Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 17, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 17, 2018

Forty-one delegates signed the United States Constitution, including Abraham Baldwin and William Few representing Georgia, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 before adjourning sine die.

On September 17, 1796, George Washington began working on the final draft of his farewell address as the first President of the United States of America.

The Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee met the Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles. Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Joseph Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted devastating casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane,” before the Southerners retreated. McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt.

The fighting ended by early evening, and the two armies remained in place throughout the following day. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. Union casualties included 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing, while Confederate casualties numbered 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing.

On September 17, 1932, the Georgia Division of the Roosevelt Business and Professional League was created to work with the Georgia Democratic Party to support FDR’s Presidential campaign in the Peach State.

Jimmy Carter received the first ever endorsement of a national ticket by the National Education Association in his bid for President on September 17, 1976.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal completed another set of domino appointments, appointing Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Charlie Bethel to the Georgia Supreme Court, and State Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville) to fill the Court of Appeals vacancy created by Bethel’s elevation.

Charlie Bethel, Supreme Court of Georgia
Bethel currently serves as a Judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia. He previously represented the 54th district in the Georgia State Senate and served as an alderman for the City of Dalton. Bethel has experience in dispute resolution, as the director of corporate affairs for J&J Industries and as a legal clerk for Judge Charles A. Pannell Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. He is a graduate of Leadership Georgia and was named to Georgia Trend’s “100 Most Influential Georgians” list three times. Bethel earned a bachelor’s degree in Management, cum laude, from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia and a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. He and his wife, Lynsey, have three children and reside in Dalton.

Rep. Christian A. Coomer, Court of Appeals of Georgia
Coomer represents the 14th district in the Georgia House of Representatives, where he currently serves as the majority whip. He is a solo practitioner with Christian A. Coomer, Attorney at Law, LLC. Coomer is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and serves as a part-time Air Force Judge Advocate currently assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters of the Georgia National Guard. He was appointed to the Court Reform Council by Deal and was named the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Legislator of the Year in 2017. Coomer received numerous awards for his military service including the U.S. Air Force Meritorious Service Medal. He is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College at Air University and the Georgia Legislative Leadership Institute. Coomer is a member of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Veterans Association. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Lee University and a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. Coomer and his wife, Heidi, have three children and reside in Cartersville.

Governor Deal joined Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston in naming appointees to the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (The ATL).

Deal appointed Charlie Sutlive to serve as the board chairman, effective immediately. Cagle appointed Teddy Russell and Mark Toro, effective immediately. Ralston appointed Charlotte J. Nash, effective immediately, and Rep. Earl Ehrhart, effective upon the conclusion of his service in the Georgia General Assembly in January 2019.

“Georgia is a destination for all types of industries and people from all walks of life to come and enjoy the prosperity of our state,” said Deal. “By 2040, the metro Atlanta area is projected to add another 2.5 million residents and the ATL is a significant step towards providing a coordinated, streamlined and unified approach to prepare for the future of metro Atlanta and the surrounding communities. The ATL board members will work to ensure that our modes of transit and mobility are worthy of the No. 1 state for business and I look forward to their work to provide new options for Georgians to get to jobs, community activities and homes to spend time with family more quickly and efficiently.”

The ATL was established by HB 930 to provide structure for coordinated transit planning and funding for the 13-county metro Atlanta region. The ATL is responsible for developing a Regional Transit Plan, as well as identifying and prioritizing the projects and initiatives required to develop region-wide transit.

“As our state continues to experience record levels of growth, the ATL will strategically expand our public transportation network to accommodate thousands of new passengers, while reducing traffic congestion, strengthening the link between our communities, and spurring future economic growth,” said Cagle. “I commend Chairmen Brandon Beach and Kevin Tanner for their dedicated commitment to advancing this historic legislation, and I’m confident the ATL’s board members will take full advantage of our state’s many strategic assets to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of future investments in building a world-class transit network.”

The ATL is governed by a 16-member board and attached to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority for shared administrative resources.

“Transit is an integral part of our efforts to reduce traffic congestion, improve freight logistics and create more jobs by attracting more businesses to metropolitan Atlanta,” said Ralston. “I am confident that the members of the ATL Board will look for ways to improve our transit network through innovative partnerships and projects, and that they will work tirelessly to keep Atlanta and its surrounding communities on the move.”

