Archive for the ‘Kathy Cox’ Category

Does Kathy Cox’s sudden departure give Democrats an advantage?

Republican Kathy Cox on Monday abandoned her bid for a third-term as state school superintendent, and will instead accept a position as CEO of a new non-profit U.S. Education Delivery Institute in Washington D.C.

State School Superintendent Kathy Cox/AJC

State School Superintendent Kathy Cox/AJC

A tearful Cox, flanked by her husband and members of the state Board of Education, told reporters at a press conference that her last day will be June 30. Bert Brantley, a spokesman for Sonny Perdue, said the governor anticipated selecting a replacement before Cox’s departure — in order to ease the transition.

Although the Fayette County resident served two terms in the House, Cox was a working classroom teacher when she was elected to head the state’s $7 billion education system with 1,000 employees.

Cox said she ran for public office after being challenged by her students. “I’ve proven to them that regular people can get elected. Regular people can stay elected, and regular people can serve with dignity and not produce …

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Your morning jolt: Did illegal immigrants help build Cobb courthouse?

Today’s morning eye-opener comes from my AJC colleague Mary Lou Pickel, who reports that illegal immigrants may have been laying bricks at the new Cobb County courthouse in Marietta:

A boss who employed bricklayers at the new Cobb County Courthouse in Marietta did not verify that they were legally allowed to work in the United States.

That boss was removed from the job on Friday and the 10 brick masons who worked for him were let go, said Chip Kessler, president of Zebra Construction, the main masonry subcontractor on the courthouse project.

Allegations that illegal immigrants were working on the $63 million courthouse project came to light last week when a bricklayers union organizer questioned the county.

Another bricklayers representative said he talked with employees at the courthouse in November and asked if papers were needed to get a job there.

The employees said no papers were needed and that they were paid in cash, said Jose Alvarez, business marketing representative …

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Kathy Cox and the Republican dilemma

Last week, former state lawmaker Roger Hines of Kennesaw became the second Republican to announce a 2010 primary challenge to state School Superintendent Kathy Cox.

His campaign slogan — “We can do better” — isn’t the catchy phrase likely to make Gov. Sonny Perdue smile.

The retired high school teacher enters the race with the support of a dozen or so GOP legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock, so it is not to be taken lightly. Richard Woods of Tifton, also an educator, is the other GOP candidate.

“Education in Georgia is too important to get caught up in party politics,” Rogers said in Hines’ defense. But serious primary challenges to incumbents are rare, and they always mean something.

Officially, Hines is running against the lack of progress in Georgia schools under both Cox and Perdue and the “testing mania” that he says has killed the joy of teaching. The state Department of Education, Hines said, “has become a data …

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Your morning jolt: Liberty U. student made phone call that stopped Friday football Scriptures

A banner made by high school cheerleaders in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. for a Friday night. Special/Brad Scott

A banner made by high school cheerleaders in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. for a Friday night. Special/Brad Scott

The Case of the Friday Night Football Scriptures up in Catoosa County has taken a strange turn.

On Monday, the county school superintendent – responding to what she termed as a complaint – declared that cheerleaders at the local high school would no longer be allowed to paint Bible verses on the paper banners that football players crash through on game night.

Much of the northwest Georgia community erupted.

Who was the interloper who blew the whistle on this colorful Christian – but legally indefensible – tradition? A mom who had just finished a class on education law at Liberty University, the institution founded by the Rev. Jerry Fallwell.

In prelude to a Thursday evening interview with Donna Jackson, radio station WAAK (94.7 FM) posted a formal statement from the mother, which includes this:

“I did call the superintendent to express concern that the …

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Your morning jolt: Carter says Kennedy bore consequences of Chappaquiddick ‘like a man’

As noted yesterday, Jimmy Carter’s formal statement on the passing of Edward Kennedy said nothing but good about the Massachusetts senator.

But on last night’s PBS “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” the former president was slightly more candid. Carter, who endured a challenge from Kennedy for the 1980 Democratic nomination for president, noted that Kennedy himself admitted that his personal failings limited his political career.

Said Carter:

”But [Kennedy] more than made up for that, after 1980, and during the years that he served before in the Senate — and although after the [1969 ]Chappaquiddick incident occurred. And I think he suffered from the consequences of it. He bore it like a man, and he survived in the minds and hearts of the American people.”

