Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 10, 2023


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 10, 2023

Button Gwinnett, one of Georgia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born on April 10, 1735 in Gloucester, England, though some authorities say it was his baptism that was recorded that day. Gwinnett also served in the Georgia legislature, where he wrote the first draft of the state Constitution and served as Speaker.

On April 6, 1776, the Continental Congress announced that all ports in America would be open to trade with other countries not ruled by the British. The action was taken several months after Britain passed the American Prohibitory Act which forbade trade with the colonies and was intended to punish colonists for the growing rebellion.

On April 7, 1776, the United States warship Lexington captured a British warship, HMS Edward, for the first time.

President George Washington exercised the veto power for the first time on April 5, 1792.

The bill introduced a new plan for dividing seats in the House of Representatives that would have increased the amount of seats for northern states. After consulting with his politically divided and contentious cabinet, Washington, who came from the southern state of Virginia, ultimately decided that the plan was unconstitutional because, in providing for additional representatives for some states, it would have introduced a number of representatives higher than that proscribed by the Constitution.

On April 7, 1798, President John Adams signed legislation authorizing negotiations between three representatives of Georgia and three Presidential appointees over Georgia’s claim to land west of what is now the Georgia-Alabama state lines. Georgia would continue to claim most of what is currently Alabama and Mississippi until 1802.

Georgia Politics Campaign Election

Map by Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA

Georgia Politics Campaign Election

John Tyler was sworn in as the tenth President of the United States on April 6, 1841.

Tyler was elected as William Harrison’s vice president earlier in 1841 and was suddenly thrust into the role of president when Harrison died one month into office. He was the first vice president to immediately assume the role of president after a sitting president’s untimely exit and set the precedent for succession thereafter.

After two days of exchanging letters with his Union counterpart, Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee agreed to meet and make arrangements for the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. At 2 PM on April 9, 1865, Lee and Grant met in a private home owned by Wilmer McLean at Appomattox Court House, Virginia and Lee agreed to the surrender of his army.

Lee was resplendent in his dress uniform and a fine sword at his side. Grant arrived wearing a simple soldier’s coat that was muddy from his long ride. The great generals spoke of their service in the Mexican War, and then set about the business at hand. Grant offered generous terms. Officers could keep their side arms, and all men would be immediately released to return home. Any officers and enlisted men who owned horses could take them home, Grant said, to help put crops in the field and carry their families through the next winter. These terms, said Lee, would have “the best possible effect upon the men,” and “will do much toward conciliating our people.” The papers were signed and Lee prepared to return to his men.

From the account by Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain:

“At such a time and under such conditions I thought it eminently fitting to show some token of our feeling, and I therefore instructed my subordinate officers to come to the position of ‘salute’ in the manual of arms as each body of the Confederates passed before us.”

“When General Gordon came opposite me I had the bugle blown and the entire line came to ‘attention,’ preparatory to executing this movement of the manual successively and by regiments as Gordon’s columns should pass before our front, each in turn.”

“The General was riding in advance of his troops, his chin drooped to his breast, downhearted and dejected in appearance almost beyond description. At the sound of that machine like snap of arms, however, General Gordon started, caught in a moment its significance, and instantly assumed the finest attitude of a soldier. He wheeled his horse facing me, touching him gently with the spur, so that the animal slightly reared, and as he wheeled, horse and rider made one motion, the horse’s head swung down with a graceful bow, and General Gordon dropped his swordpoint to his toe in salutation.”

“By word of mouth General Gordon sent back orders to the rear that his own troops take the same position of the manual in the march past as did our line. That was done, and a truly imposing sight was the mutual salutation and farewell.”

General Robert E. Lee gave his last address to the Army of Northern Virginia on April 10, 1865.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded on April 10, 1866.

The first modern Olympic Games opened in Athens, Greece on April 6, 1896.

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917, when the US House of Representatives voted 373-50 on a declaration of war that passed the Senate two days earlier.

On April 8, 1917, U.S. President William Howard Taft (R-Ohio) spoke in Augusta, Georgia, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Former President William Howard Taft spoke on the precarious world situation for more than an hour to an Easter Sunday crowd at Augusta’s Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Taft, who had lost the White House four years earlier to Woodrow Wilson, defended the actions of his former rival.

