In the Loop

  • UGA Prof Richard Dien Winfield Launches Senate Campaign

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    University of Georgia philosophy professor Richard Dien Winfield is running for U.S. Senate, he announced today.

    Winfield, a Democrat, is seeking to fill out the remainder of former Sen. Johnny Isakson's term, which runs through 2022. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appointed businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to the seat in December, after Isakson resigned for health reasons. A special election will be held this November.

    He supports a federal job guarantee, paid family leave and vacation time, the Green New Deal, free child and elder care, the right to unionize and "Medicare for all" single-payer health insurance. His website includes more information about his platform.


  • Live-Work-Play Development Planned in Watkinsville

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    The Watkinsville City Council on Wednesday authorized City Manager Sharyn Dickerson to move forward with creation of a development agreement for the 66.6-acre former Southwire property on Barnett Shoals Road.

    The council took the action following a presentation by developer Duke Gibbs and planner Bob Smith for what they are calling Wire Park.

    The project includes single-family detached housing units on both large and small lots, townhomes and condominium flats, and an adaptive reuse of the existing wire manufacturing building on the site.


  • Video: Mokah Johnson Kicks Off State House Campaign

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    Photo Credit: screencap via YouTube

    Educator and civil rights activist Mokah Jasmine Johnson formally kicked off her campaign for state House District 117 Saturday at the downtown bar Max Canada.

    Other speakers at the event included Athens-Clarke County commissioners Mariah Parker (15:00) and Tim Denson (20:22), Athens PRIDE board member Cameron Harrelson (34:47), poet Marcel Mincey (42:43) and former state Rep. Deborah Gonzalez, who is running for district attorney this year (50:58).

    Unless she has primary opposition, Johnson will face Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) in November. District 117 includes mainly western Clarke County and northern Oconee County.


  • BOE Picks Antwon Stephens as New Member



    Photo Credit: photo via Twitter

    A 23-year-old political consultant will serve out the year as the District 2 representative on the Clarke County Board of Education, other board members decided Thursday. A majority of the BOE selected Antwon Stephens from among five applicants to replace Frances Berry, who resigned in December. 

    In a speech to the school board at its Jan. 16 meeting, Stephens said he is concerned about the school-to-prison pipeline. He called Vernon Payne—who held the East Athens seat for decades before illness forced him to resign—a mentor. “I’m tried, I’m tested, and I’m ready to serve,” he said.

    Stephens is perhaps best known as a potential candidate for Athens-Clarke County mayor in 2018, although in the end he opted not to run because of health problems. He also made headlines in 2013, when he ran for chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia as a 17-year-old and faced charges of not paying speakers at a tea party conference he organized. Despite not being old enough to serve in Congress, he has been running as a Democrat against U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville).


  • Wallace Announces Bid to Retake House Seat


    Watkinsville Democrat Jonathan Wallace will try to retake the seat he lost in 2018 to Rep. Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville).

    Wallace won the GOP-held District 119 seat in a 2017 special election, defeating three Republicans, including Wiedower, with 57% of the vote. He was helped by a sales tax referendum that drove turnout in heavily Democratic Clarke County, but with higher turnout in heavily Republican Oconee County the following year, Wiedower beat Wallace 53–47.


  • Hospital and Medical Office on Prince Will Be Renovated

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    Piedmont Athens Regional and the medical office across the street will both look different soon.

    Owner Richard L. Thompson of Atlanta-based StructSured is renovating the medical office at 1270 Prince Ave. The building will receive a new white facade that will blend in with the medical office under construction where the landmark bar Allen’s used to be, as well as interior improvements, Thompson said.  “Hopefully it will enhance the area, make it more attractive to the eye,” he told Flagpole.

    The building currently houses Piedmont QuickCare, Athens Women’s Clinic and several other practices. They are all staying, and an additional 1,900 square-foot suite will be available for lease once renovations are complete, according to Thompson.


  • Mokah Johnson Officially Announces State House Run


    Local educator and civil rights activist Mokah Jasmine Johnson will formally kick off her campaign for the Georgia House of Representatives later this month.

    Johnson has been exploring a run against Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) since August. She will make it official at a City Hall rally Jan. 18.

    “Over the past few months, I have listened to the people of our district and worked to understand the issues that are most important to working families,” Johnson said in a news release. “I believe it’s time we bring bold progress and fearless leadership to the State House from District 117.”


  • The Best and Worst Athens Politics Stories of 2019

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    Here are top five best and worst things that happened in Athens government in 2019, courtesy of the Athens Politics Nerd.


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