Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 6, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 6, 2018

On August 6, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia began debating the first draft of the Constitution of the United States.

On August 6, 1958 the wagon train carrying gold from Dahlonega to gild the State Capitol dome reached Atlanta, where city officials were not prepared to receive them.

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in attendance and was given one of the pens Johnson used to sign the Act. Here is an auction for one of the pens used in the VRA signing.

John Hughes, director of every meaningful teen angst movie of the 1980s (except Say Anything and Better Off Dead) died on August 6, 2009.

Molly Ringwald wrote in The New Yorker about working as a young woman with John Hughes.

On August 5, 2015, the Jeb Bush presidential campaign announced endorsements by Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal spoke about his tenure as Governor with Carlton Fletcher of The Albany Herald.

“Those people who concentrate on their legacy are the kind of people who actually think they deserve one,” Deal says, leaving no doubt that he’s not among those who’d consider such a thing.

In his eight years, Deal and the Georgia Legislature implemented policies that not only stopped the economic downturn in the state, it propelled Georgia into the lofty position of being recognized five-times-running as the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business. During his tenure, Deal has seen Georgia:

— Add more than 700,000 private-sector jobs;

— Invest more than $9 billion in K-12 education and provide full funding this year for Quality Basic Education for the first time since the state implemented it in 1985;

— Enact criminal justice reform that has left the state with 8,000 less prisoners in the system;

— More than double the state’s “rainy day fund balance” to $2.5 billion;

— Enact a historic $5 billion tax cut.

AH: Were you surprised with the outcome of the GOP runoff? I know you endorsed Lt. Gov. (Casey) Cagle (who lost to Brian Kemp).

ND: It was a much more bitter primary than I would have hoped. And much longer, too. I registered a complaint with the Justice Department, and their reasoning for the long election process didn’t hold water. Because we’re a “runoff state,” they said we needed to give military personnel more time to cast their ballots. I asked them how many did not get counted in the last election, and they said that it “doesn’t matter” but that there were none. I hope they’ll take a look at the process because it makes it far too expensive for candidates. And, like we had this time, the Republican candidates beat up on each other for weeks in the runoff, while the other side just got to sit back and watch.

That article is worth reading in its entirety.

United States Senator David Perdue (R-Sea Island) spoke about international trade in Cartersville, according to The Daily Tribune News.

“I do not favor a broad tariff like we’ve had on steel and aluminum,” he told employees at the Bartow County plant. “Some of the types of steel that we’ve actually put tariffs on, we don’t even make anymore, the same thing with aluminum … there are some benefits because you protect the producers of that, but you also cause price increases for the users of that product, and that’s an imbalance.”

Perdue delved into the intricacies of international trade, which he described as something of a three-dimensional chess game with countries, industries and products representing the key pieces.

“When you take steel [tariffs] and go across all countries and you go across all industries, that’s a broad instrument and I believe it’s inefficient,” he said. “What it does do, though, is get the other players’ attention to bring them to the table.”

While Perdue said he’s not fond of President Donald Trump using tariffs as bait for trade negotiations — “I would rather have a specific conversation about an industry and a product than I would around the whole industry” — he nonetheless said he agrees with Trump’s “long-term goal” of creating a more level playing field for American jobs and American workers in the international market.

And to a certain extent, he acknowledges that Trump’s tariffs are working.

“Right now we have a new free-trade agreement with South Korea,” he said. “The president put tariffs on them in a couple of areas, because there was some steel being transshipped out of China. Actually, Obama put a 47 percent tariff on them in 2016 that nobody talks about on South Korean steel coming into the United States. That was a very targeted tariff that got the result it wanted, it stopped transshipping.”

Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-West Point) said building a border wall is still a priority for him, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

Ferguson represents Georgia’s 3rd District, which includes Coweta County. He introduced the American Border Act, H.R. 6415 in July. The legislation calls for physical barriers and the use of technology to secure the nation’s borders – at a cost of $23.4 billion.

Ferguson stopped by The Newnan Times-Herald on Friday and talked about his bill. He responded to questions about statements made by Pres. Donald Trump that Mexico would pay for the border wall and that Trump may allow a government shutdown if funding for the wall is not approved in the next few weeks.

Ferguson said the role of Congress is to allocate funds for projects. Funding from another source, such as the Mexican government, would require negotiations by the executive branch.

“Congress is responsible for appropriating dollars. It is the responsibility of Congress to keep this nation safe and to pay for it. That is my duty as a representative,” he said.

Democratic candidate for Governor Stacey Abrams spoke to the Dalton Daily Citizen on video about her campaign.

Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash is confident voters will back the March 2019 transit referendum, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“I think there is such a level of support in the community for this issue,” Nash said. “I think the folks that support this issue are going to make sure they’re at the polls no matter what the date is. What we’ve seen with the progression of opinions about transit generally and MARTA specifically positions it well no matter what day (the vote) is.”

Nash is not the only official who believes voters will back MARTA in a referendum. State Rep. Pedro Marin, D-Duluth, also believes it could pass regardless of when it is held, although he would prefer a vote in November when high-profile races for offices such as governor will drive a higher turnout.

