, TSPLOST serves as the “local match” for state-and federal-level roadway projects.

Habersham County voters will decide on a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST), according to AccessWDUN.

If approved, funds collected through a single-county transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (also known as a roads and bridges tax) can be spent for transportation purposes, including roads, bridges, public transit, rails, airports and buses, and all accompanying infrastructure and services necessary to provide access to those transportation facilities.

Leaders estimate $44 million would be generated in Habersham County by the local roads and bridges Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, with the county’s portion being roughly $34.5 million and the cities receiving the remainder.

The cost per mile for road resurfacing has increased from $112,348 in 2021 to $175,000 in 2022, cutting the 14.36 miles of resurfacing that could be done in 2021 down to 9.85 miles in 2022.

Additionally, culvert costs essentially have doubled from 2021 to 2022.

To qualify to hold a TSPLOST (roads and bridges SPLOST) referendum, a county must already impose a regular SPLOST. State law imposes a 2% cap on local sales taxes.

Single-county TSPLOST is in addition to those taxes and will not affect any other local sales and use tax and is exempted from the 2% sales tax cap.

Habersham County residents who have questions about the proposed roads and bridges SPLOST can join a Facebook Live at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, for a series of questions and answers hosted by Commissioner Bruce Palmer and Public Works Director Jerry Baggett.

Columbia County voters will weigh in on a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to WRDW.

If approved, it would set aside money for several projects like parks, transportation, and more.

With many parks and projects throughout the county, leaders had to consider many variables as to what money went where. If the SPLOST gets approved, the county will continue to receive millions until 2028.

With the growth of Columbia County, they’re hoping to grow two more parks, with hopes to make all parks more accessible to all parts of the county.

“They don’t have to drive as far as the park is closer to them. So, we’re trying to get those types of services closer to the residents, so we’re looking for voids,” said Columbia County Manager Scott Johnson.

“Those people are staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, buying things in Columbia County stores, are actually participating in the SPLOST. Therefore they’re paying for the new park, and it’s less burden on our taxpayers,” said Johnson.

If the voters approve the current tax, it will continue until 2028. If the SPLOST gets voted against, the one percent sales tax will go away.

Savannah City Council members brought the heat, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter and Alderman Kurtis Purtee brought their feud into the City Hall council chambers Thursday.

The two traded verbal insults and literally pointed fingers at each other during the council meeting, continuing a long-simmering conflict that exploded following a Sept. 8 council meeting, when Purtee called Gibson-Carter, a Black woman, a “ghetto b****” in response to her accusing him of being a “child predator and a pedophile” in the hallway outside of council chambers.

Purtee is a white, openly gay man.

When it was Gibson-Carter’s turn to speak, she too indicated her support for a council vote on Calhoun. And she also quoted Shakespeare.

“What’s in a name? A rose by any other name smells just as sweet,” Gibson-Carter said. “This is a line offered by William Shakespeare in ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ He offered that line to denote that the naming of things is irrelevant. I, on this day, as a professional, educated, talented, smart, loving, caring, beautiful Black woman, who was called a Black ghetto b expletive by a sitting member of this council, a white man, and it went unchecked.”

When it was Purtee’s turn to speak, he paused for a few seconds before firing back at Carter. Purtee accused Gibson-Carter of calling him a “pedophile” in the past, and invoked that, and a few other accusations in his statement.

“One, I am glad that we are having this conversation today. I think there’s a lot to be learned from history, and I think the conversation needs to continue. But I will also say I know what it’s like to feel oppressed. I even had a sitting member of city council call me a child pedophile, a f*****.”

Purtee was interrupted by Gibson-Carter.

“You are a liar,” Gibson-Carter said as Mayor Johnson tried to intervene.

Speaking over them both, Purtee continued.

“A child pedophile, a predator and a f*****. I, even though I may have said ghetto b, which I did apologize for, I do not like to be called a child predator, a f***** or a child pedophile.”

Ben Tapley was promoted from interim chief to Chief of the Bulloch County Fire Department, according to the Statesboro Herald.

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Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 27, 2022

King Henry VII of England was crowned on October 30, 1485.

Christopher Columbus “discovered” Cuba on October 28, 1492.

Sir Walter Raleigh, founder of the first permanent English settlement in America, was beheaded on October 29, 1618 for conspiring against King James I.

King Charles I of England granted a charter for a new colony called Carolana that included much of present-day Georgia, along with the current states of North and South Carolina, on October 30, 1629.

Georgia’s first Royal Governor, John Reynolds, arrived at Savannah on October 29, 1754.

On October 27, 1775, King George III addressed Parliament, raising concerns about an American rebellion.

The First of the Federalist Papers, an essay by Alexander Hamilton published under the pseudonym Publius, was published on October 27, 1787.

John Hancock resigned as President of the Continental Congress on October 29, 1777.

The United States and Spain signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo, also called Pinckney’s Treaty on October 27, 1795, setting the 31st parallel as the border between Georgia and Florida.

The nation’s first Gold Rush started after Benjamin Parks discovered gold in what is now Lumpkin County, Georgia on October 27, 1828.

Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 27, 1858.

Stephen Douglas of Illinois campaigned in Atlanta for President of the United States on October 30, 1860. Douglas had defeated Abraham Lincoln for United States Senate in 1858, giving rise to the Lincoln-Douglas style of debate.

The Battle of Wauhatchie, one of a handful of night battles in the Civil War, began along the Georgia-Tennessee border on October 28, 1863.

On October 30, 1871, Republican Benjamin Conley became acting Governor of Georgia after Republican Governor Rufus Bullock resigned; Conley served as President of the state Senate before taking office as Governor.

Conley took the oath of office on Oct. 30, 1871. Two days later, the new General Assembly convened and elected a new Democratic president of the Senate, but Conley refused to give up the office. The General Assembly then passed a law over Conley’s veto to hold a special election for governor on the third Tuesday in December. In that election, Democratic House speaker James M. Smith defeated Conley and assumed office Jan. 12, 1872.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886; the first ticker tape parade followed.

President Woodrow Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act, which implemented the Eighteenth Amendment prohibition on alcohol, on October 27, 1919; the House overrode his veto that same day and the United States Senate overrode the veto on October 28, 1919.

Navy Day was established on October 27, 1922.

October 27 was suggested by the Navy League to recognize Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday. Roosevelt had been an Assistant Secretary of the Navy and supported a strong Navy as well as the idea of Navy Day. In addition, October 27 was the anniversary of a 1775 report issued by a special committee of the Continental Congress favoring the purchase of merchant ships as the foundation of an American Navy.

The New York Stock Exchange crashed on October 29, 1929, beginning the spiral to the Great Depression.

On October 30, 1938, a science fiction drama called War of the Worlds was broadcast nationwide in the form of a series of simulated radio broadcasts.

The first ballpoint pen went on sale at Gimbel’s Department Store on October 29, 1945.

Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 30, 1945, becoming the first African-American professional baseball player in the major leagues.

The Cuban Missile Crisis ended on October 28, 1962 as Kruschev agreed to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba if the United States would respect Cuban sovereignty.

Ronald Reagan delivered the “A Time for Choosing” speech on October 27, 1964.

And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man.

