The blog.

17
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 17, 2022

Gracie is a young female Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Rick is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Lafayette is a young male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

17
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 17, 2022

Georgia’s trustees asked Britain to repeal the law against importing slaves to the colonies on May 17, 1749.

On May 17, 1769, George Washington introduced resolutions in the Virginia House of Burgesses, drafted by George Mason, criticizing Britain’s “taxation without representation” policies toward the colonies.

George Washington continued his tour of Georgia on May 17, 1791, staying overnight in Waynesboro; on May 18 he arrived in Augusta.

General Winfield Scott issued an order on the removal of Cherokee people from Georgia on May 17, 1838.

On May 17, 1864, Sherman and Johnston engaged in the Battle of Adairsville, Georgia.

The United States Supreme Court released its unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education on May 17, 1954, overturning Plessy v. Ferguson.

The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

Archaeological studies on Sapelo Island looked as oyster shell rings to assess inhabitants’ use of shellfish, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Researchers with the University of Georgia Laboratory of Archeology recently published a scholastic paper about how native coastal communities from 3,800 to 4,500 years ago adapted to a changing environment.

Using a variety of scientific methods to date oyster shells, Carey Garland, Victor Thompson and a team of researchers at UGA learned about the age, salinity of the water in which the oysters grew and when the shell was harvested. Providing greater insights into the conditions on Sapelo Island during the time period, the researchers also shed light on the eventual abandonment of the shell rings.

The shell rings, which can be 60 to 90 meters wide, or nearly 200 to 300 feet, were built by indigenous Muscogee communities using oyster shells harvested from the estuaries of Sapelo Island, which is about 70 miles south of Savannah. Oysters were a primary part of the communities’ diets and the shells have been one way archeologists and other researchers have looked back to learn about native coastal communities.

Garland said the shell rings were previously thought to have been inhabited for many years until environmental changes caused communities to abruptly abandon the rings. With this new research, Garland said the oysters tell a story of continuous environmental change as well as community adaptation and resilience.

“One thing we noticed is … there was some variation in shell size across the coast, but overall across time the shells got bigger, which kind of indicates sustainable shellfish harvesting practices,” Garland said.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced the award of $415 million dollars in COVID relief grants, according to a press release.Continue Reading..

16
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 16, 2022

Maggie is an 8-year old, 45-pound female German Shorthaired Pointer mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Sweet-pea Maggie here! Do you love to love? If so, I’m the perfect girl for you. I’ll always be excited to see you after a long day at work and will shower you with kisses. Don’t let my gray hairs fool you – I enjoy a good play session too, especially when yummy treats are involved. Ask my friends to meet me and I’ll bring a smile to your face!

Dice is a 62-pound male Boxer mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Marigold is a 2-year old, 52-pound female Belgian Malinois mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

16
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 16, 2022

Button Gwinnett and Lachlan McIntosh met outside Savannah on May 16, 1777 and fought a duel; Gwinnett was mortally wounded.

Gwinnett returned to Georgia immediately after signing the [Declaration of Independence] to find city Whig Lachlan McIntosh commanding Georgia’s nascent military efforts. Determined to take control of Georgia politics, Gwinnett became speaker of the legislature, guided the Georgia Constitution of 1777 into existence and took over as governor when Archibald Bulloch died suddenly in office.

Gwinnett then wanted to lead an expedition to secure Georgia’s border with Florida. A dispute between McIntosh and Gwinnett over who would command the effort ultimately led to their duel and Gwinnett’s death.

A Constitutional Convention met on May 16, 1795 in the capital of Louisville to amend the Georgia Constitution of 1789

The United States Senate voted to acquit President Andrew Johnson of 11 Articles of Impeachment passed by the House of Representatives on May 16, 1868.

The North Georgia Electric Company was incorporated on May 16, 1901 to build a hydroelectric dam on the Chattahoochee River near Gainesville; in 1916, it would be bought by the company that today is known as Georgia Power.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is National Barbecue Day. What’s your favorite in Georgia?

Atlanta will bid for the largest circus in America 2024 Democratic National Convention, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.

Atlanta is submitting a formal bid to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, Mayor Andre Dickens announced Friday to Democrats holding their annual state party dinner.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to bring the 2024 Democratic National Convention to Atlanta, Georgia,” Dickens told the party, which gathered at a downtown hotel.

In addition, Georgia is one of more than a dozen states where state Democrats have asked to step to the front of the party’s presidential nominating calendar, displacing the traditional position held by the Iowa caucus.

Georgia’s swing-state status could aid its bid for the convention, with national parties sometimes hoping to use their gathering as a showcase to appeal to the voters of the host state.

Republicans are deciding between Milwaukee and Nashville, Tennessee, as their 2024 convention site.

Former State Rep. Jeff Lewis was removed from consideration for Senate District 52 after a challenge to his qualifications was upheld by a state Administrative Law Judge and affirmed by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The issue is that Lewis didn’t file nearly 10 years worth of campaign finance disclosures from his time in the state House.

Several years after Lewis left office he placed approximately $75,000 of campaign funds in an investment account, and stopped filing reports on those funds, according to testimony presented in the Thursday hearing.

A representative for Lewis announced that he will appeal the ruling, which he stated was unconstitutional, and continue to campaign for the Senate 52 seat.

“The statute under which Senator Hufstetler seeks to disqualify Jeff Lewis is blatantly unconstitutional. However, only the Superior Courts and, ultimately, the Supreme Court of Georgia are able to rule that a statute violates the Georgia Constitution,” Lewis’ attorney Lester Tate said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting our arguments there and ensuring that Jeff remains on the ballot.”

In his announcement Friday, Lewis compared himself with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene stating that first “the establishment” went after the congresswoman and now “now they are coming after me.”

Georgia Secretary of State’s spokesperson Walter Jones said Lewis will remain on the ballot but Senate 52 precincts will post a sign informing voters that he’s been disqualified.

Early voting continues apace, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Through Friday, nearly 380,000 people have early voted in Georgia — a 222% increase from the same point in the early voting period in the 2018 primary election and a 181% increase in the same point in the early voting period in the 2020 primary election. Georgia has had record early voting turnout since the first day of early voting this year, surging to nearly three times the number on the first day of primary voting in 2018 and double that of 2020, and has continued on that path since.

