Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Gov. Brian Kemp Credit: GPB News

Kemp to skip state GOP convention

By almost any measure, it’s a remarkable snub.

A Republican governor, de facto leader of his state’s political party, skipping its annual convention?

But passing up the Georgia GOP’s annual convention, set for Columbus in June, is Brian Kemp’s plan, said his communications director, Cody Hall. Instead, compounding the slight, the governor will “continue to build his own organization to energize conservative voters and elect GOP officials,” Hall said.

Kemp’s reported move deepens the strife roiling the state GOP, The Current’s Craig Nelson writes.

For one thing, with the governor now overseeing a separate campaign apparatus that promises to “energize conservatives and elect GOP officials,” why should the state GOP convene a convention at all?

And if a political party’s chief function is to get its candidates elected to public office, how exactly will the state party and Kemp’s campaign organization work together in the wake of the governor’s very public rebuff, if that’s now even possible?

Cooperation between the governor’s office and a state Republican Party whose ranks are filling with even more conservative members may prove difficult, if not impossible, as the First District GOP convention in Kingsland on Saturday suggests.

Most notably, delegates from county Republican committees across Coastal Georgia elected Appling County’s Kandiss Taylor as chair.

Taylor ran unsuccessfully against Kemp and three other candidates for governor in the Republican primary last year, trumpeting her disenchantment with the conservatism of the incumbent governor and other Republican state officials.

“The people of Georgia are sick of the establishment politicians . . . It’s not about parties. This is good versus evil. This is right versus wrong. The people are ready for change,” Taylor told The Current last year, as she posed for a photo in front of her campaign bus emblazoned with her image and the slogan “Jesus, Guns, Babies.”

As Kemp climbs the ladder in pursuit of his lofty political ambitions — perhaps making himself available for a presidential draft as soon as next year, say some Glynn County Republicans — he has priorities.

And the last thing the lame duck governor apparently believes he needs are Taylor and other grassroots Republicans, many of them supporters of Donald Trump, sniping publicly at his heels, while powerbrokers of the national party look on.

Roger Moss
Roger Moss, newly sworn board chair for the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools Board, will have a challenge in finding consensus on issues, new superintendent. Credit: The Current

‘Lots of applicants’

“Lots of applicants, which is exciting.” That’s how Roger Moss, chairman of the Savannah-Chatham County school board, last week described the national search for the successor to the current school superintendent, Dr. M. Ann Levett, who steps down from her post at the end of June.

Speaking to a luncheon meeting of Ladies on the Right, Moss said he was “thrilled” that Chatham County would soon have “a new superintendent that understands the science of reading.”

His comments came a week after Gov. Brian Kemp signed two literacy bills passed during this year’s legislative session, one of which is aimed at helping implement a new approach to teaching reading in the early grades.

The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System recently reported that during the 2021-2022 school year, only 34% of elementary school students were reading at or above grade level, the measure of literacy for students in grades 3-8.

Also, according to district-level data, 49% of elementary school students ranked as the lowest-level learners on state-mandated English end-of-grade exams.

Statewide, about 36% of Georgia third graders read below grade level, according to the state’s 2022 Milestones test results, and around 17% of the state’s adults lack basic literacy skills

Buddy Carter
U.S. Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter during an interview at the Capitol. Credit: buddycarter.house.gov

Carter on transgender women, abortion decision

The campaign by social conservatives to politicize issues surrounding transgender identity and transgender rights reached the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives last week, as House Republicans, including Coastal Georgia’s U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, passed a bill restricting transgender athletes from women’s sports.

The bill bars transgender women from playing on teams consistent with their gender identity and amends Title IX, the federal education law that bars sex-based discrimination, to define sex as based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.

The bill’s supporters said biological women and girls need protection for their sports and their accomplishments. Critics said the bill was a political attack under the guise of guarding women’s sports and their accomplishments.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Also last week, Carter expressed “disappointment” about the U.S. Supreme Court’s granting of a request from the Justice Department to leave in place the federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a widely used abortion pill, mifepristone, preserving access to the drug and reinstating a number of steps by the agency that made it easier to obtain while legal proceedings continue.

Tweeted Carter: “We must continue to fight for the rights of the unborn and mothers, who are both endangered by the unsupervised use of Mifepristone for chemical abortions. Life at every stage is precious. Unfortunately, today the abortion-on-demand agenda took precedence over human rights and the integrity of our health care system, which is severely harming women and children by removing important guardrails on this drug.”

The Army Corps of Engineers has blocked off man-made cuts through Georgia's coastal salt marsh, restoring the natural flow of water.
The Army Corps of Engineers has blocked off man-made cuts through Georgia’s coastal salt marsh, restoring the natural flow of water. Credit: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division


  • Leaders: Pressure is on to meet current, future water needs” (Coastal Courier, April 20, 2023) “At the Liberty County midyear retreat, the first topic of discussion was water and sewer for the present and the future. Leaders are looking at a regional water plan that could make Liberty County ‘more attractive and competitive for developments.'”
  • 100 Black Men of Savannah give $30K in scholarships to local students” (WSAV, April 24, 2023) “‘It’s important to the Savannah community because it’s about our future. These are our future leaders, future bosses, future workers in the community. We give them every skill set to be successful,’ said Harold Oglesby, president of 100 Black Men of Savannah.”
  • Legislators speak to Brunswick Kiwanis” (Brunswick News, April 19, 2023) “Looking at what it takes to get a bill passed, it can seem slow and cumbersome. Fifty-six senators, 180 representatives, the lieutenant governor and the governor all have to come together and agree on something for it to become a law. The alternatives, he says, are worse. ‘It’s messy, but it’s effective and it works,’ (state Sen. Mike) Hodges (R-Brunswick) said.”
  • “Georgia Power customers in for a shock as average monthly bill could rise by $23 by June” (Georgia Recorder, April 21, 2023) “Starting in June, Georgia Power customers could experience another bout of sticker shock when they get their monthly bill as the state’s largest utility seeks to recoup billions of dollars in unbudgeted fuel expenses.”
  • Fox payout is a ‘vindication’ for Georgia elections, Raffensperger says” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 19, 2023) “It’s absolutely vindication. I want every Georgian to understand that they have fair and honest elections,” Raffensperger told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Dominion Voting Systems are fair, accurate machines. They record the votes. The people’s will was expressed in 2020.”
  • Five questions as Biden readies for his reelection launch(The Hill, April 23, 2023) “Biden faces significant challenges in his bid for a second term. The public is generally dissatisfied with the state of the nation, he is the oldest president in American history and his approval ratings are mediocre. In the FiveThirtyEight polling average as of Friday evening, Biden’s job performance earned the approval of just 42 percent of the public and the disapproval of 53 percent.”

Kemp passes up state GOP convention

Former gubernatorial rival takes leadership post, says she represents those who oppose current Republican power brokers.

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‘Stand your ground’ laws empower armed citizens to defend property with violence – a simple mistake can get you shot, or killed

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Horses of Cumberland file suit

The 140-170 feral horses on Cumberland Island need to be removed, a lawsuit demands.

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Craig Nelson is a former international correspondent for The Associated Press, the Sydney (Australia) Morning-Herald, Cox Newspapers and The Wall Street Journal. He also served as foreign editor for The...