Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 20, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 20, 2019

On September 22, 1862, Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which stated,

“. . . on the first day of January [1863] . . . all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

On September 20, 1863, the Confederate Army of the Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg repelled Union forces under General William Rosencrans at the Battle of Chickamauga. After Gettysburg, Chickamauga is generally considered the second-bloodiest battle of the Civil War, with 18,500 Confederate casualties and 16,100 Union dead.

On September 21, 1863, the federal Army of the Cumberland retreated to Chattanooga after its defeat at Chickamauga.

President Rutherford B. Hayes visited Atlanta on September 22, 1877. Click here to read the text of his speech in Atlanta.

White vigilantes seeking to assault African-Americans after reports of four white women being assaulted led to the Atlanta Race Riots on September 22-24, 1906, which would claim the lives of at least 25 African-Americans and one white person.

The first classes at Oglethorpe University under it’s current non-denominational charter were held on September 20, 1916. Happy 101st Anniversary to the Stormy Petrels. The university was originally affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and located in Midway, Georgia. In 1870, after a period of closure during the Civil War they relocated to the Atlanta area.

On September 22, 1918, the City of Atlanta gasoline administator prohibited non-emergency Sunday driving to conserve fuel for the war effort.

On September 20, 1976, Playboy magazine released an interview with Jimmy Carter, then a candidate for President.

During the 1976 campaigns, a 13-foot tall smiling peanut sculpture was created by the Indiana Democratic Party for Carter’s presidential campaign.

Since 1976, the Jimmy Carter Smiling Peanut has held its position as the world’s second largest peanut, “the most photographed thing in Plains”, and one of the oddest monuments to a politician worldwide. Unfortunately, in 2000, a reckless driver crashed into the peanut, whose wooden hoops, chicken wire, and aluminum foil weren’t enough to keep it upright. After the accident, the peanut was moved from the Plains train depot to the Davis E-Z Shop in Plains, where it remains today. Although the peanut has been kept in pristine form, the fence surrounding it has become dilapidated as a result of over a decade of tourists posing for photos on it.

Bert Lance resigned as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Jimmy Carter on September 21, 1977. After a jury acquitted him on ten federal charges in 1980, Lance served as Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia from 1982 to 1985.

General Colin Powell was confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 21. 1989. Powell served as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan before being appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George H.W. Bush; in 2000, Powell was nominated by President George W. Bush as Secretary of State, the first African-American to hold that post.

Friends debuted on NBC on September 22, 1994.

On September 21, 2011, R.E.M. announced on their website that they were quitting as a band.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia’s statewide high school graduation rate hit 82%, according to WABE.

The results are in: Georgia’s high school graduation rate reached an all-time high of 82% during the 2018-19 school year. The rate has increased 12% since 2012 when the federal government changed the requirements for reporting graduation rates.

In metro Atlanta, the Cobb County School District’s rate ticked up to 86.98%. Gwinnett County Public Schools went from 81.7% to 80.9%. The Fulton County School System inched up .4% to 87.2%. The DeKalb County School District dropped 1.5 percentage points to 73.4%. Clayton County Public Schools increased a point to reach 72.7%. Atlanta Public Schools dropped 2% to 77.9%.

Five APS high schools had rates above 90%. The Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy graduated 100% of its seniors last year, an increase of more than 6%.

Democrat Lucy McBath will not run for Johnny Isakson’s Senate seat, according to the AJC.

Freshman Congresswoman Lucy McBath ruled out a bid for U.S. Senate on Thursday, telling The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she’s focused on winning a second term in one of the country’s most competitive House districts.

But the Marietta Democrat said she wanted to focus on retaining her seat in Atlanta’s northern suburbs to continue her work on gun control, veterans’ affairs and other issues.

“I am just starting my work in the House on these issues, and I believe the best way to advance them at this time is to focus fully on those efforts in the House,” McBath said in a statement to the AJC.

“I am honored by the encouragement I have received from leaders in Georgia and around the nation to consider running for the United States Senate next year,” she added.

The AJC looks at who has applied so far for appointment to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Isakson.

So far, more than 200 people had filled out a short questionnaire and submitted their resumes to seek the coveted spot, which is opening after Isakson announced he’s stepping down at year’s end for health reasons.

Here’s our evolving list of some of the highest-profile candidates who have applied.

– U.S. Rep. Doug Collins
– Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols
– Radio host Martha Zoller, a former aide to Kemp and to U.S. Sen. David Perdue

Here are some other noteworthy names:

– Allen Buckley, a former Libertarian candidate for Senate
– Alpharetta City Councilman Ben Burnett
– Angelic Moore, a former Kemp campaign operative
– Robert Patillo, a political strategist and civil rights attorney

Candidates in the Special Runoff Election for State House District 71 spoke in a forum, according to the AJC.

On Tuesday evening, the Newnan-Coweta Chamber hosted a debate between the two runoff survivors in the race for the House District 71 seat vacated this summer by David Stover, R-Newnan. The final vote comes Oct. 1.

[Marcy Westmoreland] Sakrison is the daughter of former congressman Lynn Westmoreland, who now sits on the state Board of Transportation. As befitting a second-place finisher, Sakrison went on the attack, accusing [Philip] Singleton of smearing her by alleging that she supported the extension of MARTA into Coweta County – something that MARTA bylaws would not allow.

Sakrison also declared that in 2018, Singleton had attempted to run for the Third District congressional seat – once held by her father and now held by Republican Drew Ferguson – as a Democrat and an independent before running as a Republican. Singleton did not dispute the allegation.

Democrat Ben Haynes announced his candidacy for Sheriff of Gwinnett County in 2020, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Ben Haynes, who is a criminal investigator in the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office, announced he will run for the office next year during a kickoff event at the Gwinnett County Historic Courthouse. Haynes is at least the third Democrat to announce plans to run for the office in 2020, joining Curtis Clemons and Keybo Taylor in the race.