“The record early voting turnout is a testament to the security of the voting system and the hard work of our county elections officials,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a news release. “As secretary of state, I promised to strike a strong balance between access and security in our elections, and these numbers demonstrate that I kept that promise and that voters have confidence in Georgia’s elections.”

While reports of lines have been minimal thus far, early voting turnout is expected to increase during this week. All counties will have mandatory Saturday voting on Saturday.

Turnout Numbers Through May 13, 2022

♦ Total Turnout: 378,981
♦ Early In-Person: 348,538
♦ Absentee: 30,433
♦ Republican: 220,122♦ Democrat: 156,218
♦ Nonpartisan: 2,641
♦ New Turnout Since Previous Day: 47,605
♦ Early In-Person Since Previous Day: 43,680

From WTVM published Friday before this weekend’s early voting days:

Officials say since it started, turnout has steadily increased.

In the past two weeks, 6,000 people across Columbus have shown up to vote.

Yesterday, alone, 600 people voted.

The last week of early voting starts Monday, May 16, and ends Friday, May 20.

“We have one ballot collection dropbox, and it’s here at the City services center on the first floor as you enter from the parking garage. And of course, here at the elections office,” explained Boren.

From the Rome News Tribune:

The Rome City and Floyd County schools’ bid to extend the 1-cent education local option sales tax through March 31, 2029 — for a projected $130 million in revenue — also will be decided.

As of Friday, just 3.8% of the county’s registered voters had cast ballots and another 360 absentee ballots were still out.

From the AJC:

Overall, early voting turnout has shattered one record after another. Through Sunday, nearly 414,000 people have participated in the primary.

That includes about 57% who have cast GOP ballots, a higher proportion in part because of contested races at the top of the ticket. Another 43% have chosen Democratic ballots and less than 1% have voted nonpartisan.

From the AJC’s Mark Niesse on Twitter:

Twice as many Georgians cast ballots yesterday compared to the previous Saturday, with turnout reaching 28K. Through 13 days of early/absentee voting, 408,897 have voted. R: 234,731 D: 171,300 NP: 2,866

Some Gwinnett voters have filed fraud reports over Spanish words on precinct cards, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Hogar de” is just the Spanish translation for “household of.”

But, Gwinnett voters have seen the phrase in the address line on elections materials they have received from the county, gotten confused about it and filed complaints about illegal voting over it.

“The Gwinnett County Board of Elections and Registration sent out mailers to Gwinnett voters addressed to ‘Household of / Hogar de,’” said Ari Schaffer, chief of staff at the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. “Apparently, a significant number of people are reading that and thinking someone by the name of Hogar De is fraudulently registered at their home, rather than realizing hogar de is just the Spanish translation of ‘household of.’ Because it’s Gwinnett, all election mailing has to be in Spanish as well.”

Gwinnett County is the only county in Georgia that is required, under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to provide election materials in more than language. The act states that, if the number of people that speak a specific language other than English reaches a certain threshold in a county, all election materials in that county must be provided in that language as well as English.

To comply with the act, every document that is produced and sent out by the county’s elections office has to include Spanish translations of every word that is written in English.

President Joe Biden has nominated Georgia State Rep. Calvin Smyre as Ambassador to the Bahamas, instead of the previously announced appointment to the Dominican Republic, according to the AJC.

In Savannah, some marchers protested a Supreme Court decision that hasn’t been published or finalized, according to WTOC.

Demonstrators gathered outside the Chatham County Courthouse in an outcry of support for abortion rights.

The demonstrations in Savannah and across the nation come after a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court signaled those justices could soon overturn Roe versus Wade.

If Roe versus Wade is overturned, many are worried that Georgia could become one of several states likely to ban abortions.

But city leaders at the rally including Savannah mayor Van Johnson encouraged everyone to make their voices heard at the ballot box.

“Obviously, there’s an opportunity now called voting. In which people can ensure that they have representatives that represent them and represent their interests.”

Organizers vowing to continue their fight at the polls as election season ramps up.

It’s important to note, there weren’t any counter demonstrators at Saturday’s rally.

Gainesville also saw a pro-abortion march. From the Gainesville Times:

Democratic political candidates and a few dozen activists rallied Sunday, May 15, against a recently leaked Supreme Court draft decision that would overturn abortion protections from Roe v. Wade.

About 30 gathered behind the Sidney O. Smith Jr. federal courthouse along Spring Street with signs reading, “Protect Roe v. Wade,” “Productive rights are human rights” and “Hands off my uterus.” Some cars passing by to exit downtown honked in support as the crowd chanted “My body, my choice.”

Legislation passed by the Georgia General Assembly this year r will change how mental health issues are addressed, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Georgia ranks 48th in the country in access to mental health care, but state legislators hope to improve this defining issue with House Bill 1013, also known as the Georgia Mental Health Parity Act.

The bill, signed into law in April by Gov. Brian Kemp, requires insurers to cover mental health and substance abuse issues the same way they cover physical conditions such as a heart attack or diabetes.

To put that into perspective, patients would have to be suicidal before the insurance company has to pay for a visit. If that standard is applied to any other health condition like a heart attack, a person would have to prove they’re having a heart attack before the care could be paid for.

“It just snowballs from there,” said Sen. Ben Watson (R-Savannah), a co-sponsor of the bill. “And so Georgia, I think, will be a leader in this in that we have tried to do state regulations to require insurance companies to treat mental health on the same par as suitable.”

The Mental Health Parity Act also aims to expand access to care by increasing the number of mental health professionals in the state through loan forgiveness, improving data and transparency in the sector; providing for a grant program to establish assisted outpatient treatment programs, and relaxing Georgia’s standard for involuntary commitment by giving police officers and crisis workers help when they’re called into a mental health crisis.

Dalton City Council has revised a measure to allow municipal retirees to return to work without losing their retirement benefits, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Council members held a first reading of the measure at their May 2 meeting.

“We found that we had to reword it,” said Mayor David Pennington. “Since we reworded it, we are going to have to hold the first reading again. We’ll vote on it in two weeks (from Monday).”

