Archive for the ‘Tommie Williams’ Category

Tommie Williams’ requirements for the next GOP Senate leader

My AJC colleague James Salzer is chasing down the details on the decision by President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, to step down as leader of the state Senate – who intends to replace him for instance.
Below is the letter Williams sent to his Senate colleagues.

Williams was one of the GOP senators who engineered the 2010 revolt against Casey Cagle that successfully stripped the lieutenant governor of much of his authority over the chamber.

But Williams was constantly frustrated by continued leaks about machinations within the Republican caucus. Note the swipe at the very end:

Senators,

It is a very difficult decision for one to give up a position of political power. Often it takes a lost election or scandalous event for one to part with the notoriety of a higher position. While I’ve been affected by neither loss nor scandal, I can say that conceding a place of leadership over such a fine group of men and women is not easy.

I believe that leadership positions major …

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A brief GOP flirtation with a Georgia version of the Dream Act

A few minutes ago, the state Senate approved, on a 34-19 vote, a measure to bar illegal immigrants from Georgia’s 60 public colleges.

The topic, again, was fraught with emotion. But one of the more nuanced voices belonged to the leader of Senate Republicans in the chamber, President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons.

Williams represents south Georgia farm country, and he began by talking about the trouble blueberry, onion and corn farmers have had bringing in their crops since passage of last year’s Republican-backed bill to crack down on illegal immigration in Georgia.

“I have farmers that can’t get labor,” Williams said, predicting that the U.S. will soon begin importing food now raised in Georgia. “If you think dependence on oil is bad, wait ‘til we’re dependent on food.”

But Williams was just getting wound up. The Senate leader then turned to the matter of children in Georgia who would be barred from college – or anything other than an underground future …

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Senate peace treaty brokered by Nathan Deal falls apart

Update: The deal brokered by Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday, intended to end a 15-month leadership feud in the state Senate, collapsed on Tuesday when it was rejected in a closed-door vote of the Republican caucus.

The plan was intended to reassert at least some of the authority stripped from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in late 2010.

A spokesman for the governor said Deal was under the impression that an agreement had been reached last night, after a three-hour session that brought most of the parties together. But a spokesman said the governor was privy to the reasons for the collapse.

“Senate leaders asked the governor to host a meeting in his office and that’s what he did. He was there, and he was hopeful, but in the end, the Senate’s business is the Senate’s business,” said Deal spokesman Brian Robinson. “We want a body operating efficiently and well.”

This is the second time that the governor has stepped into the fray between Cagle and Senate Republicans led by …

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David Doss makes a GOP bid for state Senate

David Doss, the former chairman of the State Transportation Board, announced this afternoon that he’ll run for the state Senate – in an open, Republican-leaning district created by this summer’s redistricting.

Doss, who is also the former chairman of the Floyd County Commission, declared his familial ties to the seat. From the press release:

“ I chose today to make this announcement on the occasion of my father’s 84th birthday. My Dad served the 52nd District with distinction from 1968 to 1979, and as a young boy, I often watched with great respect as the State Senate went about their business.

“But much has changed over the past 40 years in the State Senate and the public’s confidence and trust of this great institution has slowly eroded. Gone are the statesmen who placed principle over politics; who placed the needs of their district ahead of party politics; who believed in cooperation rather than stalemate; and those who adhered to a strong code of ethical …

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Your morning jolt: Casey Cagle dips into a pair of Senate races

Next Tuesday’s runoff elections for two state Senate seats have the potential to strengthen the hand of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in his struggle to regain control of the chamber.

Cagle has made personal appearances this week on behalf of both John Wilkinson of Toccoa, a Republican candidate for the District 50 seat, and Duke Blackburn of Newnan, in the contest for District 28.

The lieutenant governor’s public endorsement of Wilkinson came on Tuesday, according to Wilkinson’s Facebook page. But the lines of battle were drawn much earlier. Former state Rep. Rick Austin, R-Demorest, who finished first with 43 percent of the vote in the first round of voting, is backed by Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams of Lyons and Majority Chip Rogers of Woodstock.

Last year, Williams and Rogers led a successful revolt to strip Cagle of much of his authority over the Senate. The chamber has been in turmoil since.

