Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 21, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 21, 2019

On November 21, 1620 (November 11 under the calendar used then), the first governing document of the English colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Mayflower Compact, was signed by most of the male passengers of the Mayflower.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

The Georgia Trustees outlawed rum in the colony on November 21, 1733 after James Oglethorpe wrote them that it was responsible for sickness and death in Georgia. Two-hundred eighty-six years later, Richland Rum is being distilled with Georgia-grown sugar cane in Richland, Georgia.

North Carolina ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789, becoming the twelfth state to do so.

On November 21, 1860 Governor Joseph Brown called a Secession Convention following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President.

November 21, 1922 was the first day of Rebecca Latimer Fulton’s service in the United States Senate from Georgia as the first woman to serve in that chamber.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump urged Governor Brian Kemp to appoint Congressman Doug Collins to the United States Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Johnny Isakson, according to the AJC.

President Donald Trump pressed Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday to appoint U.S. Rep. Doug Collins to an open U.S. Senate, hours after the Gainesville Republican said he was “strongly” considering a run for the job even if he’s not tapped.

The call, described by three high-level GOP officials, was part of a dramatic increase in pressure from Collins’ allies that raises the possibility of a bitter Republican clash over the race.

It’s the second time in two weeks that Trump directly appealed Kemp to appoint Collins, who was long considered a top contender to fill U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat before a multimillionaire financial executive applied.

And after the AJC published a story detailing Collins’ threat to run, Trump dialed up Kemp to push his appointment, according to multiple people who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

One of them said Trump stressed Collins’ role fighting the president’s impeachment in the U.S. House and characterized him as someone who could be an “immediate leader” in the Senate. Another said the president also told Kemp he understands it’s his choice to make.

While riding in the presidential limo during a Nov. 8 campaign trip to Atlanta, Trump told Kemp he liked Collins for the Senate vacancy, according to two other people familiar with the discussion who were not authorized to speak publicly about the private conversation.

Senator Johnny Isakson endorsed Karen Handel for Congress in the Sixth District seat he formerly held, according to the AJC.

His endorsement stated in part, “Karen Handel is one of the hardest working people I know. Karen has proven time and again that she is a problem solver who focuses on results rather than politics.”

He continued, “Karen Handel is who I trust to represent us in Congress, and I’m proud to support Karen to be our next representative for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.”

“I am grateful to count Senator Isakson as a friend and mentor.” Handel said. “He is a true statesman and has served our state with distinction over his career in public service. It is humbling to receive his support and endorsement of my campaign to represent the district he once held.”

Congressman Austin Scott (R-Tifton) sponsored a Special Order honorning Senator Johnny Isakson, according to the Albany Herald.

Participating in the Special Order were U.S. Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.; Tom Graves, R-Ga.; Rob Woodall, R-Ga.; Doug Collins, R-Ga.; Rick Allen, R-Ga.; Buddy Carter, R-Ga.; Jody Hice, R-Ga.; Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga.; Drew Ferguson, R-Ga.; and Lucy McBath, D-Ga.

“For decades, Sen. Isakson has faithfully served our state, and his character, godliness and statesmanship will be greatly missed in Washington. His faithful service to the great state of Georgia is second only to our beloved mascot, Uga.

“He is a giant among men, dedicated and deliberate, and it has been an honor to work alongside him, fighting for the good people of Georgia. With that, I yield to my colleagues.”

Eugene Yu, who previously ran for Congress in the Twelfth District now will run for the Seventh, according to the Forsyth County News.

Eugene Yu announced this week he would be seeking the seat currently held by Rep. Rob Woodall, who was first elected in 2010 and announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election.

“I have lived and worked as a legal immigrant chasing the American dream for many years,” Yu said in a news release. “I understand and want to protect hard-working American values. America is still the number one country in the world, and I will work to keep it that way for our future generations.”

Yu described himself as a conservative who believes in “smaller government, lower taxes, fair trade and less intrusion from the government in our personal lives. “

Newly-elected State House member Philip Singleton takes a victory lap in the Washington Times.