Under the city’s current pension plan rules, if retirees come back to work for the city their pension benefits have to be suspended until they leave city employ again.

Batts said retirees would be limited to 16 hours each week. If they go above that, their pension would be frozen.

Brunswick City Commissioners discussed a pair of local option sales taxes at a retreat, according to The Brunswick News.

There were no formal votes taken, but there was apparent consensus on expectations for upcoming negotiations with Glynn County officials for the Local Option Sales Tax and the Special Purpose Local Option Tax.

City Manager Regina McDuffie said negotiations with the county will begin in June for the LOST tax. The city and county still have to decide the format, including when and where to meet and who will be involved in the negotiations.

McDuffie said if both sides don’t reach an agreement within 60 days after negotiations begin, the city and county will be required to enter mediation, a process she said both sides should want to avoid.

Discussions are planned with the county about the list of projects proposed for the SPLOST referendum in the November general election. [Mayor Cosby] Johnson asked commissioners to consider holding individual town hall meetings to gauge the wants and needs of their constituents. He suggested a town hall meeting at the College of Coastal Georgia as a good location to attract a large crowd.

The Rome News-Tribune published Q&As with the three candidates for State House District, currently held by Republican State Rep. Katie Dempsey.

Rep. Katie Dempsey (incumbent)

Brad Barnes

Luke Martin

And a Q&A with Republican Robert Watson, who is running for House District 12, currently held by State Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R).

It is endorsement season in Augusta, with former Mayors giving candidates the nod, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver has endorsed Augusta businessman Garnett Johnson for mayor. He announced his endorsement at a news conference Thursday.

Mayor Hardie Davis, who ends his eight-year tenure in December, hasn’t openly endorsed a candidate, but another former mayor and several local groups have.

Former Mayor Bob Young is endorsing former Commissioner Marion Williams. Young said the four-term commissioner understood how the local government works.

The Committee for Good Government on Tuesday endorsed Alvin Mason, Jeremy Johnson and John Clarke in their commission elections. It backed newcomer Katrell Nash for civil and magistrate judge but favored incumbents Ashley Wright and Jesse Stone for superior court judge.

Rep. Brian Prince, D-Augusta, revealed Wednesday he’s been endorsed by the labor council as well as the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

13WMAZ profiles the candidates for Peach County Commission District Two.

The Savannah Morning News profiles the Democratic candidates for the First Congressional District seat held by Republican Buddy Carter.

Wade Herring, Joyce Griggs and Michelle Munroe push many of the same policy positions on the campaign trail, from the protection and expansion of voter rights to making health care more affordable. All three also agree the incumbent, Republican Rep. Buddy Carter, went against the will of the people when he voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6.

The Statesboro Herald profiles the candidates for Bulloch County Board of Education District 5, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Lowndes County Board of Education District Five voters will elect a new member, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Lowndes County Board of Education announced a vacancy of its District 5 seat during the board meeting this month. [The late DAve] Clark held the District 5 seat. Clark passed away in April after being on leave from the board since early in the year. He was 78.

The board announced plans to hold a special election to fill the vacancy. The unexpired term ends Dec. 31, 2024.

“Under the guidance of Mr. Turner, we have notified the Lowndes County Board of Elections of the vacancy and will make plans to hold a special election,” Lowndes County School Superintendent Wes Taylor said, referring to Warren Turner, the school board attorney.

The District 5 election will be separate from the ongoing early voting in the primary election which culminates with the May 24 election.

Former State Rep. Ed Rynders (R- Albany) has died, according to WALB.

Sea turtles continue nesting on Georgia beaches, according to WSAV.

So far, Georgia wildlife officials have reported more than 50 nests, with more than half found on federally protected Cumberland Island. But according to Tybee Sea Turtle Project, the island hasn’t seen any nests yet this season.

13
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 13, 2022

Ogeechee is a male Foxhound mix who is available for adoption from One Love Animal Rescue, Inc in Savannah, GA.

Meet Ogeechee, a handsome foxhound looking for his forever home! Ogeechee is a super easy going, happy, friendly pup. He seems to be able to walk into any situation and grab attention from all. He does well with dogs, cats and children. He enjoys his time in the yard laying in the sun and his walks around the block and in the woods to use his nose.

Tenacious Tess is a female Coonhound who is available for adoption from the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue, Inc. in Tybee Island, GA.

Tess is a sweet, loving, playful 1-2 year old Redtick mix waiting in central Georgia for a new home. She is cratetrained and working on housetraining. She gets along well with other dogs, big and small, as well as humans, big and small. Tess is in good weight at 42 lbs and loves lap time with her humans. Tess will make a loving companion for any family.

Marty is a male Redbone Coonhound who is available for adoption from the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue, Inc. in Athens, GA.

Marty is a gorgeous 3 year old Redbone coonhound boy waiting in Athens, Georgia for a new home. He weighs 65 ponds and is friendly, curious, and sociable. He gets along well with dogs of all sizes. He is working on his manners and he is fairly easy to redirect. Marty settles beautifully in his crate and is unobtrusive once given his own comfy spot. He will give a few barks of excitement but is generally quiet and even-tempered. He is learning his basic commands and seems to be reliably housetrained. Marty will thrive with regular exercise and lots of human and doggie playmates. He could also do fine as a solo dog. He is catching on to leash manners quickly and really aims to please.

13
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 13, 2022

On May 13, 1607, English settlers founded the first permanent English settlement in America, at Jamestown on the James River. This led to the first English-language politics in America:

Dispatched from England by the London Company, the colonists had sailed across the Atlantic aboard the Susan Constant,Godspeed, and Discovery. Upon landing at Jamestown, the first colonial council was held by seven settlers whose names had been chosen and placed in a sealed box by King James I. The council, which included Captain John Smith, an English adventurer, chose Edward Wingfield as its first president.

Lyman Hall arrived in Philadelphia as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress on May 13, 1775.

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention began assembling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 14, 1787, the designated starting day. Because a large number of delegates had not arrived the opening of the Convention was moved to May 25.

