Collins responds to pro-Loeffler Super-PAC accusations

Election 2020, Featured News, News
Collins

Congressman Doug Collins visited Ellijay on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, for a Meet and Greet with citizens at the River Street Tavern. During the visit, he took a moment to react to allegations issued by the pro-Loeffler group GUV.

The candidate stopped for pictures and a short speech as the last stop in a day of similar events in the cities of Jasper and Resaca. In Ellijay, he told supporters that he wasn’t bothered by certain ads and increases in the campaign. He said he doesn’t have to buy a bunch of ads “swearing that I’m a conservative” because the people know who he is and his values.

The event saw the U.S. Senate candidate in the local restaurant, The River Street Tavern, with supporters and others looking to hear from him, along with local law enforcement, Republican Party representatives, Chairman Charlie Paris of the Board of Commissioners, and even Magistrate Judge Candidate Reagan Griggs Pritchett.

Collins touched on issues in his short speech including police support, buying the campaign, and the ads against him.

U.S. Senate Candidate, Doug Collins spoke about Defund the Police, President Trump, and opponent Senator Kelly Loeffler.

Collins said those running around saying to defund the police were disrespectful. Noting that he was a trooper’s kid, he said, “I want them to get themselves in a cop car somewhere, ride about a few nights, and do the job before they say anything else. Otherwise, shut up and start supporting our police.”

Collins added that “a bad officer needs to be gotten out immediately,” but said that charging a man with felony murder and not waiting for the GBI to do an investigation, not taking it before a Grand Jury, and then holding a press conference to make stuff up is wrong. Collins stated, “I’m going to stand and fight it every single time and call it what it is, and that is ‘wrong.'”

Collins also addressed several ads running against him. He pointed out one saying he was a lawyer, to which he replied that he believes in the entire constitution including the right to legal counsel and representation. Collins pointed out other ads by opponent Kelly Loeffler stating she is conservative, but he called it an “amazing, all-of-a-sudden decision by the Senator that she wanted to be perceived as conservative.” He asked where her voice and conservative values were in previous years over planned parenthood, the second amendment, and Black Lives Matter.

Collins also addressed the ads showing him and Stacy Abrams together saying that yes, he had a picture with her and they passed a continuation of the Hope Scholarship together saying, “I guess when you have enough money to go to school, you don’t have to worry about others being able to go to school, but we worked together to get that done.” He also added that he never hired Stacey Abrams as a lawyer for a basketball team or campaigned with her on the floor of the arena against Brian Kemp when he was running for Governor.

Collins

Collins held a Meet and Greet event in Ellijay later in the day as part of a three city tour in one day, after Jasper and Resaca.

Collins said we have to accomplish a few things in the coming elections. The first is to elect Donald Trump to four more years. The second is to re-elect David Perdue to keep the Senate Red. The third is to look at the ballot and look for one name in the Senate Race, Doug Collins.

Collins said that the Governor picked his choice, and “that was his one vote.” Now, the election has the people’s vote.

Collins and Loeffler will first appear on the ballot on November 3, along with other Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents for the senate seat.

FYN caught up with Collins for a moment after the event to ask about the campaign. Collins reiterated that his answer to the increase in ads and campaign funding was to be the man that the people know. He stated, “We don’t have to spend as much as she does.” as he said his campaign is going to continue the way it is going because the people know who he is and he doesn’t have to make up a campaign like she does.

When asked about campaigns from pro-Loeffler groups quoting Collins as saying Lobbyist are “essential” to the legislative process, Collins responded, “I think this is a sad, desperate attempt by an appointed Senator who has no record of her own.” He accused her of throwing the entire delegation under the bus as he asked, “Does Kelly say that she would vote against our agricultural needs and disaster relief in South Georgia?” and “Would she vote against the funding for our troops and funding for our cities and counties?”

Collins

Doug Collins, right, had several members of local politics to listen to his speech including Gilmer Republican Party Chairman Richie Stone, left.

He added, “They’re trying to make me out as something that most people know I am not… She is the one that is not a conservative and she is trying to cover up for it.”

Collins said he is looking forward to the office and he took this step into the campaign “because I believe that the Senate seat in Georgia needs somebody who actually knows how to fight. I believe they need somebody in this seat that actually knows how to get something done, who actually knows how to take the values of the State of Georgia, and take them all across the nation and knows that their is somebody that, without a doubt, has this Presidents back, and I will always have it as we go forward.”

Kevin Johnson, candidate for GIlmer Magistrate Judge

Election, Election 2020
Kevin Johnson

“I’ve always enjoyed serving and I’ve always enjoyed the application of state law.” Kevin Johnson said he enjoys and looks forward to the position of Magistrate Judge if elected.

Running to transition into the Judge’s office after retiring from the Highway Patrol after seven years as post commander in Blue Ridge at the end of 2019, Johnson said he believes his experience and history will transfer easily into the office as he comes from 30 years experience in law enforcement. Transitioning between applying warrants and making arrests to approving warrants and seeking righteous cause to protect citizens will be easy as the core purposes of public service and protecting people’s rights is his focus in both.

Johnson lives in Gilmer County with his wife, Julie. With four kids in the family, he calls Gilmer his home post. The Appalachian Mountains have been home throughout his career and as a Gilmer County resident for over 25 years, he says he vested in his community, in the place where his kids grew up, where one son still lives.

