Political RoundUp: November 2008

Over and back: Gov. Sonny Perdue was criticized in some quarters for flying to Spain on an industry-hunting junket while a gasoline shortage was making life miserable for people living in metro Atlanta and north Georgia, but his trip shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. According to official state records, it was Perdue’s 16th international trip since he became governor. Other Perdue junkets: Germany and the United Kingdom (June 2003); Japan and Korea (October 2003); El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (May 2004); Brazil, Chile and Argentina (June 2004); Mexico (September 2004); Canada (July 2005); Japan (October 2005); Israel (November 2005); Korea (March 2006); Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Germany and Belgium (June 2007); Japan and Korea (October 2007); Canada (November 2007); China (March-April 2008); and China (August 2008). Perdue also visited U.S. military personnel during a 2005 trip to Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Afghanistan and Pakistan.



Lots of roads: When it comes to dealing with the state’s ongoing traffic congestion problems, there’s a big job ahead. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle recently estimated that Georgia needs to build 4,000 new highway lanes to deal with congestion, a project that would cost about $50 billion to carry out. That’s a lot of money to be talking about when the governor and the Legislature are facing a revenue shortfall that could exceed $2.5 billion this fiscal year. “We are behind the eight ball to some degree,” Cagle acknowledged after meeting with business leaders and highway advocates.



Water on the way: During his more than 28 years as speaker of the Georgia House, Tom Murphy was never able to accomplish his oft-stated goal of having a reservoir built for his west Georgia district. That dream is on the way to becoming a reality now, a year after Murphy’s death. The Haralson County Commission and the local water authority have agreed to purchase 740 acres from Murphy’s surviving relatives for a reservoir that is expected to eventually provide 10 million gallons of water per day to Haralson residents.



Education board appointees: Gov. Sonny Perdue has appointed Sen. Seth Harp (R-Midland) and Rep. Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta) to the legislative advisory council of the Southern Regional Education Board. Harp is chairman of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee; Dickson is a retired school superintendent.



Rest in peace: Terrell L. Slayton, formerly an assistant secretary of state for Georgia, passed away while taking part in activities sponsored by 100 Black Men of Atlanta in connection with the Atlanta Football Classic. Slayton, 61, worked at the Department of Human Resources and the Depart-ment of Corrections before serving as an assistant to Secretary of State Cathy Cox. “Terrell was a big brother, a very close friend and a great colleague for the past 12 years,” said Cox, now president of Young Harris College.



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