It has been unclear if Sheriff Butch Conway, the Republican who has held the office for nearly a quarter of a century, will run for another term next year.

“It (is) time for the county to progress forward,” Haynes said of his reason for running. “We’ve had the current sheriff since 1996 and I wanted to bring some changes to the office that I think will benefit all of the county.

Haynes said the 287(g) issue is likely to be a major issue in the 2020 sheriff’s race because of the county’s diversity.

“It affects so many communities here in the county,” he said. “I believe 287(g) touches every member of our county in one way or the other.”

Haynes said savings that can be realized by curtailing use of the 287(g) program can be used to benefit other efforts undertaken by the office. That includes programs he’d like to take on if he is elected.

Such programs include forming a sex trafficking task force with Gwinnett County police and the county’s municipal police departments; expanding mental health services available in the jail; and providing an education program in the jail where inmates who are awaiting trial can work on earning a regular high school diploma, rather than just a general education diploma, also known as a GED.

Fernando Paniagua withdrew from the election for Dalton City Board of Education, leaving Jody McClurg the only candidate, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Marietta City Council member Reginald Copeland pled not guilty to obstruction charges, according to AccessWDUN.

The Marietta city councilman was charged in May with several counts of misdemeanor obstruction.

An arrest warrant says Copeland’s truck was struck by a car making a U-turn. It says Copeland refused to give police his license and resisted getting out of the truck during the ensuing investigation.

Copeland is serving his second year on the council representing Ward 5. He cannot be removed from office unless he’s convicted of a felony or if there’s a successful recall petition.

The Forsyth County Solicitor General charged Hall County Board of Education member Mark Pettit with DUI, according to the Gainesville Times.

Solicitor General William Finch filed the charges of driving under the influence of alcohol – less safe and failure to maintain lane. The accusation was filed Sept. 13 in Hall County.

Pettitt was originally arrested Dec. 15 by Gainesville Police. He was stopped near the intersection of EE Butler and Jesse Jewell parkways

A February hearing was delayed until March 28, when it was announced that his case would be transferred from Gainesville Municipal Court to the Hall County Solicitor’s Office.

McKinnon said at the time the prosecution decided to transfer the case to Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard.

Woodard said she filed a recusal April 22 because she “had some amount of professional history with (him) and thought it would be more appropriate for someone who had not had the professional interactions with him.”

Kristi Royston was upgraded from interim elections supervisor to permanent by the Gwinnett County Board of Elections, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Royston had been the elections division’s deputy director before she was made the interim director.

“After a thorough, nationwide search, my fellow board members and I are excited to appoint Kristi as elections supervisor,” Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections Chairman John Mangano said in a statement. “Over the years, Kristi has demonstrated that she is fully capable of handling the sensitive and complicated job of running elections. We have full faith that she will continue the fine tradition of well-run elections for Gwinnett County.”

Royston has been elections division assistant superintendent since 2010 and oversaw efforts a couple of years ago to comply with a federal mandate for elections materials in Gwinnett to be provided in English and Spanish. She also oversaw the county’s expansion of early voting opportunities ahead of the 2018 general election, when Gwinnett offered Sunday voting for the first time.

“Running an election is a sacred trust that I take very seriously,” Royston said. “I will work hard to ensure every aspect of the elections is handled in a manner that inspires confidence by all sides.”

Glynn County Commissioners heard recommendations from a grand jury for improving police oversight, according to The Brunswick News.

Monica Smith, of St. Simons Island, told commissioners that 11 of the 18 recommendations by the grand jury were directed at the elected officials at the county level.

Among the recommendations were for commissioners to ensure supervisors document and investigate allegations of misconduct, maintain officers’ personnel files, review the organizational structure of the department and determining when an internal affairs investigation should be conducted.

She also urged commissioners to create a citizens’ advisory board to improve accountability.

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission Council heard a broadband update by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Members of the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission Council heard from [DCA Executive Director for Broadband Deana] Perry and Brittney Hickom, broadband program consultant 1 for the GDCA, during their monthly meeting in Calhoun on Thursday.

Both ladies told commission council members that state legislation passed over the past couple of sessions has made it possible for the state to begin moving toward the goal of expanding broadband internet access to all Georgians. Currently, there are 1.6 million residents in the state that lack such access.

Hickom said that one recent piece of legislation requires that local municipalities include broadband access as a priority in any new or updated comprehensive plans. She said local governments have responded well to that requirement.

She explained that once a community has updated their plans to include broadband access and adopted a model ordinance related to those plans they can apply to receive a designation as a Broadband Ready Community.

“Just like water and sewer services are important, so is high speed internet,” she said.

The Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference will be held in Hall County next year, according to the Gainesville Times.

The Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference will be Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2020, at Lanier Islands in South Hall, and the annual conference is attended by tourism officials such as convention and visitors bureau managers, hotel and restaurant owners, and attraction managers, along with elected officials. This year’s event was in LaGrange.

While most of the conference will be held at Lanier Islands, attendees will also have the opportunity to see other parts of Hall. The Gainesville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau are already planning activities for the visitors, who will spend one night at Lanier Islands’ Margaritaville and another evening exploring Gainesville.

“We’re going to be showing off some of our pleasant surprises that we have in the community that will be news to our industry folks next year,” Stacey Dickson, president of the Lake Lanier CVB, said. “They’ll be very excited to see what we have going on.”

Lanier Islands last hosted the conference 10 years ago, and Missy Burgess, the public relations and marketing director for Lanier Islands, said many tourism officials in the state have not been able to see the resort’s new Margaritaville.

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