A veteran of Marine Corps with six years of service, two in the corps and four in reserves, Johnson said that public service has been a part of his entire life. Service in the Marines, service as a Sheriff’s Deputy, and service as an officer in the Highway Patrol. Taking the next step is just the natural feeling as he says he closed the door on his police career with his retirement, but saw another door open with the Magistrate position.

The Magistrate’s Office is something Johnson said he has been interested in for years, and sees it as the next step in service. Dealing with the Magistrate’s Office over the years in law enforcement, the interest grew the more he interacted with them. While retiring from the State Patrol, he said he never wanted to run against Gilmer’s Magistrate Judge, but when he learned the position was coming open with the Judge retiring, he knew it was time to pursue the office that has interested him for so long. It was time to take that next step in service.

Johnson said that the bench has its differences, such as not searching for evidence but listening to it. Making those determinations based on evidence. But he said much of those changes, he has already prepared for. During his time with law enforcement, he had annual training for courtrooms including case law, arrest warrants, affidavits, and courtroom testimony. He says statutory law and writing and requesting warrants in addition to training and experience in conflict resolution means ready skills and applicable experience in the office.

“It becomes who you are, you want to serve,” said Johnson about his career so far. From military to law enforcement, “I wanted to defend those who could not defend themselves.”

He noted many times in law enforcement, an officer has to guide and mediate arguments in situations like domestic disputes, for example. He spoke about how sometimes you have to be a little bit of a counselor, that the job is not all about making arrests. Reaching a middle ground and resolving a problem, that is the feeling he wants to take from the position of officer to the position of Judge. Johnson said that was the key personality he wanted to bring to the position, a servant’s heart that wants to reach goals and solve problems.

“It’s a new chapter,” said Johnson as he explained not just a desire to to become the Magistrate Judge, but an excitement to learn new things and continue his service while enforcing the right for people to have their voices heard in the judicial system. He said he has the knowledge in the law, he has the experience, and he has the drive to become the Magistrate Judge. Combining education with experience provides the perfect balance needed for leadership and guidance in the position.

Michael Parham, Candidate for GIlmer Magistrate Judge

Election, Election 2020
Michael Parham

There is a trend in many cities now having legal experts, that is to say attorneys, in judge positions as they have the training, education, and experience readily available in the courts. Michael Parham said he believes that expertise is the key. He explained that he wants to bring a professionalism that can only come after decades of experience and immersion in the system through training and practice. He said that he thinks any of the candidates could run the office well and he is not here to challenge that credibility, instead, Parham said he is running because he wants to continue the idea of attorneys and legal experts in the office.

Parham has that expertise whereas new non-legal experts require the extra training. Each candidate can become what the county needs as they grow and progress each day. But Parham already has 20 years of experience. He said that he also will have to grow and progress in the office, learning from the public and the people. But with the training already done, he said, “If we can put someone with professional training and background in the office, why not do that.”

Michael Parham is an attorney, a pastor, a husband, and a father. His wife of 50 years, Margaret, and he has two sons, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Living in Talking Rock in 1981 and hearing the call to minister earlier in his life, it was in 1984 that he actually moved into Gilmer County and began calling it his home. Before that, he lived closer to Atlanta and was a pastor at a church just outside the city limits as he attended law school.

Going from preacher to lawyer, in the late 70s, it was a time when several child murders had occurred near his home, but also a time of increasing interests in christian schools and other needs for church’s to have lawyers. “I wanted to be an advocate,” said Parham explaining that he has always felt a need to help people. In that time, it was an advocate for people in the christian school movement and churches in need. It appealed to him and he grew into the legal studies from there. The two run along parallel tracks in his life as he says it gives a unique background and view of people. It has never become a one or the other option as Parham later went inactive with the bar and became a minister again, but then returned to his legal career again after that.

In court settings, Parham said he has the understanding for precedence and proceedings. He has the knowledge to be sure that warrants are valid and viable and to speak with officers over merit. Just as lawyers have their role, a judge must know his role so as not to become an advocate or speak for either side. A judge must not impose himself or herself into the cases, but also be available to explain proceedings neutrally.

“It’s a head start.” With 14 years and 1 month in public defender office, you deal with people from the public, you are called to help people in all situations. Clients are assigned despite whether you want it, like it, or anything. Because of that, Parham said he has learned to have the the mindset of just focusing on the case at hand and putting any thoughts, biases, or personal feelings aside to focus on ‘how can I help this person in this situation.’ He explained it as “You take people as they come and you just try to serve them to the best of your ability.”

Private practice allows more selective options with cases and clients. And while he has practiced privately, Parham said that his time as a pastor bleeds through, “I love serving people.” The vast majority of his law career has been as a public defender and continuing that into a Judge’s position came because he saw no other lawyers qualifying.

He said he doesn’t want to rush in and make a bunch of changes, but rather fully immerse himself in it. A new judge will deal with things maybe differently than the previous judge, but it shouldn’t be a difficult transition. Taking the bench is a role to service and a step to provide what he believes to be a necessity for the position. Taking that transition is just another among his life as he recalls his start in legal studies.