On May 14, 1791, George Washington addressed the Grand Lodge of Georgia Masons in Savannah.

On May 15, 1791, George Washington left Augusta for Savannah.

On May 13, 1798, a Constitutional Convention adopted the Georgia Constitution of 1798.

On May 15, 1800, President John Adams ordered all 125 employees of the federal government to begin packing to move the capital from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

On May 14, 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis, Missouri to explore the Northwest United States from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

The United States declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846.

Georgia Whigs, led by Governor George Crawford, Alexander Stephens, and Robert Toombs, criticized the war for raising divisive questions about slavery in the territories. Georgia Democrats, led by Howell Cobb and Herschel Johnson, staunchly supported the war and states’ rights afterward. Because Whigs, nationally, appeared to be antislavery, Georgia Whigs lost the governorship in 1847. The Compromise of 1850 temporarily settled the slavery question in the territories, but the moderating influence of Georgia’s Whigs dissolved in the heated rhetoric of states’ rights in the 1850s. The next war would find Americans fighting Americans.

The first fighting at Resaca, Georgia took place on May 13, 1864 and Union forces marched into Dalton. On May 13, 1864, 257 cadets from the Virginia Military Institute camped at Mt. Crawford near Harrisonburg.The next day they would continue their march to New Market, Virginia.

On May 14, 1864, the VMI Corps of Cadets marched 15 miles and camped overnight at Mt. Tabor, near New Market, Virginia. The next day they would march into history.

On May 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Military Division of the Mississippi remained engaged against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Resaca, Georgia.

On May 15, 1864, at New Market, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley, Major General John C. Breckenridge commanded 4800 Confederate soldiers, including the entire Corps of Cadets from Virginia Military Institute. Breckenridge previously had served as United State Representative and Senator from Kentucky, and as the youngest Vice President of the United States under President James Buchanan. Breckenridge was the Democratic nominee for President in 1860, coming in third in the popular vote and second in the Electoral College to Abraham Lincoln.

Breckenridge attacked forces under Major General Franz Sigel and they skirmished through the morning until Union forces broke through the Confederate lines.

When a gap opened in the Confederate lines, Breckenridge realized that the only force available was the VMI cadets.

He turned toward an aide and issued the following command;

“Put the boys in, and may God forgive me for the order.”

The charge of the VMI cadets remains the most noticeable feature of the Battle of New Market. With rain pouring the cadets broke the charge of the 34th Massachusetts Regiment and then advanced themselves in attack.

When the day ended, 10 cadets had been killed and/or mortally wounded. Another 48 suffered wounds.

Ten cadets died or suffered mortal wounds that day. New Market hosts the oldest continuous historical battle reenactment in the United States that is still held on the original terrain, but this year’s is canceled because of COVID-19, as was last year’s.

On the anniversary of the Battle of New Market, the roll of those who died there is called.

On the same day, the Battle of Resaca was fully engaged in Northwest Georgia.

On Saturday, May 14, the fighting at Resaca escalated into a full-scale battle. Beginning at dawn, Union forces engaged the Confederates along the entire four-mile front. In the early afternoon Schofield’s Army of the Ohio attacked the sharply angled center of the Confederate line. The assault was badly managed and disorganized, in part because one of Schofield’s division commanders was drunk. As the Union attack unraveled and became a fiasco, Johnston launched a counterattack on Sherman’s left flank. The counterattack collapsed, however, in the face of a determined stand by a Union artillery battery. In the evening Union forces pushed forward and seized the high ground west of Resaca, which placed the bridges leading south from the town within artillery range and threatened Johnston’s line of retreat.The following day Sherman renewed his assault on the Confederate center.

Carl Sanders was born on May 15, 1925 in Augusta, Georgia. He served in the United States Air Force, Georgia House of Representatives and State Senate, where he was President Pro Tem. In 1962, Sanders won the Democratic Primary for Governor, defeating former Governor Marvin Griffin, and in November was the first Governor of Georgia elected by popular vote after the County Unit System was abolished.

American artist Jasper Johns was born May 15, 1930 in Augusta, Georgia.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was born on May 15, 1967 in Lansing, Michigan. Smoltz pitched a complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh game of the National League Championship Series in 1991, sending the Braves to their first World Series since moving to Atlanta in 1966. Smoltz was chosen for the All Star team eight times and won the Cy Young award in 1996.

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

On May 13, 2005, the Pentagon Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended the closing of Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Fort Gillem in Forest Park, the Naval Air Station in Marietta, and the Naval Supply Corps School in Athens.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Savannah Board of Elections Chair Thomas Mahoney addressed a mistake that led to voters receiving incorrect ballots, according to WTOC.Continue Reading..

12
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 12, 2022

Murphy is a three-month old male American Bulldog and Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Paw Angel’s Inc in Calhoun, GA.

Murphy is 3-month-old American Bulldog mix. He’s a very well-behaved puppy and walks well on a leash. He’s a gorgeous baby & is looking for his forever home.

Salem is a seven-month old male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Paw Angel’s Inc in Calhoun, GA.

Salem is approx 7 months old, mostly potty trained now, neutered, and up to date on all vaccinations. He is playful and fun!! He needs a foster or forever home as he is currently in boarding. He is absolutely adorable and has a great little personality.

Daniel is a male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Paw Angel’s Inc in Calhoun, GA.

This gorgeous boy is DANIEL. He is very special to our rescue as he has been a work in progress from the day we pulled him from Bartow animal control. He was facing death in AC then was so scared and untrusting of people that when we got him out we had to send him to a very special foster due to his behavior. He eventually did great with her kids (ages 6 & 12) and her multiple dogs. He has been with rescue in boarding for the past two months where we continued his training and he has come such a long way!!!

12
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 12, 2022

On May 12, 1740, Georgia forces under James Oglethorpe took Fort Diego in Florida from the Spanish and mocked the defenders’ jean shorts.

The worst American defeat of the Revolutionary War occurred at Charleston, South Carolina on May 12, 1780. American Major General Benjamin Lincoln, who surrendered that day would later accept the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.

On May 12, 1789, the Society of St. Tammany was founded in New York and would grow to a dominant home for political bosses. Plunkitt of Tammany Hall: A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics remains one of the best historical versions of how political machines worked.

George Washington visited Georgia on May 12, 1791. From Purysburg, South Carolina, Georgia officials escorted Washington on a barge twenty-five miles down the Savannah River to Savannah, where he would stay four days.

On May 12, 1864, Confederate General Joseph Johnston pulled his Army of Tennessee and Georgia back to Resaca, Georgia. In Virginia, Major General John B. Gordon saved the life, or prevented the capture of, General Robert E. Lee at Spotsylvania. After the war, Gordon would serve as Governor of Georgia and United States Senator.

On May 12, 1864, the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets awoke in Staunton, where they had marched from Lexington 18 miles the previous day; after another 19 miles headed north up the Shenandoah Valley, the would make camp at Mt. Crawford, near Harrisonburg. The cadets ranged in age from fifteen to twenty-five years.

On May 12, 1970, Georgia National Guard troops were mobilized to end race riots that had broken out the night before in Augusta. On that same day, Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs, my father’s favorite player as a youth, hit his 500th home run.

11
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 11, 2022

Charm is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Statesboro & Bulloch County in Statesboro, GA.

Whiskey Mae is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Statesboro & Bulloch County in Statesboro, GA.

Coco is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Statesboro & Bulloch County in Statesboro, GA.

11
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 11, 2022

Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded on May 11, 1864 at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, near Richmond.

May 11, 1996 was the deadliest day on Mount Everest. “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer is a fantastic chronicle of the deadliest season on Everest.

On May 11, 2011, Newt Gingrich announced via Twitter that he would run for President. Two days later, I caught up with Newt at Fincher’s Barbecue in Macon for a brief interview the day he was scheduled to speak to the Georgia Republican Party State Convention.

Happy Birthday to Minnesota, which became a state on May 11, 1858. Y’all talk funny.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Democrat Demoine Kinney learned he doesn’t live in the State House district he’s running for when he couldn’t find his name on the ballot, according to the AJC.

A candidate for the Georgia House, Demoine Kinney, felt stunned when he couldn’t find his name on his own ballot.

Kinney found out that redistricting last year put him within new political boundaries, a fact he learned after he had filed to run for office in the district where he thought he lived.

He might be disqualified from the race because his home isn’t located inside the Conyers-area district he would represent.

Campaign sign theft allegations are being thrown around in Lowndes County, according to WALB.

[Board of Education candidate] Erin Price is accusing fellow candidate Darrell Presley of stealing her campaign signs and putting them in the back of his truck, an accusation that is under investigation. Both are running for District 3 seat on the school board in the May 24 election.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office says they often respond to campaign sign thefts around election time. However, they believe people don’t realize that there are consequences to doing this.

Sheriff Ashley Paulk says he’s worked six elections and says campaign sign thefts can lead to prosecution of property theft charges.

He says these incidents are just a form of political campaign and encourages the community to be mindful of others’ belongings.

Governor Brian Kemp signed Executive Order #05.10.22.01, extending the State of Emergency for Supply Chain Disruptions until Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at 11:59 PM.

Governor Kemp also signed six pieces of legislation passed by the General Assembly, according to a press release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp has signed six pieces of legislation to strengthen Georgia’s number one forestry industry, promote conservation efforts, and protect the state’s natural resources. The legislation includes HB 997, which exempts forestry equipment from statewide ad valorem taxes, pending a statewide referendum question (agricultural equipment is already exempt); HB 1349, which updates Georgia’s No Net Loss requirement to encompass over 200,000 acres of hunting and fishing land added since 2005; HB 343, which imposes stronger penalties on poaching; HB 586, which extends the sunset on the Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA); HB 1147, which provides for year-round hunting season on racoons and opossums on non-public land; and HB 1148, which implements stronger requirements for deer brought into Georgia from states with confirmed cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

“Georgia’s agriculture assets, beautiful natural wonders, and great outdoors have given both my family and many others a livelihood and good memories,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “We’re not only proud to be champions of our state’s thriving agriculture and related industries and natural resources, we’re also dedicated to ensuring future generations are able to enjoy them as well. The bills I signed into law will help us treat the forestry industry the same way that we do agriculture as well as protect hunting, fishing, and conservation land, and more. I want to thank those in the Georgia General Assembly who carried these measures, as well as the Department of Natural Resources for their continued efforts to conserve our wild places and the Georgia Forestry Association for their work to support Georgia’s number one forestry industry.”

Governor Kemp, in addition to the many members of the Georgia House and Senate who voted in favor of these important measures, would like to thank the following bill sponsors for their role in the respective legislation:

•  HB 997: Rep. Sam Watson and Sen. Larry Walker

•  HB 1349: Rep. Jason Ridley and Sen. Tyler Harper

•  HB 343: Rep. Trey Rhodes and Sen. Russ Goodman

•  HB 586: Rep. Sam Watson and Sen. Steve Gooch

•  HB 1147: Rep. Trey Rhodes and Sen. Tyler Harper

•  HB 1148: Rep. Trey Rhodes and Sen. Tyler Harper

Gov. Kemp announced two appointments of Solicitors General.

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that he has appointed Brooklyn Franklin to fill the Solicitor General vacancy within the State Court of Long County which was created by the resignation of Billy J. Nelson, Jr. Luana Nolen has been appointed to the Solicitor General vacancy within the State Court of Paulding County which was created by the enactment of House Bill 1119 during the 2020 session of the Georgia General Assembly.

Brooklyn Franklin has been appointed by Governor Brian P. Kemp to serve as Solicitor General for the State Court of Long County. Mrs. Franklin most recently served as Interim Solicitor General for Long County since March 2022 and as an assistant district attorney for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit since July 2015. She previously worked as an associate attorney for Lloyd D. Murray, Sr., Attorney at Law, executive assistant to worship arts at Savannah Christian Church, and a judicial assistant for Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Joy A. Kramer. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlantic Judicial Circuit Bar Association. She received her Juris Doctor from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Political Science from Campbellsville University. Mrs. Franklin and her husband Jacob live in Richmond Hill, Georgia.

