Author: Brandon

The Neverending Soap Opera

That we all love. Or love to hate.

Another Thing About District 113:

As has been reported here and covered in multiple Peach Pundit posts, Republican candidate for the 113th House District seat Alex Alexander pled guilty to simple assault, battery and criminal trespass in 2007. The backstory to the incident as well as his rationale for not apologizing about why it happened are all in prior mentioned posts.

That said, that is not the issue. I truly hope that it will not become the issue. 

As far as Alexander goes, the real issue that should be addressed by his campaign at the moment is the fact that he refused to rule out a grocery tax, or some form of tax increase, at the Oconee County GOP meeting last Thursday. Additionally, the campaign must also address the fact that, when question and answer time rolled around, he had few answers of the questions asked of him. Read more

Dodge County, District 113, and Everything in Between

Several news items to start off the day:

District 113 Update:

As reported in this earlier post, the campaign to fill Hank Huckaby’s seat in District 113 is well underway. I’ve been informed that June 8th will mark the first forum of the season. For those interested, it will be from 7-9 p.m. at the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville.

Additionally, I was in attendance at the Oconnee County GOP meeting last week. Chuck Williams was unfortunately unable to attend due to a medical emergency (he’s fine now) but his campaign spokesman (Ed Perkins) spoke in addition to Sarah Bell and Alan Alexander. My notes on their statements:

Chuck Williams: “Community-based values, common-sense government.”

Sarah Bell: “I’m for any form of standard to be put on the HOPE Scholarship, be it the SAT or anything else, because kids come into my classroom and don’t know what a noun is.” (This is pretty close to a direct quote)

Alan Alexander: “I don’t know how I feel about that because I haven’t researched it enough yet, I won’t shut the door on a grocery tax, and when a church is having trouble paying for something, you ask the members to give more. That’s just the way it works.”

The Dodge County Courthouse Issue:

I don’t believe this has been touched on in a post on here yet, so I wanted to do the thing any Dodge County native would do: get more attention for my county.

As has been reported on numerous occassions by numerous sources, the Dodge County Courthouse displays a Confederate flag at the Confederate Memorial outside the courthouse grounds. In recent weeks, there has been quite a stir about this matter after the County Commissioners voted 4-1 to keep the flag flying. See the following for their reasoning:

§ 50-3-10.  Use of flag for decorative or patriotic purposes

Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent the use of the flag of the United States or any flag, standard, color, shield, ensign, or other insignia of the State of Georgia or of the Confederate States of America for decorative or patriotic purposes, either inside or outside of any residence, store, place of business, public building, or school building.

I’ve spent a good bit of time in Dodge County recently, have talked to people in many walks of life, and the overal consensus I have found is an overall idea of indifference. The flag has been flying there since 2001-2002. I’m in no way, shape or form willing to debate the pros and cons of this matter (I understand both) but this is a very noteworthy.

King Roy, a Boquet of Flowers and More Convention Fallout:

According to this report from the AJC, newly re-elected Georgia GOP Chairman Sue Everhart arrived home to a boquet of flowers from former Governor Roy Barnes last week.

Everhart stated that if Barnes really liked her, he would vote Republican.

Full disclosure: I supported Tricia Pridemore but the reasonable thing to do is move on. It’s over and done with, now the best thing to do is move forward, make peace and plan for the future. Period.

Real Deals, Manning Up and HOPE for the Future: My Take

I’ve been silent about this HOPE “thing” since I posted the initial proposal. In fact, I’ve been silent on the “premier Georgia politics website”, period. Throughout this fishing trip (both literally and figuratively) of mine, I’ve had a chance to sit back and watch the drama of trying to save a beloved part of what makes Georgia great unfold. In the wake of the changes to the scholarship being passed in the Senate (35-20, on straight party lines), I’m ready to break my silence.

Full disclaimer: this is the perspective of a college student, first-generation, from a rural area, who will be hit by these changes come August 2011. And what is the first thought I have?

There is something terribly wrong here.

And it’s not with our state leaders. Read more

Sunday Sales and the Big Picture: A Message to Republicans

There’s already been a lot posted on this whole Sunday Sales deal but I figured what the heck.