All of his career has been in defense, Parham is already looking at this and understanding that has a different look at things than prosecutors. Looking at cases in certain ways, and looking to a new office and a new way of things, it means taking the ideas of different cases and looking at cases in different ways. It’s about resolution. A Judge’s position is about providing and guiding resolution in many ways. People have high expectations in court and you have to guide resolutions without advocating for one side over the other. 

Parham said, “Wise judges usually try to guide parties toward resolution that they have a part in bringing about.”

Taking that step is not a big step as Parham says he has learned these lessons throughout his life.

“Yes, there will be things for me to learn. I would be, certainly, remiss to think I am going to just waltz in and I got it all down. I don’t. We’re all going to be learning, any of these candidates are going to be learning, but I have a whole lot more experience to bring to that learning,” said Parham. Qualifications are not something that should be ignored. He said he is the candidate with background and education to step into the position with qualifications and experience.

He went on to note that he didn’t qualify early on in the process.  He waited to qualify until Thursday afternoon of qualifying week because, as he told his wife, if another attorney had run, that would have been fine. “I think an attorney has to be in that role.”

Collins urges Windstream to provide increased access to rural broadband

Press Release, State & National
Windstream

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) today sent a letter to Windstream underscoring the importance of providing increased access to broadband – particularly in rural areas – in the midst of COVID-19.

“As representatives of thousands of Windstream customers, we write today regarding the impact coronavirus has had on broadband access in rural communities throughout Georgia,” they wrote. “In the past, we have written to you regarding the inadequate internet service our constituents are receiving despite your company’s acceptance of federal dollars to expand access. While we know Windstream has upgraded some areas that are more populated and less rural, many of our constituents continue to struggle with poor broadband speeds.”

For years, Windstream customers across Georgia have consistently struggled to gain access to reliable broadband speeds. Congress has taken significant steps toward expanding rural broadband infrastructure in recent years, including securing federal funding to providers in rural areas. However, some carriers – like Windstream – have failed to provide adequate broadband speeds to consumers despite collecting taxpayer dollars. As this pandemic is forcing more and more Georgians to rely on the internet, access to reliable broadband is more critical than ever before.

“Due to the coronavirus outbreak, thousands of Georgians are being forced to work, learn, and recreate from home. This undoubtedly has increased the strain on the networks your consumers depend upon. Over the past several years, we have heard complaints of a network that is overburdened and cannot keep up during peak use. Even though we have been calling for increased internet access in rural areas for years, this moment in time shows that Windstream has yet to meet the mark.”

Read the full letter here.

Sharla Davis announces campaign for Tax Commissioner

Election
Sharla Davis

My name is Sharla Davis and I am campaigning for position of Tax Commissioner for Gilmer County.

Sharla DavisI have lived in Georgia for 45 of my 48 years. Five of those years have been here in Gilmer County. My husband and I consider our move here to be one of the best decisions we’ve made….besides marrying each other, of course. (haha) The area is beautiful and the people are exactly what we were looking for when we moved here…..friendly, giving, courteous, welcoming, just all-around wonderful people and neighbors. We’ve made some great friends and look forward to many more years here and more friendships made.

I have 30 years experience of Accounting, Management and Customer Service in the Automotive Industry working for 4 of the top 10 Automotive Groups in the Nation. Receiving, processing, balancing and reporting millions of dollars. I also have experience working in the Tax Commissioner’s office when I was employed, here in Gilmer County, as the accountant for your current Tax Commissioner. I am confident that my experience will facilitate a smooth transition into the Public Service position as your next Tax Commissioner.

Please vote Sharla Davis for Gilmer County Tax Commissioner!!

Michael Parham Announces His Candidacy for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer County

Election
Michael Parham

Michael Parham, Former Circuit Public Defender for the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, Announces His Candidacy for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer County.

Michael and Margaret have lived in Gilmer County since 1984. After graduating from law school while serving as an assistant minister at an Atlanta area church, Michael was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1979. Since that time, he has alternated between those roles; serving as a pastor for over 20 years and actively practicing law for more than 20 years. During the early years of his law practice, Michael practiced primarily in federal courts and among other matters, was sole or lead counsel in criminal jury trials in federal district courts including Atlanta, Chattanooga, Charlotte, Birmingham, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Ft. Worth. Michael has been admitted to the United States Tax Court, the United States Court of Appeals for seven of the 12 regional circuits, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

During the years devoted primarily to ministry, in addition to serving as a pastor Michael was actively involved in foreign missions. Sometimes teaching mission and ministry staff and at other times leading teams of young people, he has ministered in over 2 dozen countries and currently serves on the board of 2 mission-related 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Locally, Michael was a founding participant in Covenant Community of Ellijay.

Returning to the practice of law locally in 2002, Michael was the Circuit (Chief) Public Defender for the Appalachian Judicial Circuit from July 2004 until August 2018, leading a diverse staff of 15 with offices in each of the 3 counties of the circuit (Gilmer, Pickens, and Fannin counties) representing the indigent criminally accused. That office routinely handles well over 80% of all adult criminal cases in the circuit as well as a majority of juvenile delinquency matters. As chief public defender, Michael was part of the Accountability Court Team and was directly responsible for the representation of participants in the Accountability Courts (Veterans Court, Drug Court, HELP Court). Michael Parham’s wide range of legal experience with many aspects of criminal and civil law combined with his ministry experience will allow him to make educated, compassionate and unbiased decisions that best serve the great residents of our local community.

