NewsPub Notes

Pub Notes

2005 State Senate District 46 encompasses all of Athens-Clarke County, all of Oconee County and part of Oglethorpe County—a loose community of interest which includes the University of Georgia.

2006 The Georgia Legislature splits Athens-Clarke County into two senatorial districts. Half of ACC goes into State Senate District 46, which now includes all of Oconee County plus a wide swath of rural Walton County. The other half of ACC goes into District 47, where ACC is a minority part of a large rural district including all or parts of Elbert, Jackson, Madison and Barrow counties. This is done by the Republican legislature to dilute the Democratic vote in Athens-Clarke County, but Republicans call it a great advance for Athens-Clarke and the University of Georgia: instead of only one state senator, ACC and UGA will now be served by two state senators, who will also be busy serving their far-flung rural districts.
2010 Athens-Clarke County includes two complete State House of Representative districts, one of which traditionally has been the home district of the University of Georgia. A third district includes a small part of ACC and all of Oconee County.

2011 The Georgia legislature carves out a part of Athens-Clarke County and joins it to portions of Oconee, Walton, Barrow and Jackson counties to construct a House of Representatives district having absolutely no community of interest whatsoever except the Speaker’s interest in electing new Republican Doug McKillip. The leftover part of Athens-Clarke is joined to Oconee to form another district.

2011 Athens-Clarke County has, since local citizens ratified its charter in 1990, been governed by a mayor and 10 commissioners from eight districts and two “superdistricts,†each comprising four of the districts. In accordance with legal requirements to redistrict the county after each census, the mayor appoints a committee and the state’s top redistricting consultant to hold public hearings and redistrict the county. Hearings are held during the summer, and in the fall the committee comes up with a redistricting plan that equalizes the populations in the existing districts. A second committee of local citizens appointed by the mayor determines that the existing districts are not racially discriminatory.

2012 The Georgia Legislature overrides the work of the mayor’s redistricting committee and the Charter of the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County Georgia and imposes a totally new 10-single-member-district, jerry-rigged around the residences of the present commissioners, lessening by half each citizen’s representation. The reason given for the takeover by the Legislature is that Athens-Clarke County will now be able to elect more minority citizens, including (non-partisan) Republicans. Local citizens are expected to welcome this power play, because all our Senators and Representatives consider it to be in our best interests. Representative Chuck Williams is not really in favor of this takeover, but he lacks the guts to block it by withholding his consent to let it go forward as local legislation. Rep. Doug McKillip pushes it as part of his demonstration of just how much of a Republican he has become. Rep. Keith Heard goes along because he has been gone from Athens for so long he thinks he’d better do something local attorney Ken Dious tells him would be even better for black people than selling out the Colima Avenue neighborhood for a Racetrac gas station. Sen. Frank Ginn is for it because it’s a minor part of his district, and he’s not really for local control, as he first said he was; and Sen. Bill Cowsert pushes it because the people in the pines of Walton County provided his election margin last time, and he’s got to show them he’s not as much of a city slicker as he looks like in his expensive suits and tassle-loafers.

2012 In the July 31 primaries, local attorney Regina Quick is running against McKillip. Local businessman Spencer Frye is running against Heard. Candidates have yet to oppose Williams, Ginn and Cowsert—candidates who believe that “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth.â€

Pete McCommons