This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down—[up] man’s old—old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

On October 30, 1970, a fastball from Nolan Ryan was timed at 100.9 miles per hour, putting him in the record books.

On the same day, Jim Morrison of the Doors was sentenced to six months in prison and a $500 fine for allegedly exposing himself during a Miami concert. Morrision died before the case was heard on appeal.

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia on October 29, 1971.

Gladys Knight and the Pips reached #1 with “Midnight Train to Georgia” on October 27, 1973.

Jimmy Carter campaigned in New York on October 27, 1976.

Democratic President Jimmy Carter debated Republican Ronald Reagan in Cleveland, Ohio on October 28, 1980.

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Andrew Young was elected Mayor of Atlanta on October 27, 1981.

The Augusta Chronicle writes about the October 28, 1981 election of the city’s first Black mayor.

Edward M. McIntyre, who had been Richmond County’s first Black commissioner, was elected Augusta’s first Black mayor by more than a 1,000-vote margin in a runoff election.

“I’m just eager to go to work,” he said the day after his victory. “I’m delighted the people saw fit to give us a majority vote, and I look forward to working with city councilmen because they’re people with a tremendous amount of talent that we need.”

The Atlanta Braves beat the Cleveland Indians 1-0 to win the World Series on October 28, 1995.

Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy accepted the last Ford Taurus built in Hapeville, Georgia on October 27, 2006.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Order #10.26.22.01, suspending from office Morgan County Sheriff Richard D. Morgan after he was indicted on allegations of Violation of Public Oath by an Officer and one count of Sexual Battery.

Governor Kemp campaigned in coastal Georgia yesterday, according to The Brunswick News.

He said the decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the state’s economy moving were the right ones, saving many people’s livelihoods.

“It is a bad feeling when you are worried about losing your house, when you are worried about losing your business that you started with a truck, a pick and a shovel,” Kemp told the crowd.

He pointed to the state’s quick recovery from the pandemic and two years of record tax revenue as evidence, reminding supporters that the state had returned $1.6 billion of last year’s $2.2 billion surplus to state residents earlier this year.

With revenues reaching record levels again this year, Kemp said he plans to push the state legislature to implement a one-time homeowner grant program to reduce 2022 property tax bills by 15-25%.

Kemp touched on a variety of other political hotspots as well, including inflation — crediting his executive order suspending the state’s 29.1-cent gas tax with helping Georgians cope with rising prices he claimed is caused by Democrat policy — reopening schools after the COVID-19 pandemic and rural health care expansion, among others.

Remote learning can’t replace a traditional classroom education, he said, which made it an obvious decision for his administration to support Jefferson High School in Northeast Georgia when it reopened in August 2020.

According to the Kemp campaign, he plans to stop for breakfast in St. Mary’s at Seagle’s Restaurant, deliver another speech at the Folkston Railroad Transportation Museum in Folkston and take lunch at Hutcheson Plantation in Glynn County today.

Governor Kemp also campaigned in Darien, according to WTOC.

McIntosh County voters and leaders gathered outside of the county courthouse to see the governor today.

During his speech, he focused on what he calls the deliverables of his past term in office including suspending the gas tax, as well as promises for the future – like new tax rebate checks, and his property tax relief grant plan.

“We are fighting every day for the soul of our state. We’re fighting every day to make sure Stacey Abrams doesn’t become our next governor or our next president. One of the reasons we have done so well, is that we have said no to everything she has wanted us to do,” said Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.

Kemp also touted his decisions made during the pandemic including opening schools and the economy before many surrounding states.

From the Associated Press via WSAV:

The focus on energizing each party’s base comes amid heavy early turnout in Georgia, where more than 1.25 million voters had already cast ballots as of Thursday and still nine days of early in-person voting to go in some counties. Mail-in ballots, although diminished from the torrent of 2020, are also arriving at county election offices.

Kemp stumped Thursday at a restaurant in rural Jesup, about 65 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of Savannah, where he spoke to roughly 80 people eating fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans. Kemp worked the room before and after his speech, shaking hands and taking selfies.

Only 30,000 people live in Jesup and surrounding Wayne County. But it’s a deeply conservative area that Kemp carried with 80% of the vote in 2018.

“We’ve got to do it again this year,” Kemp implored the lunchtime crowd at Altamaha Steak and Seafood. “Because we’re in a fight for the soul of our state.”

Hitting the biggest applause line in his stump speech, Kemp asked the crowd to help him “make sure that Stacey Abrams is not going to be your governor or your next president.”

During his 20-minute speech, Kemp slammed Abrams for supporting prolonged pandemic shutdowns and being insufficiently supportive of police. He also noted that Abrams had been considered a potential vice presidential running mate for Biden, whom Kemp blames for inflation.

“These are the policies that are crushing hard-working Georgians right now,” Kemp said. “Those are the things that policy has done to us. What we’re doing is helping you fight through that.”

At the same time, Abrams was imploring a majority-Black crowd at a plaza in downtown Milledgeville to back her policy-heavy agenda.

“If you want more money in your pocket, say more!,” Abrams shouted, hoarse from campaigning. “If you want more opportunity in your community, say more! If you want more freedom in your lives, say more! If you want more for the future of our children, say more!”

Kemp wasn’t done in Jesup, going on to the crossroads of Nahunta. It’s a place that might draw blank stares among Atlanta Democrats, but it’s the county seat of Brantley County, the most Republican county in Georgia in recent years. Kemp won 91% of the vote there in 2018.

Democrat Stacey Abrams campaigned in Milledgeville, according to 13WMAZ.

Democratic candidate for state governor Stacey Abrams rolled through Milledgeville Thursday on her “Let’s Get it Done” tour.

“I’m running for governor for the whole state of Georgia, even the folks who want to lift their voices to drown me out,” Abrams says.

She explains that the state needs a governor who will stand by them, and says Governor Brian Kemp has failed Georgians in many ways.

“Yeah, she said a man messed it up, and a woman’s going to fix it up,” said Tiffany Hawkins, a recent graduate of Georgia College.

Stacey Abrams says she also hopes to make technical colleges in Georgia free for all folks again.

Herschel Walker campaigned alongside United States Senator Ted Cruz in Dublin, according to 13WMAZ.

Alongside the senate hopeful was Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who warmed up the crowd. Hundreds greeted Walker and Cruz in downtown Dublin. Part of the sea of people in the Market on Madison was Taylor Outlaw from Danville. She was there with her baby son.

“Rising costs of inflation. Gas is insane, trying to go to work and make a living,” Outlaw said.

In his speech, Walker echoed the same, blaming Senator Warnock and other Democrats for rising prices.

“After two years after being into office, you see where we’re at today: this inflation. You see what he’s doing with our police, but let me talk about our military,” Walker said.

Next, he questioned the use of people’s preferred pronouns in the military.

“Senator Warnock and Joe Biden are talking about bringing pronouns in our military. Do y’all know what pronouns are? I don’t even know what pronouns are,” he told the crowd.

“China’s not talking about fueling up a tank in the desert with electricity,” Walker said. “They’re talking about war and we’re talking about the ‘green agenda.’ The ‘green agenda?’ Are you serious?”

