After six terms, 12 years, and more than 600 weeks of newspaper columns, it's time to pass the mantle as your state representative to a new generation of leaders. State Rep.-elect Kevin Tanner takes over with the start of the new Legislative Session in January.
This column was a favorite of my friend, Otis Brumby Jr., publisher of the Marietta Daily Journal and Neighbor Newspapers, who passed away earlier this year. It is dedicated to his memory. I wish I could have been there. In Bethlehem.
During my 12 years in the General Assembly, we have always been in some form of a recession. While economists say the recession ended in 2009, you can't tell it from our housing market and unemployment records. This has created ongoing challenges in funding education at all levels. Budget cuts have affected higher education much more than K-12 (two of the House Committees I serve on).
I called Hall of Fame football coach Vince Dooley this week to get his perspective on UGA's heart-breaking loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. There are few people more qualified to comment than Vince Dooley. Let's start with the fact that he won 201 football games, six SEC championships and a national title during an illustrious career that stretched from 1964 to 1988.
When I wrote a column about the Old Courthouse's decorations, including new lights around the square, one of the main purposes was to also tell about the hidden treasure inside that building. Obviously, my memory trail of the Historic Courthouse-Woman's Club relationships became so winding that it had to stop before it led to the Historical and Genealogical Society office.
If you haven't been in downtown Dawsonville within the last week, you haven't seen the Historic Old Courthouse in its Christmas finery. When you do, be sure to notice the new (old-fashioned) lights around it. Members of the GFWC-Dawson County Woman's Club spent hours getting decorations ready and the Dawson County Public Works Department put them up.
Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss is catching heat from right-wingnuts for doing exactly what he should be doing - trying to help the federal government find a way out of the financial morass the country is in. The wingnuts want him to honor a 20-year-old no-tax pledge. The senator says he is not talking about tax increases, but tax reform and cites loopholes that need to be closed, like the current $6 billion annual tax credits ...
Getting meaningful ad valorem property tax relief for our senior citizens was a major promise I made to voters when I first ran for the Georgia House of Representatives in 2000. Eventually, I came to understand that ad valorem property taxes were the most hated taxes by Georgians. And, after 12 years of writing weekly columns in the local newspapers, I have written on this subject more than any other.
In case you have been busy doing mundane stuff like eking out a living, you may have missed the news that there is a petition going around that would allow Georgia to secede from the union. As of this writing, there have been 24,579 signatures to the petition. The impetus for the secession drive is a White House Web site that encourages We the Unwashed to petition the Obama Administration to hear our concerns. (Insert joke here.)
My father had some medical issues in the '60s that sent us to Corpus Christi, Texas. While he received his treatments at the Naval Hospital, I joined other young kids playing in a turquoise swimming pool at a nearby motel. We got to play for endless hours in the summer sun, swimming, splashing and just enjoying ourselves without a care in the world. It was an idyllic moment.
A recent study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Life reveals that for the first time in our history, fewer than half of American adults say they are Protestant (48 percent). This marks the first time in Pew Research Center surveys that the Protestant share of the population has dipped significantly below 50 percent. There are now more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6 percent of the U.S. public), as well ...
Thankful. Although we specifically focus on being grateful for our many blessings at Thanksgiving, neither the blessings nor our awareness of them are limited to this time. Veterans Day gave us opportunity to say "thank you" to our military protectors and to people like Pam Hamalainen whose planning brings such opportunities to the forefront.
During this season of thanksgiving, Ben and I reflect on many blessings we have had. Certainly one of the greatest of these is having shared the life of a devoted and loving husband and father, Charles Finley.
Thank you Dawsonville for displaying your patriotism during our Veterans Day Parade last Saturday. Your "Welcome Home" signs and "Thank you" signs meant more to our veterans and active military than you will ever know.
In case anyone missed this column for several weeks, it was because I spent a delightful two weeks at our family's beach house, and then it honestly took almost a week to sort out mail, e-mails, etc., and to catch up with bills and other responsibilities. If I were a 21st century business person instead of a "plugger," some of that could have been done online.
It turns out that you can go home again. I recently established a chair in crisis communications leadership at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communi­cations at my beloved University of Georgia. UGA President-elect Jere Morehead, along with Dink NeSmith, chairman of the Board of Regents came for the ceremony and both made my family and me feel warmly welcomed on campus. That is something we haven't felt at my alma mater for a long time.
They are the best University of Georgia athletic team you have likely never heard of. They have won five national titles and go into next week's national championships one of the favorites to win it all again.
I stood on an oil rig miles off the coast of Africa as the final pipe joints were pulled from a just completed well. The mood was somber because we had not found oil. The following week I sat in an uncomfortable meeting where our corporate vice president declared my efforts had resulted in the driest well in years. Back in my office overlooking the beautiful San Francisco hills I pondered what to do next with the project.
When the phone rang, I knew who was on the other end: Skeeter Skates, owner of Skeeter's Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Greater Metropolitan Pooler. I can't tell you exactly why but the phone always sounds more urgent when Skeeter calls. One thing about Skeeter Skates. He gets right to the point. Niceties aren't his style.
In January, the Georgia State Senate started the first term of the 152nd legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly with a challenging task list. We were asked to find a way to fill a large anticipated Medicaid shortfall, evaluate the ethical behavior of elected officials, do more with less in the state budget, revamp the state's juvenile justice system, clarify points from 2012's tax code overhaul and find ways to expand access to higher ...
In my last column, I shared some observations about current happenings and promised some more. So here they are. As Christians observed Holy Week leading to Easter, one of the emphases has been on service and sacrifice.