There are tons of other issues that are far more pressing right now in Georgia than whether or not alcohol should be bought and sold on Sundays. I get that, and quite frankly, I’m tired of the discussion over it dominating everything year after year. It’s very easy to take the perspective of “let’s vote on it and move on with life” and, in many ways, that’s the most common sense approach to take.

But I think there’s a bigger picture here. On one level it comes back to the fundamental principle of letting people decide for themselves (which I strongly support). That’s a principle that has been clearly discussed and established and there is no point in me going  on about it here.

So what is the big picture? For Republicans specifically. Read more

What a Croc: In Defense of Speaker Ralston, His Family and Anyone Else on a First Name Basis With an Elected Official

I have kept silent for a while now. I kept silent when the whole hoopla was raised about the trip to Europe. I kept silent when the first story came out last week. I kept silent.

But now it’s my turn to speak. I just have a few points that I feel need to be made.

1.) How much of Georgia taxpayers money was spent on the trip to Europe? I believe that’s a grand-spanking $0.00.

2.) Was the trip taken to observe something (high-speed rail) that could greatly benefit Georgia in the future? I don’t know, how about you read the full disclosure report and get back with me on that one? My bet is that it’s a yes.

3.) Was there anything illegal done here? Nope.
Read more

Peaches for Thought: Obamacare, Early Voting, and an Unlikely Alliance

Today’s “fresh political pickins from the Peach State”:

1.) Coming off a bitter campaign, Governor Deal and former Governor Barnes have forged an unlikely alliance over a good cause: ensuring that spouses of state employees killed in the line of duty are able to continue health coverage under the state’s plan. Read more

Sunday Sales, HOPE and Numbered Lists

I posted something a while back detailing my thoughts on HOPE and the changes that may be coming to it over the course of the General Assembly’s session. From that I received a lot of feedback, some was good and some will never be spoken of again.

But through it all the wheels have not stopped turning and it is, quite frankly, an issue that is continuously on my mind. As one of the first in my immediate family to continue past high school, I owe a massive amount of thanks to HOPE. I also want to see it preserved for future generations in a way that is as close to possible to its original form and intent. But I’m also a realist. I realize that given the condition of the economy and the budget something will have to give one way or the other. It can’t continue on in this fashion and Governor Deal is right for preparing his budget in such a way that it has to be dealt with now, in my humble (what else would you expect) opinion. Furthermore, it’s our job as a website about Georgia politics to try to provide meaningful discussion and ideas regarding the issues at hand.

And then there’s SB 10, or the “Sunday Sales” bill.

As you all know, this particular version of allowing Sunday sales of alcohol would allow communities to decide for themselves whether or not they want to allow someone to have a beery while they also shop (or rest) on the Sabbath. Again, in my humble opinion, this is a great idea. Many in my neck of the woods may disagree but I think it needs to happen.

So, what does this have to do with HOPE? Read more

College Republicans to Host GAGOP Chair and 1st Vice-Chair Forum

Received via press release:

College Republicans To Host Forum for GAGOP Chair and 1st Vice Chair Candidates

ATLANTA – As the campaign for Georgia Republican Party leadership positions kicks off, the Georgia Association of College Republicans (GACR) will host a leadership interview with the candidates for GAGOP Chair and 1st Vice Chair on Monday, February 7, on the campus of Georgia Tech. A panel of College Republican leaders will question the candidates on the challenges and opportunities facing the state GOP.

The forum is open to media and will be broadcast live online at facebook.com/GeorgiaCRs.

Read more

Dinner With Doug McKillip

The Representative from Athens is a crass opportunist. A crass opportunist when it comes to providing the best possible representation for his constituents.

You certainly can’t call him a political opportunist. Representing part of a county that voted overwhelmingly voted for President Obama (he won 22 of 24 precincts in 08) is risky business for someone who has now switched from Democrat to Republican. It is in all-likelihood that in 2012 his seat will be the most hotly contested one in Georgia.

