You knew that if former House speaker Glenn Richardson were to revive his political career, he would have to go where no Republican has gone before. And now he has.
In a friendly 34-minute interview first posted at Paulding.com, Richardson – now looking to win a seat in the state Senate – discusses depression and his 2009 attempted suicide, transportation, ethics, and has some indirect criticism of the Legislature’s decision to change the terms of the HOPE scholarship.
But the former speaker also said he’s ready to look at slowing down home foreclosures in Georgia by bringing the courts into the process. This is important, given that District 30 is a largely exurban district that has more than its share of zombie subdivisions – particularly in Paulding County, where Richardson lives.
Four years into a massive housing crisis that has crippled the metro Atlanta economy, Richardson may be the first Republican legislative candidate to seriously raise the topic of giving beleaguered homeowners the right to take their cases to a judge. The discussion happens at about the 11:00 mark below:
”There are people that are upside-down. Then there are people that are upside down and backwards. I’m upside down and backwards. Upside down just means you can’t sell your house for what it’s owed for. Upside down and backwards means you can’t sell your house for what’s owed, and you’re struggling to make your payments.
“There are millions of people in this nation, hundreds of thousands in Georgia and this Senate district, that are struggling to make their house payments. I think that there are a couple things that we can do. I believe it may be time for the state to start looking at what I’ll call slowing down the mortgage foreclosure process. Georgia has non-judicial foreclosure…
“As long as there were only a few foreclosures going on, the balance was good. But what’s happening is, every time these big mega-mortgage companies – I call them the Bank of Americas, the Well Fargos – every time they foreclose on a house that was worth [$200,000], they foreclose on it for [$70,000], and they sell it. The person’s house right beside it goes down in value, and then they can’t sell.
“Wells Fargo, or Bank of America, or these big banking entities, they just gobble it up. Why do they gobble it up? Because they’ve got federal taxpayer backing them, because they’re too big to fail. So they just keep getting more money from the federal government, from me and you. They keep foreclosing on the people and destroying the market.
“I think it’s time to slow it down, and I’m going to seriously look at putting a check on the foreclosure process in Georgia….We need to slow it down, or this market’s never going to recover. As long as the boat’s taking on water, we’re never going to get it to float….”
At the tail end of the interview, Richardson – who was forced to resign in part because of an affair he had with an AGL lobbyist — comes to the topic of ethics. He promises to support a $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to legislators.
“People need to believe in their elected officials,” Richardson said. “My pledge is that I’ve learned from my mistakes. And every decision I make, I’m going to try to do something better for Georgia.”
Three other Republicans are in the special primary for the Senate seat on Nov. 6: Mike Dugan of Carrollton, a general contractor; state Rep. Bill Hembree of Winson; and James Naughton, a business consultant from Carrollton.
Earlier this month, in a cheeky campaign TV ad, U.S. Rep. John Barrow, the Democrat of Augusta, pointed to a bill that he had co-sponsored to cut the size of the federal government’s motor fleet.
On Wednesday afternoon, House Republican leaders did Barrow — locked in a tough race against GOP challenger Lee Anderson — a great favor and brought the measure up for a vote. It passed on voice vote, over the objection of one Democrat, according to my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington.
Barrow’s bill – on which he joined with New York Republican Richard Hanna – came out of a recommendation by the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission.
Excluding the military, the Postal Service and vehicles necessary for national security, the bill would cut funding to the General Services Administration – yes, that General Services Administration– to purchase new government vehicles by 20 percent. Government actuaries estimate this could save up to $500 million over the next decade.
Barrow used his opportunity on the House floor Wednesday to talk about the Blue Dog’s favorite topic, and the primary argument for his re-election in a Republican-leaning district: working across the aisle.
“I’m pleased to join my colleague Rep. Hanna in support of his version of this legislation because acting in a bipartisan fashion isn’t only the right way to act around here, it’s the only way to get things done around here,” Barrow said.
The only official resistance to the plan came from New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney, who pointed out the bill never had a committee hearing or was properly studied and that it did not take into account agencies that have already reduced their fleet sizes. And she suggested it could have used another loophole to exempt the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Still, the measure sailed through. Its prospects are unclear in the Democrat-run Senate. For Barrow’s campaign, it already has served its purpose.
The camp of Barrow’s foe said the motive was purely political and that Barrow had voted for plenty of spending in the past.
“If Barrow’s political career was on the line every year, we probably wouldn’t have millions out of work, billions in reckless spending, and trillions in debt,” Anderson spokesman Ryan Mahoney wrote in an email.
Presidential polls are flying every which way, but this observation from Nate Silver of the New York Times may be worth your attention:
Although there are exceptions on either side, like the Gallup national tracking poll, for the most part Mr. Obama seems to be getting stronger results in polls that use live interviewers and that include cellphones in their samples — enough to suggest that he has a clear advantage in the race.
In the polls that use an automated dialing method (“robopolls”) or which exclude cellphones, Mr. Obama’s bounce has been much harder to discern, and the race looks considerably closer.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider