Political Notes: December 2015
New Legislator: In the special election for House District 92 in DeKalb, Democrat Doreen Carter defeated fellow Democrat Sherri Washington. The vacancy was created when former State Rep. Tonya Anderson resigned to run for the Senate District 43 seat.
More Runoffs: Democrat Tonya Anderson faces Republican Janice Frey Van Ness in the Dec. 1 runoff for Senate District 43, which includes portions of DeKalb, Newton and Rockdale counties. Neither received the required 50 percent plus one vote in the November election.
And in Columbia County, the top two vote-getters in the special election for House District 122, Republicans Jodi Lott and Mark Taylor, will square off in the Dec. 1 runoff.
Economic Development at DOE: The State Department of Education has hired its first economic development liaison. He’s Richard Goble, who was previously general manager and finance manger for a car dealership in Jasper and a director of business and industry for Chattahoochee Technical College.
Goble will work to create resources for the department’s Career, Technical & Agricultural Education division and will work with business and industry representatives, local and state officials and other stakeholders to strengthen economic development efforts in Georgia, according to the DOE.
“It’s essential that our students are prepared to thrive in our changing world,” says State School Superintendent Richard Woods. “Mr. Goble will help us strengthen our relationships with business and industry so we can provide real and relevant future opportunities for Georgia’s kids.”
Tolleson Retirement: State Sen. Ross Tolleson (R-Perry) retired in November after announcing he had received a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Tolleson, a Republican whose Senate District 20 includes Bleckley, Laurens and Pulaski counties and most of Houston County, had served since 2003. He was chair of the Senate Natural Resources and the Environment Committee.
The election to fill Tolleson’s seat is set for Tuesday, Dec. 1, with a runoff date of Dec. 29, if one is needed.
Six Republicans qualified for the election: James Pettis, Vivian Childs, Brooks Keisler, Mike Reece, Larry Walker and Jon Martin.
New Judges: Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed three new judges to the Georgia Court of Appeals; the new judgeships were created by the General Assembly earlier this year.
The appointees are Amanda Mercier, a superior court judge in the Appalachian Circuit; Nels Peterson, vice chancellor for legal affairs and secretary to the Board of Regents; and Brian Rickman, district attorney of the Mountain Judicial Circuit.
The judges’ terms begin Jan. 1 and run through December 2018.
More DeKalb Drama: In the midst of the soap opera over whether interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May should resign, State Rep. Scott Holcomb, a DeKalb Democrat, has said he will introduce legislation to eliminate the CEO position and switch to a county manager model.
And he has a strong ally: Gov. Nathan Deal, who likes the idea.
DeKalb Republicans, led by State Sen. Fran Millar, have been pushing for a change in DeKalb’s leadership structure, but until recently found Democrats resistant. But having a Democratic CEO, Burrell Ellis, removed from office while under indictment and subsequently convicted of perjury and a Democrat interim CEO, May, named in a scathing corruption report that urged him to resign has apparently caused some rethinking.
DeKalb adopted the CEO model in the early ‘80s. The late Democrat powerhouse Manuel Maloof was the first to hold the office; he was followed by Liane Levitan, Vernon Jones and Ellis.