“Our national conscience is entirely void of offense in this war. We have been forced to vindicate our rights,” Taft told an enthusiastic audience.

The Brown Thrasher was first recognized as the official state bird of Georgia on April 5, 1935 through an Executive Order signed by Governor Eugene Talmadge. Later the designation of official state symbols through executive fiat was challenged and the General Assembly would recognize the Brown Thrasher again as official state bird in 1970.

On April 5, 1962, Governor Ernest Vandiver called a Special Session of the Georgia General Assembly to revise the state’s election code following a decision by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Baker v. Carr.

On April 4, 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN.

On April 5, 1968, amid racial tension following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., musician James Brown helped keep the peace in Boston.

On April 9, 1968, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta held the funeral for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. More than 100,000 mourners reportedly showed up for the funeral, which could accomodate only 800; 200,000 mourners followed the mule-drawn hearse to Morehouse College.

2001: A Space Odyssey was released on April 6, 1968.

Hank Aaron hit home run number 715 on April 8, 1974 to become the all-time home run champion, a title he arguably holds to this day.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig wrote about what Aaron meant to baseball and America.

As the last major league player who was a part of the Negro leagues, he was one of the game’s most prominent bridges to integration. For 23 years on the field, this humble native of Mobile, Ala., represented the game with unfailing grace, overcoming obstacles that most of us could not even imagine. In the years since then, Hank has remained one of the most distinguished and revered figures in American public life.

Aaron himself spoke to the Associated Press about the 40th anniversary of his record-breaking home run.

Aaron’s record-breaking homer will be celebrated tonight before the Atlanta Braves’ home opener against the New York Mets.

Hate mail and threats made it impossible for him to savor the chase of Ruth’s revered record, but on Monday he said he’ll enjoy the anniversary because such old friends as former teammate Dusty Baker will return for the pregame ceremony.

Aaron, 80, said he has a greater appreciation for fans who still celebrate his career.

“It does. It means an awful lot to me,” Aaron said.

“I’m not one to go around bragging about certain things. I played the game because I loved the game. … I am quite thrilled that people say that he, whatever he did, should be appreciated. That makes me feel good.”

The Braves will wear an Aaron 40th anniversary patch on their uniform sleeves this season. An outfield sign at Turner Field also will mark the anniversary.

Before hitting the homer into the Braves’ bullpen beyond the left-field wall, Aaron told [Dusty] Baker what was about to happen.

“That I can remember like it was yesterday,” Baker said. “It was a cold, cold night in April. Hank told me, ‘I’m going to get this over with now.’ He knew every pitch that was coming. He had total recall of pitch sequences. He was as smart as they came.”

Aaron confirmed Baker’s tale on Monday: “I think that was right. I think I made that remark and made it to Dusty maybe three or four times. I just felt within myself that eventually before the night was over I was going to hit a home run.”

On April 5, 1977, Wyche Fowler won a runoff election over John Lewis for the Fifth Congressional District, following the appointment of Andrew Young as Ambassador to the United Nations. Fowler would win election to the United States Senate in 1986, and ironically, lose his seat in a 1992 runoff election to the late Paul Coverdell.

On April 5, 1980, the band that would come to be known as R.E.M. played their first show as Twisted Kites in Athens, Georgia.

Kurt Cobain was found dead by his own hand on April 8, 1994.

On April 7, 1995, Governor Zell Miller signed legislation recognizing the peach as the official state fruit of Georgia.

Governor Zell Miller signed legislation proclaiming Gainesville, Georgia the Poultry Capital of the World on April 8, 1995.

The Square Dance became the official state folk dance on April 8, 1996, when Gov. Zell Miller signed legislation recognizing it.

On April 8, 2005, Eric Rudolph agreed to plead guilty to the fatal 1996 bombing at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park.

