Live Call-In With House Speaker David Ralston

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#BKP has House Speaker David Ralston on the show to discuss the elections in Georgia, the worldwide pandemic, and much more.

 

Speaker Ralston asks Raffensperger to move Georgia Primary

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ATLANTA, Ga – Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (Ga -7) sent a letter to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) asking him to please move Georgia’s May 19th primary due to novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

In the letter, Ralston asserts that he would like the primary to be moved to a date of June 23 or later. He cites several other southern states that have already moved their May Primaries to June or July as a precautionary measure to keep the public safe.

An exert from the letter below:

“At the present time, our state, the entire nation and the world are confronted by a public health emergency of unprecedented magnitude.

Our prayer is that we will be on the other side of this difficult period sooner rather than later. However, the inescapable truth is that we do not know the duration of the immediate health peril. Reputable scientists and physicians cannot agree on its duration.

All of which means that the precautionary measures recommended by the CDC and adopted in executive order by Governor Kemp will continue for an unknown period of time.”

The Georgia Speaker of the House also addresses the right to vote as one of America’s “cherished freedoms” and it “should be free of impact from circumstances which create obstacles to its exercise.”

The May 19th primary puts Georgia over a month ahead of anyone else in the south.

View the full letter here. Secretary Raffensperger 3 26 2020

On Tuesday, March 24, Raffensperger announced that the Secretary of State’s Office would be mailing out absentee ballots to 6.9 Georgia voters for the May 19th primary. This was his answer to ensuring the health of Georgia voters and poll workers during the pandemic.

In a press release issued by Raffensperger on the absentee ballots, he said,

“Times of turbulence and upheaval like the one we Georgians face require decisive action if the liberties we hold so dear are to be preserved,” said Raffensperger. “I am acting today because the people of Georgia, from the earliest settlers to heroes like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Congressman John Lewis, have fought too long and too hard for their right to vote to have it curtailed. Georgia has faced challenges before and overcome them, and we can do so again through the grit and ingenuity that has made America a shining example for democracies around the world.”

In the 2016 and 2018 November elections, around 95 percent of Georgia voters opted to cast their ballot in person versus the 5 percent who did so by mail. With social distancing as the most important tool for limiting the spread of coronavirus, providing alternatives to voting in person is crucial. All Georgia voters can request and vote an absentee ballot for any reason.

While Secretary Raffensperger is encouraging as many voters as possible to vote by mail, some rely on in-person voting to exercise their right to vote privately and securely. People without internet or mail access, such as those experiencing homelessness; Georgians who need language assistance; and people with disabilities who rely on voting machines to cast their ballot will still be able to do so in person on the state’s new voting system. Additionally, research from the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law shows that eliminating “in-person voting could disproportionately disenfranchise Black, Latino, and young voters”. Their right to vote too needs protection.

To that end, Raffensperger is taking extra steps to limit the threat of COVID-19 at the polling place. Poll workers will receive additional resources to clean the equipment regularly. In-person voters who show up to vote in person will be instructed to maintain a safe distance when waiting to vote.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

These measures will protect poll workers as well. Understanding the extra risk Georgia’s generally elderly poll workers face, Raffensperger is working to help counties hire more and younger poll workers. Extra staff will allow those who feel sick to be absent from the polls without significantly impacting continuity while a younger pool of workers will increase resiliency in the face of the COVID-19 threat.

Fannin County’s New Library : Boards work together for a common goal

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – Will Fannin County finally have its stand alone library that so many citizens have petitioned for in the past? No, but the possibility of moving the current library to a larger more accommodating space is something that all agreed would be a vast improvement over the library’s current situation.

The Fannin County Board of Commissioners, the Fannin County Public Library Board and the Mountain Regional Library Board held a joint meeting to discuss the future of Fannin County’s Library and how to move forward to achieve a common goal.

“The purchase of the Whitepath building and moving the Administrative offices out of the courthouse fulfills a mandated referendum that was approved by the voters in Nov. 2016,” Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton said explaining the purpose of the called meeting. 

Fannin County, Board of Commissioners, Fannin County Public Library Board, Mountain Regional Library Board, Chairman, Director, Board member, Post One, Post Two, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Glenn Patterson, Ron Bolin, Claudia Gibson, Georgia House of Representatives, Speaker, David Ralston, grant, library, Sutton Architectural Services, Peter Sutton, Whitepath

Petere Sutton discusses possible options for the Fannin County’s new library.

Helton added, “During the move, moving there and design, we have an opportunity to offer the library a better space with improved parking.”

The two boards took the time to open up dialogue and lay the groundwork for the library’s possible move. 

Peter Sutton with Sutton Architectural Services was also present to help work through concerns and share his thoughts on the redesign of the Whitepath building.

Sutton pointed out that the buildings structure, upon initial inspection, was in good standing and that the process would really be one of converting the building from it’s industrial function to a building of administrative function.

