Blue Ridge, Ga. – Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston spoke to Fannin County residents at the monthly Republican Party meeting. Ralston gave citizens an update on happenings at the Georgia capital and didn’t shy away from sharing his opinion of the upcoming Republican runoff and the Nov. General Election.
“Ain’t nobody going to know who I voted for,” Ralston said expanding on his opinion over recent endorsements of the two Georgia gubernatorial Republican candidates, “because I want to help bring about…we’re going to need some healing as a party.”
Ralston spoke of the the tough campaign that many in his party have faced and are still facing. He spoke specifically of the gubernatorial race between Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp: “It’s been kind of…actually kind of nasty.”
Georgia Republicans have a good message according to Ralston and need to refocus on getting out and sharing that message. He would like to see his party “stand together and stand united”.
“It is well funded. It is organized. It is energized. It is unified,” Ralston said of the Democratic Party that is being faced this year, adding, “It’s also more liberal than it was when it was in power last time.”
With redistricting expected to come after 2020, Ralston stressed the importance of coming together as a party in all upcoming elections.
Ralston spoke of his recent trip to Washington D.C. where he was invited to take part in President Donald J. Trump’s Infrastructure Advisory Council. The small group of state representatives spent time talking about issues in their state and met with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson.
“This is a welcome relief that we now have an administration that really does want to hear from us,” Ralston said of his time in our nation’s capital, “and that believes that power comes from the bottom up. Rather than from the top down.”
As far as the work of the last General Assembly in Georgia, Ralston said, “I think that we have had a great session. It is one that I am very, very proud of.”
Among the accomplishments listed by Ralston, the general session achieved fully funding the QBE (Quality Basic Education) which will bring an additional $273,000 to Fannin County Public Schools. The Fannin County School System will also receive $44,000 to put towards added security of school campuses.
Taxes were cut from 6 percent to 5.75 percent with a trigger to drop to 5.5 percent in 2019. Ralston stated that this was the first time income taxes were cut since its institution in Georgia.
“We managed to do that while keeping our budget balanced and maintaining a AAA bond rating,” Ralston added of the recent financial amendments in the state.
Fannin County will also soon see a stand alone campus for the University of North Georgia (UNG). This comes with the state pledging $5.5 million for its construction.
Ralston notes this as a “game changer” for Fannin County. According to Ralston not only will this strengthen ties with UNG in our area but also provide educational opportunities including dual enrollment for local high school students.
Finally Ralston spoke of legislation passed that will allow for “micro hospitals”. These small-scale hospitals will offer acute-care and emergency services as well as short term inpatient care. Facilities such as these typically only house 8 – 15 beds and because of lower overhead are less expensive to operate.
“The first such facility in the state is located just down the road in Ellijay,” Ralston spoke of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital Outpatient Center.
“I have to say, to receive 75 percent of the vote in the district was humbling and beyond our expectations,” Ralston acknowledged his own campaign and the outcome of the May Republican Primary. “It is a real honor to represent this county in the House of Representatives. More than that though I am blessed to call this place home.”
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Some voters are going the opposite direction of the pundits’ predictions. All the mathematicians on the Sunday morning shows were figuring out where all the votes would go now that Jeb Bush is out of the race and if Dr. Ben Carson and Ohio Governor John Kasich would get out of the race.
Sixty-seven percent of voters did not vote for Donald Trump in South Carolina. This could be heard by Marco Rubio during all of his Sunday morning interviews. I pick up that Rubio wants to call out Donald Trump on foreign policy. Rubio realizes a direct attack on Trump about his relationship with democrats or something Trump has said in the past is not working. Watch in the next debate how the media may help Rubio set Trump up on foreign policy. Rubio will call Trump out all week on foreign policy and the moderator will open up with, “Mr. Trump your opponent Marco Rubio has questioned your foreign policy.” Just say’in.
Trump beat everyone in South Carolina. He beat all the candidates, the sitting Governor Nikki Haley, Congressman Trey Gowdy, Senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, not to mention several other congressmen. The guy you want to be today in South Carolina is Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster. McMaster supported Trump and stood behind him during his victory speech in South Carolina. Trump won every county except two and walked away with all 50 South Carolina delegates. Rubio won the two counties and Ted Cruz did not win a single county.
Ted Cruz campaigned in South Carolina like there was no tomorrow. Cruz looked beaten in all his post election interviews. Although he will not admit it, Cruz knew that if evangelicals voted for Trump he was in big trouble. Cruz is in big trouble.
Cruz voters will not move to Rubio. If Cruz voters feel he can’t win they may just move over to Trump and that has started to happen.
Ed Singleton, owner of Singleton Food Services, Inc (Singleton operates 17 Subway stores in North Georgia and North Carolina) posted Sunday on his Facebook page a picture “Trump 2016” and made the following statement, “After a 3rd place finish in SC for Cruz, I am now jumping on the Trump bandwagon. I believe Trump will be a small business champion for my 17 Subway stores!” Singleton was previously supporting Cruz.
Ted Cruz needs to have wins throughout the south. The best the campaign can come up with this morning is: Cruz is the only true conservative in the race and the only one who can beat Trump. Cruz may be the true conservative in the race and as for the Iowa caucus he did have the best ground game. And we still don’t know how many votes went his way after the robocalls telling voters that Dr. Ben Carson was leaving the race.
The Cruz campaign threw everything including the kitchen sink at South Carolina. The establishment will definitely do everything to support Rubio. It’s a battle for the Republican Party. The Cruz campaign may be the ones outside the party looking in.