Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 18, 2023


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 18, 2023

The United States government took out its first loan on September 18, 1789, the proceeds of which were used to pay the salaries of the President, and First Congress. Was that the first payday loan? On the same day, future President Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to E. Rutledge in which he requested that a shipment of olive trees be sent via Baltimore.

President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the United States Capitol on September 18, 1793.

We know from that newspaper article, and from Masonic ritual, that Washington placed an inscribed silver plate under the cornerstone at the southeast corner of this building. However, we do not know whether that meant the southeast corner of the Senate wing, the first section of the building to be completed, or the southeast corner of the whole building as intended, which would locate it over on the House side. Two centuries later, the Architect of the Capitol is still searching for that cornerstone. Metal detectors have failed to locate the silver plate.

President Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act on September 18, 1850, requiring that slaves be returned to their owners even if they were in a free state.

General Robert E. Lee retreated from Antietam Creek on September 18, 1862, following the bloodiest day of fighting in the Civil War.

On September 18, 1973, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter filed a report claiming that he saw an Unidentified Flying Object in the sky above Leary, Georgia in 1969.

Carter was preparing to give a speech at a Lions Club meeting. At about 7:15 p.m (EST), one of the guests called his attention to a strange object that was visible about 30 degrees above the horizon to the west of where he was standing. Carter described the object as being bright white and as being about as bright as the moon. It was said to have appeared to have closed in on where he was standing but to have stopped beyond a stand of pine trees some distance from him. The object is then said to have changed color, first to blue, then to red, then back to white, before appearing to recede into the distance. Carter felt that the object was self-luminous, but not a solid in nature. Carter’s report indicates that it was witnessed by about ten or twelve other people, and was in view for ten to twelve minutes before it passed out of sight.

Click here to view a copy of the report, allegedly on file at the Carter Center.

The Georgia General Assembly approved a new state Constitution on September 18, 1981, which was placed on the 1982 ballot and after approval by voters, went into effect in 1983.

On September 18, 1990, Atlanta was announced as the location for the 1996 Summer Olympic games.

Ted Turner announced on September 18, 1997 his intent to donate $1 billion to the United Nations.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Governor Nathan Deal and the late First Lady Sandra Deal, will be honored at the Wesley Woods Foundation’s Heroes, Saints & Legends Gala, according to the AJC.

“From Gov. Deal’s work on criminal justice reform and Sandra Deal’s tremendous literacy efforts in their beloved state to Veronica Biggins’ unwavering commitment to Atlanta’s civic leadership, they have all shown what it takes to be true heroes in our community,” said Diane Vaughan, president of the Foundation of Wesley Woods.

“More than ever, the role of Wesley Woods as an affordable housing provider for our region’s older adults is critical. Funds raised through Heroes, Saints & Legends opens the door to housing and meals to those who have outlived their resources, on-site chaplains providing pastoral care and innovative wellness programming to help seniors live independently for as long as possible.”

Governor Brian Kemp will not suspend from office State Senator Shawn Still (R-Norcross), after Still was indicted in the Trump case, according to the Associated Press via the Fulton Daily Report.

A three-person panel didn’t recommend that state Sen. Shawn Still be temporarily removed from office while the case is pending, Garrison Douglas, a spokesperson for Gov. Brian Kemp, said Friday.

Still, a Republican who lives in the north Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek, is a swimming pool contractor and former state Republican Party finance chairman. He was one of 16 Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won the state and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.

Still was the secretary of that meeting and is one of only three members of that group who was indicted. He faces seven counts, including the main racketeering charge as well as felony counts of impersonating a public officer, forgery, attempting to file false documents and false statements and writings, all stemming from the elector meeting.

Like all the other defendants, Still has pleaded not guilty. A lawyer for Still did not immediately respond Friday to an email and phone call seeking comment.

As is required by state law, Kemp appointed Attorney General Chris Carr, as well as Republican state Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch and Republican state House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration. That group held a closed hearing Monday to consider whether Still should be suspended, issuing a confidential recommendation to Kemp.

Still was not in public office in December 2020 when the Republican electors met. He was elected in 2022 and is serving his first term.

