Houston Gaines, running to replace Republican Regina Quick, who stepped down in August as representative from Georgia House District 117, had a warning for the Oconee County Republicans who attended the party’s meeting in late September.
“We’ve got to work hard to keep this seat,” Gaines said of the 117th, which is dominated by Clarke County but includes parts of Oconee, Barrow and Jackson counties as well.
Ed Perkins, vice chair of the Oconee County GOP, underscored the importance to Oconee County Republicans of what Gaines had said.
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.
Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file
Donald Trump played a role in the candidate forum for the Nov. 7 special elections for House Districts 117 and 119 held Tuesday night at the Oconee County campus of the University of North Georgia, as he did in a forum last week.
In response to a question about Trump’s behavior as President, the three Republican candidates in the race for House District 119 strongly endorsed Trump, though Steven Strickland did say he had problems with 5 percent of what Trump does.
When Houston Gaines, running as the sole Republican in House District 117, was asked, if the 2016 election were tomorrow, would he vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton, he did not answer.
Clarke County voters are dominant in Georgia House District 117 and make up a very slight majority of voters in the 119th Georgia House District, an analysis of voter registration data as of Oct. 1 shows.
Clarke County voters also differ demographically from those in Barrow, Jackson and Oconee counties, who share the 117th, and from voters in Oconee County, who share the 119th, the analysis of the registration data confirms.
Early voting starts today in the two special elections to fill the vacant 117th and 119th Georgia House seats, and the two candidates in the 117th and four candidates in the 119th have to persuade voters to vote for them and to turn out at the polls if they hope to represent the area in the General Assembly session in January.
All six candidates have the opportunity to meet with potential voters tonight in a candidate forum at the Oconee County campus of the University of North Georgia and in a forum Oct. 23 at the Athens-Clarke County Library.
Photo Credit: Blake Aued
A man shot and killed a woman during a domestic dispute off Hawthorne Avenue this afternoon, then turned the gun on himself.
An Athens-Clarke County police officer responded to a call at about 4 p.m. about a domestic dispute involving a handgun at the Columbia Brookside apartment complex.
The shooting started "immediately, as soon [the officer] as arrived and got out of his car," ACCPD Chief Scott Freeman told reporters at a news conference tonight. "The officer witnessed this shooting, and he returned fire in an effort to stop the threat."
Photo Credit: Emuel Aldridge
John Conaway, a skilled and popular local tree service operator, fell to his death Wednesday, Oct. 4 while working on Holman Avenue. A limb to which he had attached his safety rope broke off and carried him down with it.
Photo Credit: Lee Becker
Oconee County has issued a building permit for Hobby Lobby in Epps Bridge Centre II, signaling that another big box retailer is leaving the Atlanta Highway commercial corridor for Oconee County.
The permit is for a 54,947-square-foot building and is the first issued by the county for Epps Bridge Centre II, which is across the Oconee Connector from the existing shopping center at the newly opened Plaza Parkway.
Hobby Lobby now shares a 87,543-square-foot building on Atlanta Highway at Epps Bridge Parkway with 2nd & Charles and Athens Pool Spa.
Oconee County also has issued a building permit for a second restaurant in Falls of Oconee, the commercial complex on old Macon Highway opposite Athens Ridge, a student housing complex.
The county has received plans for construction of a branch office of Robins Financial Credit Union on Mars Hill Road opposite the Oconee Primary School and Oconee Elementary School, just west of the Burger King now under construction.
Initial plans had called for two fast food restaurants on the property, both with drive through operations. The submitted plans show a drive through for the credit union.
Photo Credit: Google Streetview
A pedestrian who was hit by a minivan on Friday was not using a nearby crosswalk, according to Athens-Clarke County police.
The pedestrian, an approximately 51-year-old man with a Honeysuckle Lane address, was crossing Prince Avenue from south to north near the entrance to Dunkin' Donuts at about 8 a.m. Friday when he was hit by an eastbound Honda Odyssey driven by an approximately 41-year-old Athens man, according to a police report.
"The pedestrian walked into the path of the Odyssey and was struck by [it]," the report says.
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