“I’ve heard from folks on both sides of the aisle. I heard from folks from all corners of the county that they want this,” Marin said.

Nash said that polling data that she had seen in the past had indicated MARTA wouldn’t get the support of a majority of voters in Gwinnett. She also coyly hinted, however, that some new research had been done which indicated a shift in the regional transit authority’s favor.

“I might have had a sneak peak at some polling data,” she joked.

Coweta County Commissioners will keep last year’s property tax millage rate, resulting in higher tax bills for those with higher assessments, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

Chatham County’s E-SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education) has seen revenue shortfalls, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The penny sales tax for education in Savannah-Chatham County delivered lower than expected monthly revenue in 2017 and early 2018. The shortage could affect the district’s schedule for improving facilities.

The shortfall stems from overly optimistic forecasts in the amount of revenue expected to be collected from the Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or ESPLOST.

Glynn County will dredge areas at the bridge to St Simons Island to clear issues caused by stormwater drainage, according to The Brunswick News.

Chatham County Commissioner Helen Stone has been sued by a neighbor in a zoning dispute, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Albany Herald looks at State Rep. Gerald Greene’s reelection effort.

Greene has served 36 years in the Georgia legislature and is the chairman of the State Properties Committee.

Earlier this year, Greene, a Republican, said he was attacked by the Atlanta organization Georgia Engaged – an organization that utilizes “dark money” or secret funding to send inaccurate and defamatory mailers about candidates in swing districts. As of late July, Greene said Georgia Engaged still has not disclosed any of its contributors, despite sending thousands of mailers into District 151 and other districts.

“I have already been attacked by political groups from Atlanta who want to hijack our district,” Greene said. “I intend to fight for every vote and continue to represent my dear friends here at home.”

The 2018 general election will be held on Nov. 6. Greene will be pitted against Joyce Barlow, who, Greene said, refers to herself as a “spokesperson” for southwest Georgia. The winner of the general election will take office in January of next year.

Judy Cordova won a Special Runoff Election to Blythe City Council by three votes, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Hall County Democrats will elect delegates to the Georgia Democratic Convention at their meeting on August 13, according to AccessWDUN.

Gwinnett County Democrats will do likewise, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The party will hold a caucus from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday to pick delegates. The party will pick 36 delegates and 18 alternates during the gathering with the party’s executive committee picking half of the delegates and alternates.

The other half of the delegates and alternates will be chosen by all Democrats who live in Gwinnett and are registered voters. Any Gwinnett Democrat who is a registered voter can fill any of the 36 delegate and 18 alternate positions.

An additional 18 delegate positions will be filled by local party members who are also members of state committee members since that automatically makes them eligible to be delegates. As a result, the Gwinnett Democratic Party is expected to have 54 delegates and 18 alternates at the state convention.

The Macon Telegraph looks at where Macon-Bibb commissioners are on a property tax hike.

The proposed increase of 4.36 mills came after roughly $15 million in budget amendments restored funding to areas like recreation, the bus and library systems, and for various museums.

The increase would cost an additional $187 for a $125,000 home with a homestead exemption, according to figures from Macon-Bibb County.

The Telegraph reached out to the nine commissioners to find out what their plans are for Tuesday night’s vote. Five votes are needed to set the new millage rate.

Commissioners Virgil Watkins and Elaine Lucas said they will to vote for the 4.3 mills increase while Commissioners Valerie Wynn, Larry Schlesinger and Joe Allen say they’ll vote against it.

“Heck no, I’m not voting for 4.36. Never,” Wynn said Friday. “If there is another option that comes up, I may consider it.”

The Savannah Morning News writes about international trade and the Georgia ports.

In Georgia, $3.5 billion in goods were exported from the state in June. The year-to-date total is $20 billion. On the import side, $49 billion in goods has been imported to Georgia in the year so far, with $8 billion imported in June.

The Valdosta Daily Times looks at agribusiness in South Georgia.

gribusiness contributes $73 billion to Georgia’s $972 billion economy each year, according to the University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, with 383,600 Georgians working in agriculture, forestry or a related field.

Agribusiness is more than farming a row crop such as peanuts or tobacco.

It encompasses everything from growing crops, such as cotton, watermelon, peaches and cucumbers, to raising animals such as chickens, cattle, horses and hogs, to growing pines for timber and pecans trees for pecans.

In 2016, Georgia was ranked first in the United States as a producer of broilers, peanuts, eggs, pecans and onions, second in the country in cotton production and third in the country in watermelon and blueberry production, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

At roughly 9 percent of economic output, farming is the largest sector in Georgia by far.

Sydni Barwick, Thomas County agriculture and natural resources extension service agent, explained the diversity of areas beyond the farm affected by agribusiness.

“Agriculture plays a huge role in our community and employs farm managers and operators,” she said, “as well as crop insurance agents, truck drivers, welders, accountants, mechanics, educators, well drillers, cotton gin employees, peanut buying point employees, vegetable packing shed employees, irrigation dealers, electricians, bankers, brokers, fuel company employees, fertilizer and other input dealers, veterinarians, agricultural aviators, UGA employees, and USDA employees. Our community would look vastly different without the influence of agriculture.”

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