Governor Kemp said the film industry contributed more than $4 billion dollars to Georgia’s economy in the last year, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The film industry spent $4.1 billion in Georgia during the last fiscal year, Gov. Brian Kemp announced.
That was below the $4.4 billion film and television productions spent in the Peach State during the previous fiscal year but above the $4.0 billion in direct spending the industry posted in fiscal 2021 as Georgia began to emerge from the pandemic.

“Georgia remains a global leader in film, TV, and streaming productions,” Kemp said. “Those who benefit most from the significant growth we’ve seen in this industry over the past couple of decades are hardworking Georgians who fill the many behind-the-camera jobs that come with each project. That’s why we’ve worked hard to attract these and other opportunities for those who call the Peach State home.”

Former State Representative Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) wants a referendum on “Cop City,” according to the AJC.

Voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams says she supports putting Atlanta’s public safety training center on the ballot for voters to decide.

“I strongly support the right of residents to be heard and that right should not be unfairly impinged upon,” said Abrams, her party’s nominee for governor in 2018 and 2022.

“The rarely used citizen referendum is designed for precisely this type of fraught issue,” she added. “Regardless of one’s position on the subject matter, the leadership of the city should make every effort to allow direct citizen engagement by vote.”

Abrams continues raising money with her leadership committee, according to the AJC.

Abrams, a Democrat, has sent several recent fundraising appeals for One Georgia, the leadership committee that helped finance her failed 2022 bid for governor.

The committee, which can tap unlimited campaign contributions, collected more than $59 million for Abrams’ campaign during the 2022 midterm race. She sent an email Friday thanking supporters — then adding a twist.

“But our journey isn’t over. One Georgia needs your continued support to navigate these turbulent times,” read the note. “With you by our side, we can ensure every voice resonates, and our democracy thrives.”

United States Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Extreme NW GA) had some thoughts to share about Rome City Commissioners, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

“We’ve got Democratic city commissioners that encourage Black Lives Matter and want to defund the police,” Greene said, without offering any specifics. “They also allow the sales of sex toys in front of children and ignore drag queens.”

Greene, a controversial and outspoken supporter of former president Donald Trump, said the city commission is part of the same culture as Democrats in Washington D.C., linking them with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer.

“We’ve got to keep Rome from becoming corrupt like Atlanta, Chicago and even Macon,” Greene said.

She spoke about the need for fiscal restraint, attacking the proposal for Rome City Schools new middle school, which is currently budgeted at $120 million.

United States District Court Judge Steve Jones (ND-GA) aims to decide redistricting cases by Thanksgiving, according to the Georgia Recorder.

And now the question of whether Georgia’s GOP-drawn political maps illegally dilute Black voting strength is in the hands of federal Judge Steve Jones, who told both sides they could expect a ruling by Thanksgiving.

If Jones sides with the groups and Black voters who have brought the legal challenges, the case could affect the balance of power on the national level – where Republicans hold a fragile majority in the U.S. House – and it could shrink the already tightening margins under the Gold Dome.

The state’s attorneys have defended the maps drawn during a 2021 special session as the product of a political process that protected the GOP majority and prioritized incumbency.

Bryan Tyson, who is serving as special assistant attorney general, argued the plaintiffs’ mapmakers overly emphasized race in their alternative plans creating a new majority Black congressional district and multiple legislative districts.

Tyson argued voters here are driven by “party conscious politics, not race conscious politics.” And he raised the question: If racial polarization was such a dominant factor, then how are Black-preferred candidates succeeding in Georgia?

The trial centers on three cases that claim the state’s congressional and legislative district maps violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Civil rights and religious groups and individual Black voters filed the challenges shortly after the maps were first approved. But there are other redistricting challenges pending in Georgia.

University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock, who has written a book on redistricting, said he suspects the plaintiffs may prove successful. If so, state lawmakers will be sent back to the drawing board.

“The Legislature will be given the first crack at drawing a new plan. I would think the legislature, if it is given that opportunity, would not behave like the Alabama legislature,” Bullock said this week.

Bullock said he believes that exercise could yield a congressional district where adult Black Georgians make up at least the bulk of the population.

“Now, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee it’s going to elect a Black candidate, but what it does make likely is that the Black voters will be able to choose their candidate of choice. Again, that could be a Black Democrat, could be a white Democrat, but it’ll probably be a Democrat.

Georgia solar arrays are producing large amounts of electricity, but distribution is a challenge, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

More than 18,000 transmission lines in Georgia move power from a myriad of energy sources.

