You have to wonder if the first salvo in the 2014 race for the U.S. Senate, between Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and presumed primary challenger Paul Broun, has just been fired. Roll Call, the D.C. newspaper, has these paragraphs from an interview with the Athens congressman:
Asked whether Chambliss understands the big issues of debt and deficit the country is facing as he does, Broun paused for a moment.
“Doesn’t seem so,” Broun said. “He seems to want to raise taxes on people, and he also wants to continue spending. So I don’t know if he does or not, you’ll have to ask him.”
But pressed whether he was interested in challenging Chambliss in next year’s primary, Broun took a pass on answering. “Right now I’m focusing on trying to get our country to be responsible financially as a nation,” he said. “It’s not time to even think about that.”
In the same article, Chambliss denies that the fiscal cliff deal that came out of the Senate amounted to a tax increase. Then he went further:
“Not only do I understand our debt and deficit problem, I have gotten off the sidelines to try and find a solution,” Chambliss added. “Those who vote ‘no’ on everything obviously don’t care about solving the country’s problems.”
Clearly, freshman state Rep. Charles Gregory, R-Kennesaw, doesn’t intend to spend much time at the state Capitol watching from a back bench. In December, Gregory pre-filed a series of bills intended to remove all restrictions on firearms in Georgia.
Gov. Nathan Deal has strongly hinted that he’s not interested. On Wednesday, Deal identified HB 35, the bill that would allow the arming of local school administrators, as the only gun legislation likely to enjoy any success this year.
Nonetheless, an undeterred Gregory has a plan. Last week, before he was even sworn in, Gregory sent out a two-page letter on what looked like official stationery, but wasn’t, on behalf of a group called Georgia Gun Owners. You can read it here and here.
Gregory first addressed the outrage of Georgia’s concealed carry law:
– You’ll have to pay a government tax when applying for a Georgia Weapons License before receiving it.
– Submit to government fingerprinting – like criminals do when they are booked into your county jail.
In one South Georgia County, it’s been reported that those who apply for a permit must first ride on a bus – sometimes riding along with inmates on their way to the county jail – to get fingerprinted.
– Georgia gun owners must also wait days if not weeks to receive their permit while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation runs a full background check on even law-abiding individuals.
Gregory declared that he intended to shower the General Assembly with petitions, and then:
When the fight really begins to heat up, my hope is to run targeted newspaper and radio ads to help us get the votes to put us over the top.
Finally, the soon-to-be-sworn-in lawmaker got down to business:
None of these tactics will be cheap. So must ask for your generous financial support as well.
Gregory will do very well here.
We may be about to engage in some history. State Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, has given intriguing notice that he will hold a 2:30 p.m. session with reporters today “announce a resolution regarding Georgia’s previous practice of slavery.”
My AJC colleague Ariel Hart was at Thursday’s meeting of the state Board of Tranportation when – in a moment of idle chatter — the unrelated topic of Medicaid and the hospital assessment tax/fee came up.
DOT board member Jim Cole recounted how, back in 2010, he was a member of the House and one of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s floor leaders. The governor had given him the legislation calling for a “bed tax” to plug a deep hole in Medicaid funding. Cole consulted his House colleagues, who urged him to hold off filing the bill while they searched for a fiscal miracle.
“Three weeks went by, and one day [Perdue] called me and he said, ‘I want that bill in the hopper by 3 o’clock.’ I couldn’t find one person to sign it,” Cole remembered.
Which makes Gov. Nathan Deal’s effort to bring the same issue to a vote on the fourth day of the session more than impressive, Cole concluded.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider