Political Notes: September 2011
ups, downs and in-betweens
New Kids On The Block: Ma-con’s James Beverly defeated fellow Democrat Anissa Jones in a special election to fill Georgia’s House Seat 139, which was vacated by longtime representative David Lucas, who resigned to run for the state senate.
Lucas lost to former Macon City Council member Miriam Paris in a runoff for the Senate District 26 seat.
In Oconee County, Republican Chuck Williams won a runoff election and will fill House Seat 113, which opened up when Hank Huckaby resigned to become chancellor of the University System of Georgia. Williams defeated Democrat Dan Matthews.
Government and Higher Ed: New University System of Georgia Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration Dr. Steve W. Wrigley, most recently a vice president for government relations at the Univer-sity of Georgia is, like his new boss Chancellor Hank Huckaby (who appointed him) a veteran of state government and the academic world. Wrigley worked for Zell Miller twice — first when he was lieutenant governor and Wrigley served as his executive assistant and senior policy advisor, and again when Miller was elected governor and Wrigley was his chief of staff.
Ringgold’s Recovery: In a speech on the U.S. House floor, Georgia’s Ninth District Congressman Tom Graves (R-Gainesville) told his colleagues, “Ringgold, Georgia, is open for business.”
He reminded them that the town suffered heavy losses after last April’s tornadoes: More than 100 businesses and 500 homes were damaged or destroyed.
“However, Ringgold is on the mend and ready to share some of that southern hospitality it’s so well known for,” Graves said. “Nearly half of the damaged businesses have reopened, homes are being rebuilt and jobs are returning.”
Military Affairs: Major General (Ret.) David R. Bockel will assume a new role in October as executive director of the Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Committee at the Georgia Chamber. He is a 37-year veteran of the U.S. Army. Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark, citing the importance of military installations in Georgia, called Bockel “exactly the right person for the job,” one who combines military and business expertise. Bockel now serves as executive director of the Reserve Officers Association in Washington, D.C.
New ARCHE Chair: Georgia State University President Mark P. Becker is the new chair of the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education Board of Trustees, succeeding Beheruz N. Sethna, president of the University of West Georgia, who chaired the board for two years.
Democracy Award: State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) received the 2011 Democracy Award from Common Cause Georgia, an advocacy group devoted to ethics in government. Oliver was selected for her work on ethics legislation.
“Common Cause Georgia’s slogan is ‘holding power accountable,’” the organization’s executive director William Perry said in press release, “and there is no one that meets this description better than Represent-ative Mary Margaret Oliver.”
Tech Support: The Technology Association of Georgia honored two legislators with its Technology Legislator of the Year awards, citing their understanding and support of the state’s technology industry. The honorees are State Rep. Mike Dudgeon (R-Suwanee), a freshman, and State Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville).
In Memoriam: State Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) was found dead at his home in late July, apparently from natural causes. Franklin, an archconservative, had served in the General Assembly since 1996.
A statement from Gov. Nathan Deal says Franklin “never wavered in his conviction to his principles. He staunchly defended our Second Amendment rights, and he passionately promoted the sanctity of life.”
Endorsements and The Like: Following a visit to Georgia, GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has the endorsement of Sam Olens, Georgia’s Attorney General. Gov. Nathan Deal remains committed to Newt Gingrich, as does Georgia’s First District Congressman Jack Kingston. Meanwhile, Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols invited friends, constituents and the press – with free admission promised to his campaign workers — to a special showing of the Sarah Palin documentary, The Undefeated.
“I haven’t actually decided on a Presidential candidate yet,” he said in his invitation, “but Palin’s experience is instructive and holds lessons for all conservatives.”