Michael is the Charter President of the Gilmer County Optimist Club. He and Margaret have two adult sons, 4 adult grandchildren, and 2 (very young) wonderful great-granddaughters.

See mgparham.com or email parhamformagistrate@mgparham.com for updates or more information.

Congressional Candidates visit Poole’s Bar-B-Q on campaign trail

Election, News

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Candidates Marjorie Greene, 14th District, and Rich McCormick, 7th District, visited Ellijay to speak about their campaigns for election at the famous Poole’s Bar-B-Q.

Each candidate met with citizens in Gilmer and offered a few words on campaigning and their support for Trump in the coming elections.

Dr Rich McCormick, candidate for Georgia's 7th District in Congress, speaks at Poole's Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Dr Rich McCormick, candidate for Georgia’s 7th District in Congress, speaks at Poole’s Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Dr. Rich McCormick spoke about opportunities for the people and the need for a leg up. He said, “This is about an American dream and selling something that’s good for everybody. I think that’s one of the things we’ve been lacking. We’re so busy trying to prove people wrong and trying to demonize people, that we forget that what really brings home a message, and you talk about Christianity, If you study the Bible with anybody and you ever try to convert anybody, it’s not by proving them wrong that you convert them. It’s by loving them.”

McCormick went on to say that people want in to this country because of the American Dream. He spoke about when he was young and picking berries then moved on to a paper route. The opportunities continued as he said he joined the Marine Corps for 16 years as a pilot. Then he went to Morehouse School of Medicine where he became student body president.

Achieving that was not because of pretending to be somebody according to McCormick. But it is about relationships and about believing in people, putting in the real work, and accomplishing things for the people. He pointed out that the United States hasn’t passed a budget in over decade.

Being a doctor today and having served as a doctor in the Navy after Morehouse, he says he got into politics because he realized the bad politicians and the dirty politics he saw. Waste and abuse of the system is rampant, he pointed out the medical system saying, “If you’ve had to deal with the medical system the way it is, you’re probably already frustrated… 18 percent of your tax dollars, every year, is consumed by medical costs for taxation. That doesn’t include your premiums. That doesn’t include your deductions. That’s just what the government takes to pay for medicine.”

He went on to add that a single payer systems, the budget would be increased by $30 trillion in national debt, from $23 trillion to $53 trillion. He called it the single biggest step the United States could take towards Socialism.

McCormick said he wants to go to Washington with “real solutions” and to reach across the aisle with a message of hope, love, and the american dream to steer the nation back to a better place.

Marjorie Greene, candidate for Georgia's 14th District in Congress, speaks at Poole's Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Marjorie Greene, candidate for Georgia’s 14th District in Congress, speaks at Poole’s Bar-B-Q in February of 2020.

Marjorie Greene spoke about her skills in management, problem solving, and budgeting along with her success as a business owner over the last two decades since she bought her parents business in 2002. She said she wants to take these skills to Washington.

Greene said her worry is about a particular group in Congress tearing apart the subverting the Constitution and citizens rights. She pointed out what she calls embarrassments in Congress like Pelosi ripping apart Trump’s speech saying, “This is something that I, very much in particular, want to take with me.  I am a strong, unapologetic, conservative woman. Republican. I’m a Chirstian. I’m a mother. I’m a wife. Now, I want to go to Congress. I’m working very hard to get elected, but once I go there, I want to stand firmly in the face of these women that I see are radical, Anti-American, women…”

Greene listed several of the plans she felt are a part of that radical ideals including abortion up until birth, abolishing Second Amendment Rights, the Green New Deal at $93 Trillion, and medicare for all, among others. She said the nation could not survive medicare for all.

Greene said another reason she wants to go to Congress is to fight these policies as her kids enter the workforce, to “save” America for her family.

FYN caught up with the candidates after the event to ask their thoughts on another major race as each candidate mentioned Trump and their thoughts on his presidency. Closer to home, we asked these candidates their thoughts on Doug Collins running against Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia Senate. While Greene said she wanted to just focus on her race and hasn’t thought much about other races, McCormick offered a comment saying, “I hope it doesn’t become a divisive topic with the Republicans because right now, we’re in a good position.” He went on to add a secondary thought saying he hoped that Trump could possibly step in with a great solution “because he’s a problem solver and because he’s a leader.” Yet, the fear of division remained forefront.

Additionally, Richie Stone, Chairman of the Gilmer Republican Party, offered a few comments as well saying that even though he cannot endorse any candidate over another, he was interested in seeing the race and hoped that it would drive turnout in the elections to support them and others on the ballot including both U.S. and State races.

Kevin Johnson Announces His Candidacy for the 2020 Gilmer County Chief Magistrate Elections

Election

Kevin Johnson proudly announces his candidacy for the 2020 elections for Chief Magistrate of Gilmer County.

As a veteran of the Marine Corps and with over 30 years of law enforcement experience, his dedication to service continues on as he humbly asks for support in his campaign to further his community that he cares so much for.