Among Sutton’s ideas were the possibility for the library to have its own entrance, and noted that as the building stands now there would be enough room for the library to double its square footage.

Interim Regional Library Director for Mountain Regional Library System, Claudia Gibson spoke on the current library, “From what I’ve seen. I do think the library is very inadequate for library services. It’s very small. The parking, as you all know I’m sure, is very bad. We worry about children. They have to cross the street.”

The size of the new library was a key topic of discussion among library board members. The current square footage of the Fannin County Library is approximately 6,800 square feet.

Fannin County Public Library board member Ron Bolin stated that according to state standards the new library would need at least 19,000 square feet. Bolin added, “For me it is critical that we meet state standards.”

State standards of square footage for a library is based upon projected population growth and while Fannin County would ideally like to see 19,000 square feet for the new library, it is possible that the new facility could start out with less footage and be expanded at a later date.

Bolin also brought to the forefront the issue of funding, stating that not only is the grant from the state for $1.3 million not a done deal, but also that it was his understanding that the county was running on deficit in 2020 and wondered where the county’s portion of funds would come from.

The library board members all expressed that Speaker of the Georgia House Representatives David Ralston’s announcement of the grant had taken them off guard, and pointed out that the grant is still up in the air.

Fannin County’s library funding from the state is on a list at the capitol to be voted upon but that vote has not taken place yet. Funding from the state, if voted to be given to the Fannin County project, would not be available until July 2020 at the earliest.

Regardless of the question of funding, both parties agreed to take care of due diligence in order to give the county the best possible chance of receiving state grant. Members of the Board of Commissioners and the two boards representing the library system expressed enthusiasm in moving forward with the project.

Post One Commissioner Earl Johnson conveyed what seemed to be a mutual feeling of everyone involved, “I think it’s a very good avenue for all of us combined.”

The boards will meet at a later date to go over findings with state standards and discuss design and needs.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Ralston announces $1.3M in state funds for new Fannin County Public Library

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Fannin County Public Library

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) today announced a state grant of $1,383,000 to fund a new Fannin County Public Library. Local government will provide an additional $582,000 for a total project cost of $1,965,000.

“This is a tremendous win for our community, and this new library will be an important asset for years to come,” said Speaker David Ralston. “Whether it is inviting a child to read their first book, empowering a young person to research their higher education options or allowing community groups to gather, libraries touch people of all ages and enrich their lives. I want to thank County Commission Chairman Stan Helton and the Mountain Regional Library System for their efforts in making this new library a reality.”

The new Fannin County Public Library will be located in the old Whitepath building, purchased by Fannin County in 2019.

The new library will be located in the old Whitepath (Van Raalte) building in Blue Ridge. Fannin County will also be relocating its government administration offices to this building, freeing up office space in and easing traffic congestion around the Fannin County Courthouse. 

Fannin County purchased the Whitepath building in 2019.

County names John D McDaniel Bridge

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County is honoring its past this weekend as residents and local officials met over the weekend for a special celebration and honoring of a major figure from their past.

The Highway 515 Bridge in Fannin County that passes over Ada Street now has an official name, the “John D McDaniel Bridge.” The celebration saw family and friends with new signs for the bridge to formalize the naming.

McDaniel was not only a member of the clergy and a spiritual guide to citizens, but he previously served as a Commissioner of Education and served in the Georgia General Assembly from 1893 to 1897.

The event was also attended by current Fannin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney and Georgia Speaker of the House of Representatives David Ralston.

Ralston spoke about the event saying, “This past weekend, I was honored to be joined by the descendants of the Reverend John D. McDaniel as we dedicated the bridge on Highway 515 over Ada Street in Blue Ridge in his memory.”

With the signs up, Fannin memorializes a citizen from the past and honored his family who remain in the county he served so diligently.

Speaker Ralston Announces North Georgia Office of the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation in Ellijay

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(The following is a Press Release from the Office of David Ralston, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives.)

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) today announced that the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation has opened a North Georgia Office in Ellijay. The office is located in the Collaboration on River’s Edge (CORE) Building, a workplace innovation space and initiative of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation.

“I am proud to welcome the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation to Ellijay and look forward to the good work that will be done to further economic opportunity throughout rural Georgia,” said Speaker David Ralston. “This center is a direct result of the work of the House Rural Development Council and our continuing efforts to ensure prosperity is accessible to all Georgians – regardless of zip code.”

The center, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center, has named Janet Cochran to lead the North Georgia Office. Cochran comes to the center with more than a decade of experience as a project manager with the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

“Finding ways to not only maintain but to multiply the economic and cultural vitality present in so many of north Georgia’s small towns and rural communities relies heavily on relationships,” said Dr. David Bridges, Georgia’s Rural Center interim director, “and we know that our presence and personnel there will only improve our ability to facilitate positive outcomes. Janet brings a wealth of experience in managing economic development projects in this region of the state, and we’re excited to have her join our team in this role at the North Georgia Office.”