“I believe in life. I’m sorry to tell you that. I believe in life. And he said to me, ‘Herschel you know what? A patient and a doctor cannot be in the same room as the government.’ And I said, ‘Sir, you forget there’s a baby in that room, too.’ He forgot about that. There’s a baby in the room, too,” he said.

Also in Walker’s speech was his opposition to President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness policy and his desire to keep funding law enforcement.

 

 

 

 

 

United States Representative Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) has been sued in relation to the overuse of opioids, according to WTOC.

A motion has since been filed to withdraw his name from the lawsuit.

On Oct. 19, Savannah-based attorney Mark Tate filed a motion in Chatham County Superior Court to add U.S. Congressman Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-District 1 Ga.) and his previously owned pharmacies to the lawsuit.

Rep. Carter is accused of contributing to the regional opioid crisis by receiving a large number of opioid prescriptions. The numbers of prescriptions his pharmacies received are listed in a federal database that tracks opioid shipments to pharmacies and hospitals in the U.S.

Carter has since closed his pharmacies. In a prepared statement, Rep. Carter called the accusations baseless and said since there had been a filing to withdraw his name and “there is no case to respond to or speak of.” He went on to say he is proud of his record “combatting America’s opioid epidemic, including my bipartisan Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act that was signed into law.”

 

 

 

 

 

Chatham County’s ongoing disagreement with its municipalities could lead to higher property taxes, according to WTOC.

Chatham County and city officials within the county have until the end of the year to settle negotiations on how revenue from the Local Option Sales Tax , referred to as LOST, or the money goes away.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson says the millage rate could be higher for residents as well if they don’t come to an agreement.

Mayor Van Johnson says he asked the city manager to start looking into budget adjustments just in case they can’t figure out an agreement on how the Local Option Sales Tax will be split.

The mayor says the millage rate could increase by nine mils to make up for the money they would miss out on if they don’t come to a compromise.

LOST is a 1 percent levy typically paid on good and services. It’s projected to bring in 107 million dollars that would be split nine ways.

Mayor Johnson says cities in this county generate the revenue and deserve more than half of it.

“The reality is that cities are the economic drivers of this community. I don’t think telling our residents, ‘oh well you’re going to get half of what you got before. We still have to raise your taxes’ is fair to city residents who happen to be county residents. That’s the point,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said.

If they don’t come to an agreement by December 31st, they’ll lose that money that adds up to over 100 million dollars.

Savannah City Council is considering new names for the former Calhoun Square, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah City Council on Thursday held a public hearing regarding a potential vote to remove John Calhoun’s name from one of the city’s downtown squares, almost two years after a group of local activists began working to change the name.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said he expects to get a council vote on stripping the name off the square “hopefully in the first meeting in November,” which will be Nov. 10.

But their efforts have come with opposition, and on Tuesday, several residents spoke about keeping Calhoun’s name on the square, citing the importance of not changing history. Calhoun was the U.S. vice president from 1825 to 1832 and was an outspoken pro-slavery advocate.

To expedite the change, Mayor Johnson recommended splitting the process into two issues: Removal of the name followed by choosing a new name. At his weekly media roundtable Wednesday, he said his intention is to allow the public more opportunity to give input about the square’s new name.

Camden County commissioners are considering an alternative location for the Spaceport Camden, according to The Brunswick News.

Camden County commissioners will consider potential uses for the former Bayer CropScience property adjacent to the Union Carbide tract planned as the launch site for Spaceport Camden.

During a Camden County Office of Planning and Development meeting Wednesday, board members heard six proposals for the property, two of which were recommended for consideration by commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.

A request for a special use to allow space research and technology at the site was recommended for approval.

The site is adjacent to the Union Carbide site county commissioners wanted to purchase as the launch site for a spaceport already approved by the Federal Aviation Administration once a launch site had been purchased.

Camden County voters last spring voted by more than 70% to prohibit county officials from spending any more money on the project, which has already cost an estimated $11 million.

Chatham County held a public funeral for the unclaimed remains of more than 500 people, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Greenwich is tucked away behind the gates of neighboring Bonaventure Cemetery. County officials, led by Coroner David Campbell and Chatham Commission Chairman Chester A. Ellis, honored the lives of those whose cremated remains The were never claimed by family members.

The remains were placed into four separate vaults, about the same size as a coffin, and buried. A granite slab including the names of the deceased contained within will be placed over each of the four burial plots.

The remains span nearly 80 years of time: the oldest were from the 1940s, and the most recent remains were from earlier this month.

Columbus City Council is seeking input from residents on how to spend nearly $40 million dollars in remaining COVID relief funds, according to WTVM.

Last year, the Consolidated government received a total of $78.4 million dollars after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, providing economic relief to help states recover from the pandemic.

The first half of the funds — a little under $40 million — was received last summer. Some of those funds were used to purchase automated trash pickup services and provide households with 96-gallon trash bins.

“The truck have been ordered. We have the bins. Most of the citizens, if not all of the citizens have received those bins,” said Deputy City Manager Pam Hodge. “Another item that was utilized in the Phase one funding was the purchase of ambulances. We anticipate delivery of those in the next month or so.”

The second half of the funds was received this summer. However, before those funds are allocated, city leaders held a public meeting for input on how to spend the money on Thursday evening.

Deputy City Manager Pam Hodge says they’ve already received a list of requests from various places like a $2 million dollar funding request from the Golf Authority.

The final list of recommendations will be submitted to City Council for a vote in November.

The Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Board of Directors named Collie Greenwood as the new CEO, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.

“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity,” Greenwood said. “I love transit and have known since my days of driving a bus how vital it is to people and their communities.

“I am eager to get to work enhancing and expanding service in the metro Atlanta region.”

Greenwood rose through the ranks over 30 years to serve as chief service officer with the Toronto Transit Commission, the third largest transit system in North America.

He joined MARTA in July 2019 as chief of bus operations and urban planning. He was named deputy general manager of operations early last year, overseeing all bus and rail operations and helping to develop and deliver major capital projects.

Greenwood was named interim general manager and CEO in January of this year following the suicide death of MARTA chief Jeffrey Parker.

 

 

26
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 26, 2022

Colonists in Georgia signed a letter allowing the beginning of the slave trade in Georgia on October 26, 1749.

Georgia Sons of Liberty protested against the British Stamp Act on October 26, 1765.

A state Constitutional Convention at Milledgeville, Georgia repealed the state’s Ordinance of Secession on October 26, 1865.

President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act on October 26, 2001.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Hall county created a place for election losers to drink after their losses, according to AccessWDUN.

“Goat Rock has been a long-standing legend of Hall County since the early 1960s, a place where the losers of elections would go to drown their sorrows,” Sammy Smith, Gainesville Board of Education member said. “By securing a physical Goat Rock, Hall County residents and visitors alike can enjoy a piece of local lore.”

“It’s exciting when citizens participate in the creation of our local landscape, especially with a project like this, as so many Hall County residents can recall hearing the stories about Goat Rock in their youth,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Richard Higgins said.

“Although the actual location of Goat Rock in Hall County was never known, we feel its placement on the Highlands to Islands trail is appropriate and will provide ample opportunity for visitors (and losing electors) to enjoy its presence,” District 4 Commissioner Jeff Stowe said.

Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Order #10.25.22.01, ordering flags to half-staff in honor of Charley Trippi on the State Capitol, at state properties in Athens-Clarke County and on the University of Georgia campus on November 5, 2022.

From the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting Database:

Total ballots cast: 1,128,462

Total mail ballots cast: 108,364

Total in-person ballots cast: 1,018,395

In-person October 17, 2022: 134,792

In-person October 18, 2022: 135,076 *

In-person October 19, 2022: 127,802 *

In-person October 20, 2022: 123,003

In-person October 21, 2022: 141,692

In-person October 22, 2022: 80,280

In-person October 23, 2022: 18,128*

In-person October 24, 2022: 132,992

In-person October 25, 2022: 124,567

In-person undated: 62

Total Electronic ballots cast (overseas and military voters): 1,703

Note: In Person numbers do not add up as one voter in Glynn County is recorded as having voted in person on 10/13/2022, when early voting was not open.

* this appears to be down from previous numbers for  in person voting

13WMAZ looks at how votes are tallied.

If you voted last election with the new system, you already know how the process to cast your ballot works. You vote on a touchscreen and then get a printed ballot.

Holland says once you make your selections for each race, you get a printed ballot, showing your choices.

“The voter then has a chance to review it on the printed ballot,” [Houston County Elections Assistant Supervisor Andy] Holland said.

Then, you take your copy of the ballot to the tabulator.

“The ballots are counted as the voter scans them. It’s the scanner that actually tabulates the votes,” Holland said.

Then, there’s a whole different process with counting absentee ballots.

“Whether you mailed it or dropped it off in the drop box, once the Board of Election receives your ballot, we check their information to make sure it matches the application to verify the voter’s identity,” Holland said.

Once it’s verified, Holland says they store them in a secure location until it’s time to open and scan them. The early scanning process begins Wednesday, October 26 where we scan it through an ICC scanning unit to be tabulated.

That tabulator will officially count your absentee vote.

In some cases, the tabulator can’t count an absentee ballot so it falls into the court of a “vote review panel” made up of the Board of Elections and representatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties.

“If there’s any ballot that has an overvote or stray mark or something the scanner can’t make a determination on. We’ll go to the voter review board and they’ll determine the voter’s intent,” Holland said.

For fun, here’s my favorite story about election workers trying to determine a voter’s intent:

Someone in Scotland wrote “WANK” beside every party on their ballot, other than the Green Party, beside which was written “not wank”. According to Scottish Law that indicates “Clear preference” and the vote got counted hahahahaha

From the Macon Telegraph:

Bibb County has seen a steady stream of early voters since the polls opened, with more than 1,000 voters a day except Sunday. 11,099 votes were cast as of Monday evening, according to the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections website. The county has roughly 115,000 registered voters, according to the county’s Interim Elections Supervisor Thomas Gillon. With a population of 119,000 people of voting age, that’s good for a 96% registration rate.

The Rome News Tribune has an excellent analysis of early voting trends, written by Diane Wagner.

[Fourteenth Congressional District] Turnout as of Wednesday morning was at 105.8% of the rate during the same period for the 2018 midterms. But the boost is coming from Polk, Paulding and Catoosa counties. Comparisons for the other 8 counties ranged from 55.9% in Dade to 96.3% in Murray. The rate in Floyd County was 80.4% of the early voting rate in 2018.

It is worth reading in it’s entirety.

From the AJC:

Turnout in Georgia’s election surged past 1 million voters Tuesday, continuing a daily trend of record-breaking participation in a midterm election with two weeks remaining before Election Day.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said voters are flocking to in-person early voting locations, which are open six days a week for three weeks across Georgia. Fifteen counties also offered Sunday voting.

“This isn’t a victory lap yet. We’re about halfway through the second quarter, but we need to encourage everyone to go out to vote and not discourage them,” Raffensperger said Tuesday at a press conference at the Capitol. “We need to let them know their vote will be counted and counted accurately, not that their vote will be stolen.”

By the time polls close at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8, overall turnout is expected to easily surpass the 3.9 million Georgia voters who participated in the last midterm election four years ago but likely fall short of the 5 million ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election.

Turnout this year is 55% higher than at this point in the 2018 midterms, according to state election data. About 90% of voters cast ballots in person, and the remaining 10% had returned absentee ballots.

It’s unclear whether high turnout benefits one political party over another. So far, female voters and those over 65 have been two of the highest-turnout demographic groups. By race, turnout has been elevated among both Black and white voters, while Hispanic and Asian American voters each accounted for just 1.5% of voters so far.

Governor Brian Kemp participated in the groundbreaking for the new Hyundai plant in Bryan County, according to a press release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp, along with Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) Executive Chair Euisun Chung and company officials, officially broke ground today on Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America’s (HMGMA) new manufacturing plant at the Bryan County Megasite, joined by state, local, and federal officials. The $5.54 billion investment for this facility by the company and its affiliate suppliers was announced in May of this year and includes plans to produce a diverse range of innovative, fully electric vehicles (EV) and a new battery manufacturing facility.

HMGMA will create more than 8,100 jobs over the next few years as the company establishes a stable supply chain for EV battery and associated components in the U.S. market. HMGMA’s new smart factory is expected to begin commercial production in the first half of 2025.

“With more Georgians working than ever before, record jobs and investment coming to all parts of our state, and award-winning workforce development programs and infrastructure, the Peach State’s economy is reaching new heights,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “Our partnership with Hyundai Motor Group and the groundbreaking of this innovative facility exemplifies that unprecedented success. With a long-term commitment to improving lives and livelihoods, we look forward to continuing this partnership and seeing its impact on both this community and our state as a whole.”

“Hyundai and the people of Georgia share many qualities: respect for our histories, ingenuity, creativity, and determination to make the world better for the next generation,” said Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisun Chung. “Today, our EVs are recognized as best in class, and with this partnership, we are determined to be the global leader in electrification, safety, quality, and sustainability. With the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America, we will continue to evolve beyond an automaker to the world’s leading mobility solutions provider.”

Today’s celebration included a morning groundbreaking on-site, along with an expo and program at Enmarket Arena in Savannah, where the company highlighted its “advanced technology and extraordinary human achievement” with a wide array of exhibits for hundreds of attendees.

In addition to their commitment to creating new jobs and opportunities in Georgia, HMG celebrated and announced new connections with the local economy that will enrich the health of local communities through its corporate social responsibility programs, totaling $1.54 million.

This includes programs through the company’s social responsibility initiatives, Hyundai Hope and Genesis Gives, which have collectively committed $120,000 to roughly ten organizations supporting local communities in and around Bryan County.

Hyundai also announced a $120,000 donation to Georgia Tech for STEM education scholarships. Hyundai Hope On Wheels presented $500,000 Hyundai Scholar Hope and Young Investigator Grants to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Genesis Inspiration Foundation presented donations totaling $200,000 to two Georgia-based nonprofit organizations, Drawchange and Paint Love.

Additionally, Kia’s “Accelerate the Good” program donated $600,000 to help local youth realize their hopes and dreams with gifts to Family Promise of the Coastal Empire, America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Inspiredu.

“Today’s groundbreaking and community celebration signifies Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America’s commitment to this community and to the Savannah region. Beyond the $5.54 billion in investment and the 8,100 jobs that they will bring to the region, they are already making an impact by connecting and contributing to our community with contributions to various nonprofits,” said Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority Chairman Carter Infinger.

