Bill Hembree on his candidacy for Speaker

December 13, 2009 14:36 pm

by Pete Randall · 25 comments

State Representative Bill Hembree has written the members of the majority caucus to solicit their votes for his candidacy for Speaker of the Georgia House.

His correspondence contains general goals and concepts rather than specific positions on issues, but does inject a more moralistic meme into the debate. A big chunk of the correspondence, as originally posted by Jim Galloway, is after the jump:

In less than one week we will come together again to choose a new Speaker. This is an opportunity for each member of this caucus to vote their conscience and to put this week’s rhetoric into action. We cannot afford to continue down the path of talking about family values and ethics reform on the campaign trail but turn a blind eye at the State Capitol. It must end now and it must start in the Speaker’s office.

The 2010 Legislative Session is only a few weeks away and we know that it will present many challenges. The state’s budget will occupy much of our time but we will also have to address transportation, ongoing water issues, and joblessness just to name a few. With so much important to work be done, we cannot afford any further distractions or disgraces. We must clean up the House, clean up our image, and most importantly clean up our actions. We cannot allow the 2010 Legislative Session to begin with any questionable ethics charges lingering and overshadowing the work our constituents elected us to do.

I am asking again for your support and for your vote to lead the House as your next Speaker. I am a God fearing man and a family man first, and a state legislator second. I am not seeking this position for personal gain, power or prestige. I am asking for the honor of serving as your Speaker because I believe that now more than ever we need honest, ethical and moral leadership and I can provide just that leadership. I will not embarrass you, abuse the position or the authority entrusted to the office of the Speaker, pursue a personal agenda or use the services provided to the office to benefit myself or my family.

As your Speaker, I will be open and honest with you. I will make myself and my staff available to not only hear your concerns but to address them as well. As your Speaker, I will conduct myself in a manner that each member of this caucus, the Georgia House of Representatives and all of Georgia can take pride in and I will set the standard to be followed by others.

fishtail December 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Mr. Hembree, I would really appreciate your comments on some areas of interest to some of us that post on this site. In your letter to your colleagues, you promise to be open and honest as their new Speaker. In this regard, I would like you to inform us when you found out about Speaker Richardson’s affair with the AGL lobbyist and the $300 million legislation. Also, what did you do about it when you found out. Rep. Larry O’Neal said it was common knowledge around the Capitol. I hope you realize that “lay-to-play” is just as, if not more, disgusting as “pay-to-play” tactics used by unscrupulous lobbyists hell-bent on getting their way.

Also, one more issue. Since your district is located west of Atlanta, what do you know about how $10 million in capital improvement funding for West Georgia College got placed in the State budget right after a certain female lobbyist was hired as head of governmental affairs at the College? If you need to have your memory refreshed, here is a link to a picture of her in a JAMES magazine advertisement for her firm, Dave Simons Political Group.
http://bit.ly/4V3NY5

Thank you.

Rick Day December 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Erm, he lost me a “God”

I..I..I…
there is a reason humble people do not use fist person tense.

Booray December 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Good grief, fishtail – has there everything been anything more misquoted that this Larry O’Neal “common knowledge” thing.

GO BACK AND READ THE STORY!

First, O’Neal did not say he knew about the AGL lobbyist at the time of the pipeline bill. He never mentioned the AGL lobbyist at all. He said there were discussion/rumors of some kind of affair AFTER THE SPEAKER’S DIVORCE IN 2008!

FOLKS, THAT’S 2 YEARS AFTER THE PIPELINE BILL.

And based on what I’ve heard from my rep (an unnamed one, but he’s from up here near the mountains and a pretty well plugged in guy), the speaker had lots of affairs, not just the AGL woman. Ms. Richardson herself said in that interview he had “women” and she also said that she herself conspired with Mr. Richardson to keep proof of the AGL woman affair SECRET. That means SOMETHING NO ONE CAN PROVE.

I have never seen such a BS Internet legend take root and spread like wildfire and this BS assertion that Larry O’Neal told the Macon newspaper he knew all about the affair with the AGL lobbyist at the time of the pipeline bill.

We may all be worked up in understandable self-righteous fury about what has happened at the Capitol, but just crapping on somebody and reading into something what we want to see is over the line. There may be reasons for vote for or against any of these guys, but this crap rendition of the O’Neal interview is not one of them.

Scottf December 13, 2009 at 6:54 pm

“That means SOMETHING NO ONE CAN PROVE.” Of course, “no one can prove it” if they do not bother to ask anyone ANY questions – not the Speaker, not the ex-wife, not the lobbyist – or do ANY investigation. Maybe, if questions were asked, people would have lied to cover it up. But, we will never know because they did not even bother. I don’t even work under the Gold Dome and I had heard the name of the lobbyist long before the ethics complaint was filed.