Headquartered at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation serves as a central information and research hub for rural best practices, including community planning, industry-specific assistance and cooperative efforts with community partners. The center was proposed by the House Rural Development Council in 2017 and was created by House Bill 951, which was enacted in 2018.

“Promoting a strong business environment that enhances the quality of our community is not just the chamber’s mission in words, it is behind everything we do. The opening of CORE and the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation is a cornerstone moment in that mission and one that we have worked tirelessly to support and create for many years. I join with our 650 members in celebrating,” remarked John Marshall, Gilmer Chamber Chairman of the Board.

“As chairman of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation it has been our goal as a private, citizen funded organization to help spur economic growth for our community and region. CORE being the home to the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation North Georgia office brings our vision to reality. We look forward to continuing to serve our communities for years to come,” said Kent Sanford, Chairman of the Board.

“Working with Speaker of the House David Ralston and the House leadership to bring the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation North Georgia office to our community will have economic impact to the entire region. We look forward to continuing to work to insure the success of the center and all of our partners within CORE,” remarked Lex Rainey, Greater Gilmer Joint Development Authority Chairman of the Board.

Located in Gilmer County, Ellijay is a thriving rural community in the North Georgia mountains, offering a unique blend of southern hospitality and natural beauty. The area leads Georgia in apple production and is a center for agribusiness and agritourism.

For more information about the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, visit http://www.ruralga.org/.

CORE receives grant and state office at ribbon-cutting

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – “This is the kind of project that will spread prosperity throughout our entire region. It is the kind of skin-in-the-game project that deserves support…” Georgia Speaker of the House, David Ralston praised the CORE Facility in Ellijay who hosted their official ribbon-cutting today.

Nestled just off Maddox Drive on the banks of the Coosawattee River in Ellijay, Georgia, the CORE Facility hosts business offices and incubation locations for entrepreneurs and start-ups in need of an office or workspace without the hassles of long-term investment.

Left to right, Gilmer Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton, and Pickens Commission Chairman Rob Jones celebrate with Greater Gilmer JDA Executive Director Kent Sanford at the CORE Facility ribbon-cutting in Ellijay, Georgia, on July 24, 2019.

However, the facility’s impact reaches so much farther than the city limits or the county’s borders. Today marked a celebration for the region and for the state. Representatives statewide joined together for this ribbon cutting including Gilmer Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Gilmer Post Commissioner Karleen Ferguson, Pickens Commission Chairman Rob Jones, Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, State Senator Steve Gooch, State Representative of District 11 Rick Jasperse, Ellijay City Mayor Al Hoyle, Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, and many representatives from the Ellijay and East Ellijay City Councils and Gilmer Board of Education. Efforts from many organizations have led into combined organizations such as the Greater Gilmer Joint Development Authority (JDA) and the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation.

That Foundation was the birthplace of the initiative to build CORE. According to Kent Sanford, Executive Director of the Greater Gilmer JDA and part of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation, a 14-month birth cycle has finally come to full fruition.

While the celebration was a culmination of efforts so far, it is only the beginning. It is a project that holds great impact on the future, according to Ralston who said, “It will create jobs in our area. The jobs of tomorrow will be possible because of the work that goes on in this building.”

Speaker of the House, David Ralston announces a $420,000 state grant for the CORE facility to applause from attendees at the ribbon-cutting on July 24, 2019.

Ralston also dedicated support to the facility as he announced, “Because of the local commitment to the CORE building the State of Georgia, through our OneGeorgia Authority, is awarding $420,000 to this project to be used for Facility purchase and improvement costs. This $420,000 grant is historic, both in terms of its dollar amount and the impact it will have on this project and community.”

Ralston continued speaking about the economic development and job creation in the county before offering the second announcement of the day regarding the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center.

Ralston stated at the ribbon-cutting, “I am proud to announce that the new North Georgia of the Georgia Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation will be housed right here in Ellijay in this facility. The office will be led by Janet Cochran.”

Ralston’s office later offered a full Press Release on the announcement stating the center serves as a central information and research hub for rural best practices, including community planning, industry-specific assistance and cooperative efforts with community partners. The center was proposed by the House Rural Development Council in 2017 and was created by House Bill 951, which was enacted in 2018.

The Georgia Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center, was officially announced to open a North Georgia Office at Gilmer’s CORE facility during a ribbon-cutitng on July 24, 2019.

These announcements were applauded by those present and praised by the Chairman of the Gilmer Chamber, John Marshall, who said, “Mr. Speaker, once again you have proven yourself to be the very epitome of a stalwart and faithful advocate not only to your hometown and all the other communities in these beautiful North Georgia Mountains, but to each and every corner of the state of Georgia.”

President of the Gilmer Chamber, Paige Green also praised the facility as the realization of a dream for the community that has spread to benefit not only one county but something larger that now spans the region.

