Political Notes

New Department Head: Gov. Nathan Deal has named Carrie Ashbee to lead the new Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning, which began operations July 1.

Ashbee, who has worked for Deal since he was in Congress, was deputy chief of staff of executive office operations at the time of her appointment.

The governor’s office says the nonprofit Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning “will promote partnerships between businesses, charities, institutions of higher education, local and public school systems” and that its purpose “is to support educational excellence for children and families.”

Votes Are In: Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff (51.87 percent to 48.13 percent) to take the 6th District House seat vacated by Tom Price when he became Health and Human Services secretary. The campaign’s cost topped $50 million, making it the most expensive House race in history.

GOP Holds Senate Seat: Republican Kay Kirkpatrick defeated her Democratic runoff challenger, Christine Triebsch, and is the new state senator representing District 32. Kirkpatrick, a physician, had 18,602 votes, or 57 percent, to Triebsch’s 14,046 votes, representing 43 percent of the ballots cast.

She replaces fellow Republican, former Sen. Judson Hill, who resigned to run unsuccessfully for the 6th Congressional District.

Campus Carry Guidelines: University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley has issued guidelines for the state’s public colleges and universities to use in implementing HB 280, the “campus carry” law that took effect July 1.

“We all share the same goal of ensuring a safe campus environment,” he says. “We should work together to implement the law as written and thoughtfully address any complications that may arise.”

The law permits concealed handguns to be carried on campus property, with certain exceptions. “It will be the responsibility of those gun license-holders who choose to carry handguns on campus to know the law and to understand where they can go while carrying,” the guidelines say. “Institutions will not provide gun storage facilities or erect signs outside restricted areas.”

Wrigley says, “It is incumbent upon each of us to follow the law. Students, faculty and staff should not attempt themselves to monitor or to enforce compliance with the statute.” Enforcement is the responsibility of law enforcement personnel, including university system police officers, he says.

The guidelines are available on the university system website at usg.edu.

Legal Frenzy: Georgia food banks received a record 1.34 million pounds of food thanks to the 6th annual Georgia Legal Food Frenzy, which is sponsored by the state attorney general’s office, the Georgia Food Bank Association, the State Bar of Georgia and the bar’s Young Lawyers Division.

Donations came from law firms and legal organizations across the state to help food banks stock up for the summer’s increased demand. More than 60 percent of children in Georgia are eligible for free or reduced-cost meals during the school year, but the programs do not operate during the school vacation.

Show Us the Money: Georgia’s U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson has made it clear that he is not happy with the Trump Administration’s “failure to adequately support the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the project, has no money in its construction budget for the port this year. And the president’s proposed 2018 budget designates only $50.06 million, which Isakson says “falls far short of what we need.”

In a press release, Isakson’s office said the senator, during a budget hearing, “called for and received a commitment from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to help find ways to obtain additional funds and ensure an on-time completion” for the project.

Total cost of the harbor deepening is $973 million; if the federal government allots less than $80- to $100-million annually, the project cannot be completed on time. Georgia has put $266 million into the project.

New College President: Ingrid Thompson-Sellers has been named president of South Georgia State College, in Douglas and Waycross, having served as interim president since June of 2016.

“Ingrid has done an incredible job leading South Georgia State,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley. “She has strengthened ties with the south Georgia community and worked to ensure the health and growth of the college.”

Thompson-Sellers succeeds Virginia Carson, who retired after eight years as the college president.

Categories: Political Notes