I Am Jacks Post December 13, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Booray’s message was brought to you by the “political team” O’Neal promises to keep in #10 of his “Our party can move forward by electing much older and more entrenched leadership” treatise.

Begs the question, who are the members of this “political team” he plans to keep?

Lawton Sack December 13, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Lest we ever should forget that regardless of if they did or did not know of the affair before the pipeline legislation, that they knew in early 2008 and did not do anything about it:

Larry O’Neal:

He acknowledged that Richardson’s affair was common knowledge at the Capitol following the speaker’s divorce in early 2008. But he said it was the stunning interview Richardson’s ex-wife gave an Atlanta television station late last month that turned the problem into “too much of a distraction.”

And I hope Booray’s Rep. stands up and speaks out on Booray’s comment:


And based on what I’ve heard from my rep (an unnamed one, but he’s from up here near the mountains and a pretty well plugged in guy), the speaker had lots of affairs, not just the AGL woman.

Game Fan December 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Fishtail
Who knew what when is one issue but, what I love is that website! Man that’s classic. :)

“Ask Anyone in the General Assembly…”

Hey, I have a proposition: I think one of the bloggers on this website should make themselves available to lobbyists/former lobbyists for interviews to write a “Tell All” book. Talk about supply and demand! I mean, who WOULDN’T be interested? GA taxpayers? politicos? politicians? Jerry Springer fans? Constitutionalists, Libertarians…

fishtail December 13, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I think SpaceyG would be a good choice. She writes well and has a weird sense of humor. Maybe also do a HOT LOBBYIST CHICKS calendar for 2010. That would sell well.

fishtail December 14, 2009 at 6:52 am

Suggested titles for SpaceyG’s book….White Trash Chronicles…Glenn and Mark’s Excellent Adventure…As the Dome Turns…

Ludwig Von Beachbum December 13, 2009 at 7:03 pm

The house and senate are getting a pass on that bill that bypassed the GA Public Service Commission and let Georgia Power assume no risk in nuke power plant building and stick us with the bill ahead of time. And that time may never come. This is kind of like Sonny’s land deal tax break in reverse. I am sure some voted against it. I think Senator Chapman did.

sonofliberty December 13, 2009 at 7:08 pm

…I’m sure Bill Hembree is a decent enough guy…I wonder…if he would share how he voted in the Speaker’s race last November….

Ken in Eastman December 13, 2009 at 7:26 pm

I’d like to know, too.

fundy1611 December 13, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Good to see the peach pundit witch trials are at full throttle.

AthensRepublican December 13, 2009 at 7:28 pm

I think Hembree supported Richardson in the last election. Hembree does not mention his position on the Hawk system. Larry O’Neal now says he opposes it. Ralston was against was opposed to the Hawk system when he ran for Speaker against Richardson last year.

macho December 13, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Not that my opinion matters, but I’m starting to come around on Ralston a little. He did have the guts to stand up and call out what everyone knew was wrong.

I think O’Neil and Hembree are both guys, and think it would be a mistake to use any one vote as a litmus test. But, what we need right now is somebody with the guts to stand up for real convictions.

LongTimeListener December 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm

What is so evil about the Hawk system? I keep hearing about it.

Ken in Eastman December 13, 2009 at 8:40 pm

It makes a mockery of the committee system. Under the Dems it was “ex-officio Members” who could shift the committee vote to what the speaker wanted. It puts a tremendous amoiunt of power in the hands of the Georgia House Speaker which means it takes away some power from the remainder of the Georgia House membership.

(Not that I need to state this but) If I’m wrong on that, please correct me.

macho December 13, 2009 at 8:59 pm

You are right, power under the Dome is a zero sum game.

Lifetime367 December 14, 2009 at 12:07 am

not true – the Hawks was a unique idea to game the system, not something patterned after something the Dems did

Ken in Eastman December 14, 2009 at 12:20 am

So under the Dems, the Democrat House Leadership were not considered ex-officio members of all of the committees with voting rights? Again, I could be wrong but that has been my understanding.

Ken in Eastman December 14, 2009 at 12:24 am

Sorry, I forgot to add that the Hawk idea is a bad one under either party.

Harry December 13, 2009 at 8:11 pm

It’s lobbyist-driven?

Game Fan December 13, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Who even has time to follow all these rabbit holes. My first impression of a “hawk” system, if it’s relatively new would be just that. Something to do with centralization and corporatization of power and influence. One of many reasons why I REALLY AM a conservative. As in defending tradition and older institutions, ect…

Harry December 13, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Tends to reduce the integrity of the committee process.

Muscadine December 13, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Hembree seems a decent enough fellow. The question about him supporting Richardson is important though. Don’t remember him raising concerns about Hawks or Ethics last year when others put it on the line.

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