Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 14, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 14, 2018

On June 14, 1736, James Oglethorpe ordered plans to be drawn for a new city to be called Augusta.

Happy birthday to the United States Army, established on June 14, 1775.

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution, “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” One hundred years later, on June 14, 1877, was the first observance of Flag Day.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Macon-Bibb County District 1 voters will choose a new commissioner in a runoff election next Tuesday, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The runoff for the District 1 special election between resource development director Lynn Wood and retired insurance adjuster Valerie Wynn is Tuesday. But voter turnout for the election is not expected to be as high as the May 22 election when other races were up for grabs.

There were 2,912 votes cast in the District 1 race in May. Forty-six votes were cast during the first two days of the runoff’s early voting period that ends Friday, according to the Bibb County Board of Elections.

The winner will fill the remainder of the term that ends on Dec. 31, 2020. The north Macon district was represented by Gary Bechtel before his bid for state representative.

Wynn and Wood said it’s been imperative to encourage their supporters to get out and vote. One of them could be in office in time to vote on a new Macon-Bibb budget that will likely include a property tax increase.

Statesboro City Council District 5 voters continue early voting this week before next week’s runoff election, according to the Statesboro Herald.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, only 51 people had participated in early voting for next Tuesday’s Statesboro City Council special election runoff between Don Armel and Derek Duke in Council District 5.

About seven other voters had returned absentee ballots, said Bulloch County Elections Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones.

The Macon Telegraph asked the major party candidates for Governor whether sports gambling is likely to be legalized in Georgia.

The Telegraph asked the three remaining gubernatorial candidates — Republicans Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp, and Democrat Stacey Abrams — for their positions on the topic. The two Republicans, who are in the midst of a runoff, rejected the idea, and the Democratic nominee didn’t exactly endorse it.

“I do not support sports betting in Georgia,” Kemp said in a statement. “As a Georgia grad and diehard Dawg fan, losing the national championship was painful enough. Would have been even worse if I had money on the game!”

Brian Robinson, a Cagle spokesman, said his boss “doesn’t favor an expansion of gambling.”

Abrams, however, is open to the topic but only if tax revenue raised from sports betting went toward educational opportunities for Georgia students.

“As House Democratic Leader, I refused to support gambling legislation that did not also ensure the revenue went to need-based aid for Georgia students,” Abrams said. “Georgia must dedicate any funds from gambling to addressing our current opportunity gap and open the doors of higher education to everyone.”

Former Governor Roy Barnes (D) has unsurprisingly endorsed Democrat Stacey Abrams in the November general election, according to the AJC.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes endorsed Abrams’ campaign for governor, calling her a progressive who can also work with GOP leaders to “harness the full potential of Georgia.”

“Too many have made this election about a choice between working with Republicans to maintain our AAA bond rating or fighting for access to education, health care, and jobs,” said Barnes. “Stacey Abrams has already proven she can work across the aisle to do both, and has the experience and vision to strengthen Georgia.”

Nita Cagle campaigned in Columbus for her husband, Casey Cagle, according to WRBL.

Cagle offered a side of her husband that most people don’t get to see. Cagle stayed away from policy, instead choosing to talk about family life. However, she did share the issues she’d take on as First Lady of Georgia if voters choose to elect her husband in November.

“We started out as small business owners so I’d like to champion small businesses and help get conversations going for small businesses,” says Cagle. “I’d like to help with the regulations and that kind of thing because we’ve got some personal experiences with that. Pre-school education is very important to me. I’d like to carry on with Mrs. Sandra Deal’s legacy of literacy and carry that on.”

Early voting begins on July 2.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp convened a panel to begin considering new voting machines, according to the AJC.

Brought together by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Secure, Accessible & Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission will review options for the state’s next voting system and then make a recommendation to the General Assembly before next year’s legislative session. A new voting system could be in place in time for the 2020 presidential election.

There’s broad consensus that Georgia should buy a voting system with a verifiable paper trail to double-check results, conduct recounts and prevent potential fraud.

But as state lawmakers found earlier this year when they failed to pass a bill for a new voting system, finding agreement on a new multimillion-dollar voting system won’t be easy.

Kemp said the state’s 16-year-old touchscreen voting machines should be phased out and replaced with a system that uses paper for verification.

Ken Hodges, who recently won a seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals, was sworn in as President of the Georgia State Bar, according to the Albany Herald.

On May 22, Hodges won a statewide election to serve on the Court of Appeals of Georgia and will be sworn in as judge in January 2019. Currently, he focuses his law practice on criminal defense and civil litigation, including but not limited to personal injury, commercial litigation and civil rights cases. He has offices in Atlanta and Albany.

Hodges spent 15 years as a prosecutor, including 12 as district attorney of the Dougherty Judicial Circuit. He was honored as Georgia’s District Attorney of the Year in 2002 and is a past recipient of the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service and the Commitment to Equality Award, both presented by the State Bar, and the Eagle Award, presented by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Georgia, for his work championing victims’ rights. He was the Democratic nominee in the 2010 election for Georgia attorney general.

Born and raised in Albany, Hodges is a graduate of Emory University and the University of Georgia School of Law. He was admitted to the State Bar in 1991. He is past chairman of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia and past president of the District Attorneys’ Association of Georgia and the Dougherty Circuit Bar Association.

Japanese Consul General Takashi Shinozuka met with Dalton Mayor Dennis Mock and toured two businesses, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

“We have two major Japanese companies here in Dalton (Shiroki-GA and Kobayashi Healthcare) and many Japanese people living here, and I just want to thank the community for welcoming our companies and our people,” Shinozuka said.

Shinozuka, who requested the visit, said Dalton is a hub for international business and the recent announcement that Hanwha Q Cells Korea will be opening a solar module manufacturing plant in the Carbondale Business Park shows it will continue to be attractive to international firms.

“Dalton has many assets, including the (Appalachian Regional Port), which will open soon,” he said.

Shinozuka said the inland port, which is slated to open in August in northern Murray County, will make it easier for firms in northwest Georgia to receive raw materials and ship products overseas through the Port of Savannah. The port will connect to the Port of Savannah by the CSX railroad.

Chris Clark, President of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, spoke in Gwinnett County on Wednesday, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“We are facing a historic election in Georgia that will set the course for policy and prosperity for the next decade,” Clark said. “Now we have been very fortunate that we’ve been the best place to do business for five years in a row. If we elect the wrong people who have the wrong policies we won’t continue to be the best place to do business. We won’t continue to grow like we need to.”

Clark said after the luncheon that his comment was not meant to suggest a preference for one political party versus another, or one candidate versus another in the upcoming Republican runoff.

The four candidates that the state chamber’s Political Affairs Council has endorsed so far, including House District 102 candidate Paula Hastings and House District 105 candidate Donna Sheldon, are Republicans, but Clark said the group remains nonpartisan in how it views candidates for elected office.

“As people are making their decisions on who they want to vote for, Republican or Democrat, they just need to think through how are these people going to be to help grow the economy,” Clark said. “Job creation is still the No. 1 issue for Georgians in any poll that you do and you want to make sure that those candidates who are running have the right policy positions, think the right way and are going to engage, in a proactive way, in being job creators.”

Savannah officials hosted a public meeting on homelessness, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Advertised as a “thoughtful dialogue with the community,” the public forum hosted by the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless was a “listening opportunity” for both citizens and elected leaders , according to Joe Ervin, CSAH board chair and moderator for Wednesday’s discussion.

“Typical rent in Savannah is $1,350 a month and 41 percent of residents are renters,” Erwin said. “The average income for a woman is $19,000 and the average income for a man is $20,000. .. So I open the floor to you citizens. How do we solve our homeless problem in Savannah?”

The forum comes on the heels of State Rep. Jesse Petrea publicly decrying the appearance of homeless camps as a smudge on scenic Savannah and her tourist draw.

Petrea said Wednesday at the forum that he hopes the discussion will spur officials and the community into action. Petrea said he supports is consolidating the camps into one manageable camp.

“I’m continuously barraged with constituent complaints about the issue but none of the officials have asked for help,” he said. “We have a situation where people are living in conditions that are unfit for human life and they deserve better. Everybody deserves fundamental services… There has got to be a better way. I don’t have all the answers. I’m not an expert on homelessness. I’m hear to listen and stimulate a conversation about the conversation.”

A lawsuit claiming discriminatory voting maps and backed by Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder, has been filed against Georgia, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods spoke at the opening of the Coweta County library system’s summer reading program, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

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