On Facebook and elsewhere this morning, the most conservative Republicans in Georgia were pointing to the poor judgment of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who on Tuesday was caught saying something nice about President …

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Your morning jolt: GOP undecided on whether co-ops are evil

So if the air has leaked from a government-run health insurance program to compete with private companies and bring costs down, what about these insurance cooperatives?

Clearly there’s no cohesive Republican game plan yet. On Monday, in a Fox News conversation with Sean Hannity, Ralph Reed dismissed insurance co-ops as a Trojan horse just as evil as its predecessor:

”The co-op they’re talking about will be heavily subsidized by the federal government and initial subsidy of $3 million — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg because they’re always wrong on their projections.

“Remember the public option, the government run plan masquerading as a co-op will be subsidized with our tax dollars and that will lead to substandard care across the board and be a major problem.”

But in conversations with Atlanta reporters on Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss didn’t sound so sure. Here’s an excerpt posted by Denis O’Hayer on the Web site for WABE (90.1FM):

”I think the …

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Another Democrat signs up for school superintendent race

One year out, the Democratic race for state school superintendent is officially crowded. A third candidate, Beth Farokhi of east Cobb County, is set to announce Monday.

Farhoki is a former Georgia State University administrator who lost a 2006 race for the Cobb County school board. Interestingly, her son, Amir Farokhi, is currently an Atlanta City Council candidate.

In 2006, Democrats cared so little about the school superintendent’s race that they let Denise Majette, a lawyer and former congresswoman with no experience in education, carry the ball. Republican incumbent Kathy Cox won with 60 percent of the vote.

But with Cox’s personal fiscal problems, and the teacher vote up for grabs in what’s likely to be a highly competitive race for governor, Democrats are sensing an opportunity.

Already, Brian Westlake of Decatur and Jeff Scott of Walker County have signed up to run. Both are educators. Scott ran against U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal in 2008.

For instant updates, follow me …

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Your morning jolt: Candidates beg for spare change

On Tuesday, with a June 30 deadline only seven days away, Karen Handel begged for spare change.

“Any amount you can contribute right now will go a long way in helping us meet our goals next week,” the Republican candidate for governor said.

At five days out, John Oxendine , a GOP rival, asked supporters to empty their pockets, else a Democratic bogeyman will reign over them. “I am running to protect the traditional values Georgia holds dear from Roy Barnes and the liberals in Atlanta,” he said.

Republicans and Democrats alike, whether running for governor or something else, see the end of the month as a kind of CRCT test for grown-ups.

The size of a candidate’s treasury in the first six months of this year will be read as a measure of strength and viability — could determine the size of his/her treasury for the next six months as well.

There will be exceptions. Democrat Roy Barnes specifically declared that he wouldn’t start his campaign until next month, …

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Your morning jolt: A critique on the performance of female leaders of both state parties

Down in Macon, the city’s water supply has been contaminated with a near-toxic dose of testosterone.

This is the only explanation for the tear that Erick Erickson of has been on.

On Thursday, the conservative political blogger first bulldozed U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson for plugging the Serve America Act, “which many on the right view as a compulsory service bill.”

Then he offered a bit of free advice to School Superintendent Kathy Cox, another Republican, who — with her builder husband — is struggling through bankruptcy. “Your career is in sunset. You have no major accomplishments, but a lot of controversy. It’s time, Kathy. You need to announce you will not run again,” Erickson tapped out.

But the day was not finished. A note had to be written to certain male political figures in Georgia, advising them of the poor performance of the two women elected to lead the Republican and Democratic parties — Sue Everhart and Jane Kidd, …

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The unpleasant side of campaigning during a bankruptcy

One of the quiet questions being asked around the state Capitol is how state School Superintendent Kathy Cox will run her 2010 re-election campaign even as she and her husband, a home builder, struggle through federal bankruptcy proceedings.

One theory, endorsed by Cox supporters, is that voters will identify with a candidate going through tough times.

But there is a downside as well.

This afternoon, Georgia Bankruptcy Law Blog reports that a loan company has filed a complaint alleging that the Cox couple obtained loans for John Cox’s construction business through “false pretences, false representations or actual fraud.”

The lawsuit was brought by First Home Loan Corp., a division of First Tennessee Bank, on Monday in federal bankruptcy court. Download a copy of the complaint here.

The loan company alleges that the Coxes “may have overstated the value of their household belongings” in 2007, when they disclosed a value of $71,600. Bankruptcy filings, the lawsuit said, …

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