Today was a celebration of completing the first steps of a larger plan for the facility. Though it is now open, it is only the first phase of that dream. Director Sanford noted last year that the hopes for the facility include two more phases.

In Phase II, the foundation will continue renovation onto the second floor to open up a larger area for education and training in a 1,200 square foot space upstairs.

In Phase III, hopes for the CORE Facility could extend into the schools for things like STEM Classes, STEM Saturdays, or other forays into education connection. Consolidating resources for these could include shared STEM kits or a shared expense for a STEM subscription service involving 3d-printing necessary components. However, specific details into PHASE III have yet to be finalized.

Ultimately, the CORE wants to continue spreading and growing this larger community where possible. Opportunities that may come have yet to be revealed, but one ribbon-cutting today, one celebration, can lead to something bigger than imagining tomorrow.

Celebration of the Copper Basin. The tri-cities work together for a common goal.

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – A celebration of the progress made and a look at future plans for the tri-cities of McCaysville, Ga., Copperhill and Ducktown, Tn. was recently held at the Burra Burra Seafood restaurant. The Copper Basin RSVP Reveal gave the public a look at what can be accomplished when multiple agencies work together for one common goal.

Crowd gathered at Burra Burra Seafood to discuss the future of the Copper Basin.

Zachary Welch, Chairman of the Revitalization Committee and member of the Renaissance Steering Committee, gave thanks to the numerous individuals, businesses and organizations involved in the process. Welch enthusiastically declared, “It’s a very exciting time for our area.”

Citizens and visitors are already noticing a more welcoming feel to the towns. Streetscapes have begun in several areas, flower pots have been placed and filled, hanging floral baskets now adorn the iconic bridges, and the McCaysville mall has seen a complete makeover with numerous businesses spriningup to fill vacant spots.

One of the most notable figures that has pushed forward the revitalization of the area is McCaysville resident Mike Galinski of Galinski Enterprises. 

“Just a super guy,” Welch said introducing Galinski to the crowd. “I am so thankful to be blessed with having him come into our community, invest his time and his resources and really help kick off revitalization of our town.”

Phase One of Galinski’s vision included restoring buildings in the area both structurally and aesthetically, in his words he wanted to “bring the buildings back to life”.

“We’ve been listening to the people and what they want,” Galinski said of the direction his projects have taken, adding that he has plans to begin an ice cream parlor in the mall.

Mike Galinski and Zachary Welch discussing the progress made and the future of area.

“I want to make it family friendly,” Galinski said of the initially named ‘Happy Bear’ ice cream parlor. “If you take your kid to the Happy Bear Ice Cream, how could they not be happy?”

Also slated for the town of McCaysville is a 12,000 square foot McCaysville Event Center and music venue. This project, still in its design phase, will need to meet state approval before construction can begin. 

Galinski said of the proposed event center, “It should be able to hold a pretty large amount, but also do small parties.”

Of those on hand to celebrate the success and direction of the Copper Basin district was Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston.

“What a great day to be in the Copper Basin,” Ralston spoke with the excitement shared by all involved.  “I can’t tell you what it means to see the enthusiasm and pride that this community has.”

Ralston gave personal thanks to the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, a branch of the University of Georgia, who has worked with the citizens of Copper Basin to brand the area and give direction to several projects. Ralston also gave thanks to the Lyndhurst Foundation of Tennessee who funded the planning.

Ralston then addressed Galinski, who he feels has spearheaded the revitalization in the area, “Mike, thank you for your passion for this community, and your vision, and your investment, of not only your time and resources, but your creativity. You have truly been a transformative leader here.”

Senior Public Service Associate with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Danny Bevins, spoke of future goals for the tri-cities and the unification through branding that his team was able to create.

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston celebrates the success of the area.

Details to the branding and future plans where scrutinized and thoughtfully presented in order to “tell the story” of the people and the land. The Copper Basin logos and designs are free for all to use.

Bevins said of his team’s work and the over 600 survey responses received concerning the course of the Copper Basin area, “This planning process is not our plan, it’s all your all’s plan.”

“We heard a lot about a riverwalk,” Bevins spoke of the citizens’ input and added that plans have been made to incorporate the river into the plans for McCaysville and Copperhill. The future of the river in the twin towns will host  “small gathering and sitting areas that are connected from both sides of the river, up and down”.

Other plans include a new park added as a continuation of the existing park in McCaysville, Wayfinding Signs, street and sidewalk improvements, benches and connecting walkways, and public art to enhance the feel in the area

Revitalization is undeniable in the area, and it is the hope of all involved to turn the Copper Basin district into a destination that is “Too Great For One State”.

McCaysville Mayor, Thomas Seabolt, being presented with a plan of the area.

 

Copperhill Mayor, Kathy Stewart, was also presented with a framed plan of the area.

