Archive for the ‘Mark Burkhalter’ Category

Rich Golick to run for House speaker pro tem

A couple last-minute notes on House leadership races to come:

– State Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) will tell his Republican colleagues tomorrow that he’s running for speaker pro tem, the No. 2 leadership spot in the House. He’s the former floor leader for Gov. Sonny Perdue.

– Someone has established a “Mike Coan for Georgia Speaker of the House” page on Facebook. Not sure whether this has been sanctioned by the Lawrenceville lawmaker.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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A not-so-public meeting of the House GOP caucus

When last heard from, Speaker pro tem Mark Burkhalter on Monday told members of the House Republican caucus that he would call a 10 a.m. Friday meeting to discuss the preliminaries of an election to replace Speaker Glenn Richardson.

The locale was yet-to-be determined, but would be somewhere in Atlanta. Which might sound strange — given that a perfectly usable state Capitol, in high holiday dressage, sits nearly empty.

But if you’re trying to avoid a media scrum, in part because you have not addressed the basic facts behind a troubling succession crisis, then a public venue is not where you want to host a hundred or so nervous – and perhaps slightly resentful – Republican lawmakers.

So a memo went out this afternoon, under the name of caucus chairman Donna Sheldon of Dacula, asking GOP lawmakers to set their GPS units for the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center at 250 14th St.

A light breakfast, coffee and soft drinks will be served.

For instant updates, follow …

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Tommy Smith becomes first candidate for House speaker

State Rep. Tommy Smith (R-Nicholls), a former Democrat and 30-year member of the House, just walked into our offices and announced himself as the first candidate to replace Speaker Glenn Richardson.

Smith promised to eliminate the “hawk” system that allowed the speaker to pack committees with ex officio members in order to move legislation he backed through the system. “I think that was really against representative government,” Smith said.

The south Georgia lawmaker, a blueberry farmer, also said he would end the system introduced by Richardson that prohibited many bills from being amended on the House floor, after receiving the approval of the Rules Committee. The policy heightened the influence of House Rules Chairman Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and frustrated Democrats – and many rank-and-file Republicans worried about the concentration of power.

Smith also said he was interested in a proposal by Secretary of State Karen Handel to make the Legislature subject to the …

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House leadership races begin: ‘The partying mentality is over’

State Rep. Clay Cox of Lilburn has become the first Republican to enter the House race for speaker pro tem, the No. 2 position in the chamber.

Says Cox:

I do so because I believe that the new brand of leadership in our caucus, and for our cause, should look and act differently. If we truly want to move our agenda of conservative constitutionalism forward, we must do so in a way that says to our citizens that the partying-mentality is over. We must get down to serious business. The challenges we face demand nothing less.

Cox also cites his past leadership positions in the House — chief deputy whip and a floating ex officio member of all committees — and closes with this thought:

You also know that I go home at night to my wife and children- and that will not change.

Some may remember Cox as the fellow who introduced legislation back in 2005 to protect those who want to say “Merry Christmas” rather than something more generic.

He also had a bill last session, H.B. 622, that …

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Your morning jolt: Our very own Denny Hastert situation

Exactly why Mark Burkhalter decided against pursuing the House speakership relinquished by Glenn Richardson is a topic that has yet to be fully explored.

“As has been reported, I have personally been pursuing other career opportunities for several months. Out of respect and fairness for our Caucus and the House of Representatives, I want to be transparent about my career interests and let a process commence for the election of a new speaker,” the Speaker pro tem said in an e-mail dispatched to House GOP caucus members last night.

This is apparently a reference to Burkhalter’s pursuit of the high-paying executive directorship of the Georgia World Congress Center. The problem is that Burkhalter let it be known last week that he had removed his name from consideration for the GWCC post.

It’s a contradiction that requires resolution.

Otherwise, one must assume that something else is afoot, and that the state Republican party may be facing its most damaging crisis since the GOP …

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Mark Burkhalter says he won’t pursue House speaker post

We now have a contest to replace House Speaker Glenn Richardson.