“Sixteen years ago, Hyundai Motor Group placed a bet on Georgia. Since that time, the company has become a Georgia company, changing the lives of thousands of Georgians not only in West Point, but across the state. Today we celebrate a new beginning, doubling down on an already successful partnership,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Hyundai is dedicated to giving back to the community wherever they go, and their innovative spirit keeps them at the cutting-edge of technology. The Bryan County facility will directly create jobs of the future for the Savannah area and support opportunities in the EV revolution for Georgians across the state. We’re thankful to Governor Kemp, to the Savannah JDA, and to all of the partners who helped bring this project to our state.”

Central to the selection of the Bryan County Megasite was its close proximity to the Port of Savannah. Under the leadership of Griff Lynch and the Georgia Ports Authority, the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick have expanded to meet the recent challenges and helped move record amounts of cargo. With connections to the port by both rail and highway, Hyundai will be able to access global markets quickly and efficiently. As evidenced by record-breaking global commerce and trade numbers, Georgia has the tools companies need to meet consumers where they are.

On top of Hyundai’s direct contributions to the region, non-affiliated HMGMA suppliers in connection with the project will invest approximately $1 billion in other locations around the state. Learn more about the project at www.georgia.org/hyundaimotorgroup.

About Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor Group is a global enterprise that has created a value chain based on mobility, steel, and construction, as well as logistics, finance, IT, and service. With about 250,000 employees worldwide, the Group’s mobility brands include Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis. Armed with creative thinking, cooperative communication and the will to take on any challenges, we strive to create a better future for all. For more information about Hyundai Motor Group, please see www.hyundaimotorgroup.com.

From the Statesboro Herald:

Gov. Brian Kemp, Republican, Georgia’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats, and the Republic of Korea’s ambassador to the United States were among the officials who wielded shovels in a sort of big sandbox in front of the stage within a huge, walled and carpeted tent at a previously remote location in Bryan County. This is on the 2,287-acre “Mega Site” purchased by the state and a Joint Development Authority, or JDA, whose four member counties are Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham and Effingham. With actual construction slated to begin in early 2023 for the plant to be producing vehicles in the first half of 2025, portions should soon become visible to passersby on I-16.

Kemp during his remarks identified the plant as “Georgia’s largest economic development project ever,” and Ambassador Tae-yong Cho proclaimed, “This is a great day for both the United States and the Republic of Korea.”

Sen. Jon Ossoff and Sen. Raphael Warnock did not speak from the stage. But when U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves did, his assertion of the role played by President Joe Biden’s goals for electric vehicle, or EV, production contrasted somewhat with Kemp’s crediting of Georgia’s long-term “conservative, common-sense governance” with bringing a surge of new manufacturing to the state.

The first speaker on stage before the shovels were plunged into the symbolic earth was José Muñoz, global president and chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor Company and CEO of Hyundai and Genesis North America.

“We heard the clarion call of this administration to hasten the adoption of new electric vehicles and reduce carbon emissions,” Muñoz said. “So, we took action.”

When Kemp came to the microphone, he personally thanked Muñoz and Hyundai Motor Group’s Executive Chair Euisun Chung and other Hyundai and Kia executives by name.

“To the entire Hyundai Motor Group team, on behalf of all Georgians, I want to say thank you for bringing even more jobs to the number-one state for business,” Kemp said. “I also want to say thank you to our original HMG partners, Kia, who made a transformational investment in our state over a decade and a half ago and continues to be such a valued friend.”

The governor, who didn’t mention he is in a race for re-election with early voting underway, called the plant’s construction “incredibly monumental” even for a state he said seems “to make history every day” with its economy.

“We have the lowest unemployment rate in the history of our state, and we’ve never seen as much job creation and investment in the Peach State in a single year, all because we made the tough call, and the right call, to protect and fight for both lives and livelihoods during the pandemic, and that’s because we trusted our citizens instead of a lot of short-sighted politicians, and because we did, we’re now making history yet again,” Kemp said.

Since 2020, by his count, he has announced 30 “electric mobility-related projects” expected to bring more than more than $13 billion in investment and more than 18,910 jobs to Georgia, including the 8,100 at the Hyundai plant.

[Don] Graves, the [U.S.] deputy commerce secretary, then credited U.S.-Korea cooperation in this project to the administration’s goal for electric vehicles.

“It’s a reflection of President Biden’s direct engagement with our friends in South Korea, which is leading to new investments just like this,” Graves said. “Hyundai’s electric vehicle expansion is also in line with the Biden administration’s effort to tackle climate change, move to clean energy, move to domestic sources of energy and set the U.S. on the path to achieve net-zero admissions by 2050.”

From the Savannah Morning News:

Site prep is underway, with foundational pads set to be installed by year’s end, according to Savannah Economic Development Authority CE Trip Tollison.

While construction to build-out the 11-building, 16-million-square-foot “metaplant” is slated to take at least two years, the groundbreaking signals a significant shift in the automotive industry that will have an yet-imagined impact on the local, state and national economy — and is imagined as the catalyst for kickstarting the nation’s turnover from gas engines to electric vehicles.

“The automotive industry will see more change in the next 10 years than in the prior 100,”  Kemp said during Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony. “Thanks to Hyundai Motor Group, the local partners, the state partners, and the partners here today, that future is going to be made right here.”

“Hyundai’s electric vehicle expansion is also in line with the Biden Administration’s effort to tackle climate change, move to clean energy, move to domestic sources of energy and sets the U.S. on the path to achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” said Don Graves, U.S. deputy secretary of commerce. “An important piece of that goal is President Biden’s ambitious target to make EVs half of all new car sales by 2030.”

The state has already seen significant investment in electric vehicles and clean energy. Rivian announced a $5 billion manufacturing plant in Georgia earlier this year  And Qcells, a solar energy manufacturing company, announced a $171 million expansion at its Dalton plant. The U.S. government is investing $7 billion in infrastructure for electric vehicle charging, and beefing up the battery supply-chain network so the country is not reliant on foreign suppliers.

Ossoff said investment is a win for combatting climate change, even though the extraction process for the raw materials in the computer chips required for electric vehicles (2,000 per car) can wreak havoc on air quality.

“I’ll continue working with colleagues in Congress, the Biden administration, the state government and our industrial partners to work to make those supply chains as clean and sustainable as possible,” Ossoff said.

South Korea’s ambassador to the U.S., Cho Tae-yong, said 130 Korean companies have invested in Georgia by establishing operations in the Peach State.

“The Korea-U.S. partnership is flourishing here in the Peach State of Georgia,” Cho said. “Ladies and gentlemen, the site we come to visit today will become another landmark in the history of Korean investments in the United States.”

The metaplant will bring at least 8,100 jobs with an average salary of $58,105, according to the $1.8 billion incentive package brokered between Hyundai and the State of Georgia. It will be built at the 3,000-acre site located near I-95 and I-16.

Workforce development programs made in coordination with local higher education institutions and public school districts are in the works to train local populations to staff the plant and related industry.

“Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham and Effingham Counties are now part of the Hyundai family,” [Hyundai CEO and President Jaehoon “Jay”] Chang told the crowd at the Enmarket Arena Tuesday.

From the AJC:

Gov. Brian Kemp used the platform to tout his decision to roll back coronavirus restrictions in the opening months of the pandemic.

And South Korea’s ambassador to the U.S., Tae-yong Cho, delivered pointed remarks about a provision in the federal climate change law as Democratic U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock sat in the front row.

“Korean companies are now at risk of being disadvantaged by the EV credits of this act,” he said.

Cho referred to a measure in the Democratic-passed law that would require all EVs to undergo final assembly in North America to qualify for lucrative incentives. Since Hyundai’s factory won’t be operational until 2025, that would mean the automaker’s customers could lose out on the break.

Governor Brian Kemp has been endorsed by former Democratic Governor Joe Frank Harris, according to the AJC.

Gov. Brian Kemp picks up another Democratic endorsement today with a nod from former Gov. Joe Frank Harris, a conservative Democrat.

Harris said in a statement he is “proud of the tough decisions (Kemp) has made during these challenging times.”

Kemp responded in kind, saying in a statement that “Georgia is better off today thanks to Gov. Joe Frank Harris.”

Harris is the second big Democratic name to endorse Kemp this week. On Monday, former first lady Shirley Miller, the wife of the late Gov. Zell Miller, also came out in support of the governor’s reelection.

The Kemp campaign’s decision to highlight the Harris and Miller endorsements this week is another example of the conservative Republican working to expand his appeal past his GOP base and court independent voters — and even a few Democrats — with less than two weeks left until Election Day.

United States Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff (D-Atlanta) appeared together at a rally in Savannah, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Democratic Party’s Savannah election campaign office is not in a glamorous location. But on Tuesday afternoon, the parking lot in front of the space, which is sandwiched between two hair salons behind the Circle K gas station on U.S. 17, played host to both of Georgia’s U.S. senators.

Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff came to U.S House candidate Wade Herring’s get-out-the-vote rally staged in front of the office, campaigning together for the first time since the 2020 election. Warnock and Ossoff last tag-teamed ahead of the U.S. Senate runoffs, when both unseated incumbent Republicans and gave Democrats majority control of the Senate.

Herring, a political newcomer, is running against longtime incumbent Republican Rep. Buddy Carter.

Senator Warnock also appeared in Brunswick, according to The Brunswick News.

The Democratic senator made a campaign stop in Glynn County to encourage local voters to support him and his party during the midterm election Nov. 8.

“We have important moral work to do,” Warnock said. “I know that this is a political campaign, but if I’m just going to show up looking like another transactional politician — and there’s no shortage of them — then there was no reason for a pastor to get involved in something as messy as politics.”

“The first time I came to this very spot during the last cycle, hardly no one was here,” Warnock recalled. “Few people knew me, but not that many. Well a few things have changed since then.”

“Election season has begun,” [Glynn County Democratic Party Chair Julie] Jordan said. “… Glynn County and the entire state of Georgia have been breaking early voting records, and that’s good for Democrats.”

From the AJC:

Both Walker and Warnock are making a final push to avoid the four-week runoff period that would reset the race and require millions more in campaign resources.

Warnock unveiled a new TV ad this week that shows him intruding on a family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

“That’s right. I could be interrupting your Thanksgiving. Because if nobody gets 50% of the vote, there’ll be a runoff,” he says. “And nobody wants that to happen.”

Walker used a campaign stop in Ellijay on Tuesday to push Republican voters to turn out and end the election in November.

“Tell 10 of your friends to go vote. That’s it. And if you don’t have friends, make friends. Go vote,” said Walker. “I’m going to win that election. And I promise you, I promise you, I’ll fight for you.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker campaigned in Dawsonville, according to AccessWDUN.

“You’ve got to start representing the people that voted you into office, or you need to go,” Walker said. “If you don’t know, you’ve got to go. That’s what we need to put in now, we need to put strong leaders in Washington that have forgotten about being a politician, and be these people that are good, decent people. People that believe in this country, believe in this American fire.”

One local named Suzy said many of the issues facing their year’s election hit close to home for her.

“I wanted to find out what he would do about all of our farms being bought up here,” Suzy said. “I mean, the single-family homes have been bought up at 60% by Blackrock. … And they make them so unaffordable for people to live, you know. And then the farms are being bought up by Bill Gates at an alarming rate. I want to know what they’re going to do about that. I mean, I’m a farm girl, and all of our prices have gone through the roof.”

Suzy also mentioned the rising prices of medication, which has challenged her financially as her daughter battles a brain tumor. Suzy stated one monthly shot alone can cost upwards of $2,000. Additionally, the seed, hay, feed and grains that used to cost her farm $90 now cost her $140. Suzy said  these key issues brought her to the rally.

For disabled veteran Tony, the Senate race has a lot to do with trust, history and lowering economic costs. Tony says he’s been following Walker since his high school days in the 70s. Being toward the end of a long battle with lung cancer, Tony said with medical prices so high, it’s been difficult to afford groceries, among other things.

WJBF writes about upcoming campaign events in the Augusta area.

Wednesday, Governor Kemp will be visiting voters in Baxley Georgia, while Stacey Abrams will be in the upstate.

Thursday afternoon, Abrams will be in Grovetown at 806 Horizon S Pkwy at 3:30 and Augusta at IBEW Local 1579 at 6 p.m.

[Herschel] Walker will be in Cleveland, Georgia on Wednesday with several guests including Sen. Lindsey Graham.

And Senator Warnock will visit the CSRA Wednesday, making a stop in Swainsboro before heading to Augusta.

Senator Warnock will be at the City Auditorium in Swainsboro at 2:15 p.m and his rally in Augusta will be at the Henry Brigham Senior Center at 6 p.m.

13WMAZ profiles the candidates for State House District 133, Republican Ken Vance, and Democrat Hoganne Harrison- Walton.

Vance served on Milledgeville’s City Council for decades and is a former law enforcement officer and educator.

“I’ve built a life of public service” he says.

They offer different solutions to improving public safety. Vance says raising the salaries and benefits of law enforcement officers will improve it, while Harrison-Walton wants to crack down on open carry laws.

“It’s the local people that are suffering. We’ve got to come up with a way to help local law enforcement. I wish we’d treat law enforcement like we do teachers. Have a set salary and have local supplements, like they do teachers,” Vance explains

“We should not be allowed to just open carry. That needs to be repealed as soon as possible. These policies are affecting Georgia economically, and also on local level public safety. I am an advocate for protecting yourself, protecting your family, protecting your home, but I do not think guns should be in public,” Harrison-Walton explains.

“We’ve got to find a way in our legislature to have some kind of pause button on inflation because a loaf of bread used to be $1.29, and now it’s $3.95 for the same loaf of bread, so inflation to me is the largest thing. People got to pay– they got to have the wherewithal to pay the bills,” he says.

“I have 28 years on the Milledgeville City Council, 49 as a law enforcement officer. I have the experience. I do have the familiarity with that process, which I think puts me ahead of most people,” says Vance.

Georgia State House District 158 Democratic nominee Madeline Ryan Smith will hold a Town Hall meeting on Saturday, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Monroe County voters will decide on a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST) on the November ballot, according to 13WMAZ.