The Masters Tournament was won on April 9th by Gene Sarazen (1935), Jack Burke, Jr. (1956), Nick Faldo (2nd win – 1990), Tiger Woods (2nd win – 2001), and former University of Georgia player Bubba Watson in 2012. Winners of the Masters Tournament on April 10 include Sam Snead (1949), Gary Player (1961), Tom Watson (1977) and Tiger Woods (4th – 2005).

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp broke out his red pen and vetoed House Bill 319, issuing the following veto statement:




House Bill 319 would require legislative approval for any year-over-year tuition increase exceeding 3% at any University System of Georgia institution. The Georgia Constitution makes plain the authority to govern, control, and manage the University System and all system institutions is vested in the Board of Regents. Ga. Const. art. VIII, § 4, ¶ I(b). Because of the constitutional reservation of authority in the Board of Regents, the legislation cannot be adopted without the approval of Georgians through exercise of their franchise.

For these reasons, I VETO HOUSE BILL 319.

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

Tuesday’s veto was the first of Kemp’s second four-year term as governor, which began in January. Georgia governors typically don’t issue vetoes until near the end of the period of 40 calendar days they have following the end of each General Assembly session to act on the bills lawmakers pass each year.

The provision in the legislation concerning tuition and fees in House Bill 319 was a small part of a broader bill aimed at abolishing the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corp., which is no longer needed, said state Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, chairman of the House Higher Education Commission and the bill’s sponsor.

The Senate amended the bill last Wednesday to add the tuition provision, Martin said.

“I respect the governor’s decision,” he said. “We can do [the rest of the bill] next year.”

The Board of Regents has held the line on tuition recently, voting five times in the last seven years not to raise tuition at most of the university system’s 26 institutions.

Governor Kemp also issued Executive Orders suspending from office Douglas County Commissioners Dr. Romona Jackson Jones (EO # ) and Henry Mitchell (EO # after each was indicted. From the AJC:

Gov. Brian Kemp this week suspended two of the five Douglas County commissioners, including the commission chair, following their indictment on bid-rigging charges.

Kemp’s executive orders on Wednesday suspended Chairwoman Romona Jackson Jones and Commissioner Henry Mitchell III from office effective immediately, until their cases are resolved or their four-year terms end. Jones was elected in 2016 and reelected in 2020, while Mitchell was elected in 2010 and reelected to a fourth term in 2022.

“The commission has five members, four districts, and a chair elected at large,” said Bill Crane of Decatur public relations firm CSI Crane. “Pending the gubernatorial appointment of the interim commissioners, there are three remaining commissioners, which does provide a quorum if they all attend for voting and conducting new business.”

Crane’s firm is assisting the county until a new communications director starts work April 17.

The suspensions are the latest moves related to indictments handed down Feb. 24 in Douglas County Superior Court. Jones, Mitchell, Tax Commissioner Gregory Baker, former Purchasing Director Billy Clyde Peacock and business owner Forrest Anthony Knight were all indicted on one count of conspiracy in restraint of free and open competition in transactions. Jones was also indicted on one count of making false statements.

Vice President Kamala Harris came to Georgia to take credit for a solar announcement, according to the Associated Press via the Statesboro Herald.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced the deal during a visit to the Qcells solar panel factory outside Atlanta. The South Korean company’s corporate parent, Hanwha Solutions Corp., said in January it will invest $2.5 billion to expand its Dalton, Georgia plant and build another plant in nearby Cartersville. Qcells projects it will supply about 30% of total U.S. solar panel demand by 2027, including making solar panel components usually manufactured outside the United States.

A deal announced by Harris calls for Qcells and Virginia-based Summit Ridge Energy to deploy community solar projects capable of generating 1.2 gigawatts of electricity in Illinois, Maine and Maryland. Community solar projects allow people to tap into solar power generated at a shared site rather than on individual rooftops and are a way for renters and those without access to rooftop solar panels to receive the benefits of clean energy.

The solar project is made possible by tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act, the landmark climate and health law Congress approved last year, Harris and other officials said.

“Since taking office, our administration has made the largest investment in solar energy in our nation’s history,” Harris said in a speech at the Qcells plant. “We strengthened domestic supply chains to make sure America has reliable access to parts and materials to build a clean energy technology and economy. We provided tax credits to encourage companies to buy solar panels made in America. And we invested billions more to build and expand factories like this one.”

