By Elaine Owen, Editor
The Fannin County Republican Party met Saturday, March 9 with Mass Precinct meetings beginning at 9 a.m., and the County Convention at 10 a.m. Thirty-two party-faithful braved the wet weather to meet with other voters in their precincts, elect a chairperson and secretary then attend the Convention where business was conducted.
In Howie Bruce’s absence Kevin Harris, former Fannin County GOP Chairman and former 9th District Chairman presided.
The County Convention began promptly at 10 a.m. in the Jury Assembly Room of the Fannin County Court House in Blue Ridge.
Fannin County has 12 precincts. The Mass Meeting began promptly at 9:00 a.m. To participate, one must be a registered voter in Fannin County, and must arrive before 9:00 a.m. Each precinct caucused (met) with voters also in that precinct to elect a precinct chairman and secretary and to elect voters to the 10 a.m. convention. Each precinct has a certain number of delegates based on its votes in the 2016 Presidential election. Because of the low turnout at the Mass Meeting (some precincts were not represented) there were enough delegate slots for all participants to be delegates to the County Convention.
This meeting began at 10:00 a.m. Jodi Spiegel was appointed parliamentarian. The Nominating Committee’s slate of officers for the county party were elected as presented: Chairman Johnny Scearce, 1st Vice Chairman Joe Owens, 2nd Vice Chairman Mike Earley, Secretary Deb Cole, Assistant Secretary Jordan Harris, Treasurer Matt Rideout, Assistant Treasurer Carlie Hammond. Delegates and alternates to the District and State conventions were elected.
This is the start of the process which ultimately leads to the selection of those who will run the party statewide through the next Presidential election (2020) and will potentially have input on the critical redistricting process.
The 9th District Convention is Saturday, April 13, 2019 at the Dillard House in Dillard GA. The State Convention is May 16-18, 2019 in Savannah, GA. Harris reminded delegates that there are registration costs associated with both events, which cover costs. In addition, the District Convention elects seventeen (17) people from the 9th District to serve on the Georgia State Republican Committee, which is the statewide body that acts for the Party between conventions.
7th District Representative David Ralston gave an update on happenings at the Gold Dome: “I want to give you a brief overview of the Legislative session. If you have questions about any of the bills, call the office and request a copy. “Crossover—day 28, heading into the home stretch with a little over three weeks to go. Barring anything unforeseen, we will finish April 2. What Crossover means is basically for a House Bill to be considered by the Senate, or a Senate Bill to be considered by the House. It has to get out of the Chamber it started in by Thursday.
We have passed out some bills over to the Senate, and they’ve sent some to us. The rest of the session will be devoted to looking at each other’s bills and sometimes we take the same approach on issues and try to iron out differences to get to a resolution.
“Some interesting issues we have taken up this session include: High speed Broadband is a real priority of mine because I know it’s a really important issue here in our area and all over rural Georgia. We are in the process of knocking down some legal barriers and making that more accessible and to access some federal money that President Trump has been kind enough to provide for that kind of infrastructure.
I’m hoping we will move forward on that before the session is over. I know Sen. Gooch is working on that on the Senate side.
“Another bill that has gotten a lot of attention… I know some people don’t care for it, but some people do—that’s the Cannabis Bill. As some of you know we passed a bill that legalized cannabis oil for certain specialized medical conditions back twoor- three years ago. The problem was there was no legal way for people to get that unless they went to Colorado and then they’d probably violate the law bringing it back across the state line. This (bill) would set up a very complex, highly regulated control system… and there’s bi-partisan support for the bill.
But some people still have concerns about it. I’m sure the Senate will deal with that in the appropriate way.
“We passed a budget out of the House—that’s the most important thing we do. Some of the things included a very significant increase for school teachers and other certificated personnel in the school system. It’s not $5,000 per teacher increase because frankly, we just couldn’t afford all of that in one year.
But we took a big step in getting that raise. That’s gone over to the Senate and they’ll adopt their version of that and then we’ll come together and pass the budget.
“Then there was the bill—the Heartbeat Bill —the toughest anti- abortion bill now in the nation was passed by the Georgia House Thursday night (March 7). What it says is that it prohibits abortions in Georgia, which is currently about 20 weeks, when a heartbeat is detectable in the womb.
Doctors say that is about 6 to 8 weeks. It was a very intense debate. I have to tell you that people on both sides of that issue feel very, very strong. We had people on both sides voting— and we had some shenanigans on the House floor which I am going to deal with later—on both sides of the bill engaged in behavior that I found totally unacceptable in terms of being rude and disrespectful to people. I don’t care what your views are, I don’t think there’s EVER an excuse to do that.
“We go back in session Monday for Day 30 and we’ve added some committee days through the next three weeks, so we’ll have time to thoroughly look at the Senate bills and they’ll have time to look at ours. Don’t hesitate to call if you have questions.
Thank you for the privilege of representing you at the Capitol.” The Fannin Republican Party meets at the Senior Center in Blue Ridge the third Monday at 6 p.m.