 

Jan Hackett and David Ralston pose with a framed plan, that Ralston said would hang at the state capital.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

State to look into hurricane relief for Georgia

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Georgia State Assembly will convene on Tuesday Nov. 13 in a special called session.

Governor Nathan Deal called this session to address the state’s role and responsibility in aiding those affected in Southwest Georgia by Hurricane Michael.

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The agricultural sector of Georgia has lost billions due to Hurricane Michael.

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston held a special press conference in Blue Ridge on Friday Nov. 9 to address this upcoming session.

“This is a very important session,” Ralston said of the reason for the called session. “I know that we have all been preoccupied with the elections that have been going on, but now that they are over, I think it’s important that we get around in a very concentrated way to helping Southwestern Georgia recover from the almost complete devastation resulting from Hurricane Michael.”

According to the most recent data, state agencies have reported $22 million in damages to state owned properties. These damage estimates have been reported as far north as Cobb County and as far east as Chatham County.

Ralston, who has himself been in person to visit some of the areas affected by Hurricane Michael said of the devastation, “I can tell you it will bring tears to your eyes to see all the houses that have been damaged and destroyed and the damage to our agriculture sector of our economy is just beyond belief.”

As of Oct. 31 it is estimated that $2.461 billion has been lost in the Georgia agricultural sector. This estimate includes crops such as pecans, cotton, and peanuts, as well as general loss in vegetables, poultry, dairy, and timber.

Ralston cited Seminole County, Georgia as having lost 100 percent of their pecan trees. Pecan trees take on average 10 years to fully mature for harvest upon being planted.

In the Seminole County case Ralston said that “generations of work have been set back”.

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The timber sector is another field that will face major setbacks.

“I want to commend Governor Deal for making this a priority sooner rather than later,” Ralston said of the urgency in aiding these areas.
Governor Nathan Deal has put out a figure of $270 million in relief efforts. Ralston stressed that this would just be a beginning and by no means a final number.

“It’s going to be way more than that,” Ralston addressed the overall cost. “The total damage is going to be multiple billions, more than any state can do. The federal government and us will partner on many of these programs.”

Currently local governments have been bearing the financial burden of debris removal and clean up. Ralston feels that the money being appropriated will go partially for reimbursement to these local agencies.

The state will focus mainly on fixing infrastructure in the area and help continue the debris removal. They will also look at repairing state assets.
“I’m not expecting that it would have an effect on the mid year budget,” Ralston said speaking of the financial impact on the state. “We’re doing well as a state so we don’t have to touch the rainy day fund.”

Ralston does expect some relief money to be worked into the 2020 Budget when the regualr General Session takes place.

Also being addressed at this special called session is Georgia’s Jet Fuel Tax break. This tax exemption was signed into executive order by Governor Deal after it caused much controversy in the house and senate.

“Under the law the suspension of the jet fuel tax has to be taken up because the suspension was reinstated by executive order,” Ralston explained why this matter would be discussed at the special session, “which means that it must be reviewed at the next regular or special session.”

As for whether this tax break will continue, it remains unknown. “Anytime that we do preferential tax treatment for any entity, then I think the burden is on that entity to make the case for why it is necessary, why it’s good for the overall economy in this state.”

Ralston added, “To be candid with you, I haven’t heard that case made yet.”

***All photos courtesy of www.house.ga.gov***

 

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David Ralston intends to send George Soros a letter

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Georgia, Fannin County, Gilmer County, Dawson County, Georgia House of Representative, Governor, Gubernatorial, General Election, 2018, Hurrican Michael, President Donald Trump, Brian Kemp, Stacey Abrams, David Ralston, George Soros, Republican Party, Democratic Party

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston

Blue Ridge, Ga. – In a media conference held on Friday Nov. 9, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston expressed his opinions on current politics as well as the recent General Election.

“We’ve had a lot of money spent in this state on the election and much of that money came from out of state,” Ralston said speaking of the General Election, “and a good bit of it came from some very, very well heeled individuals that I didn’t realize cared about Georgia. as much as they apparently do. I welcome their concern about the state.”

Ralston plans to send a letter to political activist and democratic supporter George Soros welcoming him to continue to support the state by pledging relief to those in Southwest Georgia who were devastated by Hurricane Michael.

Ralston expanded more on the letter and its intent, “I am dead serious about this. Let’s see if he would like to help out some farmers in Southwestern Georgia that are hurting.”

According to Ralston it “would be another way that he (Soros) could show his interest in Georgia.”

With the ongoing disputes of the gubernatorial election results, Ralston said that the business of the state is moving forward. He has already spoken with Governor Elect Brian Kemp about the upcoming legislative agenda.

In speaking with Kemp, Ralston also addressed the handling of the 2018 General Election: “He was much more kind than I would have been. I thought the election ended way before he called it. I thought he showed great class in delaying his claim of victory.”