As a former Georgia State Patrol Trooper, he has received annual training in courtroom demeanor, case law, affidavits, arrest warrants, search warrants, and courtroom testimony. He is very experienced in courtroom demeanor and procedures as it relates to trial law. During his career, he has often been called upon to give expert testimony in both criminal and civil court cases.

His background establishes a solid foundation to serve as your Chief Magistrate. He has the experience that makes him the right choice to serve our community in this role.

Election day is Friday, May 19, 2020. The elections will be held concurrently with the statewide primary election.

Learn more about Kevin Johnson and his campaign by visiting www.facebook.com/badgetobench

Contact info:

Name: Kevin Johnson

Organization: Kevin Johnson for Chief Magistrate

Email: badgetobench@gmail.com

Will Gilmer become a Second Amendment Sanctuary?

News
Second Amendment Sanctuary

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Debate has risen among some in the county after the Gilmer Board of Commissioners published the agenda for their February meetings as people are noticing an agenda item to discuss becoming a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

The official discussion with the BOC will occur during their work session this Wednesday, February 12. 2020, at 9:00 a.m and continue during the Regular Meeting with a final vote on Thursday, February 13, 2020, at 6:00 p.m.

Gilmer County's Board of Commissioners at a previous meeting. From left to right, City Clerk Edwina Daman, Post 1 Commissioner Hubert Parker, Chairman Charlie Paris, Post 2 Commissioner Karleen Ferguson, and County Attorney David Clark.

Gilmer County’s Board of Commissioners at a previous meeting. From left to right, City Clerk Edwina Daman, Post 1 Commissioner Hubert Parker, Chairman Charlie Paris, Post 2 Commissioner Karleen Ferguson, and County Attorney David Clark.

The item, listed as “Discussion and possible action of Gilmer County becoming a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary,” would declare Gilmer County as an official protection for the second amendment. It would be public statement against the Federal Government that if they should ever pass a law we consider to hinder or damage the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

One of the people leading this charge, Jason Williamson, spoke with FYN about the Resolution. He said he has seen many other counties passing similar resolutions. Williamson said he and another submitted the resolution alongside petitions to show the communities desire for support. Williamson said the petitions are key in showing “a presence of support.” While he hasn’t completed the petitions and doesn’t know exactly how many supporters have signed so far, he will be turning these petitions in as part of preparation for Wednesday.

With the meeting only days away, the Gilmer Sheriff, Stacy Nicholson, has also shown support for the resolution. Williamson said he is glad to have his support saying he felt confident going into the meeting.

Williamson said, “I am very big on the Second Amendment. I realized, and most people do, that the Second Amendment is the only protection we have from tyranny. When I started seeing what the state leadership of Virginia was doing, and hearing some of the other things from friends of mine that live there, we, the people, need to speak out.”

He went on to say that while Georgia hasn’t officially passed anything that he sees directly threatening yet, this is a message to other counties and other states that we support this and to also push the point to expose our leadership’s views on the subject in Georgia and in our counties.

Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson

Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson

Part of that leadership, Sheriff Nicholson told FYN that he was fully in support saying, “I support, wholeheartedly, these resolutions being passed by counties in Georgia… I think it sends a good message to our legislatures in Washington and to those in Atlanta.”

Nicholson offered that while he hasn’t read the specific resolution being put forward in Gilmer, yet, he is very pro second amendment.

FYN questioned exactly what kind of power or pushback this resolution would legally give in the event of State Legislation. To which, Nicholson replied, “I think it’s more about sending a message to the entire nation where we stand on protecting our citizens’ constitutional rights.”

It was a sentiment separately repeated by Williamson who agreed the resolution was a preemptive move to put Gilmer in the position of being proactive rather than reactive to any such legislation.

Additionally, he went on to say the topic also “to make sure that our Sheriffs understand that they’ve got our support just as much we ask for their support as they are the supreme authority as the constable of the county.”

Williamson said he wants everyone who can attend to show support for the resolution to be present at this weeks meetings. Some have already offered counter points to the resolution saying that as a sanctuary nation by right due to the second amendment being a part of the constitution. Williamson said he has had some calling the resolution a “waste of time” because of this. But his response comes as he points to both the state and federal governments offering “interpretations” of the law and constitution. He said that much has been degraded through these people constantly picking apart these amendments to “what they think is reasonable.”

Instead, Williamson said, “I think this is just, hopefully, going to put that debate to bed.”

Stop talking like it’s over in Gilmer

Opinion
Gilmer TSPLOST

Much debate has been put forth on the topic of the TSPLOST tax in Gilmer County. And, either fortunately or unfortunately depending on your perspective and opinion, there is still much to come. Yet, it seems much of the arguments swirling over the topic center on the idea that its already done, and that’s just not true.

The Board of Commissioners has voted and approved the TSPLOST to appear on the ballot. That does not mean that this tax is already a done deal. There is a vote, there is a chance, there are weeks of opportunity. If you have any opinion on whether or not there is to be an extra penny on your sales tax in this county, if you have any thoughts on this topic, then there is a chance to make your choice. Even if you have never voted in an election before, even if you think it doesn’t matter who sits in a seat on congress 65 miles away in Atlanta or 650 miles away in Washington D.C., this is the time to directly influence one tax that directly affects you.

