Political Notes: Ups, Downs and In-betweens
Changes At KSU: Kennesaw State University President Dan Papp retired June 30 after leading the school for 10 years and boosting its status as a top-tier university. Houston Davis, executive chancellor and chief academic officer of the University System of Georgia (USG), is serving as interim president.
During his tenure, Papp oversaw a consolidation with the former Southern Polytechnic State University, which increased KSU’s enrollment to 33,000 students. On his watch, the school added doctoral programs and a football program and continued transforming itself into a residential campus.
Following Papp’s retirement announcement, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that he had received more than $577,000 in retirement pay from the university’s foundation before he left, a violation of university system policies. He described the violations as “misunderstandings, miscommunication and mistakes” on his part as well as system officials and the foundation.
Papp, 68, spent more than 40 years with the University System of Georgia.
“Dan’s extensive experience and leadership was essential to the transformation of Kennesaw State into a world-class university,” said University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby of Papp’s retirement. “When you step foot onto Kennesaw State’s campus, you immediately feel a vibrancy that Dan has played a part in making the institution what it is today.”
Papp will chair the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce in 2017.
New EPD Head: Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Richard Dunn as director of the state’s Environmental Protection Division. Dunn, former deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, replaces Judson Turner.
On To November: Georgia’s senior senator, Johnny Isakson, easily defeated his challengers in the Republican primary in May. Come November, he will face Democratic primary winner Jim Barksdale and Libertarian Allen Buckley.
PSC Winner: Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols bested two challengers in the Republican primary and will retain his seat; he has no Democratic opposition in November.
Ralston Safe: House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) won easily in the Republican primary, defeating Sam Snider, who also challenged him unsuccessfully in 2014.
Congressional Delegation: Five of Georgia’s incumbent Republican congressmen won their primary races, including 9th District Rep. Doug Collins and 11th District Rep. Barry Loudermilk, both of whom had multiple challengers. Eighth District Rep. Austin Scott, 12th District Rep. Rick Allen and 14th District Rep. Tom Graves all won as well. Greg Duke won the 2nd District Republican primary and will face incumbent Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop in November.
Four Republican congressmen, 1st District Rep. Buddy Carter, 10th District Rep. Jody Hice, 7th District Rep. Rob Woodall and 6th District Rep. Tom Price, and three Democrats, 4th District Rep. Hank Johnson, 5th District Rep. John Lewis and 8th District Rep. David Scott, had no primary opposition.
Scott and Hice have no general election opposition and are assured of returning to Washington for another term.
In the 3rd District, where longtime Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland is not seeking re-election, Republican voters will be going back to the polls for a July 26 runoff, choosing between Drew Ferguson and Mike Crane. The winner will face Democrat Angela Pendley.
Conservative Award: 14th District Republican Congressman Tom Graves has won an American Conservative Union Award for Conservative Excellence, based on his score of 91/100 in the organization’s annual congressional ratings.
The group recognizes House and Senate members who score 80 or above on what it terms “areas of concern for grassroots conservatives.”
Main Street Award: 12th District Republican Congressman Rick Allen received a “Hero of Main Street” award from the National Retail Foundation, in recognition of his support for legislation favorable to the retail industry.
“Rep. Allen has shown through his support that he cares about retailers big and small,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, “and values the role these businesses play in communities across the country.”
Allen notes that he has been a small business owner for more than 40 years.