Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 20, 2015

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 20, 2015

On April 20, 1861, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission as a Colonel in the United States Army.

On April 20, 1982, the Atlanta Braves set a major league record, winning the first twelve games of the regular season.

On April 20, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation authorizing a $165 billion dollar bailout for Social Security, saying,

“This bill demonstrates for all time our nation’s ironclad commitment to Social Security. It assures the elderly that America will always keep the promises made in troubled times a half a century ago. It assures those who are still working that they, too, have a pact with the future. From this day forward, they have one pledge that they will get their fair share of benefits when they retire.”

On April 20, 1992, Governor Zell Miller signed legislation naming Pogo ‘Possum the official state possum of Georgia.

On April 20, 1999, two students entered Columbine High School in Colorado and killed twelve student and one teacher, and wounded 23 others before shooting themselves.

Congratulations to Amelia Robinson Jones, who received the Congressional Gold Medal for her service with the Tuskeegee Airmen during World War II.

As a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, she supported the Tuskegee Airmen, an African-American regimen during World War II credited for their contributions to the integration of U.S. Armed Forces.

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who presented the medal to Jones, says she broke glass ceilings as a black woman entering a segregated military.

Jones says she was inspired to enlist after her two older brothers served in World War I.

Eva Galambos, founding Mayor of Sandy Springs died this weekend.

“This is a great loss for the city and a great loss personally. Eva was truly our city mother. Her efforts led to the city’s creation. She cared and nurtured the city, and the strength of our community is due greatly to her unwavering love and devotion to creating something better for us all,” said Rusty Paul, Sandy Springs Mayor.

John Heneghan more fully summarized the effect of Mayor Galambos long mission to create the City of Sandy Springs, writing, “without [her] there would be no City of Dunwoody.” I’d go so far as to say that the cityhood movement of the last ten years in Georgia would not have occurred if it weren’t for her leadership in working to create Sandy Springs, and after that, her management of the city in her two terms as Mayor, which proved the concept of a new city could work in Georgia in the 21st century. Godspeed, Madame Mayor.

Georgia Elections

House District 146

A contested election is shaping up in House District 146 (Houston County) between Larry Walker, III, a Republican, and Shaw Blackmon, a Republican.

In announcing his run for this office, Larry Walker said: “I first want to publicly thank Rep. O’Neal for the outstanding job he has done for us. I appreciate his integrity, hard work, and commitment to our district.”

“After prayerful consideration and with the support of my family, I want to offer myself for this important position. I believe that I am uniquely qualified at this time to continue Houston County’s legacy of effective representation in Atlanta. I’m very excited about this opportunity to serve, and I am flattered by the encouragement and offers of support that I have already received. I look forward to meeting with and discussing the concerns of the people of House District 146 in the course of my campaign, and I ask for their vote so that I can keep working for a better Houston County.”

Shaw Blackmon said, “Today, I announce my candidacy for State House. Houston County has a long tradition of great leadership, and Larry O’Neal will be sorely missed. However, I am ready for this challenge.”

“Georgia is headed in the right direction, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have our challenges,” expressed Blackmon. “I want our children to have the same opportunities as my generation. We have to continue to show strong conservative reform and ensure our next generation’s success.”

House Caucus Elections

Sam Teasley has taken himself out of consideration for House Majority Leader, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. It appears that current contestants include State Rep. Jon Burns (R-Newington), State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) and State Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta). The caucus is scheduled to meet May 11 for elections and any other business.

Georgia GOP District Chairs Elected

District 1 William John Wood
District 2 Joseph Brannan
District 3 Dale Jackson
District 4 Rachel Little
District 5 John Bush
District 6 Michael Fitzgerald
District 7 Jason Thompson
District 8 Vance Dean
District 9 Bruce Azevedo
District 10 Brian Burdette
District 11 Brad Carver
District 12 Michael Welsh
District 13 Dan Richardson
District 14 Nathan Smith

Straw Poll Elections

The Third District Georgia Republican Party held straw polls this weekend at their convention. The straw poll for Party Chair was open to all delegates, while those wishing to cast a ballot in the Presidential Straw Poll had to pay $1 and could vote only once.

State Party Chair

Johnson     75%
Padgett       17%
Undecided  8%

Presidential Straw Poll

Paul            40%
Cruz            24%
Walker        17%
Kasich          4%
Carson         4%
Huckabee    4%
Rubio           3%
Other           4%

The Third District could fairly be described as the base of the insurgent liberty movement within the Georgia Republican Party, so the strong showing by Alex Johnson, running against Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett is not surprising.

Other Elections

In Cobb County, the Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID) will ask commercial property owners within the district to vote for expanded powers for the quasi-governmental agency, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

On May 28, the CID will call a caucus of its members, with all commercial property owners inside the district invited, to vote on broadening how the CID can spend the money it collects.

Members are also set to vote on filling two board slots and extending the life of the CID to 2024.

The CID levies an additional five mills on commercial property owners in its district, which brings in $5 million a year. It uses that money to secure larger state and federal grants for such things as infrastructure projects and providing voter “education” during special purpose local option sales tax campaigns.

The CID needs approval from a majority of its commercial property owners to spend its $5 million annual budget on public safety related expenses, such as hiring security or funding public safety facilities. If members vote to approve this purpose, it would change the CID’s bylaws by adding another category of projects the CID could spend money on.