Luana Nolen has been appointed by Governor Brian P. Kemp to serve as Solicitor General for the State Court of Paulding County. Previously, she served as Senior District Attorney in the Douglas Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, an assistant district attorney for the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, an assistant district attorney for the Douglas Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, Senior Assistant District Attorney Misdemeanor Unit Chief for the Paulding Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, senior assistant district attorney for the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, and an assistant solicitor general for the Cobb County Solicitor General’s Office. She is a member of the Douglas County Bar Association and the Cobb County Bar Association. She received her Juris Doctor form New England Law and her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Albany. She and her husband, Stephen, have three kids and live in Dallas, Georgia.

The Governor’s Office announced that April net state tax revenues were up over the previous April.

The State of Georgia’s net tax collections for April totaled $5.01 billion, for an increase of $2.21 billion, or 78.9 percent, compared to April 2021, when net tax collections totaled $2.80 billion. Year-to-date, net tax collections totaled almost $27.54 billion, for an increase of nearly $5.80 billion, or 26.7 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year when net tax revenues totaled $21.74 billion as of the end of April 2021.

Current year-over-year comparisons of state net tax collections for April and May are made difficult by the deferral of the previous year’s state tax filing deadlines for both quarterly and annual income taxes to May 17th rather than the traditional mid-April filing deadline set for most years. While annual revenue totals will be comparable as of May 31st, the current monthly year-over-year comparison to fiscal year 2021 will be incomplete because of the filing deadline shift in 2021 to May.

The changes within the following tax categories help further explain April’s overall net tax revenue increase:

Individual Income Tax: Individual Income Tax collections increased by $1.94 billion, or 158.7 percent, to a total of roughly $3.16 billion compared to last year, when Income Tax collections totaled $1.22 billion. The following notable components within Individual Income Tax combine for the net increase:

• Individual Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) were up $554.3 million, or 123.8 percent
• Individual Withholding payments increased by $77.7 million, or 7.1 percent, over April 2021
• Individual Income Tax Return payments were up $2,162.6 million, or 774.6 percent, versus FY 2021
• All other Individual categories, including Non-Resident Return payments, were up a combined $254.3 million

Sales and Use Tax: Gross Sales and Use Tax collections for the month totaled nearly $1.54 billion, for an increase of $187.1 million, or 13.8 percent, over FY 2021. Net Sales and Use Tax increased by $91.8 million, or 12.9 percent, from April 2021, when net sales tax totaled $712.6 million. The adjusted Sales Tax distribution to local governments totaled $729.7 million, for an increase of $105.5 million, or 16.9 percent, compared to last year. Lastly, Sales Tax refunds decreased by $10.2 million, or 71.6 percent, compared to April 2021.

Corporate Income Tax: Corporate Income Tax collections increased by nearly $257.9 million, or 56.9 percent, compared to FY 2021, when Corporate Tax collections totaled $453.3 million for the month. The following notable components within Corporate Income Tax make up the net increase:

• Corporate Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) were up $10.4 million, or 188.7 percent
• Corporate Income Tax Estimated payments increased by $191.8 million, or 75 percent, over FY ‘21
• Corporate Income Tax Return payments increased by $55.7 million, or 30 percent, versus April 2021
• All other Corporate Tax categories, including Corporate Return payments, were up a combined $20.8 million

Motor Fuel Taxes: Motor Fuel Tax collections for April decreased by $68.6 million, or 39.5 percent, from FY 2021, because of the Executive Order issued by Governor Kemp to suspend the Motor Fuel Excise Tax beginning on March 18th through the end of May.

Motor Vehicle – Tag & Title Fees: Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees declined by nearly $6.4 million, or 16.2 percent, while Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections increased by almost $6 million, or 8.4 percent, compared to last year, when TAVT totaled almost $71 million in April.

Note the second paragraph in which it states that year-to-year comparisons may not be apples-to-apples.

Three current or former Governors will tour Georgia with Governor Kemp, according to CNN.

The governors — Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and Doug Ducey of Arizona — as well as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will crisscross the state supporting Kemp in his primary challenge against former US Sen. David Perdue, a source familiar with the plans tells CNN.

Ricketts and Ducey currently serve as co-chairs of the Republican Governors Association, which has poured money into the race to support Kemp, including a large TV ad buy in the state.

Ricketts, Ducey and Christie al​l have clashed at times with Trump. In Nebraska, Ricketts, who is term-limited from seeking reelection, asked Trump not to wade into the Republican gubernatorial primary. Trump rejected this request, endorsing Charles Herbster, a wealthy businessman facing a slew of sexual misconduct allegations, which he has denied. Ricketts backed Jim Pillen, a member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, who won Tuesday’s GOP gubernatorial primary in the Cornhusker State.

In January, Trump said he would “never” endorse Ducey if he ran for US Senate in Arizona after criticizing the Republican governor for certifying the state’s election in 2020.

From the AJC:

Ducey will join Kemp at five stops around metro Atlanta on Saturday. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are also expected to rally for Kemp in the final weeks before the May 24 primary.

The three are each key players in the Republican Governors Association, which has already shelled out about $5 million to defend Kemp against a challenge from former U.S. Sen. David Perdue.

Ducey is the group’s chairman, Ricketts is on the executive committee and Christie is co-chair of the RGA’s new fundraising program.

From the Hill:

In recent weeks, Kemp has received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and is slated to attend a fundraiser alongside former President George W. Bush. He’s also been the beneficiary of some $5 million in spending by the Republican Governors Association, which has been running ads for months touting his record in office.

“The one thing we always lose sight of because we want to focus on the Donald is the candidates themselves,” said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist. “With Kemp, you’ve got two factors: one, he’s been a successful governor in the state, and two, he’s running against someone who voters have already rejected.”

But Trump’s endorsement has so far failed to materialize into overwhelming support for Perdue, who lost reelection last year after falling short in a hotly contested runoff against Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.).

Since taking office in early 2019, Kemp has aggressively pursued a conservative policy agenda that has largely pleased Republicans in Georgia and nationally.

He signed a bill that would prohibit abortions six weeks after conception, implemented sweeping changes to the state’s election system and signed a law allowing Georgians to carry guns in public without a license or background check.