As for Kemp’s opponent former minority leader in the Georgia State House of Representatives Stacey Abrams, Ralston shared his thoughts as well: “I really hope that Representative Abrams will do the right thing and acknowledge that this is mathematically over. I understand that if she concedes that probably the flow of money and publicity ends, but that’s kind of the way this thing works. I hope for the good of the state that she will reevaluate her thinking as it appears to be now. I don’t think that prolonging this with lawsuits and challenges and things of that sort is good for Georgia.”

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Governor Elect Brian Kemp (right) and opponent Stacey Abrams (left)

“We can’t wait on lawsuits and we can’t wait on people to continue to seek out publicity,” Ralston said concluding his thoughts on the gubernatorial race. “We’ve got a state to run and we’ve got a part of the state that is hurting, that we are going to start helping next week.”

When asked about the clear division in voting patterns in the state of Georgia (urban versus rural) and whether or not he felt President Donald Trump’s administration was a reason for this division, Ralston replied that he did not see it that way.

According to Ralston some republican members that lost seats would possibly blame President Trump and some seats that were reclaimed by republicans would also be credited to the president for the victories.

Regardless of the state and local election outcome Ralston says that Trump’s administration is doing much more in terms of listening to a state’s needs. He is seeing this administration allow decisions to come from “the bottom up rather than the top down”.

“I very much applaud this administration for its emphasis on rural areas here in the country,” Ralston stated of his own experience with the Trump administration.

Ralston also took the time to express his view of the Republican Party in the state of Georgia: “Our party was here before him (Trump). It will be here after him and we need to learn to message our pro-job, pro-education reform, pro-public safety message in a more effective way.”

Having been pleased with the outcome of the most recent Georgia Legislative Session, Ralston stated about spreading the word of the accomplishments, “We have to do a better job of communicating that.”

Ralston listed some of the achievements in the last legislative session “Cut the income tax, full funding for QBE, appropriating funds for school safety, adoption reform. So many good things that we accomplished, in my view at least.”

Georgia State will hold a Special Legislative Session beginning next Tuesday Nov. 13. The main focus of this session will be to provide hurricane relief to areas affected in Southwest Georgia.

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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A Message From Rick Day – Vote Day for a Better Way

Election 2018, Politics
The reason I am motivated to serve this district is impatience with the current leadership on the implementation of the cannabis (marijuana) regulatory and industrial systems long overdue. It is time to be part of the rest of the nation and a $60 billion dollar a year industry. I want North GA to be the Napa Valley of cannabis and agricultural hemp. I intend to spend the season meeting and listening to people–to their concerns, and what the state legislature should and should not do for them. For too long, the 7th has had neither meaningful regional leadership nor challenges to their decisions at the ballot. For too long, the corporate status quo established in the highest reaches of State Government dine on the lobbyist’s dime, and mockingly depend on our rural votes. Yet year after year, we see other counties thrive, while we languish as a ‘retirement community and our best and brightest young people move away. The entrenched GOP leadership fails every year to ‘bring home the bacon’. This must stop. We deserve better leadership from our leaders. We deserve more than Proclamations. We need jobs, justice reform, and we need quality affordable healthcare.
We need something different in local representation. ACTUAL representation.

David Ralston shares his opinion on the 2018 Election

Election 2018

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.”

Georgia, Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia's Quality Basic Education Act, QBE, Governor, Nathan Deal, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, David Ralston, Fannin County School System, Gilmer County School System, University of North Georgia, UNG, Ellijay, Ben Carson, Mike Pence, Casey Cagle, Brian Kemp, Voter Turnout, Run-off, Election 2018, Republican, Democrat, Stacey Abrams

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston updated residents of Fannin County about happenings in the state capital.

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.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Rick Day says cannabis could be the future of North Georgia

Election 2018, Politics

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Many words were used to describe Rick Day as he exited the Fannin County Democratic meeting on July 2: enthusiastic, informed, entertaining, and passionate.

Day, a 62 year old veteran, is the first from the Democratic party to ever challenge the Speaker of the House, David Ralston, for the seat of Georgia House of Representatives District 7.

One key issue of Day’s platform and arguably one that he shows the most passion for is his pro-cannabis stance and the benefits it could bring to North Georgia.

“Somewhere in the 70’s I discovered cannabis, marijuana, and it has been a lifelong love affair with Mary Jane,” Day said about his position.

Georgia, Georgia House of Representatives, Speaker of the House, District 7, Fannin County, Gilmer County, Dawson County, David Ralston, Rick Day, Republican, Democrat, Election 2018, State Election

Democratic candidate Rick Day hopes to unseat incumbent David Ralston in November.

According to Day, almost 700,000 people have been arrested for minor marijuana possession in Georgia since Ralston’s election to the seat of District 7 in 2002.

“This man is so powerful he could have changed this law,” Day said explaining his take on Ralston’s record. “He only cares about the for-profit prisons that lobby him.”

Day would like to see Georgia move beyond the limited laws passed recently in the state that increased medical marijuana use and see cannabis legalized for recreational use as well.