Charlie Sutlive, Chairman, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Deal
Sutlive is the director of corporate communication at Georgia Power. In this role, he provides strategic support for the company’s external and internal communications. Sutlive was previously the vice chancellor for communications and governmental affairs for the University System of Georgia (USG) and led the development and execution of communications, public affairs and economic development plans for USG’s 26 colleges and universities. He has held multiple leadership positions for some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the world, including MCI, which is now part of Verizon Communications, McKesson and Coca-Cola North America. Sutlive sat on the boards of Leadership Georgia, the REACH Georgia Foundation, the Jekyll Island Foundation and the Smithgall Woods Foundation. He is also a graduate of Leadership Georgia. Sutlive earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia.

Teddy Russell, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Cagle
Russell is a co-owner and the president of Russell Landscape. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Russell and his wife, Courtney, have three children and reside in Atlanta.

Mark Toro, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Cagle
Toro is a co-founder of North American Properties’ Atlanta office. He previously served in several leadership positions with Faison and Cousins Properties. Toro has acquired, developed or redeveloped more than 70 projects totaling almost 30 million square feet. He attended Rutgers University. Toro and his wife, Nancy, have two children and three grandchildren.

Charlotte J. Nash, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Ralston
Nash is the chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners. She was elected countywide to this position in March 2011 and was reelected in 2012 and 2016.  Nash previously worked for the Gwinnett County government for 28 years and retired as the county manager in 2004. She sits on the Atlanta Regional Commission Board and chairs the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Board. Nash is a former president of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. She and her husband, Michael, have two children and two grandchildren. They reside in Dacula.

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Ralston
Ehrhart is the CEO of Taylor English Decisions. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1988 and will conclude his service as a member of the General Assembly in January 2019. As a member of the House, Ehrhart served as the Minority Whip, Chairman of the Rules Committee and Chairman of Higher Education Appropriations Committee. A businessman and entrepreneur, he was previously the executive vice president of the Facility Group and CEO of LakePoint Sports Development Group. Ehrhart and his wife, Ginny McCormack Ehrhart, have six children between them.

Dalton voters will decide in a November referendum whether to extend the hours of alcohol service on Sundays, according to the Daily Citizen News.

“It’s a no-brainer. I think the voters are going to approve it,” said T.J. Kaikobad, owner of Cyra’s in downtown Dalton.

Kaikobad says moving the time ahead for alcohol sales on Sunday will have a small but real impact on Dalton restaurants.

“From what I’ve seen over the years, over every 20 guests, you might have one who’ll order a bloody Mary at 11. And we have to so ‘No, you have to wait,’” he said.

Still, Kaikobad says it will help restaurants be able to better serve those customers.

Some Dalton residents say they are likely to vote for the measure.

“We’ve had Sunday sales for 10 years or so, and I haven’t noticed any big problems,” said Mark Greene. “I don’t see why moving the start time up will hurt.”



Coweta County’s Joint Transportation Coordinating Committee recommended the county and municipalities move forward with a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST) on the November 2019 ballot, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

At its July meeting, the committee voted unanimously to recommend that Coweta County and its cities pursue the TSPLOST, a 1-percent, five-year sales tax to fund various transportation projects. The Coweta County Board of Commissioners voted Aug. 21 to move forward.

The TSPLOST would likely bring in around $100 million over five years, said Coweta County Administrator Michael Fouts. He based that estimate on the projections for the 2019 SPLOST, which is projected to bring in $140 million. A SPLOST runs for six years, instead of the five years of TSPLOST, and there are some items that are exempt from TSPLOST taxes – most notably, motor fuel.

Brooklet City Council will hold its third hearing on the proposed FY 2019 property tax millage rate, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Brooklet City Administrator Angela Wirth said the hearings are to allow citizens to comment on the city’s millage rate, which will not change, but remain at 7.696.

The millage rate will not change, but since the city’s property value assessments have risen, by law the city must hold the hearings, she said.

Dredging near the entrance to St Simons Island was greenlighted by the Georgia Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee, according to The Brunswick Times.

Leonard Gomez, Republican candidate for House District 132 responded to his opponent’s complaint that Gomez allegedly no longer lives in the district, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

In his declaration of candidacy for the Georgia House 132 seat, Gomez lists his address as 1 Main St., Apt. 2, Grantville. That was filed on March 8, according to documents included in Trammell’s challenge. In his financial disclosure, filed March 19, Gomez listed his long-time Grantville address.

According to Coweta tax records, the Gomezes sold that home on March 22. The home Mrs. Gomez owns is located in House District 70.

In his challenge, Trammell states that the apartment at 1 Main St. is uninhabited and that the utilities had not been connected as of Sept. 1.

Gomez said they decided not to move to Newnan but to stay in Grantville, and he lives in an apartment on Main Street. Mrs. Gomez bought a house in Newnan in late 2017, but that home was bought as an investment, not for them to live in, Gomez said.

Gomez said his voter registration and driver’s license list his address as Grantville.

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