Three Democratic candidates for governor were down in Savannah last night to speak to a small crowd of school teachers, administrators and parents.
Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News said all three received a warm reception, and all three supported a proposal to increase the minimum dropout age from 16 to 17.
Former National Guard commander David Poythress declared that teachers shouldn’t bear the responsibility for failing schools: “You don’t lead people by …. threatening their jobs if they don’t meet some artificial criteria. You lead people by inspiring them.”
House Minority Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin noted his role in creating the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship program, and a formula for financing education that has been abandoned by Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican.
The Morning News continues:
But the loudest applause went to Barnes, who stressed the importance of early childhood education and vowed to stop furloughs of teachers.
Of the three candidates, he most directly confronted the problem of money.
More funding isn’t the cure but “is a good part of it,” he said.
To set aside more for schools, he said, he’d ask the Legislature to suspend all the tax exemptions passed on Perdue’s watch.
“I’ll close the Governor’s Mansion,” he said. “I’ll close the Capitol. … I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Do not fret. Barnes has a back-up mansion in nearby Marietta, with the state seal embedded in the foyer.
But for now, the former governor – freshly endorsed by the AFL-CIO on Thursday — is emphasizing jobs rather than education. His campaign is out this morning with its first TV ad in the metro Atlanta market – focusing on jobs and education:
We’ve heard much of the content before, but one item strikes the ear as new: Mandatory negotiations between banks and homeowners prior to any foreclosure.
The state Democratic party is chasing U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson for his vote Wednesday (with Saxby Chambliss) against the most far-reaching restraints on big banks since the Great Depression. Here’s Isakson’s response:
“We all want to stop the Wall Street abuses that led to our economic crisis in the first place, but this legislation has significant potential to hurt the small businesses, dentists, community banks, funeral directors, doctors and others who had nothing to do with creating this financial crisis,” Isakson said.
“Additionally, it is absolutely wrong to leave Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae outside the equation and incorporate every other business on Main Street and on Wall Street. The facts are that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae started this economic crisis and they are exempt from this piece of legislation.”
Mark Rountree, the GOP political strategist, is not in the employ of Eric Johnson, the Republican candidate for governor. But they have worked together before, and apparently think along the same lines.
On Wednesday, Rountree twittered the following observation, based on a poll by the Los Angeles Times:
“CA GOP Gov candidate Meg Whitman WAS 50 points ahead of GOP rivals (March). Today only +9. Big reason? She opposed Arizona’s immigration law.”
On Thursday, Johnson declared that he was not done with the saga of Jessica Colotl, the illegal immigrant at Kennesaw State University.
Among his first acts as governor, the GOP candidate said, would be to force the Board of Regents to implement a verification system to determine that every student in the university system was a legitimate U.S. citizen or resident:
The Citizenship Verification for Higher Education Act would require that students applying to Georgia’s colleges, universities, and technical schools complete an affidavit swearing to their lawful presence in the United States.
That information would be verified using the Department of Homeland Security’s SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement) program.
11Alive News reports that U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey has conceded that using campaign funds to renew his $400 personal Georgia medical license last year was “an administrative error.”
Gingrey has reimbursed his campaign.
The expenditure was first spotted by Jim Walls at AtlantaUnfiltered.com.
Finally, the influential law-and-lobbying firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge is letting it be known that former House speaker pro tem Mark Burkhalter is now in its employ. He will focus on “national government affairs as well as public affairs and economic development initiatives in the United Kingdom.”
For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.