Stating statistics, Day said that approximately 85 percent of Georgians are in favor of medical marijuana, 70 percent of Republicans are in favor, and 65 percent of Georgians favor cannabis oil.

“If we wait another 10 years, the crops are not going to be worth anything near what it was because it’s going to be so common,” Day spoke of the economic impact of ending the war on marijuana.

Wanting to see both marijuana and hemp become major cash crops for the state of Georgia, Day spoke of the increased tax revenue that this legislation, if passed, would create; up to 1 billion in increased revenue. Day would like to see all citizens of North Georgia benefit from this wealth by using the new revenue to eliminate or dramatically decrease property taxes.

“Thousands of jobs, good, well paying jobs,” Day expanded on the benefits of this move. “Develop the area and work with it, so that it becomes part of our identity without overtaking us.”

“My vision is to turn this (North Georgia) into the Napa Valley of cannabis,” Day enthusiastically spoke of his hope.

Acknowledging other issues facing our area Day said, “There is a growing issue with lack of affordable housing in the district.”

With no shortage of half million dollar homes, Day says that it is very hard to find homes in the $150,000 range where there is an increasingly growing demand.

Offering grants and incentives for builders to construct these more affordable homes is a possible solution that Day sees on this issue.

When it comes to his Republican opponent, Day does not mince words: “Ralston is a con. A bought and paid for conservative. Conservatives are no longer the fiscal stewards they once were or ever represented themselves to be.”

Accusing Ralston of catering to the highest bidder, Day pointed out Ralston’s $400,000 yearly pension and using his position to get his son a lobbying job: “He’s their man. He’s not our man anymore.”

As for Ralston’s impact on his district, Day shared his thoughts on that as well. According to Day, Ralston is a man who holds a position of power in the state of Georgia: “Arguably the most powerful because he’s not tenured with term limits like the governor is, and he can’t even get us one manufacturing center up here. He’s done nothing for this district.”

“I can’t out spend David Ralston. He’s already got $1,000,000 in corporate money in the bank,” Day elaborated on his campaign plans. “I can’t make a lot of promises. I won’t have a lot of political power, but I ain’t David Ralston and I will never be that man.”

Day says that his political platform is simple. Having been shown a kindness when he was a young man, his philosophy is to pay it forward. His litmus test on every issue is “Is this going to be good for our kids? Is this going to be good for our grand-kids?”.

“I oppose the things that are not, and I embrace the things that are good,” Day said of this philosophy.

“I believe in myself and I want you to too,” Day spoke to those gathered to hear his message. “I’m done watching (politics). Now is the time for action. Now is the time to bring David Ralston home.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Fannin County and State Election Results 2018

Election 2018

UPDATED MAY 22, 2018 @ 10:15 p.m.

The May General Primary came to a close in Fannin County. As many had predicted some races locally will now be voted on in the General Primary Runoff.

Republican candidates will now choose between challenger Glenn Patterson and incumbent Larry Joe Sosebee for the seat of Fannin County Post 2 Commissioner. Patterson received 1678 votes totaling 47.77 percent and Sosesbee received 1100 votes totaling 31.31 percent. Democrat Dixie Carter will face the winner of this race in the Nov. General Election.

A seat with the Fannin County Board of Education will also be seen on the General Primary Runoff ballot. Incumbent Steve Stanley will face challenger Mike Cole. Stanley received 1440 votes totaling 42.04% and Cole received 875 totaling 25.55%. The winner of this race will run against Democrat Susan DeMoura in the Nov. General Election.

Incumbent Bobby Bearden beat out challenger Marvin Allen in the closest local race for the Republican nomination. Bearden will now run for a seat on the Fannin County Board of Education against Democratic challenger Jeff DePaola.

The General Primary Runoff will be held on July 24, 2018.

*These election results are unofficial until being certified by the Secretary of State’s office.

**The results for state seats in this article reflect the voters of Fannin County only and do not reflect voting statewide. Statewide results can be viewed at : https://fetchyournews.com/election/election-and-politics/ga-state-election-results-2018/

FANNIN COUNTY POST 2 COMMISSIONER

Glenn Patterson (R)  –              47.77%       1678 votes    (Challenger in General Primary Runoff)

Larry Joe Sosebee (R) –            31.31%       1100 votes    (Incumbent in General Primary Runoff)

William “Tripp” Ritchie (R) –     20.92%      735 votes

Dixie Carter (D) –                        100%         408 votes       (Moves forward to General Election)

 

FANNIN COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

Bobby Bearden (R) –      52.29%      1782 votes          (Primary Winner : Moves forward to General Election)

Marvin Allen (R)  –         47.71%       1626 votes

Jeff DePaola (D) –          100%           371 of votes          (Moves forward to General Election)

 

FANNIN COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

Steve Stanley (R) –           42.04%      1440 votes          (Incumbent in General Primary Runoff)