Harris did not mention any political opponents, but White House officials contrasted Democratic efforts to promote clean energy with Republicans who unanimously opposed the climate law. The White House singled out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican who represents Dalton. Greene voted against the climate law and wants to repeal parts of it.

I’d call some of the expenses incurred in the failed Spaceport Camden goofy, but “nutty” is a better word. From The Brunswick News:

Steve Weinkle, a longtime critic of the county’s efforts to establish a spaceport, said he is still wading through reams of documents. One thing that he noticed early on is the monthly payments of $27,500 to a consultant totaling $593,000.

For that money, records show a memorandum of understanding with a company from India, an agreement to provide Stuckey’s pecan rolls as promotional gifts and negotiations with a moon landing company that worked out of an AT&T store in a mall in New Jersey.

The county’s plans to launch small rockets from an old industrial site owned by Union Carbide would have been a losing proposition for county taxpayers who have already spent $12 million on the project, he said.

“There was an acknowledgement that spaceports cannot exist without subsidies,” he said. “The county never did a risk assessment based on economics.

“Camden never did a risk assessment because they know the truth.”

Camden County Commissioner Jim Goodman has been a proponent of releasing all spaceport records since he took office in January.

He said about 10 pounds of documents have been released, but he is unsure what is still being withheld. Since he took office, Goodman said the county has spent nearly $300,000 in legal fees regarding the spaceport.

If you ever question the need for good local reporting, the coverage by The Brunswick News of this rolling dumpster fire should convince you.

Dawson and Lumpkin Counties are among the top ten fastest-growing in the nation, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Georgia’s Dawson and Lumpkin counties are among the 10 fastest growing counties in the nation, according to newly released numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The populations of the two counties, which border each other north of metro Atlanta, grew by 5.8% between July 2021 and July of last year. That put them tied for fourth in the nation behind only Whitman County, Wash., the fastest-growing county; Kaufman County, Texas; and Sumter County, Fla.

Fulton County remained the most populous in Georgia with nearly 1.1 million residents as of last July. Fulton was followed by Gwinnett County with a population of 975,353; and Cobb County with a population of 771,952.

Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon accepted a severance package, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

With embattled Police Chief Freddie Blackmon accepting a $400,000 severance package to retire this month, Columbus residents are left waiting to see what happens next with the vacant position at the top of a crucial law enforcement agency.

What’s next, after an interim chief steps in, may be a nationwide search for an outsider to take the job, and not someone who already works in the Columbus Police Department.

“I think there are benefits to hiring from outside, like a nationwide search,” District 4 Councilor Toyia Tucker said Friday, the day after council held an hour-long private session to work out Blackmon’s severance deal.

The City of Roswell inked a deal to pay Alpharetta to hold arrestees, according to the AJC.

Individuals charged with or convicted of violating federal, state, or local law (or held as a material witness) in Roswell will be held as an inmate at the Alpharetta Jail, 2555 Old Milton Parkway. The Roswell City Council recently approved an agreement with Alpharetta, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and Fulton County to provide inmate housing at the facility.

The Georgia Ports Authority experienced slowing demand last month, according to the Savannah Morning News.\

After a breakneck few years, the Georgia Port Authority is experiencing its first slowdown in cargo volume since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between January and February, the Georgia Ports experienced a 6% decline in TEU volume, according to a GPA report. A TEU is a 20-foot equivalent unit of a shipping container. A standard shipping container is 40 feet.

“We’ve seen a bit of a slowdown compared to the previous year, which was an all-time record,” said Griff Lynch, GPA’s executive director. “We knew this would come. We didn’t know exactly when it would happen, but we knew what was happening prior was not sustainable.”

At the ports, Lynch promised the slowdown would not lead to workforce reductions or other cost-cutting measures.

The Savannah regional economy mirrors the port’s in decelerating.

Local economic growth slowed for the fifth consecutive quarter during Q4 of 2022, which runs from October to December, according to the Economic Monitor, a quarterly report detailing the regional economy from Georgia Southern University Professor Michael Toma.

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