In response to the shooting at a church in Texas on Nov. 5 that killed 26 people, members of the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America gathered at City Hall in Athens on Saturday for a vigil for the victims, as well as a call to action.
The event, deeply rooted in faith, began at First A.M.E. Church before marchers made their way through downtown to City Hall. Many of the roughly 40 people held signs calling for an end to gun violence and a repeal of Georgia's campus carry law. During the procession, the group sang in unison, and was greeted by a church choir on the front steps of City Hall.
At City Hall, state Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) and others local leaders and gun safety advocates spoke to the crowd about the need for a solution to gun violence.
With the Nov. 7 special election drawing nearer, the candidates for state House districts 117 and 119 met Monday night for one final forum, organized by the Athens-Clarke County Federation of Neighborhoods at the ACC Library.
Candidates running in both districts responded to prepared questions from a Federation representative; much to the disappointment of both attendees and some of the candidates, they did not field questions from the audience, nor did they debate the topics.
Republican Houston Gaines and Democrat Deborah Gonzalez took to the stage first, starting out with their legislative priorities. For Gaines, that includes fostering business and economic growth while addressing education and transportation issues; for Gonzalez, improvements to education and public health, she said, would lead to improvements in other areas as well, including crime and mass incarceration.
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice mostly echoed common Republican rhetoric during his visit to the University of Georgia College Republicans on Wednesday, lauding Republican lawmakers’ new tax plan, which is still taking shape, and efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Hice, who represents most of Athens in Congress, predicted that the GOP is not done trying to overhaul the ACA after two failed attempts earlier this year. "This battle over health care is not over," he said. "That's the good news."
Hice dove into the gridlock in Congress, particularly the Senate, saying the 60-vote filibuster rule in the Senate has caused a "backup of House bills waiting at the door of the Senate." He also explained the reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority to pass a budget bill. Republican Senators tried unsuccessfully to repeal the ACA using the process earlier this year.
When asked about future plans to attempt to repeal the ACA, Hice said he has heard talk of another reconciliation-based strategy next year, but did not know of any specifics.
Jonathan Wallace hosted supporters across the street from the Oconee County Courthouse Saturday morning to kick off his campaign in the special election to fill Chuck Williams’ vacant District 119 seat.
Wallace, a software developer and member of the board of directors at the tech incubator Four Athens, spoke briefly, outlining some key advocacy points of his campaign, including internet and health care expansion and education reform.
"The state tried to take over the control of our locals schools," he told the crowd, referring to the controversial charter-schools amendment that was defeated at the ballot box last year. "That is unacceptable. Running for this position, I will fight to protect our public schools for our kids." Wallace called for an end to "high-stakes testing."
As governor, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle would sign a “religious liberty” bill—but not one that allows for discrimination, he told the UGA College Republicans on Wednesday.
The religious liberty issue is one that’s vexed Cagle for years. He supported the legislation in 2016, then reversed course earlier this year before once again backing a limited version.
Gov. Nathan Deal bowed to business interests who’d threatened to boycott Georgia when he vetoed the bill last year, angering Christian conservatives and pleasing LGBT Georgians and their allies who believed the bill would have let Christian-run businesses discriminate.
Companies “don't want to see a state that is discriminating in any way," Cagle said when asked about the religious liberty debate.
Cagle and other Republican gubernatorial candidates signed a pledge in August promising they would enact a religious liberty measure if elected.
Photo Credit: The University of Georgia
Less than three months since it took effect, Georgia's campus carry law is facing a lawsuit.
Six professors at Georgia colleges and universities, including three from the University of Georgia, filed a complaint Monday against Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Chris Carr, arguing that the law interferes with the University System Board of Regents’ authority and educational mission, and it endangers students, faculty and staff. The lawsuit, filed in Fulton County, seeks to have the campus carry law declared unconstitutional.
"Reasonable minds can and do differ on this issue [gun control], but this case is not about who is right," the complaint reads. "Rather, it is about which entity decides."
Photo Credit: Hunter Hulsey
Hunter Hulsey was disgusted when he saw a sign with a poll in the Tate Student Center Plaza Wednesday asking if people agreed that the shooting of Scout Schultz at Georgia Tech was "a clean shoot."
Schultz, a student at Georgia Tech, was shot and killed by police responding to a call of a suspicious person on campus. Schultz reportedly refused to comply with officer orders to drop a multitool he was wielding. It was later revealed Schultz placed the call the brought officers to the scene in what appears to be a suicide by police shooting.
"It pissed me off, so I took a picture," Hulsey said.
Photo Credit: Nicole Adamson
After years at its location on South Lumpkin Street near the Five Points intersection, Two Story Coffee is moving.
When renewing their lease, the property manager, Parker and Associates, reportedly decided to go with another bid.
"It caught us off-guard," said Daniel Luft, Two Story's general manager. The popular studying spot for UGA students now has until the end of the month to pack up and move out.
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp called out the media and his Democratic opponents and defended his record as secretary of state Wednesday night while visiting the UGA College Republicans.
Kemp—joined by newly appointed Judge Regina Quick and Houston Gaines, the former UGA Student Government president looking to fill Quick's vacant state House seat—stopped in his Athens hometown during his statewide campaign tour in an effort to get the college students involved in his "grassroots army."
The national discussion over Confederate monuments and memorials reached the floor of the Demosthenian Literary Society Thursday night, as the organization debated whether to remove a portrait of Robert E. Lee that hangs in its chamber.
The society offered Lee honorary membership in March 1866.
"My best guess is that they were trying to throw this old guy a bone," said Gilbert Head, a curator of presidential papers at the University Archives and a member of the society. "I don't think they were trying to make any statement at the time."
A portrait of Lee has been in the chamber for several decades. Although some members estimate the portrait was hung up in the 1910s, the portrait itself is likely dated between 1875 and World War I, Head said.
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