Mike Cole (R) –                 25.55%       875 votes            (Challenger in General Primary Runoff)

Ron Bolin (R)  –                17.69%       606 votes

Mike Sullivan (R) –           14.72%      504 votes

Susan DeMoura (D) –       100%        395 votes             (Moves forward to General Election)

 

GEORGIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 7 

David Ralston (R) – Totals –  75.10%      3,529 votes     (Primary Winner : Moves forward to General Election)

Results by County:

Gilmer:       70.80%     536 votes

Fannin:       75.99%      2674 votes

Dawson:     75.41%       319 votes

 

Margaret Williamson (R) – Totals –  24.90%      1,170 votes

Results by County:

Gilmer:      29.19%       221 votes

Fannin:      24.01%      845 votes

Dawson:     24.59%      104 votes

 

Rick Day (D) – Totals –  100%      570 votes      (Moves forward to General Election)

Results by County:

Gilmer:         100%     92 votes

Fannin:         100%      373 votes

Dawson:       100%      105 votes

 

2018 Georgia Primary Election Results 

GOVERNOR CANDIDATES:

Casey Cagle (R) –            38.03%      1351 votes

Brian Kemp (R) –            27.79%        987 votes

Hunter Hill (R) –             16.13%        573 votes

Clay Tippins (R) –            9.99%       355 votes

Michael Williams (R) –   7.07%       251 votes

Eddie Hayes (R)  –           0.68%       24 votes

Marc Urbach (R) –           0.31%        11 votes

 

Stacey Abrams (D) –       61.37%      286 votes

Stacey Evans (D) –          38.63%      180 votes

 

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CANDIDATES:

David Shafer (R) –      47.14%      1475 votes

Geoff Duncan (R) –    27.13%      849 votes

Rick Jeffares (R) –     25.73%      805 votes

 

Sarah Riggs Amico (D) –          77.98%      340 votes

Triana Arnold James (D) –      22.02%      96 votes      

 

SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATES:

Brad Raffensperger (R) –      37.95%      1109 votes

David Belle Isle (R) –             30.56%      893 votes       

Buzz Brockway (R) –              15.85%      463 votes

Josh McKoon (R) –                15.64%      457 votes      

 

John Barrow (D) –                      52.33%      225 votes

Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D) –      34.65%      149 votes

R.J. Hadley (D) –                         13.02%      56 votes

 

Smythe Duval (I) –                      N/A

 

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES:

Jim Beck (R) –            62.95%      1886 votes

Tracy Jordan (R) –     18.86%      565 votes

Jay Florence (R) –      18.19%      545 votes

 

Cindy Zeldin (D) –       54.57%       221 votes

Janice Laws (D) –        45.43%       184 votes

 

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES:

District 3 – 

Chuck Eaton (R) –        100%        2580 votes

 

Lindy Miller (D)  –       67.47%      280 votes       

John Noel (D)  –           24.10%      100 votes

Johnny White (D)  –    8.43%        35 votes     

District 5 – 

Tricia Pridemore (R)  –      52.39%      1559 votes

John Hitchins III (R)  –     47.61%       1417 votes

 

Dawn Randolph (D) –         76.53%      313 votes

Doug Stoner (D) –               23.47%      96 votes

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Speaker David Ralston Attends White House Speakers Conference

Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) is attending the White House State House Speakers Conference. This conference brings together state house speakers from across the country to receive an update on President Trump’s policy initiatives. Several administration officials will meet with the group including Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Ben Carson and Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.

“I thank President Trump for his invitation, and I appreciate his administration’s continuing outreach to state and local officials,” said Speaker Ralston. “The President understands that our government can be most effective when the federal, state and local levels work together as partners on behalf of the citizens we serve.”

Following the conference, Speaker Ralston will attend the President’s recognition of NASCAR Cup Series Champion Martin Truex, Jr., and his team at the White House.

Speaker Ralston previously visited the White House in February to represent Georgia at President Trump’s infrastructure plan announcement. That proposal would combine public-sector funding with private-sector investments to rebuild and improve the nation’s infrastructure – particularly in rural communities.

“It is refreshing to have a President who leads on issues like tax reform and infrastructure improvements,” said Speaker Ralston. “I am hopeful that Congress will support the President’s infrastructure plan, which would spur economic growth and create jobs across the country.”

 

Ralston Endorsed by Georgia Carry – Vote Ralston

Politics

Our 2nd Amendment rights are not up for debate. That’s why I refuse to entertain gun control activists who seek to undermine our safety and compromise the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. From passing “the most pro-gun bill in state history” to ensuring that students, faculty, and visitors can protect themselves on a college campus, I am proud of my record of defending and expanding our 2nd Amendment Rights.

This election, I am once again endorsed by the NRA – National Rifle Association of America and countless #2A supporters throughout the District. Together, we will stand up for our God-given rights and remain “freedom’s safest place.”

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