House leadership races begin: ‘The partying mentality is over’

State Rep. Clay Cox of Lilburn has become the first Republican to enter the House race for speaker pro tem, the No. 2 position in the chamber.

Says Cox:

I do so because I believe that the new brand of leadership in our caucus, and for our cause, should look and act differently. If we truly want to move our agenda of conservative constitutionalism forward, we must do so in a way that says to our citizens that the partying-mentality is over. We must get down to serious business. The challenges we face demand nothing less.

Cox also cites his past leadership positions in the House — chief deputy whip and a floating ex officio member of all committees — and closes with this thought:

You also know that I go home at night to my wife and children- and that will not change.

Some may remember Cox as the fellow who introduced legislation back in 2005 to protect those who want to say “Merry Christmas” rather than something more generic.

He also had a bill last session, H.B. 622, that would have prohibited the council from interfering with contracts private probation companies have with the local courts. Cox’s company, Professional Probations Services Inc. of Norcross, is one of the biggest such companies in the state.

We understand that Jan Jones of Alpharetta and Len Walker of Loganville are also looking at the pro tem contest.

Which does, of course, presume that Mark Burkhalter of Johns Creek, the current occupant of that position, will not be running.

Meanwhile, two more Republicans have joined Secretary of State Karen Handel in calling for tighter ethics legislation aimed at the General Assembly.

State Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, who like Handel is a candidate for governor, reiterated his call today for statewide grand juries. Scott is the author of H.R. 75, which would allow statewide panels to look at corruption anywhere in the state.

Said Scott:

“The situation we find ourselves in today shows clearly that allowing government bodies to police themselves is unacceptable. Given the current environment, I expect the people of Georgia will demand the passage of this resolution. I will again seek the support of my fellow House members for HR 75 this session.”

Also Tuesday, Sam Olens, a Republican candidate for attorney general, released a series of ethics proposals that would place state lawmaker under the same scrutiny that county commissioners and city council members face. Olens is the chairman of the Cobb County Commission.

Among his proposals, from a press release:

– Stringent requirements on the actual release of public documents in a timely manner to avoid meaningful fines;

– Enhanced requirements assuring open meetings and meaningful fines for violations of open meetings;

– Disclosure by any member of the General Assembly who sponsors legislation where a pecuniary interest exists or a direct family member would benefit from the outcome;

– A penalty for non-compliance with the Statutory Code of Ethics for Public Officers;

– Inability to qualify for public office for outstanding ethics fines and taxes;

– And legislative investigations to be handled through the State Ethics Board presenting recommendations to the Joint Ethics Committee (direct action would violate non-delegation of powers).

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18 comments Add your comment

Raygunius Delmacio

December 8th, 2009
2:22 pm

Is Clay Cox part of the Jackson Machine, sure sounds like he is out for himself first.


December 8th, 2009
2:22 pm

How long has Austin been in the legislature? All he has ever offered from an ethics perspective is one piece of legislation related to ethics. This is not the type of leadership our state needs.

My man Ox will work to pass strong ethics for the state. He will ask them to maintain the same great standards that he has maintained while he has been Insurance Commissioner.

Austin should run for speaker he may have a chance of winning that election.

Chris Broe

December 8th, 2009
2:32 pm

Candidate Olens’ proposals are the most promising reform measures I’ve read in years.

Al Bundy

December 8th, 2009
2:43 pm

“If we truly want to move our agenda of conservative constitutionalism forward, we must do so in a way that says to our citizens that the partying-mentality is over.”

All the while protecting his Golden Egg with HB 622. You really can’t make this stuff up.


December 8th, 2009
2:53 pm

Why was he allowed to vote, let along sponsor, on a piece of legislation that would affect his own personal business? I see all these republicans talking about ethics and ‘government bodies not being able to police themselves.’ Isn’t that an admission that the republican leadership at almost every government level in this state has failed us?


December 8th, 2009
2:53 pm

should be ‘let alone’

Bad News for Jamie Reynolds

December 8th, 2009
2:56 pm

The Jekyll Island Authority has ended its partnership with Atlanta-based developer Linger Longer Communities LLC, which was to have helped redevelop the state-owned island.

The Jekyll Island Authority is expected to take formal action Dec. 14 severing its ties with Linger Longer Communities.

Linger Longer Communities won the bid on a request for proposal for private redevelopment of some commercial property on Jekyll Island in 2007.

“While a difficult decision, in the end it was important to make a decision in the best interest of Jekyll Island and the citizens of the state of Georgia,” said Robert W. Krueger, Jekyll Island Authority chairman.

The $120 million project includes two hotels, 30,000 square feet of retail with condominium lofts and vacation ownership units.

By breaking up the commercial project among several developers, financing should be more available, said Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority.

“The economy has created much uncertainty,” he said. “In my 30 plus years in community and economic development I have not seen things so bad.”

Breaking up the project into smaller segments will also put “the Jekyll Island Authority in control over timing,” he said.

While contract negotiations with Linger Longer on specific terms have been ongoing for the past year, the Jekyll Island Authority began work on a new 20-acre beach village Monday.

Jekyll officials plan to continue with the park, 78,000-square-foot convention center and road and utility work, but will now seek out other developers for the hotel and retail village components.

Jekyll officials will have retail operations in temporary facilities starting in the third quarter, “and we must show a definite timeline,” Hooks said. “We also must bring new hotel lodging units on line as soon as the new convention center is ready. These and other circumstances have dictated this decision.”


December 8th, 2009
3:09 pm

Interesting that Eric Johnson resigns from the senate, then a month later Jamie drops Jekyll project.

Rob Vinson

December 8th, 2009
4:34 pm

Hey GoOx….is the ox going to have the insurance companies funnel money into his campaign from FL, TN or SC next??? He tried AL and it didn’t work too well….

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

December 8th, 2009
5:09 pm

A vote for Oxendine is a vote for Insurance companies.

The very fact that my Libertarian friends like him tells me that he’s almost assuredly the LAST person we want for the job.


December 8th, 2009
5:55 pm

Clean up the Gold Dome…it’s a cesspool. Legislators don’t want to just legislate, they want to have fun and have themselves taken care of. The Ethics Committee in both the Senate and the House is a joke!

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

December 8th, 2009
6:31 pm

That is going to have to start with holding Atlanta legislators accountable so that they routinely and publicly start exposing the shenanigans that the rest of the state routinely pulls. There is no harm in doing it, because, as the water debacle shows us, they aren’t interested in helping Metro Atlanta anyway.

Good move

December 8th, 2009
6:51 pm

Good for Sam Olens. But why didn’t he propose this stuff years ago? Why didn’t anyone come forward? So many cowards in politics, which is why corruption has become the biggest industry in the state and country, and why this country will fail as a democracy unless honest people come back to government and champion the public interest.


December 8th, 2009
10:10 pm

Clay Cox is unethical in the way he runs his business, by using his political position to leverage contracts, and he will use the same approach to this position. He may go home to his wife and kids, but I do not know how he sleeps at night. To say you have “no shame” is very alarming!

Go Heels

December 8th, 2009
10:26 pm

You folks should look into his private business practices. By the way, ‘GoOx’ are you “my man’s” wife??? If so, you shouldn’t sleep very well at night, either!!! If this is all GA politics have to offer, better hope for better. Clay Cox is an absolute snake in the grass. Take my word for it (or vote for him, if you’re an idiot or are blindly led by such retoric)!

Rob Vinson

December 8th, 2009
10:40 pm

GoOx…you are a dolt, but even dolt’s are entitled to their own opinion…

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