“I think the key is: As far as a Republican governor goes, Kemp checks all the boxes,” one Georgia-based Republican strategist said. “His record on pretty much everything — guns, you know, law enforcement, taxes — it’s squeaky clean. I think folks see that and then they hear what Trump is saying and it just doesn’t match up with reality.”

“Brian Kemp is running as a winner and David Perdue can’t,” Heye said.

With no primary election, Democrat Stacey Abrams is tending to her base, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Standing among a crowd of about 75 people in a Savannah restaurant parking lot, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams spoke about her platform and addressed Georgians’ concerns about gun violence, immigration and housing.

“I come here because I know coastal Georgia and Savannah, you all face different challenges,” Abrams told supporters as she spoke on education funds and Medicaid expansion.

“I think what it means is that she’s not having to worry about competing somewhat in the primary, they may not be doing the kind of advance work you’d expect them to do,” said [UGA Political Scientist Charles] Bullock of Abrams’ campaign strategy.

“It gives them opportunity to solidify the Democratic base by campaigning directly to them,” said Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist. “During this period of time, at a time when the general election starts, they’ll still campaign to the Democratic base, but they’ve got to grow that base. And they’ve got to go to more moderates, more independents and disaffected Republicans, and get them to try to persuade them to vote for them in November.”

“I think, for me, these are voters who watched me work for 11 years in the Legislature, who watched my campaign in 2018 and who also watched the work that I did when I was not elected,” Abrams said. “They are excited about the work that I’ve done, and they are excited about what I will do when I become governor.”

Bullock said while Democrats have a harder time getting voters turnout during the midterm year than Republicans do, Abrams overcame that problem during her 2018 run. “Her strategy in 2018 was to try to get Democrats to turn out at presidential year levels and hope Republicans would turn out at midterm year levels,” He said. “She’s got to kind of work toward that same end of trying to get Democrats enthusiastic.”

Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman denies charges that his deputies racially-profiled an out-of-state college athletic team whose bus was pulled over, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“We initiated a traffic stop for a motor coach traveling northbound on I-95,” said Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman during an afternoon news conference. “This is part of our commercial interdiction detail on the interstate.”

The sheriff was referring to an incident on April 20 involving the women’s lacrosse team from Delaware State University, an HBCU. Deputies did not find any contraband in their search.

According to a report, Liberty County deputies started removing players’ bags from the vehicle’s cargo bay to search after asking Jones to open them. One of the players recorded the interaction and caught the moment when one of the deputies said, “If there is anything in y’all’s luggage, we’re probably gonna find it, OK? I’m not looking for a little bit of marijuana, but I’m pretty sure you guys’ chaperones are probably gonna be disappointed in you if we find any.”

 “There were several commercial vehicles stopped that morning, including another bus where contraband was located,” Bowman said. “Due to the nature of the detail, a K9 was part of the stop and an alert was given by the K9. A K9 sniff of the exterior is not a search under the Fourth Amendment and does cause us to provide search of the vehicle.”

“Although I do not believe racial profiling occurred based on the information I have, I welcome feedback from the community on ways our law enforcement practices can be improved,” said Bowman, who noted at the start of the news conference that he would not field any questions. “More than anything, we want feedback from the Delaware lacrosse team on the communication approaches we can consider that we are not aware of. This is how true policing is done.”

“We realize in this current environment that even a traffic stop can be alarming to citizens, especially African Americans,” Bowman said. “… We are happy nothing was found and the passengers arrived home safely.”

For whatever it’s worth, Sheriff Bowman appears to be African-American himself.

Bleckley County Sheriff Kris Coody has been charged with misdemeanor sexual battery, according to 13WMAZ.

Coody is accused of groping TV Judge Glenda Hatchett, and former DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown told our sister station 11Alive he witnessed it all.

“She’s thinking, ‘He’s a sheriff, what do I do?’” Brown recalled.

Brown says in January, he, Hatchett, and two other women were talking in a bar at a hotel where the state sheriff’s convention was happening.

He says Hatchett asked Coody where he was from, to which Brown says he replied, “The heart of Georgia.”

“He wanted to emphasize ‘the heart of Georgia,’ and he did that by placing his left hand on her left breast, and he did it three times,” the former sheriff explained.

“He is the chief law enforcement officer of his county. The head of law enforcement agency sets the tone for the culture of our agency. Law enforcement officers do not put up with law enforcement officers that do the wrong thing,” he said.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said the city will take a “holistic” approach to gun violence, according to WSAV.

“No one should ever lose their lives in our city because of gun violence. Further, 15-year-olds should not die in our city or anywhere because of gun violence,” said Mayor Van Johnson in his weekly press conference Tuesday. “It’s absolutely horrible and absolutely unacceptable. Our children are supposed to bury us.”

The mayor said he’s disappointed and frustrated by the violence, but “not dismayed or deterred.”

Johnson explained that the city is taking a holistic approach to combat crime, from good policing to community relationships. Savannah is investing in summer activities and highlighting the young people who are doing the right thing, he said.

He described “a pre-post-pandemic syndrome” — or rise in tempers — taking place across the country.

“Crime is not raging in our community,” Johnson explained. “Tempers are raging in our community.”

“Consider where we were in the last two years. Lives changed,” the mayor continued. “I think that what we’re seeing now is the results of that. I think people are apprehensive. They are tense. They’re upset. Mental illness is real, and it’s been exacerbated by everything that’s going on.”

“Mental health is real and we must become each other’s violence interrupters by diffusing conflict with others and amongst one another,” he said, “and we must be willing to say what we see and proactively report the things that we know.”

My first thought when I read the word “holistic” was that it was clearly code for “bullsh*t,” but I do believe the Mayor makes a good point about tempers and mental illness during the pandemic and the current supply chain and economic issues.

Former Georgia State Senator Hunter Hill was named as Executive Director of the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.

Hill, who currently serves as GEFA’s executive director, will succeed the retiring Kevin Clark on July 1. Hill was recommended for the promotion by Gov. Brian Kemp.

Hill was elected to the Senate in 2012 representing a suburban Atlanta district including parts of Cobb County and North Fulton.

He left office in 2017 to seek the Republican nomination for governor but finished third in the 2018 GOP primary.

GEFA provides financing for a variety of energy, land, and water projects. Since 1985, the agency has approved financial commitments totaling more than $5 billion to local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.

Bryan County voters will decide in Novembe whether to continue a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST), according to WTOC.

Voters are being asked whether to continue the TSPLOST program and that’s a penny tax that collects money for infrastructure programs.

The county commission chairman Carter Infinger is a big proponent of continuing TSPLOST.

He says if TSPLOST is renewed, it could bring in 70 million dollars over 5 years for county infrastructure projects.

Infinger says that the first TSPLOST program has brought in more than 27 million dollars so far and that roughly two thirds of the money collected comes from those living outside of Bryan County.

“We’re the fastest growing county in the state, 6th in the nation. It’s good and it’s bad, right? We need to plan for that and we have been planning for that. That’s why you see 144 widening, the new interchange, all these road projects that we’ve been doing. We’re ready for that. Infrastructure projects going in, the sewer coming from the mega site down to Savannah, all the water and sewer infrastructure is going to be put in in order to meet the demands of that growth in the years to come,” Infinger said.

Republican candidates for State House District 179 met in a forum, according to The Brunswick News.

Candidates seeking the Republican nomination for state House District 179 were asked Monday about new abortion restrictions in Georgia if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The candidates, speaking at the Exchange Club in Brunswick, each expressed support for a state law already approved in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning abortion laws that would make it more restrictive.

Two Democrats are running for the State House District seat being vacated by State Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

He represented Columbus in the Georgia House of Representatives for nearly half a century, and now he leaves the Gold Dome behind. Smyre was tapped to be the new U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republican, and he is awaiting confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Two Democrats, Zeph Baker and Teddy Reese, are running in the redrawn and renumbered District 140. No Republican entered the race.

State Rep. Derek Mallow (D-Savannah) wants to level up to a Senate seat, according to the Savannah Morning News.

House Rep. Derek Mallow (D-Savannah) is attempting to become the latest Chatham County legislator to move from one governing body to another. He’s running for Georgia Senate District 2 and will face Orlando Scott in the Democratic primary on May 24. The primary winner advances to face the victor in the Republican primary contest between Ken Yasger and Clinton Young.

The two current senators, Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) and Ben Watson (R-Savannah), both served in the House prior to moving to the Senate. So have many others in recent history, including Buddy Carter, now a U.S. congressman; Regina Thomas, who left office in 2009; and Eric Johnson, who left the Georgia Senate in 2010 to run for governor.

According to a Savannah-based political consultant, David Simons, using the House as a jumping off point to the Senate is “an age old thing” in Chatham County, especially for junior members eager to exert influence.

Mallow sees greater potential if he were elected to the Senate, a much smaller body — 56 members compared to 180 in the House — and one that could see a change in leadership this year should a Democrat win the lieutenant governor’s election.

Former State Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D-Metro Atlanta) campaigned for Secretary of State in Columbus, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Dawkins-Haigler served as a state representative for more than eight years, first taking office in 2008 and finishing her post in 2017. When questioned by D.J. Davis, a Valdosta State University sociology major, about her long-term plans should she be elected as secretary of state, Dawkins-Haigler made it clear that her main focus will be on voting rights and helping residents of Georgia with “professional endeavors.”

“I want to make sure that the people of Georgia, Black people in particular, will have free and fair elections and access to the ballot box at any time. Given the craziness of the last two years, I worry that their vote will not count or be suppressed,” Dawkins-Haigler said.

“I would also like the secretary of state’s office to do more around education and resources geared towards business development. There’s a lot of people who wouldn’t know where to start. I want to make sure we get that done in a timely manner because sometimes if you call, it will take all day. We need to reach the people. I mean, the secretary of state’s website is straight garbage right now; people can’t even navigate what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Dawkins-Haigler mentioned that during her term, she pushed for legislation that increased funding for statewide transportation through the HB 170 Transportation Funding Act of 2015 as well as the decriminalization of medicinal marijuana through the Haleigh’s Hope Act – issues she hopes to revisit.

“One bill I’m proud I pushed, especially from the Black Caucus perspective, was the $1 billion transportation bill. I’m also proud of decriminalizing marijuana for medical use. It was me and five other representatives that pushed House Bill 1 across the finish line so that we would be able to participate in this industry,” she said.

“So many Black people have been incarcerated behind cannabis. This is a multi-billion-dollar industry and Black people still cannot participate in the industry fully when there’s so much that it does for health care,” she said.

“People who have cancer and especially sickle cell and lupus, those two illnesses that disproportionately affect Black people, a lot of these things can be dealt with through cannabis, and no one should be criminalized for it.”

The Statesboro Herald profiles three candidates for Bulloch County Board of Education District 4: Kathy C. Sherrod, April Newkirk (incumbent), and Donna Clifton.

Lee County District 4 Commissioner Rick Muggridge will resign as he moved out of his district, according to the Albany Herald.

He has been the District 4 representative since 2009.

“The Lee County government is in fine shape as I leave, but I know they will be fine because of the fine people who work there,” Muggridge said. “It has been the joy and honor of my life to be a part of that. (I) thank my neighbors who elected me four times to serve them.”

The outgoing commissioner said there will need to be a special election to fill the remainder of his commission seat, and that it will probably be held during the November election.

13WMAZ profiles the two Republican candidates for Monroe County Commission District Four.

Glynn County Elections Director Christopher Channell spoke to the Board of Elections about ongoing work on a new building to house operation, according to The Brunswick News.

Elections officials need to move into a larger building because of a state mandate to have a certain number of machines based on population.

Channell said he has contacted state election officials to see if there are any machines the county can borrow instead of purchase.

The concern is state legislators could decided to change voting machines in an upcoming General Assembly session, meaning the county will have bought new machines they will have to replace.

Turnout for the upcoming general primary election is slightly ahead of 2018, though Channell said it’s not that noticeable.

The Bibb County Board of Education voted to hire Dan Sims as the next superintendent, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Lowndes County Board of Education named Dr. J. Shawn Haralson as sole finalist for Superintendent, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.