A budget vote, an old arrest and there will be consequences

 

While the timing is curious, the pressure on freshman State Rep Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) is increasing because of a 2013 arrest for obstruction of a law enforcement officer.

As reported by the AJC, Rep. Gurtler was a passenger in the car of a driver arrested for driving under the influence by North Georgia College Police. According to the police report Gurtler failed to obey the officer’s command to stay in the car and was later arrested.

On January 13, 2017, a few days after the current general session convened, an Enotah assistant District Attorney filled paperwork not to prosecute the case as Representative Gurtler had completed a pre-trial diversionary program and paid a $250 fine.

We contacted Representative Gurtler and received his statement to his constituents in District 8 that said in part:

“This incident occurred 4 years ago and after requesting a jury trial to clear my name the District Attorney dismissed the obstruction charge…This is the Atlanta Liberal media and career politicians attacking our district because I have voted for our shared values and am working on your behalf…This is the type of politics that people have come to hate. I will continue to work on your behalf and I appreciate the support I have received from the district…”

 

Bullies under the Gold Dome?

According to a report by the AJC’s Greg Bluestein, a state rep from North Georgia was threatened by Governor Deal’s top aide. Representative Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) said the threat was a loss of funding to his district by Chris Riley.

“I am appalled by Mr. Riley’s actions of intimidation and bullying tactics of an elected official”, Gurtler said. “His actions were wrong and unethical, and this type of behavior goes against our system of separation of powers.”

This is not the first time legislators have reported less than cordial conversations with the Governors Chief of Staff. For his part Riley said,

“If he felt threatened by what I asked him and my defense of the governor’s position, we probably have bigger issues to address than separation of powers.”

While the rub seems to center on a number of “No” votes from the freshman representative, it should come as no surprise to those who followed Gurtler’s successful campaign of less government interference and fewer taxes.

Settlement Slush Funds

In an op-ed piece that appeared in yesterday’s The Hill, Georgia’s 9th District Congressman Doug Collins decried the actions of Federal Agencies reaching settlements in ongoing litigation and then funneling much of the settlement to entities other than those directly harmed by the wrong doing.

In making his case for the Stop Settlements Slush Fund Act, the Congressman stated:

Recent mortgage lending settlements illustrate the flimflam well. Major banks entered into settlements with the DOJ wherein hundreds of millions of settlement dollars went not to victims, nor to the Treasury, but to third-party groups.

Congressman Collins believe this legislation will move us one step closer to

the constitutional nirvana that comes with three checked, balanced, and complementary branches of government

Collins supports better VA benefits

HR 907, introduced by Congressman Doug Collins (GA-9), improves newborn care for infants of female veterans. The bill, the Newborn Care Improvement Act,  has received widespread support from veterans advocacy groups, including Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Non-Commissioned Officers Association, and the Blinded Veterans Association.

Congressman Collins said:

New mothers receiving medical care from the VA should feel confident that they won’t have to wade through tough financial choices and confusing insurance options in order to obtain crucial care for their newborns.

The bipartisan bill has 18 co-sponsors including John Lewis and Rob Woodall of Georgia.

Collins appointed Sub-Committee Chair

Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, announced the selection of Georgia’s 9th District Congressman Doug Collins as Chair of the Subcommittee on Rules and Organization of the House. In announcing the appointment Chairman Sessions said:

I am proud to have such a hard-working member of our team and have no doubt that he will strengthen our committee in this new role.

The subcommittee is responsible for managing legislation related to House rules and relationships between the House and Senate as well as between Congress and the Judiciary. In commenting on this additional leadership role in the House power structure, Collins said:

Representing the people of northeast Georgia continues to be one of the greatest honors of my life, and I look forward to sharing their vision through this new leadership role.

“Stand on Principle, even if you stand alone.” John Adams

As Charlie noted in his post on the supplemental budget there was a lone “no” vote from freshman Representative Matt Gurtler (R-Clayton). In the Representative’s own words in explaining his vote his constituents Gurtler stated:

Fundamentally I believe that government has no business meddling in the private sector, via subsidies. Governments sole purpose is to protect life, liberty, and property. That’s it. The 2017 Amended budget is considered the “small budget” at $606 million, and while the budget has some great things in there such as the pay raises for our State Troopers, of which I’m very happy to see happen! However, there was $86.5 million of subsidies I found particularly egregious. And while I understand there are times for compromises, I believe some one had to take a stand.

The money in question was $86.5 million out a total supplemental of $606 million. $36.5 million for Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA) and Georgia ONE. The remaining $50 million is for Cyber Range, a public private partnership.

Constituent comments on Rep. Gurtler’s Facebook page are universally favorable as of this posting.

Rural Broadband service complaints

Not surprisingly the legislature’s study committee on rural broadband is receiving complaints about the lack of quality service throughout the state. After a series of six hearings across the state and thousands of responses to an online survey, the committee has a number of recommendations that could become legislation in the upcoming session.

Maggie Lee of the Macon Telegraph reported:

Some of the suggestions in the committee’s report have to do with making the money side more attractive: the Legislature might consider tax credits or public loans for certain rural broadband builds, for example. The report also suggests reworking some regulations around rights-of-way to lay fiber or getting local permission to do projects.

Recently we spoke with State Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega who indicated internet access, slow speeds and high costs were the number one complaint his office receives. Additional 9th District Congressman Doug Collins has led the federal fight to improve service in rural Georgia.

The solution is not expected to be fast or easy but at least the problem is clearly on the state and federal radar.

Collins preaches message of “Hope and Inclusion”.

Congressman Doug Collins continues making good on his promise to bring Northeast Georgia values and vision to national conversations about our country’s path forward. In his op-ed piece in this morning’s Washington Post the Congressman wrote:

Republicans erred when we allowed our friends across the aisle to hijack the narrative of hope and inclusion. Not only must Congress and the incoming administration put constructive policies in place, but, together, we must tell the story of how a limited government actually reduces limitations on the economic and creative success of every American.

He spoke of better opportunities for businesses, schools and communities. Most importantly he recognized that this first unified government since 2010 will be held accountable when he stated:

My Republican colleagues and I will be measured by the work we do on behalf of all 321 million Americans.

Congressman Collins delivers GOP Weekly Address

9th District Congressman & Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference Doug Collins delivered the weekly address for Thanksgiving. In his remarks he thanked our military for protecting our freedoms, our public safety and emergency workers for being on duty as needed on this holiday and charities across the U.S. that step in and provide for the less fortunate.

The Thanksgiving message ended with a call to work together to serve all Americans.

 

Another View of the GACR’s Position

Apparently there is more to the GeorgiaPol story, reported this morning, that the Georgia College Republicans have distanced themselves from Donald Trump’s candidacy. According to my sources the GACR Chapters were evenly split on their official statement and it required a vote of the state officers to break the tie.

Opposition to the official statement was reportedly lead by Avery Anderson who is a member of the University of West Georgia College Republicans, an alternate to the Republican National Convention from Rabun County and who happens to be gay. Also leading the opposition was Joshua Aaron, the chair of the ABAC College Republicans and the younger brother of Steven Aaron, the chair of the Gilmer County Republican Party.

So while the College Republicans reflect the turmoil within the party, it is encouraging to see a united front for Republicans down ticket. I suspect we, the voters, have public positions that could be different than the position we express in the privacy of the voting booth.