Four days ago, Speaker pro tem Mark Burkhalter of Johns Creek was the presumed successor to Richardson, who resigned amid depression and scandal.

But at 6 p.m., with only the vaguest of explanations, Burkhalter sent an e-mail out to members of the House Republican Caucus, informing them that he will not pursue the speakership, and will call for an election when the General Assembly convenes in January.

A 10 a.m. Friday meeting of the GOP caucus will be held somewhere in Atlanta to discuss the details. David Ralston of Blue Ridge, Barry Loudermilk of Cassville, and Larry O’Neal of Warner Robins all have been mentioned as candidates.

Another name heretofore unmentioned: Rich Golick of Smyrna said he’s considering a run for a House leadership post — but needs to do more talking to colleagues before he decides which one. Golick is Gov. Sonny Perdue’s former floor leader, and so has stood between Perdue and Richardson …

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A meeting of House GOP caucus in the works?

When House Speaker Glenn Richardson had his conference call with his Republican colleagues last week, to announce both his resignation and successor, one of the things that really cheesed off the rank-and-file was the mute button.

Only three people were authorized to speak: Richardson, Speaker pro tem Mark Burkhalter of Johns Creek, who now takes the reins, and House Majority Leader Jerry Keen of St. Simons.

That wasn’t the case when Richardson announced his attempt at suicide a few weeks earlier. The mikes were open then, ready for expressions of sympathy and support.

The top-down flow of decisions was referenced in an interview on Friday with state Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), who challenged the speaker last year. Ralston told my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

“I think there is a significant amount of serious concern amongst Republican members of the state House over what I would describe as the lack of outreach and the lack of communication over the past few days. …

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The Capitol as frat house, and the 2010 race for governor

When House Speaker Glenn Richardson resigned last week, he left more than a state Capitol in turmoil.

The sudden departure of the first Republican leader of the Georgia House, under less-than-savory circumstances, threatens to shake the 2010 race for governor to its core.

That Democratic candidates have come down with a virulent case of righteousness should surprise no one. House Minority Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin has applied for a patent on the phrase “culture of corruption.”

The real debate has erupted on the other side of the aisle. It started even before Richardson walked out the door ‚ì fueled by worry among many Republicans that they will be forced to defend a Legislature that, aside from being ineffective, has descended into a tawdry caricature of sex and influence-peddling.

Merely in terms of strategy, Richardson’s resignation poses a problem for U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal of Gainesville, the speaker’s choice for governor. The House Republican caucus, normally a deep …

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A first call for an elected speaker

State Rep. Michael Harden (R-Toccoa) has penned what we think is the first op-ed piece generated by a member of the GOP caucus, calling for an election to anoint a successor to House Speaker Glenn Richardson.

We know of others in the works. Here’s what Harden wrote:

By now, every Georgian knows that Speaker Glenn Richardson has resigned due to a truckload of personal problems. While I am glad he resigned, I also sincerely hope that he obtains the help he needs and finds peace in the years to come.

Now that this chapter is almost closed, it is time for the Georgia House of Representatives to move on and get back to the business of this state. Unemployment has surged across the state, especially in rural areas, impacting countless Georgia families. State revenues continue to decline damaging everything from public safety to public education. It is long past time we got back to doing what the people elected us to do.

However, we cannot truly move on and begin a fresh start …

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A word from a past candidate for House speaker

The question before the state Capitol is whether Speaker pro tem Mark Burkhalter, who four weeks from today is scheduled to drop the “pro tem” from that title, will face a challenge from within the House Republican caucus.

Burkhalter has worked throughout most of today to create an atmosphere of fait accompli.

But my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin just finished a conversation with state Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) who last year engineered an unsuccessful challenge to House Speaker Glenn Richardson.

We’ll let you parse what Ralston said:

“There’s a lot of discussions going on. I haven’t made calls [about running for speaker]. I’ve received calls. But there are a lot of discussions going on. I think that’s to be expected. We’ll kind of see how things play out here over the days or weeks.

“I think there is a significant amount of serious concern amongst Republican members of the state House over what I would describe as the lack of outreach and the lack of communication …

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