Political RoundUp: November 2007

Thompson backer: Another Republican presidential candidate, Fred Thompson, has named state Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) executive director and communications director for his campaign efforts in Georgia. Steve Croy, head of Croy Realty Group, is finance chairman in Georgia for the Thomp-son campaign.

Linger on Jekyll: To no one’s great surprise, Linger Longer Com-munities, which developed the posh Reynolds Plantation complex in Greensboro, was the pick of the Jekyll Island Authority to handle the redevelopment of a 45-acre tract so as to dress up the resort island and make it a more attractive tourist destination.

Legal counsel: Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani should have plenty of advice if he runs into legal problems in Georgia. All he has to do is call on the “Lawyers for Rudy” committee that is chaired by Doug Chalmers of McKenna Long & Aldridge, with Joe Whitley of Alston & Bird serving as honorary state chair. Other Georgia lawyers on the Giuliani team include Chris Anulewicz, Robert Capobianco, Stacy Freeman, Charlie Henn, Rob Joseph, Patrick O’Connor and Holly Pierson.

Emergency help: Gov. Sonny Perdue picked Charley English, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), to take on the added responsibility of director of homeland security. English replaced Maj. Gen. Terry Nesbitt in the homeland security position after Nesbitt was named adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard. English first joined GEMA in 1996 as a member of the Olympic planning team and was named GEMA director in 2006.

Honoring Erk: The late Erskine “Erk” Russell, who coached championship football teams at Georgia Southern and the University of Georgia, will be remembered via the renaming of a stretch of U.S. 80 in Bulloch County as the Erk Russell Highway. “There are many people with jobs here today who may not realize that their job is a result of the sacrifices Coach Russell and his family made in their move to States-boro,” said Rep. Bob Lane (R-Statesboro). Russell was Georgia’s defensive coordinator for 17 years as a top assistant to head coach Vince Dooley. He was Georgia Southern’s head coach from 1981 to 1989, winning three Division 1-AA nation-al championships. He was also head football coach at Grady High School in Atlanta during the 1950s and won that school’s only state championship in 1953.

Campbell gives it up: Former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell, who’s in the midst of serving a 30-month federal sentence as a result of his 2006 conviction on tax evasion charges, has agreed to surrender his license to practice law, which in effect results in his disbarment as an attorney. Campbell’s lawyers filed a petition with the Georgia Supreme Court for the voluntary surrender of his law license. The petition disclosed that Campbell “does not intend to file any further appeals of his conviction.”

Barrett’s return: Lonice Barrett, longtime state natural resources commissioner before his retirement from state government last year, has been appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to the chair the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority.

Bad timing: The budget office directors for the state Senate and House of Representatives have both decided to retire, just before the convening of a new legislative session. Kevin Fillion, who was ap-pointed as the first director of the Senate Budget Office when it was split off four years ago from the old Legislative Budget Office, decided to retire to spend more time with his family. Charlie Walker, who has worked for the past 34 years as a legislative budget staffer, retires as director of the House Budget Office effective Dec. 1.

In memoriam: Few people had more impact on Georgia’s highway system over the past four decades than Steve Reynolds, the Gwinnett County businessman who served in the state Senate and on the State Transportation Board from 1969 through 2004. Reynolds, who had been in declining health for several years after battling lung cancer, died recently at age 87. As both a legislator and a transportation board member, he was a tireless advocate of securing motor fuel tax revenues to ensure that the state’s highway system could meet the demands of the state’s growth. Fittingly, there is already a monument to Reynolds’ service in politics – Steve Reynolds Boulevard, in Gwinnett County.

Categories: Political Notes