Between a special election on Sept. 3 and a runoff on Oct. 1, this campaign season proved to be a painful illustration of exactly why so many good people avoid politics altogether.

My main opponent just so happened to be Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison, daughter of former U.S. Congressman Lynn Westmoreland. To no surprise, Mrs. Sakrison’s candidacy quickly became the ruling class’ attempt to install their handpicked heiress apparent.

But why would Republican leadership in Georgia spend so much money on a seat that was so safely red?

The answer is simple: President Trump has upset the order of things, and the establishment — all the way down to the local level — is terrified. After generations of going home disappointed, voters are sick of “politics as usual.”

Hoschton voters are a step closer to voting on a recall petition of two incumbent officeholders, according to the AJC.

The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously turned down an appeal by Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly, paving the way for a recall election of her and longtime Councilman Jim Cleveland.

Kenerly had asked the court to review a lower court decision upholding the grounds for her recall, but the high court declined to hear it. Neither Kenerly nor her attorney returned a call seeking comment.

Action now moves to the Jackson County Board of Elections, which must check and certify the recall petitions and set a special election. But supporters of the recall effort believe the most difficult legal hurdles are behind them and view a recall election early next year as inevitable.

The Georgia Department of Revenue ruled that a jet fuel tax break will continue, according to the AJC.

Around this time last year state lawmakers met in a special session to pass storm relief legislation for South Georgia farmers and what they were told was a temporary tax break for air carriers such as Delta Air Lines.

Around this time last year state lawmakers met in a special session to pass storm relief legislation for South Georgia farmers and what they were told was a temporary tax break for air carriers such as Delta Air Lines.

The Revenue Department published the ruling Wednesday with little fanfare. Earlier this year the agency posted a friendly reminder that airlines and others using jet fuel would have to begin collecting the tax July 1. The latest ruling came after the Revenue Department was asked “for guidance” in applying the law.

The special session legislation — which passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly — included a line that read, “The General Assembly of Georgia hereby continues such suspension of collection indefinitely.” That led to the Revenue Department’s ruling Wednesday.

Wednesday’s ruling could mean another legislative fight when lawmakers return in January. While some Republican leaders would like the Revenue Department’s decision to stand, other lawmakers are likely to seek legislation setting a time limit on the tax break.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez criticized Georgia last night, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Tom Perez blasted Georgia’s Republican leadership Wednesday and what he described as restrictive practices at the polls.

Using himself as an example, Perez said that if he were to vote without using his middle initial, Georgia election officials would be prepared to remove him from the voting rolls.

Perez also took verbal shots at President Donald Trump, calling him “the most dangerous president in American history.”

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway announced the opening of special jail housing for military veterans, according to the AJC.

The Sheriff’s Office unveiled “The Barracks,” a 70-bed jail housing unit that is designed to mimic some of the aspects of life in the military. Officials said that particularly includes the regimented and disciplined lifestyle typically associated with life in the armed forces.

“Our goal is to help reconnect these inmates to the time in their lives when they made better decisions, respected authority and obeyed the law,” Sheriff Butch Conway said in a statement. “This program has the potential to greatly influence these inmates and help them lead more productive lives when they’re released from custody.”

The housing unit has daily room inspections and military-style fitness training. The Sheriff’s Office explained, “Military veterans have previously demonstrated their ability to lead a life of discipline, respect authority and follow orders, which we believe will be instrumental to the program’s success.”

The Sheriff’s Office will also offer classes to the inmates to help them deal with military service-related trauma as well as behavioral issues and drug abuse.

“The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office has a longstanding history of supporting our nation’s military veterans,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “Many of our staff members are veterans themselves and we seek opportunities to recruit at military bases around the country to afford career opportunities to soldiers leaving military service. Our efforts stem from deep appreciation for the service these highly trained professionals provided our nation and a desire to provide them employment as they transition to civilian life.”

“Our appreciation for military service extends to inmates who are military veterans.”