“They usually take years to build, you have to meet the demand when it comes online,” Craig Heighton, director of external affairs for Georgia Transmission Corporation said. “Those days are gone where you just draw chalk on the map to go from point A to B. We have to do the least obtrusive way to get the job done, and that happens through an extensive routing and siting process.”

Now, both power sources and demand are changing, and the process to get transmission lines built is growing more complicated, hindering clean energy development.

“If you wanted to have transmission in place, say, by 2030, you better have already started planning and working on it right now. It takes that long. That’s the problem with trying to do this: people think 2030 is a long way off. In planning terms, that is today,” Howard Smith, a renewables developer who managed Georgia Power’s integrated resource plans from 1992 to 2001, told McClatchy.

The Inflation Reduction Act is providing $769 million in grant authority to facilitate the siting and permitting of interstate (and offshore) electric transmission lines.

Additional funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will provide $2 billion in direct loan authority for facility financing.

“There are efforts to incentivize renewables from the IRA and there is a lot of money to deal with this transmission challenge. I’m hopeful there is going to be help,” Public Service Commissioner Jason Shaw said.

The state’s best conditions for solar panels are in South Georgia, where land is cheap, sunny, sparsely inhabited and flat.

The large-scale deployment of solar generation in South Georgia would require an accompanying transmission buildout to get this energy to the Atlanta region.

Savannah gun owners are complaining about Mayor Van Johnson’s plan to charge owners who weapons are stolen and used in a crime, according to WSAV.

The proposed ordinance penalizes people who don’t properly store their weapons.

“I think you’re just making criminals out of law-abiding citizens,” legal gun owner Brittany Brown said.

“If it’s your gun and you didn’t secure it or you didn’t report it, then we’re gonna hold you responsible for it because a gun is a responsibility,” Johnson said.

It penalizes gun owners who keep their cars unlocked with their firearms inside. It also calls for them to report their gun missing or stolen within 24 hours.

Some gun owners are questioning the burden of proof and searching for clarity about what the ordinance actually means.

“How are you gonna prove that their car was unlocked or not, that for me, and also the ordinance that I’ve currently read says the firearm should be secured in your car properly, what does that mean, what is the requirement for that and who determines that?” she questioned.

But Mayor Johnson says it’s all for public safety, and the ordinance is an effective way to prevent gun-related crimes.

Democrat Debra Shigley will run against State Rep. Jan Jones (R-Alpharetta) in 2024, according to the AJC.

Jan Jones, the No. 2 Republican in the Georgia House, is in such a safe district that no Democrat ran against her in the 2022 midterm. When she last faced a general election opponent in 2020, she won by 32 points.

She said she entered the race to oppose Republican-led efforts to expand school vouchers, restrict abortions and roll back gun limits.

“I want to make it more affordable to raise a family in our district. As the daughter of two public school educators, I want our kids to go to the best schools in the nation,” said Shigley. “I am running because I don’t hear our district’s voice represented at the Capitol. I’m ready to change that.”

Glynn County Clerk of Courts Ronald A. Adams announced he is retiring, according to The Brunswick News.

Ronald A. Adams, clerk of Glynn County Superior and Magistrate courts, is resigning effective Sept. 30 with Chief Deputy Clerk Rebecca Walden replacing him.

In a Sept. 6 resignation letter to Gov. Brian Kemp, Adams said it had been an honor to serve Glynn County and that he had confidence that Walden was fully capable of filling the post. Under Georgia law, a resigning or retiring clerk can appoint his chief deputy to the office.

Adams won election and took office in January 2017 during a troubled time for the office. It was discovered that a former clerk had stolen more than $1 million from the office, some of it child support payments. A former banker, Adams doggedly dug through the records at his office and at two banks. The county has received just under $740,000 in insurance claims covering the thefts with more than $400,000 in claims to one insurer still in litigation.

Pooler City Council member Stevie Wall announced he will run for Mayor, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Wall began to get involved with local government in 1994, when he got on to the planning and zoning committee. He said all of his other friends were being coaches for their kids, and he didn’t have enough time to do that, but wanted to give back.

In 1996, he was elected to council for the first time.

Since the Pooler City Council once had two-year terms, Wall has been elected a total of 11 times, but this is his first time running for mayor.

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