As Monroe County voters make their way to the polls, the Board of Education is asking you to remember their students and staff.

The Education Special Purpose Local Option Tax is back on the ballot for renewal.

The ESPLOST is a one-cent tax collected from anyone who shops in Monroe County, visitors or residents. Folks in Monroe have been paying this penny tax since 1999.

Since then, under the current ESPLOST they have raised over $104 million. In the upcoming cycle the district expects to raise $40 million.
School Superintendent Mike Hickman says if the ESPLOST passes they have big plans.

“New buses, technology for students and staff, white fleet, which are trucks and vehicles that we use in the system,” says Hickman.

Voters have the opportunity to vote on this tax until Election Day November 8.

Gwinnett County will close its rental assistance program, according to AccessWDUN.

In a press release, the county said the program would close as soon as the county reaches its full commitment.

Gwinnett County was tasked with spending over $55 million from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program in April 2021 with the goal of helping those impacted by the pandemic.

The county then received an additional $39.9 million to support its Project RESET 2.0 emergency rental and utility assistance program after being recognized by the U.S. Treasury as a top performer.

“To date, Gwinnett has processed nearly $79.3 million in financial assistance for 6,909 households ensuring that 17,164 individuals in Gwinnett County did not have to face an eviction or utility disconnection,” the press release reads.

That’s an average of $11,477.82 per household helped.

Speaking, as we did earlier this week, about government redeveloping old commercial properties, Gwinnett County is expected to spend more than $158 million to renovate Gwinnett Place Mall, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The redevelopment of Gwinnett Place Mall won’t happen without significant public investment from the county government, Gwinnett commissioners learned this week.

Consultants warned that much of the work will cost the county an estimated $158 million, but there’s a catch to that figure. It does not include some key costs related to redeveloping the mall property so the county will likely end up spending a lot more than the $158 million figure.

“That doesn’t include the affordable housing,” project manager Allison Stewart-Harris said. “It also does not include demolition. There’s a lot of unknowns around that …
“We think with that investment of the ($158) million, that would leverage about $863.2 million in private investment so you end up with a leverage ratio of ($1 in public money) to almost $7 of private money.”

The plan is to create a Global Villages redevelopment with seven villages built where the mall currently stands. It would have between 2,700 and 3,800 new residential units units, about 55,000-square-feet of new retail, about 50,000-square-feet of commercial office space, a 50,000-square-foot cultural center and 12.7 acres of park space.

“What we determined is the private sector would build those villages, that residential component, commercial spaces and those small-scale green spaces, but the rest of that, in order for this to work financially is really going to come under the public sector,” Stewart-Harris said.

On the flip side, Stewart-Harris said the redevelopment of the Gwinnett Place Mall property is expected to result in 3,200 direct, indirect and induced jobs, as well as $138.2 million in permanent wages.

There will also be a tax benefit for both the county government and Gwinnett County Public Schools.

“(The) annual tax revenues, once everything is built out, will be about $3.2 million into the (county’s) general fund and $8.2 million to the school district,” Stewart-Harris said.

Houston County and Sheriff Cullen Talton are appealing a federal court order compelling the county to pay for an employee’s gender-reassignment surgery, according to 13WMAZ.

This spring, the judge ruled that Houston County violated Anna Lange’s civil rights by denying the surgery, and last month, a jury ordered the county to pay Lange $60,000 in pain and suffering after a three-year legal fight.

The county’s appeal now heads to a federal appeals court in Atlanta which can decide whether to take up the case.

Her lawyer says the surgery would cost around $20,000. He says the county has spent $1 million over three years fighting Lange.

Valdosta City Council voted to issue $2 million dollars in grants to local businesses from federal COVID relief funds, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The funds are part of the Valdosta portion of the American Rescue Plan Act allocation for a Small Business Grant Program as a counterpart to the nonprofit grant program set back in April.

Total allocation is $16,254,682 for Valdosta, with half of the allocation being received in June 2021 and $3.2 million of the funds received going to retainage pay to hourly city employees.

The Small Business Grant Program is designed to provide relief to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and help revitalize the city’s economy. The city had received 234 applications totaling $3.9 million of potentially eligible requests.

Applications were divided based on location in the Qualified Census Tract as defined by ARPA, minority/female/veteran ownership and time of application receipt.

As applications are prioritized on a first-come, first-serve basis, the $1 million would only serve the first 54 businesses with maximum rewards ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 depending on the business’ gross receipts but are limited to documented eligible expenses.

In his report to Valdosta City Council, City Manager Mark Barber recommended adding $1,550,000 to the allocation amount to at least meet the requests of the first two QCT categories.


Valdosta City Council
also approved a vehicle purchase , according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Valdosta City Council approved its sole bid item at a recent meeting, resulting in a new bucket lift truck for the engineering department that’s $72,700 above the allocated motor pool budget amount.

Funds were budgeted for $90,000, but due to instability in the automotive industry and a two-year backlog of this type of service vehicle, staff had to find a provider that could supply a truck immediately, leading to the deal with Atkins Ford.

Mark Barber, city manager, noted staff knew of no other work truck that would be available within a reasonable amount of time because of the manufacturer’s backlog.

“Due to the nature of the automotive industry, there is a predicted two-year backlog of this type of vehicle on not only the truck but the lifting apparatus as well. After checking with many contacts, staff located one brand-new 2022 model truck available with the lifting apparatus that meets our specifications through the state contract holder … Akins Ford has currently reserved this truck for the City of Valdosta pending the decision of mayor and Council on Oct. 20, 2022 at the City Council,” Barber said in his report.

City Council unanimously approved the request.

25
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 25, 2022

On October 25, 1774, the First Continental Congress addressed a petition to King George III raising concerns about the Coercive Acts passed by Parliament and asserting its loyalty to the monarch.

The wooden keel of USS Monitor was laid at Continental Iron Works at Greenpoint, New York on October 25, 1861.

On October 25, 1980, “You Shook Me All Night Long” became AC/DC’s first top 40 hit.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Order #10.23.22.01, setting a December 20, 2022 special election to fill the House District 129 seat vacated by the death of State Rep. Henry “Wayne” Howard.Continue Reading..

24
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 24, 2022

On October 24, 1733, the Georgia trustees ordered a ship to Rotterdam to pick up a group of Lutherans expelled from Salzburg, Austria, and then send the Salzburgers to Georgia.

On October 24, 1775, Lord John Murray Dunmore, British Governor of Virginia, ordered the British fleet to attack Norfolk, VA.

On October 24, 1790, the Rev. John Wesley wrote the last entry in his journal, which he began keeping on October 14, 1735.

The first American “Unknown Soldier” was chosen on October 24, 1921 in Chalons-sur-Marne, France.

Bearing the inscription “An Unknown American who gave his life in the World War,” the chosen casket traveled to Paris and then to Le Havre, France, where it would board the cruiser Olympia for the voyage across the Atlantic. Once back in the United States, the Unknown Soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

The Charter of the United Nations took effect on October 24, 1945.

On October 24, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower pledged the United States’ support for the South Vietnam government led by President Ngo Dinh Diem.