There is no reason we should be treating this TSPLOST like its already passed. Even members of the board themselves have at least said they don’t care if it passes or not. The topic at hand is if you want to pay more now to accomplish something quicker. Sooner or Later?

There has been a mass of information offered on the subject from its official inception at a town hall meeting to debates on the efficacy to negotiations with the city to plans for the road department. While they continue to deliberate the deeper details defining this discretional tax, you as a citizen are the one who definitively determines the destiny of this decision. Do not take this as done deal.

There is time as the Commissioners finalize the ballot question and projects attached to it for citizens to continue speaking for or against the TSPLOST. There is time to consider the benefits of it as well as the costs. But this is coming to the ballot and being voted on. Not offering your vote is simply a statement that you do not care. You do not care about your money. And it’s not a statement to the government, it is not a statement to the Board of Commissioners that you don’t care. It is a statement to yourself, that you are passive. You are a sheep, and you will allow these people to impose anything they want on you.

If you support it and you want to see progress sooner and are willing to pay for it, then vote that way. If you are against it, and you see it as impatience of those unwilling to wait for it, then vote that way. More importantly, discuss it, talk with people. Share your thoughts and ideas. Debate and convince each other. Do not let anger overtake the debate, but instead understand and counterpoint. And stop talking like this topic is already closed.

THE DECLINE OF CHRISTMAS

Opinion

Has anyone ever thought of the fact that most of our Christmas songs and traditions are only
about 75 or so years old? Doesn’t it seem like this array has just always been there, always been
that way?

Well, it hasn’t always been so joyous and celebrated as it came to be after World War II.
Why is that?

Prior to the victory of the Allies and their return to home and family, Christmas was more
reserved and localized. Songs such as The Messiah and other religious hymns were in place, but
jolly and more secular songs came along with popular movies, such as White Christmas and
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, among others were the result of a desire to make the
Christmas holiday a very special time for families and friends.

Dad, brother, uncle, son and military women etc. had faced the horror of war, with its death and
destruction. There were sights that they could never unsee. Those who were able to return home,
to their wives, husbands, sweethearts and families, wanted to erase those thoughts to the best of
their ability. They had fought pure, unadulterated evil and had won. It seemed their intention to
eradicate such influences in the years to come.

Many of our Greatest Generation put a great deal of time and effort into making the world as
right as possible, to bring as much joy as possible to those they loved. Not only did they save the
world, they saved the best part of themselves and shared that desire for happiness and perfection
with the making of happy stories, happy songs and familiar bliss. No one can argue that the
generation of the 40s and 50’s worked very hard to create as much perfection in society as they
could. It was a halcyon time that, unfortunately, will never be repeated.

Television and movies had their morality department and strived to show family life as a
network of love, discipline and happy endings. Father always knew best and the Donna Reed
show lauded the middle-class family life.

What has happened to society that it has come from the pure entertainment of those shows to
today’s reality television, moral corruption and disdain of most things that relate to God and
religion?

In 1965, a wonderful radio announcer named Paul Harvey made an amazing prophecy on his
weekly show. The title was, If I was the devil.

Anyone who hasn’t heard or read this far-reaching piece that has come to pass in ways that no
one would have guessed. One of his lines quoted from the transcript is “If I were the devil, I
would make the symbol of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.”
How close is that? He had it nailed and 54 years later, it is true.

Christmas was still reverent in the 70s, and the 80s. People dressed up, had parties, visited with
family and it was a happy time. God was still the Man in Charge in the White House (mostly)
and it reflected on the nation.

The 90s brought us the Clintons and their version of “morality” and the great decline began for
America.

Now in 2019, there are fewer parties, fewer gathering of family and friends than ever. Christmas
cards are not a thing anymore, just send a generic online greeting.

People are well engrossed in their electronic devices. Social life and the moral pressure of
society is long gone. Stores decorate for Christmas in August and begin the big sale that lasts
until well after the New Year.

Retailers completely pass over Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday from the Pilgrim
days when living through the winter to harvest was an occasion for thanking Almighty God.
Even Charlie Brown and his gang in Peanuts, when it aired in 1965, complained of the
commercialization of Christmas, lamenting the lack of meaning for monetary gain.
When Christmas songs from the 70s and 80s are played, it is depressing almost to the point of
tears when a comparison is made of the warm, loving, wonderful time of those decades to
today’s commercial apathy.

Maybe, this is an “old folks’ rant about the good old days, but what can be gleaned from today’s
lukewarm electronic holiday?

America has best go back to Ronald Reagan and remember his line:
“If we ever forget we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
If Christians don’t stand up and fight for our basic joys of the Lord, His sacrifice for us
and the right to celebrate such, these rights will be taken away by the Liberal Left with
their Atheistic and destructive ways. There are no more free countries to find with such
liberties as we enjoy. They must not be lost, as they will never be found again.

Major issues to be discussed at final 2019 BOC meeting

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County is not taking the final month of 2019 easy as published agendas for next week highlight action to be taken on the possibility of a TSPLOST (Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) in Gilmer alongside other issues with board and authority appointments, a leftover concrete bid not awarded in November, updates on the 2020 Road Paving List, and 10 zoning requests among other items on the long agenda.