However, I would challenge the constituents of GA-115 to look deeper. Read more

Tricia Pridemore Announces Run for State GOP Chair

Tricia Pridemore, long rumored to be a candidate for Georgia Republican Party Chair, has formally announced her candidacy. The full press release is below, as well as the initial steering committee list. 

Veteran GOP Grassroots Leader Tricia Pridemore Announces Campaign for GAGOP Chair; Plans to dramatically grow, strengthen grassroots

MARIETTA, GA- Cobb County resident Tricia Pridemore met today with supporters to officially announce her candidacy for Georgia Republican Party Chair.

Regarding her candidacy, Pridemore said, “Because we can’t rest on the accomplishments of the last few years, our next Party Chair must be able to articulate a vision that builds upon our successes, moving quickly to strengthen the Party for the battles ahead. That vision includes not only embracing our time-honored, conservative Republican values, but also a new, aggressive effort to ensure our grassroots activists have the technology and resources needed to take on the Obama Administration and stave off Democrat organizers targeting Georgia.  My long history in grassroots politics, coupled with my experience in the high-tech, social networking field, make me uniquely qualified to lead these efforts, working alongside the hardworking Georgians who lick the envelopes, put up signs, and help get Republicans elected.” Read more

Alive, Kicking and With a Few Thoughts

Though I have fallen off the face of the earth to pretty much any form of communication for the past couple of days, I am still alive. The past two days have reminded me, again, that snow is not my friend. Call me Scrooge or call me honest (or smart. But preferably just awesome) but I am not the biggest fan of snow, ice and the chaos it brings. That said, I’ve emerged from the frozen tundra that is Snowpocolypse with thanks and ramblings.

First of all, I want to give a big thanks to the Deal Inaugural Team. I was happy to give what little assistance I could to a drastically altered Inaugural day and I could not have picked a more professional and friendly group of people to work with. In spite of the circumstances, things went as well as they possibly could and the Inaugural Team deserves the credit for that fact. Furthermore, it was handled in a fashion that put safety first and that is all you can ask for in times such as these.

Now, we have a new Governor in this state. I realize that he wasn’t the choice many of ya’ll had in mind and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, like I said, he is now the Governor. You now have four years to agree and disagree with his policy decisions. That said, I sincerely hope that, for the sake of intelligent dialouge in this state (if nothing else), the political rhetoric that has dominated discussions about our Governor (from those who did not vote for him) can finally end. What’s done is done. We have an experienced public servant (yes, I said public servant) in the Governor’s Mansion and I think he is going to surprise quite a few of his doubters.

Which brings me to the contents of the inaugural speech itself. Read more

HOPE, Budgets, and Things Like Chemistry

I’m a laid back guy. It takes a lot to really get me going. I’m an issue by issue person. To quote my former Congressman (from Macon), “I go issue by issue and decide what I think is best”. Maybe slightly paraphrased (and oh yeah, his replacement took office today. I think he’s going to do a better job; especially at following through with that.)

That said, education is an issue that is very personal. As a first generation college student, it stands next to fiscal responsibility as the most important issue to me. Naturally, I’m very alarmed about the potential future of the HOPE Scholarship if it is not handled correctly during the coming session (after all, my kids will have to make it somehow when I’m still blogging and fishing my life away).

So…with that, I’m about to defend our future Governor again (sock puppets, rejoice). And in the process offer up some ideas of my own. Here’s what Governor-elect Deal said about the matter on Monday (more here):

“I think keeping it at the 3.0 is a reasonable standard. If we raise it too much higher than that, we really do cut out some of those very deserving students who work very hard and deserve the opportunity to go to college.”

”We’ve got to look at the allocation. Some would suggest that perhaps we need to decouple it from the tuition cost. Just fix an amount. There are many options that are on the table.”

So, our next Governor has begun to stake out his position and I can honestly say that I’m glad I’m not in his shoes on this one. Regardless of the outcome, our state leaders are, in some senses, damned on this issue one way or another. That said, I am behind him. Supporting the idea of changing the allocations in such a way that reduces the overall total of money a student gets from HOPE is painful for me to consider.

But it is the best option. Read below the fold to see why.  Read more