On October 24, 1976, Newsweek released a poll showing Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter leading President Gerald Ford in 24 states, with a combined 308 electoral voters.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COVID and related school closures created an “historic” achievement gap across the country, according to the Associated Press via WSAV.Continue Reading..

21
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 21, 2022

General James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, signed a treaty with the Spanish government of Florida on October 22, 1736.

USS Constitution, named by President George Washington, was launched in Boston Harbor on October 21, 1791.

During the War of 1812, the Constitution won its enduring nickname “Old Ironsides” after defeating the British warship Guerriére in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shots merely bounced off the Constitution‘s sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood. The success of the Constitution against the supposedly invincible Royal Navy provided a tremendous morale boost for the young American republic.

Today, Constitution serves as a museum ship, and has sailed under her own power as recently as 2012. Southern live oak, harvested and milled on St. Simons Island, Georgia, is a primary construction material for Constitution.

The United States Senate ratified a treaty with France on October 20, 1805, closing the deal on the Louisiana Purchase.

On October 22, 1832, the Cherokee Land Lottery began in Milledgeville, with more than 200,000 Georgians competing for 53,309 lots of land.

Georgia Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation on October 22, 1887 that increased the number of justices on the Georgia Supreme Court from 3 to 5.

On October 21, 1888, the Augusta Chronicle published a letter from General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Pleasant Stovall, editor of The Augusta Chronicle, wrote the famous old general, and what do you know? He answered, in perhaps the most famous letter to the editor ever printed in the newspaper.

It was published Oct. 21, 1888, and basically, the old warhorse said he didn’t attack Augusta because he didn’t have to. He wanted to get to Savan­nah where the Union Navy could bring him supplies.

However, he offered to correct the oversight if Augusta felt neglected, writing: “I can send a detachment of 100,000 or so of Sherman’s Bummers and their descendants who will finish up the job without charging Uncle Sam a cent.”

President Grover Cleveland arrived in Atlanta for the Cotton States and International Exposition on October 22, 1895.

On October 20, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt stopped in Roswell to visit his mother’s girlhood home at Bulloch Hall.

Dizzy Gillespie was born on this day in 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina.

President Warren G. Harding spoke in Alabama on October 21, 1921, and publicly condemned the practice of lynching.

Harding was a progressive Republican politician who advocated full civil rights for African Americans and suffrage for women. He supported the Dyer Anti-lynching Bill in 1920. As a presidential candidate that year, he gained support for his views on women’s suffrage, but faced intense opposition on civil rights for blacks. The 1920s was a period of intense racism in the American South, characterized by frequent lynchings. In fact, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) reported that, in 1920, lynching claimed, on average, the lives of two African Americans every week.

On the Presidential campaign trail, Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrived in Atlanta on October 23, 1932, speaking to 10,000, and continued on to his “second home” at Warm Springs, Georgia.

smFDR Atlanta 1932

FDR campaigning in Atlanta and Georgia in 1932.

FDR Georgia

When he arrived at Warm Springs, FDR gave a short speech:

“Two more weeks to go. . . . First, let me say this: this old hat, a lot of you people have seen it before. It’s the same hat. But I don’t think it is going to last much longer after the 8th of November. I have a superstition about hats in campaigns, and I am going to wear it until midnight of the 8th of November. . . . Well, it’s fine to see, and I’m looking forward to coming down here for the usual Thanksgiving party at Warm Springs, and having a real old-fashioned Thanksgiving with my neighbors again. I thank you!”

Lewis Grizzard was born on October 20, 1946 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

On October 23, 1971, the Coca-Cola Company launched the advertising campaign “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.”

On October 21, 1976, Billy Carter spoke to an audience in Albany, Georgia, about his brother’s campaign for President.

On his brother Jimmy’s drinking habits, Billy said, “Jimmy used to drink liquor. Now he’s running for president he drinks Scotch, and I’ve never trusted a Scotch drinker.” Billy preferred the alcohol choice of his brother’s running mate, Walter Mondale – “I liked him the best of all the ones who came to Plains. He’s from a small town and he’s a beer drinker.”

Today, Billy Carter’s service station is preserved as a museum in Plains, Georgia.

On October 20, 1977, a small twin-engine plane carrying members of Lynyrd Skynyrd from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana crashed in a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray died in the crash.

On October 22, 1991, the Braves played Minnesota in the first World Series game in Atlanta.

Georgia-born Clarence Thomas was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 23, 1991.

The Atlanta Braves won the first game of the 1995 World Series on October 21, 1995, as Greg Maddux dominated the Cleveland Indians, allowing only two hits. Native American groups protested the names of both teams.

The Atlanta Braves won Game 2 of the 1995 World Series, beating Cleveland 4-3, on October 22, 1995.

Georgia artist Howard Finster died on October 22, 2001.

One of my dogs is named Finster, after the artist.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia voters will decide four statewide ballot questions, according to the AJC.

Statewide Ballot Question 1: Provides for suspension of compensation of certain state officers and members of the General Assembly.

Text: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to suspend the compensation of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state school superintendent, commissioner of insurance, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of labor, or any member of the General Assembly while such individual is suspended from office following indictment for a felony?”

Statewide Ballot Question 2: Provides for temporary local tax relief after disasters.

Text: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the governing authority of each county, municipality, and consolidated government and the board of education of each independent and county school system in this state shall be authorized to grant temporary tax relief to properties within its jurisdiction which are severely damaged or destroyed as a result of a disaster and located within a nationally declared disaster area?”

Statewide Ballot Question 3: Provides for ad valorem tax exemption for certain timber production, reforestation, and harvesting equipment.

Text: “Shall the Act be approved which grants a state-wide exemption from all ad valorem taxes for certain equipment used by timber producers in the production or harvest of timber?”

Statewide Ballot Question 4: Expands ad valorem tax exemption for family-owned farms and adds qualified products to the exemption.

Text: “Shall the Act be approved which expands a state-wide exemption from ad valorem taxes for agricultural equipment and certain farm products held by certain entities to include entities comprising two or more family-owned farm entities, and which adds dairy products and unfertilized eggs of poultry as qualified farm products with respect to such exemption?”

From Fox5Atlanta discussing Ballot Question 1:

 If a Georgia official is suspended, under the state’s constitution, they continue to receive pay up until they are found guilty. This proposed amendment seeks to end that practice.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck was indicted on federal charges of money federal charges of money laundering, mail and wire fraud in May 2019.

Gov. Brian Kemp suspended Beck shortly after, but he continued to draw the nearly $200,000 annual salary for the position. So did Kemp’s appointee to the position, John King, costing the state twice as much.

“They couldn’t suspend him without pay, so this amendment would change that,” said Ben Taylor, Associate Professor at Kennesaw State University.

A “YES” vote on this question would mean support to the change the constitution to end salaries for any official suspended due to a felony indictment. Officials who are not convicted and later reinstated, would be entitled to backpay.

From the Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting Database:

Total ballots cast: 576,481

Total mail ballots cast: 55,568

Total in-person ballots cast: 519,746

In-person October 17, 2022: 134,692

In-person October 18, 2022: 135,057

In-person October 19, 2022: 127,788

In-person October 20, 2022: 122,209

Total Electronic ballots cast (overseas and military voters): 1167

From the Capitol Beat News Service:Continue Reading..