Teya Ryan can breathe a little easier this morning.
On Wednesday, it was announced that Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, having been forced out of his leadership position, would resign his Senate seat and take a new, full-time job with Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Rogers’ assignment, as outlined by the man who created it, is to make GPB part of the state’s economic development, job-recruitment operation. Rogers will report directly to Ryan, who is GPB’s president and executive director.
After a tree-lighting ceremony in the state Capitol on Thursday, Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM) caught up with Gov. Nathan Deal, who helped engineer Rogers’ exit:
O’Hayer: Are you envisioning him to eventually run that organization?
Deal: No, the only vision we have at this point is to use what we had been trying to do for a long time, is use Georgia Public Broadcasting as an economic development tool to a greater extent than we’re currently doing. That’s the role that he’s going to be filling. Certainly we have a great director there. I hope she stays as long as she wants to stay.
O’Hayer: Why create a new job for him?
Deal: I didn’t really create a new job. We had already put funding in for the purposes of economic development, and having a position that would promote that. I think he has a unique qualification in that he does understand state government. He understands the importance of economic development to our state, and has a relationship here in the state Capitol. All of that really ties together.
O’Hayer: Some folks might wonder about the editorial independence of that organization, when you have somebody who is not only very political, but has experience in state government and aligned with you.
Deal: I don’t consider job creation for the citizens of our state to have a political connotation to it. It’s simply doing what’s best for our state.
By the way: WABE is a public radio station, but is not part of Georgia Public Broadcasting.
The Chip Rogers saga is all about second chances. Brandon Beach, the North Fulton chamber executive who lost to Rogers in a hard-fought July primary, on Thursday announced that he would be seeking to replace the exiting Senate majority leader in a special Jan. 8 election called by Gov. Nathan Deal – before the Legislature convenes a week later.
Beach immediately cut loose his list of supporters. From the press release:
Beach has received endorsements from Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Sheriff Roger Garrison, Cherokee County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens, Commissioners Jason Nelms and Jim Hubbard, Incoming School Board Chair Janet Read, School Board Chairman Mike Chapman, School Board Member-Elect Patsy Jordan, Senator Jeff Mullis, Representative Chuck Martin, Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle, Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood, Woodstock City Councilwoman Tessa Basford and many more elected officials from around the district and the state. Beach stated that the support he has received from hundreds of citizens from all over Cherokee County is especially heartwarming.
State Rep. Sean Jerguson, a Republican gun store owner from Woodstock, has also declared he’ll shoot for the seat. That means he’ll have to resign his House seat. Which gives a second chance to Scott Turner, who ran and lost against Jerguson in the July GOP primary. Turner announced Thursday that he’ll run again for Jerguson’s House seat.
John Bachman with Channel 2 Action News says the Jan. 8 special election to replace state Sen. Chip Rogers — who resigned less than a month after his re-election — will cost Fulton and Cherokee counties a combined $500,000:
You’ve got to read this morning’s piece by my AJC colleagues Rhonda Cook and Johnny Edwards. Here’s the top line:
Fulton County remains unable to free itself from federal oversight of its jail after county commissioners rejected a proposal to replace more than 1,300 faulty locks on cell doors. A supporter of the measure, late for the meeting, missed the vote.
And here’s the dysfunction:
[Tom] Lowe, who is frequently late and leaves meetings early, said he was tied up with an important business matter Wednesday morning and declined to elaborate. Through much of the remaining meeting, he appeared to be napping…
Lowe, who said he would have voted for replacing the locks, acknowledged Wednesday evening that he has an obligation to be present for votes. “I understand that; it’s my job,” he said.
But he said he doesn’t like listening to some commissioners’ protracted grandstanding on many issues, and he makes no apologies for dozing off. Especially, he said, while Vice Chairwoman Emma Darnell is talking.
Some disappointed Republicans have been lining up behind J.C. Watt as an alternative to GOP national chairman Reince Preibus, who faces a re-election bid early next year. In this well-worth-watching CNN clip with Erin Burnett from last night, Watts takes on Republican detachment from the minorities it seeks to bring into the party’s ranks:
From the transcript:
Watts: I don’t necessarily believe that the answer is to take a black face and put him in the chairmanship at the RNC or a female or Hispanic or Asian or Native American. I think it’s much bigger than that.
I think we have to surround ourselves at the RNC and within the party, we have to understand diversity, and diversity is not a bad word. I take a biblical worldview on diversity. God made you white, he made me black, he made you a female, He made me a male. I think God likes diversity.
So, if it’s good for God, it ought to be good for Republicans, but the fact is, it’s hard to have perspective and it’s hard to have diversity with women or black or red or yellow or brown or white if you have no relationships.
And if I don’t know the chairman of the Republican National Committee, I have no confidence that he has an relationship with “chuck roast” black guy, with “billfold working” white guy, with — with “Joe Six-Pack” Hispanic, if I don’t know him.
And I don’t say that to be self-serving, I just say that to point out how perplexing this is when we think that we can get people to vote for us if we don’t know them.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider