Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 30, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 30, 2018

On May 30, 1922, Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft dedicated the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Inside the memorial is a seated statue of Lincoln by Daniel Chester French carved from 175 tons of Georgia white marble.

French also created the statue of Jame Oglethorpe that stands in Chippewa Square in Savannah and a seated statue of Samuel Spencer considered to be a prototype of the Lincoln carving. Samuel Spencer was the first President of Southern Railway and was originally located at the rail station in downtown Atlanta before moving to the Southern Railway passenger station in Buckhead in the 1970s and is currently at 1200 Peachtree Street in front of Norfolk Southern.

On this day in 1992, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion by Georgia-based The Black Crowes reached number one on the Billboard US Album chart.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal said that scandals engulfing Atlanta City Hall should not affect the region’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2, according to WABE.

“The new mayor has been very active in working with us at the state level, and very proactive in terms of new business development,” the governor said after a press conference Tuesday. ” I think she has the right approach to it. These other things will take care of themselves.”

Deal said he doesn’t believe either issue will factor into Amazon’s decision. The online retail giant is expected to choose a city this year.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle is staffing up headed to the July 24 Primary Runoff Election, according to the Gainesville Times.

Casey Cagle has hired new staff and opened a campaign office in Hall County.

Cagle’s campaign announced the new staff in a Tuesday, May 29, announcement.

The lieutenant governor pulled Gainesville native Graham Williams from the private sector to run the Hall County field office, which opened on Tuesday. Cagle’s campaign headquarters is in Atlanta, and the opening of the field office comes after Cagle took just less than 50 percent of the vote in his home county.

Cagle for Georgia has also hired Ryan Williams, who ran Rick Jeffares’ campaign for lieutenant governor, as his deputy campaign manager. He’ll work under Scott Binkley, whom Cagle hired before he officially launched his campaign.

The Georgia Republican Party will hold a press conference today to pressure Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, according to the AJC.

At a press conference Wednesday to be hosted by the Georgia GOP, two of the party’s top women leaders — Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones and state Sen. Renee Unterman — intend to urge Abrams to release 10 years of her tax returns.

They are seizing on an ethics complaint filed by a watchdog group questioning about $84,000 in reimbursements from her campaign committees over several years that lack details about how the money was spent.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that loans will be made available to some South Georgia organizations, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations located in Georgia as a result of the drought that began on March 20.

The loans are available in the following counties: Atkinson, Berrien, Brooks, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes and Tift.

“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities, affected by the same disaster,” said Richard Morgan, acting director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at

Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal spoke in Dalton about risks of the opioid epidemic, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

“I have a nephew who overdosed (on drugs) and was revived,” the commissioner of the state Department of Public Health said here recently. “He’s been clean for two years, holding a job and doing well. As I talk to other folks I hear some of the same stories.”

Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal was the speaker during a meeting of the North Georgia Healthcare Coalition at the Dalton Convention Center. The coalition consists of agencies in Georgia Hospital Association Region A that coordinate emergency response plans. The region includes Catoosa, Dade, Fannin, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Pickens, Walker and Whitfield counties.

O’Neal’s topic was “Opioid Crisis in Georgia, Public Health’s Role.”

“I think it impacts every single family in Georgia in some way,” he said. “For me, it’s personal.”

“We don’t have the data yet, but it’s looking like the number of overdose deaths we had in 2017, particularly opioid, may exceed deaths we have from car crashes,” he said.

“Most of those addictions start with prescription drugs,” O’Neal said. “I can tell you that as a doctor we are having to rethink the way we treat pain.”

Gwinnett County transportation planners are wrapping up the public comment period on transit development, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“We’re wrapping up our recommendations round of public input right now,” Gwinnett County Transportation Director Alan Chapman said. “We’ve held our public meetings, our outreach events and we’re just about to cut off the online survey . We’re running it through the end of the month.”

The county is working on short-, mid- and long-range plans for expanding transit with everything from more bus routes to bus rapid transit and a four-mile extension of heavy rail from MARTA’s Doraville station to a planned multimodal hub near Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Interstate 85 on the table.

“I think we’ve gotten a lot of response to the plan as a whole, mostly positive,” Chapman said. “I think a lot of support for having a balanced plan. I do think there is support for tying into the region with the heavy rail extension and having other connections to the region like in the southern part of the county tying, long term, into the Indian Creek MARTA station on the east line and also tying into north Fulton.”

Initially, in the five-year short-range plan, the focus will be on adding more local routes providing access to areas such as the Mall of Georgia and the U.S. Highway 78 corridor as well as expanding paratransit and express commuter bus services.

The Augusta Commission will consider a smoke-free ordinance next week, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

A tougher ordinance that would ban smoking in bars and most other public workplaces in Augusta is headed to the Augusta Commission next week, but without a recommendation from a committee.

The move Tuesday by the Public Service Committee was the latest salvo in a years-long fight between public health advocates and bar owners, who both showed up in force to fill the commission chamber. About two dozen people representing bars and other establishments and wearing “Butt Out of My Business” stickers sat on one side of the room, countered by around 15 people wearing “I Want to Breatheasy” stickers from the Breatheasy Augusta coalition on the other side.

Breatheasy member Jennifer Anderson said all the commissioners had to do is look south to Savannah, which has had a similar ordinance in place since 2011 and is the one the Augusta coalition based this ordinance on, to see “the benefit they have seen in their community.”

While getting the health benefits from the ordinance, Savannah has not suffered economically, as many studies have borne out in communities across the country, said coalition member Danielle Moores. There are also benefits for businesses in terms of reduced cleaning costs and improved employee health – one study estimated Georgia would save $66 million if all of the communities had a smoke-free ordinance, she said.

The National Park Service issued a report saying that some national parks in Georgia may be threatened by rising sea levels, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Among them: Cumberland Island off the Georgia coast, a fort near Savannah and another fort on St. Simons Island.

The park with the highest future water levels in Georgia is Fort Pulaski National Monument near Savannah, WABE Radio reported.

A tide gauge at Fort Pulaski shows that water levels have risen there by about a foot per century.

The study will be helpful to park managers who need to plan for the future, said Sarah Barmeyer, senior managing director of conservation programs at the National Parks Conservation Association.

Saint Simons Island residents drove voter turnout in Glynn County, according to The Brunswick News.

St. Simons Island Republicans drove the voter turnout numbers for Glynn County during the May 22 primaries, with each island precinct exceeding the 33 percent mark and claiming nearly 49 percent of all county ballots cast in the GOP gubernatorial contest, according to an analysis of voting numbers by The News.

St. Simons Island is also where Glynn County Board of Commissioners candidate David O’Quinn ran up his margin in the at-large GOP nomination race, one of the most competitive local races.

Where the St. Simons Island GOP’s strength did not define a clear front-runner was the top-ticket race for governor. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle won each St. Simons Island precinct, but it was a close affair. He had nine votes more than Secretary of State Brian Kemp at the Christian Renewal Church, five votes more than former state Sen. Hunter Hill at Oglethorpe Point Elementary School, was tied with Kemp at Fire Station No. 2 and had seven votes more than Hill at St. Simons First Baptist Church.

Hill ended up winning the most votes in the county, making Glynn the only county Hill carried, but it was close. Hill picked up small advantages in precincts elsewhere in the county to build his slim 29-vote margin.

Macon-Bibb County is urging residents to stay off the Ocmulgee River and has closed access due to fast-moving water, according to the Macon Telegraph.

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