A Wilkinson victory in northeast Georgia by itself wouldn’t be a gain …

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Fight for Senate control reaches into northeast Georgia

When the Legislature returns in January, much of Gov. Nathan Deal’s agenda will depend on whether the state Senate has resolved the leadership dispute between Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams of Lyons.

Cagle lost one of his top supporters,, state Sen. Jim Butterworth, R-Cornelia, when the governor named Butterworth as the state’s new adjutant general.

Two northeast Georgia candidates survived last week’s special election to replace him. State Rep. Rick Austin won 43 percent of the vote, out of more than 15,000 cast. John Wilkinson, a former candidate for state agriculture commissioner, came in second with 39 percent. A third candidate, David Strickland, has endorsed Wilkinson. The runoff election is Dec. 6.

Austin won the first phase of the fund-raising battle with $39,095 to Wilkinson’s $32,621.

Austin is being backed by GOP senators intent on keeping the power to name chairmanships, determine committee memberships, and guide …

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Your morning jolt: John Barrow says Georgia immigration law has left crops ‘rotting in field’

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah, on Tuesday said the state Legislature, whose members include at least one Republican opponent, acted in a short-sighted manner when it approved a measure to require businesses – including farmers – to use a federal data base to screen out illegal immigrants.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah/AP file

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah/AP file

The most salient points of H.B. 87 have been placed on hold by a federal judge while the right of a state to enforce federal immigration laws is hashed out in court.

In a series of interviews with Capitol reporters in Atlanta, designed to shine statewide attention on his south Georgia effort to survive in a newly drawn, heavily rural district, Barrow declared that he could support a federally mandated E-Verify program – but only if it applied to all states. Several are now moving through Congress, he said.

Barrow has already picked up one Republican opponent, state Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown, a farmer who supported passage this spring of …

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Your morning jolt: Three years ago, the Senate considered hush money wrong

There are good secrets and bad secrets. The good ones can be found in your pocket. Harmful secrets are the property of someone else.

By now, you probably know of this story broken by my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

The state Senate paid an Atlanta law firm $80,500 on July 28, and Senate leaders will only say the money was for a “personnel issue.”

There’s strong suspicion that the cash was used to settle a racial discrimination claim by an African-American secretary. To continue:

The check was made to the law firm Buckley & Klein after the Senate Committee on Administrative Affairs met in July and approved the payment. The committee, made up of five Republican senators, the Republican lieutenant governor, one Democrat and the secretary of the Senate, meets in private and is chaired by President Pro Tem Tommie Williams.

Williams, in a statement, said the Senate is not subject to state sunshine laws and that “the matter related is a personnel matter and we do not release …

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Tommie Williams says no to a run against John Barrow

After the Senate Reapportionment Committee sent the Republican congressional map on its way to the chamber floor, a couple of us caught President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, as he exited.

So is he interested in a run against Democratic incumbent John Barrow, who is soon to be a former resident of Savannah?

Williams’ Toombs County is in the new 12th District, drawn with a 20-point advantage for whichever Republican wins the chance to face Barrow down.

“It appeals to me, but the Georgia Senate appeals to me as well,” Williams said – adding that he has a young family.
So is he considering it? “Not at this point. At this point in time, I would say no.”

Moments after leaving, Williams came back to make it clear: For now, he’ll be running for re-election to his current Senate seat.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Senate Republicans say power-sharing accord reached with Casey Cagle — but may have spoken too soon

Updated at 8:30 p.m.: Just in time for the state GOP convention in Macon, Senate Republican leaders on Thursday announced they had reached a power-sharing accord with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for control of that chamber.

But the declaration of peace and serenity may have been premature.

“We have reached a consensus between the majority caucus and the lieutenant governor,” said Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, in a press release issued just before the close of business.

Cagle’s office declined comment, but also – though pressed – refused to dispute an account of the agreement as outlined by Rogers and state Sen. Bill Cowsert of Athens, chairman of the Senate Republican caucus.

Yet, about an hour ago, a Cagle ally called to say that – while a framework may have been established — details of an agreement had yet to be worked out. A contact on the other side confirmed that a meeting amongst Cagle, Rogers and Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams of Lyons …

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