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority adopted a resolution to refinance outstanding bonds at a more favorable rate, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The resolution would refinance the current bond to a lower interest rate of 2.899%. The new bond, totaling $17 million, would save the development authority $654,658. It passed unanimously.

Gwinnett County has retained the highest bond ratings available, according to the AJC.

The county government has earned AAA ratings from Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings and S and P Global. Those ratings come in handy when the county seeks bonds because it helps county leaders secure more favorable interest rates.

“The rating agencies conduct an intense review of our finances, operations and policies. These stellar ratings are very difficult to achieve,” county commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said.

In their report on the county, Moody’s cited ongoing growth in the county as one reason for its rating of Gwinnett.

“The county’s base will continue to expand given strong permitting activity, recent development announcements and proximity to Atlanta,” the agency said. “This growth will support strong revenue performance which, along with good management and low fixed costs, will lead to continued stability in the county’s financial position.”

Sylvia Washington took her seat as a new member of the Bainbridge City Council after being sworn in, according to the Post Searchlight.

State Senator Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) spoke to a local Rotary club, according to the Post Searchlight.

The first item he mentioned was how the State of Georgia last year held a special session in November and appropriated $200 to $300 million dollars to provide loans and tax credits especially for farmers, following Hurricane Michael. He said this was unprecedented, that the State has never provided state funding for disaster relief. Only the federal government has provided disaster relief. Then, in April the Budget Committee put another $25 million into the fund as it rapidly became depleted.

Continuing with the relief given as tax credits to timber farmers, Burke said it became necessary to tweak the language a bit. Originally, timber farmers would have to clearcut in order to get relief. Many farmers said standing timber remained in many of their fields and they didn’t want to destroy them. The language was changed to if they cleaned up the site they could get credit.

In response to a question of where Burke stood on the subject of term limitations, he said he would support it in some ways; but noted that it takes some time for newly elected people to learn what is going on. He doesn’t believe they should be required to leave at the end of two years when they are just beginning to figure out what is going on.

The Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta opened Tattooine, an office of the DOD’s Defense Digital Service, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Defense Digital Service, a unique unit within the Department of Defense working on highly technical problems, celebrated opening an office Wednesday in Georgia Cyber Center.

The service held a grand opening Wednesday for its first remote office outside the Pentagon as it unveiled space dubbed Tatooine in the Georgia Cyber Center. The name is from Luke Skywalker’s home planet in the “Star Wars” movie series and there are references to the films throughout the offices that add to the nerdy vibe, a vibe they embrace. “These are the nerds y’all are looking for,” a play on a famous line from one of the Star Wars movies, is on a sign outside the door to the Tatooine office.

Brig. Gen. William Hartman, of U.S. Cyber Command, recalled the first time he met members of the service that they were trying to come up with a solution to unmanned drone strikes plaguing soldiers in the field and were literally soldering pieces together inside their Pentagon office to come up with a working prototype. They took it out into the field, let the soldiers work with it and give them feedback, and then did tweaks to make it work for them, he said.

Removal of the capsized M/V Golden Ray from St Simons Sound could take a year, according to The Brunswick News.

That was an assessment of the 656-foot cargo ship lying on its side off the coast of the Golden Isles by Coast Guard Cmdr. Matt Baer, a member of the Unified Command tasked with removing the ship that capsized Sept. 8. Baer made his comments at Wednesday’s Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce meeting.

The ship has been slowly sinking in the sand because of the powerful tides. About a quarter of the ship is scoured in sand more than 20 feet deep, making it impossible to upright the ship without it breaking apart and creating an even bigger problem, Baer said.

The rate of sinking into the sand has been slowed considerably after large rocks were dumped around the ship to keep it from shifting during incoming and outgoing tides, he said.

Baer estimated about 29 miles of coastline have been impacted from oil and fuel that has leaked from the ship. The areas include ones where even small amounts of oil the size of a quarter are counted.

So far, about 317,000 gallons of oil have been removed from the ship that Baer said could have contaminated local marshes and beaches.

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