Author: Adam Fogle

Former Editor-in-Chief of Blogging for Max.

It’s official

As Erick predicted Wednesday, Gov. Sonny Perdue today issued a writ of election to Secretary of State Karen Handel and announced that the special election to fill the 10th Congressional District seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Charlie Norwood will be held on Tuesday, June 19.

The date gives the growing field of candidates almost four months to campaign and allows a pair of state senators seeking the seat to complete the current legislative session.

Three Republicans have said they will run to represent the northeastern Georgia district: State Sens. Ralph Hudgens and Jim Whitehead, and Paul Broun, a doctor whose father was a longtime Democratic state senator. Doc Eldridge, a former Democratic mayor of Athens, has said he may also run as a Republican.

And so the race officially begins…

For technical schools, well may soon run dry

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has requested $700 million in funding for the state’s 34 technical schools. But with decreased enrollment, it may not be enough. The result could be faculty layoffs and program terminations.

That’s because funding for the schools is based on enrollment, which has dropped the past two years after more than a decade of steady growth. When enrollment goes down, so does the per-pupil allocation schools receive.

That means the schools are slated to receive $7 million dollars less for personnel than last year.

Ron Jackson, acting commissioner of the technical school system, said he will have to fire teachers if the system does not get more funding. On average, each school would have to lay off four full-time staffers, he said.

“We can’t have people on staff for a program that doesn’t meet the need for their community,” Jackson said.

I’m a strong advocate of technical schools because there are a great many fields where future employees are better served by technical training rather than at a four year college or university. It would be unfortunate to see Georgia technical schools fall behind or completely evaporate.

DCCC worried about Barrow, Marshall

The Democratic National Campaign Committee’s official weblog, “The Stakeholder,” last week announced its “Frontline” members for the 2008 election cycle. The Frontline program is “a partnership between the DCCC and Members which lays the ground work for the 2008 cycle by supporting and expanding their fundraising and outreach operations.”

In other words, “Frontline Members” are those that the DCCC worries may lose their seat in 2008. In turn, the national party focuses a great deal of support on that district.

Making the list of 29:

Representative John Barrow (GA-12)
Representative Jim Marshall (GA-08)

Memories of a memorable man

I just returned from Augusta and a very touching, tearful tribute to the late great Georgia Congressman Charlie Norwood. Hundreds were in attendance to say goodbye to Rep. Norwood, including Gov. Sonny Perdue, U.S. Congressional Republican leadership – John Boehner, Adam Putnam and others – the entire Georgia Congressional delegation, most of the state’s elected officials and more.

It was an opportunity to remember the life of Charlie Norwood and, a time to share a story or two about the great Congressman. WRDW News 12 Augusta has more coverage of the memorial service:

Friends, family and well-wishers said goodbye to popular congressman Charlie Norwood today.

He was many things during his lifetime: doctor, veteran, United States representative.

He was also a humble public servant who wanted us all to be on a first name basis with him.

Today Augusta honored the long-time congressman.

Goodbye Charlie. Thanks for the memories.

“It” begins…

The Augusta Chronicle is already covering the 10th Congressional District special election. As Jeff noted yesterday, of the three Republican frontrunners, only Sen. Hudgens has announced his intentions to run. And he will likely be the only one to do so prior to Gov. Perdue’s issuance of a writ of election – or at least until after the funeral.

State Sen. Ralph Hudgens, R-Comer, made his intentions clear Tuesday.

State Reps. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, and Sen. Jim Whitehead, R-Evans, are planning on making a run, according to political observers, but neither is talking about his plans until after the funeral.

Charlie Norwood has died

U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood passed away Tuesday morning at his Augusta home. Norwood returned from Washington, DC last week after an extensive battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and non-small cell lung cancer. He was 65. We will all miss him so very much.

Norwood received a single lung transplant in 2004 as treatment for IPF, and developed non-small cell lung cancer in 2005.

Norwood represented the Augusta-to-Athens 10th congressional district since 1995, and was re-elected in November 2006 by a landslide margin.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Thomas Poteet and Son Funeral Directors in Martinez. A schedule of public services will be announced by the 10th Congressional District office as soon as details are finalized.

Note by Jeff: Adam, Buzz, and I all hit the front here within thirty seconds of each other. In the interest of focusing our attention in one direction, Buzz and I pulled our posts, and would just like to use this opportunity to offer our condolences to Mr. Norwood’s family. May they have strength in this trying time.

Update 4:00pm Below the break are updates, including statements and messages from Members of Congress.
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24 Open Thread

Since Erick is indisposed and he usually opens the thread, I’ll do it in his stead. So, enjoy tonight’s 2-hour special episode and have at it…

And don’t forget to switch over to NBC at 10 for a new episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

No annexation without over-representation

Spurred by House Bill 2 and other legislative action, the debate over city-county annexation is heating up. Members of the Georgia General Assembly hope to reform – by means of legislation – current annexation disputes between city and county governments by establishing a permanent mediation process.

Several bills, including one that would expand a county’s ability to fight city annexations and another that would make it easier for property owners to de-annex from cities, are up for debate and may be getting more traction than previous reform efforts.

Last week, Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson told county commissioners in town for a conference that he’s committed to reform. Later in the week, Richardson, R-Hiram, said it should be easier to de-annex from a city and that he wants to see a system of binding arbitration when property owners, cities and counties can’t agree.

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For black Democrats, what now?

An article in today’s Savannah Morning News contemplates the future of the black vote in Chatham County and the rest of Georgia. The piece presents a dilemma in which many blacks feel the Democratic Party takes their vote for granted – 85-to-90 percent of African Americans in Georgia have historically voted Democratic, according to the article – while Republicans completely ignore their vote.

But [the Rev. Benny Mitchell, the politically active pastor of Connor’s Baptist Temple Church] also knows that many Republicans tend to write blacks off because they figure few of them are going to vote for them anyway. And he’s equally aware that, after appropriate lip service, Democrats often ignore them because they figure they have nowhere else to go.

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Cobb may apply for charter

The Marietta Daily Journal reports that Cobb County officials are considering applying for charter status in the coming years. The move would likely make them one of the first to do so under the Charter Systems Act, which passed the Senate this week by a vote of 53-2. The bill now heads to the House.

Schools receiving a charter under the bill would be released from regulations imposing class-limit sizes and hiring practices if they promise to meet certain education standards.

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What is going on at GDOT?

The mess on I-20 Wednesday further highlighted a serious problem in the Metro Atlanta region – TRANSPORTATION. In a city with a metropolitan population nearing 5 million, there is still no sign of a solution for the growing gridlock.

A series of small problems led to a world-class snafu that backed up morning rush-hour traffic on I-20 for 14 miles Wednesday and had officials up to Gov. Sonny Perdue looking for answers.

As near as some observers could see, road contractors had a lane closed off but weren’t doing any work. The contractors acknowledged that the work had been complete but said that a broken-down cement truck forced them to keep the lane closed.

Then the tow truck didn’t show up. They couldn’t push it for fear the air brakes would fail. And a state Department of Transportation inspector who was supposed to be nearby wasn’t anywhere to be found.

The incident happened in the eastbound lanes between Fulton Industrial Boulevard and I-285, and traffic was back into Douglas County.

The MARTA is sub-par, at best, and traffic is horrendous. The Georgia Department of Transportation is light-years behind the times and refuses to acknowledge its inadequacies.

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