Post-Senate Election

Michelle Nunn has landed on her feet after losing the 2014 election for United States Senate. This weekend, she was named as the next President of CARE USA, which is based in Atlanta but has worldwide operations. From the Wall Street Journal,

CARE USA is the largest member of CARE International, a Geneva, Switzerland-based federation of CARE organizations in 14 countries that works to fight poverty and provides disaster relief. The organization began in 1945, when a group of U.S. charities banded together to send millions of CARE packages of food and relief supplies to people in Europe after World War II.

Eric Tanenblatt, an Atlanta Republican strategist who raised money to defeat Ms. Nunn last year, served for years on the board of Hands On Atlanta, a volunteer service organization Ms. Nunn co-founded and headed as its executive director. He said he believes Ms. Nunn makes “an outstanding choice” to head CARE USA because of her organizational and leadership skills.

Mr. Tanenblatt doesn’t know whether Ms. Nunn would consider running for political office again, but expects CARE USA’s global reach will strengthen her résumé. “This will give her an international portfolio that can only assist her,” he said.

Board members voted to offer Ms. Nunn the job earlier this month, after she emerged as the front-runner among seven outside candidates interviewed by CARE USA, an informed person said. This person said that she proved the best fit for CEO because she met three key criteria: She knows how to lead an organization during strategic uncertainty; she forms strong teams and holds them accountable; and she has raised money and worked with external partners.

Gwinnett’s Nash to serve as President of ACCG

Gwinnett County Chair Charlotte Nash was sworn-in yesterday as President of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, a statewide group of county elected officials.

Nash ran for, and was elected to, the chairmanship of the county commission in a 2011 special election. With that seat came automatic membership on the ARC’s board of directors.

Then some folks got the idea to nominate her for a leadership position in the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. She is set to be sworn in to a one-year term as the group’s president on Sunday during its convention in Savannah.

“When you take one shock of deciding you’re going to run for office, everything else is pretty easy,” Nash said. “That was a big step to make that decision to run for office. I think it’s been easier to serve in office than to make decision to run. The ACCG position — I see that as just an extension of what I do here with Gwinnett County.”

Nash’s new position will mean some juggling of responsibilities. She will still oversee Gwinnett government, but she will also travel the state on ACCG business.

“It’s definitely going to make for some long days and long weeks, however, I am fortunate that I can devote full-time to the position as county chair,” she said. “I’m not juggling another business operation or anything like that. I’m also very fortunate that my husband is retired and he’ll be making a lot of those trips with me, so probably I won’t have to do the driving. I can conduct business or take a nap while he’s driving.”

Nash’s attention to detail, experience in government, willingness to work with others and her diligence in checking into matters is one reason why her fellow commission chairmen in metro Atlanta respect her, according to Clayton County Chairman Jeff Turner.

“I can’t say enough about her willingness to include others in the decision-making process, and formulating an opinion from that point that will be a benefit to everybody involved,” Turner said.

GAGOP Districts Support Religious Liberty Legislation

At the Georgia Republican Party District Conventions this weekend, eleven of the Districts voted in favor of resolutions calling for the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus). The 4th, 5th, and 10th Districts did not have resolutions under consideration, but those district that passed a resolution urged the passage of Senate Bill 129 as it passed the State Senate with no further amendments.

Bill Signings

Bill Hendrick of the Associated Press writes that Gov. Deal is expected to sign legislation that will increase insurance coverage of some autism treatments for children 6 years old or younger.

Each day as Gov. Nathan Deal plods through a stack of more than 300 bills passed by the 2015 General Assembly, Anna Bullard becomes just a tad more anxious.

When, she wonders, will he sign Senate Bill 1, turning what’s now just another piece of legislation into Ava’s Law — named after her little girl, and making Georgia the 41st state to require private insurance companies to cover therapy for children with autism.

April is Autism Awareness Month, so he’s expected to it before May 1. Deal has until May 12 to sign or veto bills.

One reason the Bullards pushed the state legislature so hard is that Ava’s great-uncle is Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, who has championed her cause and found other lawmakers just as enthusiastic, such as Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton.

Bethel became “passionate” about the potential of people with autism after meeting Ava and sponsored SB 1.

“This disorder keeps families from truly knowing loved ones and steals away potential for productivity,” Bethel said. “Moreover, we are watching a public health crisis unfold every 69 births in this country. That is higher than the highest rate of polio infection ever recorded in the U.S. and greater than the incidence of childhood diabetes, childhood cancer and childhood HIV/AIDS combined.”

When it looked like an autism insurance bill would fail again, Bethel brokered a deal with Rep. Richard Smith, R-Columbus, who had said he opposed mandated coverage as “bad policy.” Now he’s preparing a bill that would levy a sales tax increase of 0.2 percent on the statewide election ballot for November 2016 that would generate up to $300 million for autism treatments for children up to age 18.

The total number of bills signed by Governor Deal to date is 21, primarily local legislation at this point, with the notable exception of the Haleigh’s Hope medical marijuana legislation.

Football and Jesus

Quarterback Tim Tebow, who appears headed for the Philadelphia Eagles, will give the keynote address at a dinner to benefit Hebron Christian Academy in Dacula this coming Friday.

On Monday, May 11, 2015, former Florida State University head coach Bobby Bowden will speak at the Guys’ Night Out at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Buckhead.

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