As stated in previous months and special called meetings, the TSPLOST proposal will be a five-year tax similar to SPLOST. However, the TSPLOST will be dedicated to Gilmer transportation needs specifically. This could be usable for equipment purchases, paving, maintenance, and even road crew salary.

Although support was high in the Roads and Bridges Town Hall meetings, others are voicing concerns over another tax added to the county. As opposed to additional millage on property taxes, this TSPLOST would be another one-cent tax added to purchases in the county.

Discussion will be held at both meetings along with opportunities during the “Citizens Wishing to Speak” sections of those meetings. The work session will be held Wednesday, December 11 at 9 a.m., and the regular meeting will be held Thursday, December 12 at 6 p.m.

Along the same topic of roads, the commissioners are set to discuss next year’s paving plans including the 2020 Road Paving list, setting exactly which roads will be covered under the LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) and county funding for the year.

Additionally, the monthly update and discussion on the county pool could highlight costs as the county is pursuing bids for demolition of the old pool and preparation for its use as the new pool’s location.

#BKP interview with Georgia 6th Congressional District (R) Primary Candidate Marjorie Greene

Politics

GMFTO with #BKP #AnythingGoes BKP’s Opinion on Local, State and National news and politics.
Let’s talk Georgia 6th Congressional District this morning. Not so fast Karen Handel there is the #TheOtherCandidate
Our guest at 8:45 as the AJC refers to her “The other” candidate Marjorie Greene.

Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-Politics in sports?

All of TeamFYNSports, Sports

The U.S. Women’s National Team has been making headlines recently for victories as a team, and as individuals for political statements.

Last week, the team won their second back-to-back World Cup. Shortly after the game, player Allie Long was seen dropping an American flag during the post-game celebration. Her teammate Kelley O’Hara recognized the significance of a flag being dropped on the ground, and immediately scooped it up.

One report from The Daily Wire explained that Long dropped the flag to participate in a celebratory dance with teammate Megan Rapinoe. But the video quickly went viral and comments poured in criticizing Long for her carelessness and thanking O’Hara for stepping in.

It’s very possible that Long meant no disrespect, but just got caught up in the moment and didn’t know that an American flag is NEVER supposed to touch the ground. Nonetheless, millions of viewers were not happy.

If you watch the video, it doesn’t appear that Long is trying to make any sort of political statement by dropping the flag. However teammate Megan Rapinoe has CERTAINLY been making headlines recently for her statements.

Megan Rapinoe (far right) is a great soccer player, but her political statements anger some. Credit: The New York Times

Although Rapinoe is mainly known for being a phenomenal soccer player (she won both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards this year), her progressive ideals have, let’s just say…raised eyebrows. Rapinoe is very outspoken about her homosexuality and dislike of President Donald Trump.  She has followed the example of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick by refusing to sing or put her hand over her heart during the National Anthem. The pose she makes after scoring a goal of standing with her arms outstretched is supposed to be a symbol of fighting for equal pay, race relations and issues at the United States/Mexican border.

For years athletes have used the attention given them for their athletic success as a means to shed light on their social platforms. There’s nothing wrong with that if they’re promoting awareness for a disease or a foundation that supports children with special needs. But should we as a society draw a line when it comes to political issues?

Some would say there’s no problem- depending on what they do to make the statement. Certainly being a famous athlete gives one more media attention than the average person. Like I mentioned in my last column post, there’s no difference in an athlete and an actor or actress, and they supply their endorsement all the time!

When Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during the National Anthem in 2016, many Americans were outraged. Not necessarily because of his protest of police brutality, but because he chose to do so in a way that many Americans found disrespectful to those who have served in the military. I was, and still am, one of those people. In my opinion Kaepernick and now Rapinoe are missing the mark. Kneeling or not showing respect during the National Anthem is to turn a blind eye to those who have sacrificed everything to give you the freedom to play your sport. It doesn’t have anything to do with first responders.

Nowadays there’s a gray area between sports segments and political talk shows. The two intersect on a daily basis. Just the other day on our live sports show, Instant Replay, my co-host Dave Garner and I had an entire segment dedicated to Nike’s decision to pull the sneakers with a design of the American flag sewn by Betsy Ross on the back. This decision was made after Kaepernick insisted that the flag had a racial history.

I thought Colin Kaepernick was out of the spotlight, but he found a way back in.

I suppose the whole reason this gray area exists is because of the technological advancements of the media. Celebrities who want use their status as a means to promote a certain viewpoint can do so more quickly because of how easy it is to post to Twitter. And in a society that demands news at every moment, something has to take up time in a sports show!

So back to the original question- should there be a line, and if so, where?

Here’s my opinion- sports is sports and politics is politics. Part of the reason I watch a football game or a baseball game is because I want to watch a football game or a baseball game. We are living in a time where politics are more divisive than ever before. One reasons sports are as big as they are today is because of the communities they create. Why should we mix something that causes so many problems to interfere with something that is supposed to help solve them?

When I turn on ESPN, I don’t want to listen to people debate over what is considered disrespectful to the National Anthem. And the next time I watch Fox News, I DARN sure don’t want to hear the name Colin Kaepernick.

Designer Selected for Pool Construction

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – An official motion, and a somewhat unusual unanimous decision, has led Gilmer County into a contract with Premier Pools & Spas.

The company, located in Ellijay, Georgia, already presented a concept to the commissioners during their June meeting, but will now alter, detail, and finalize a design for the board to use as they move forward with a town hall meeting for citizens to look at the design and provide input, then return to design before giving the plans over to an engineer for building plans.

Premier Pools & Spas preliminary design was meant to show the companies capabilities and expertise. Approved at $3,500, the company will now spend the next few weeks designing both pools expected in the new recreation center. However, the design would end with planning the enclosure for the main pool. The County will still look for another designer for the remainder of the recreation center as they have previously stated they want the entire facility designed before construction begins.

The main pool will likely be four feet deep to accommodate swimming laps as well as water aerobics classes. Included in the building enclosing the pool would be concession stands and bathrooms. These will also be designed to prevent moisture transfer to the rec center to help protect other possibilities like basketball courts.

One change the commissioners have already asked for from the initial concept is to incorporate eight swim lanes at 8-feet-wide each for competitions. Additionally, for practices, Swim Coach Larry Lykins said this width could also allow for two swimmers in the lanes.

Gilmer County Commission Chairman also said he wanted to accommodate those wanting to swim laps at the same time. Lykins said that eight lanes could also allow extra space to have half the pool set for laps and the other half for classes, therapy, or aerobics at the same time.

When finished, the pool design will provide the county with a completed design to guide with layout and construction documents and engineering plans, as well as estimations of building costs. Post Commissioner Dallas Miller confirmed that these would be good enough for bid specs, but they will not be the actual Architectural Plans.

Gov Kemp Appoints Replacement Insurance Commissioner with Ties to Anti-enforcement Immigration Lobbying Group, GALEO

Politics, State & National

By: D.A. King

Last week, Georgia Republican Governor, Brian Kemp, announced his appointment of a metro-Atlanta police chief, John King, to be the replacement for the now-suspended elected Insurance Commissioner, Jim Beck. In Georgia, Insurance Commissioner is a statewide, constitutional office.

Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of the corporate-funded, anti-enforcement lobbyist group, GALEO, was quick to send out a media release praising the “historic” appointment and boasting that King had assisted the activist group as keynote speaker at a GALEO breakfast fundraiser several years ago.

“Congrats to Chief King, close friend of @GALEOorg !” was the much-repeated celebratory post on the GALEO Facebook page.

Kemp’s Insurance Commissioner appointee has no background or experience in the insurance industry.

Kemp’s appointment of the GALEO-connected police chief to Insurance Commissioner comes as a shock to many Republican voters in the state. Georgia’s conservative U.S. Senator David Perdue stopped the Obama nomination of a one-time GALEO board member, Dax Lopez, to a federal bench seat in 2016 because of his concern with the GALEO relationship.

DeKalb State Court Judge Dax Lopez. Image: Daily Signal

Perhaps unknown to most Republican voters, in addition to marching in the streets of Atlanta against enforcement of existing federal laws on immigration, GALEO and its director are well-known in the state Capitol for lobbying against state legislation aimed at reporting criminal aliens to federal authorities and establish an official database of illegal aliens serving time in the state’s prison system.

 

GALEO lobbies against voter ID, official English and local jails honoring ICE detainers. Executive Director Gonzalez is known to verbally attack female legislators when he does not approve of speeches or positions on illegal immigration. In 2011, Gonzalez posted this angry explanation of being asked to leave the Georgia Capitol when he lashed out at state Senator Renee Unterman for a speech she made on the floor of the senate.

GALEO online poster opposing 2018 legislation to improve reporting of illegal aliens to federal authorities

 

State rep. Katie Dempsey. Image: Georgia General Assembly

In 2011, GALEO’s Gonzalez was escorted out of a Rome, Georgia luncheon that featured a panel discussion on immigration when he began yelling at diminutive state Rep Katie Dempsey as reported by the Rome News Tribune.

 

Gonzalez is a former lobbyist for the radical MALDEF corporation. GALEO founder, former state Senator Sam Zamarippa was a MALDEF board member. MALDEF founder Mario Obledo is best remembered for his promise that “California is going to become a Hispanic state and if anyone doesn’t like it they should leave. They ought to go back to Europe” on the Tom Likus radio show in 1998.

 

According to the left-leaning Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Georgia is home to more illegal aliens than green card holders.

Kemp ran on a platform that included his now famous “I got a big truck, just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take ’em home myself,”

Kemp and a GALEO fundraiser – Advice from a liberal AJC political blogger 

Republicans are learning that before he was elected governor, then Secretary of State Brian Kemp also gave GALEO a fundraising boost when he attended the annual GALEO Power Breakfast fundraiser in 2015.

On GALEO, the liberal AJC political blogger informed readers today  that the Republicans will need to court the illegal alien lobby group as a necessary first step to “court Hispanic votes in the future” which ignores thirty years of election results since the Republican immigration amnesty of 1986.

All this creates a simple question: Does appointee John King agree with the GALEO agenda? He is due to be sworn in in the next few weeks, somebody should ask.

Governor Brian Kemp’s office can be reached at 404-656-1776 and Brian.Kemp@georgia.gov 

 

D.A. King is president of the Marietta-based Dustin Inman Society

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