Reed did take the opportunity to promote two others for the job: Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) and former Atlanta chief operating officer Peter Aman.
Aman's name hasn't been mentioned much, but given he was Reed's right-hand man, it seems pretty clear that he's interested in running.
Aman took leave from his job as a partner at Bain and Co. to be Reed's COO for two years. Bain and Co. is separate from Bain Capital, but Mitt Romney also worked at the former for a period.
Aman's City Hall days go back further than helping the Reed administration overhaul Atlanta's pension program and toy with the idea of selling the city jail (the deal never happened). When former Mayor Shirley Franklin took office in 2001, Aman volunteered to help streamline City Hall and ended up playing a key role in the so-called Bain Report, an often referenced guide to making Atlanta government more efficient.
It's safe to assume Aman would argue that his dual experience of reorganizing corporations and helping craft policy in City Hall could benefit Washington, D.C. And that he wouldn't have a problem raising cash. Plus, he'd probably have the support of the state's most well-connected Democrat.
Whether Aman could best one of the many Republicans eyeing the seat - especially Congressman Paul Broun, R-Darwin, a favorite of the GOP fringe - is another question.
So Heath has come up with a nifty form response to those pesky emails, which are sent by Better Georgia, a progressive advocacy group that launched the petition demanding Rogers' ouster.
In it, Heath informs the recipient that they might have been "conned." Signing Better Georgia's petition doesn't create a long list of signatures which is then delivered to lawmakers, he writes. It sends an email every single time. And he's a busy man!
From: Bill Heath <[redacted]@BillHeath.net>
Subject: Re: Fire Chip Rogers now. GA can't afford Deal's cronyism.
It appears that you may have been conned into signing an online petition concerning the hiring of Chip Rogers. I doubt that you even knew what you were allowing your contact information to be used for.
You may have been lured into signing a petition by Better Georgia, an organization headed by Bryan Long, thinking that a petition containing a list of all the signers would be provided to legislators. Instead, after obtaining your contact information the organization sends an email to every legislator each time someone enters their information. This poorly designed tactic wastes the limited time and resources that legislators have to conduct their jobs.
These childish tactics of Bryan Long and Don Weigel probably have the same effect with other legislators as it does with me, that is to view the emails as annoying, filter them out and credit Better Georgia as an irresponsible organization rather than considering them as having some benefit.
In order to serve the citizens of the 31st Senate District, all emails of this nature will receive an automated response so as to minimize the abuse of my limited resources and time by Better Georgia.
That being said, if you are a citizen of the 31st Senate District I want to hear from you. Please call my office so I can serve you to the best of my ability.
If you wish to share your thoughts on the tactics of Better Georgia, they can be reached at 706-410-1867. They don't share their email address in order to guard themselves from the very tactics they use.
Heath hasn't responded to an email asking for his opinion on Rogers' hiring and about the above text, which a few CL readers have sent us.
According to a telephone poll of 1,027 Republican voters by GOP consultant Todd Rehm's GaPundit.com, more than 22 percent of respondents would like to see former Gov. Sonny Perdue take Chambliss' seat in the Senate. Karen Handel, the former Georgia secretary of state and unsuccessful gubernatorial hopeful, came in second to the former governor. Nearly 25 percent of the survey's respondents said they were undecided.
In addition, Florida-based HEG On-Target Solutions and Apache Political, a metro Atlanta Republican consulting firm, also polled voters about the race, which is nearly two years away. The poll found that nearly 40 percent of voters would likely support former businessman and failed presidential candidate Herman Cain n the contest. There's a wide gulf between Cain and his nearest potential challenger, Congressman Tom Price, R-Roswell, who garnered 8 percent of the responses. Cain, however, has said he's not interested in serving in the U.S. Senate. More than 22 percent of voters were undecided.
Democrats, however, say they're more likely to vote for Mayor Kasim Reed, were he to jump into what's sure to be a crowded pack of candidates. The well-connected former state lawmaker turned city's chief executive was selected by more than 25 percent of the respondents over former Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond and Congressman John Barrow, D-Augusta, among others. More than 20 percent of the survey's 1,234 respondents were unsure who'd earn their vote.
Think it's crazy that Reed would bid farewell to the mayor's office to jump into what could be a difficult statewide race? Peach Pundit contributor and Friend of CL Stefan Turkheimer indulges in a little educated speculation here.
Crosstabs and more information about GaPundit.com's poll are here. The Apache/HEG On-Target Solutions poll information can be found on Peach Pundit, where Apache Political's Mike Hassinger is a contributor.
Big news this morning. After more than 10 years in Washington, D.C., U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, says he's calling it quits.
Jim Galloway has the scoop. He reports that Chambliss told senior staff the news this morning that he wouldn't seek a third six-year term.
Possible Republican contenders for the soon-to-be-open seat include: Congressmen Paul Broun of Athens, Tom Graves of Ranger, and Phil Gingrey of Marietta. And pretty much every Republican who has ever set his or her sights on serving on Capitol Hill.
We're also particularly interested in which Democrats will consider running for the post. Galloway mentions Congressman John Barrow, D-Augusta, who's survived numerous challenges.
Place your bets.
Yesterday, North Georgia Republican and state Sen. Barry Loudermilk introduced a resolution that, if passed, would express "regret and remorse" for Georgia's role in condoning the institution of slavery. The Freedom Resolution would not offer a full-fledged apology.
Here's a quote taken from Loudermilk's press announcement:
"The filing of today's Freedom Resolution represents an important first step for our state, in recognizing the reprehensible act of slavery, and to bring reconciliation among the people of this great state."
With a legislative record that prompted the AJC's Jim Galloway to call him "one of the most conservative members in the General Assembly," Loudermilk's slavery remorse resolution also calls his political motive into question.
Dear Mayor Reed,
I write to you openly, first, as a citizen of Atlanta and also as a concerned human being. As you know, I have an interest in being the next Mayor of the City of Atlanta. As a person, I have nothing but love for you - you are a man, like me. What I dislike is your political mind and agenda.
As Mayor of Atlanta, I will be committed to building up transparency in the city. Sound familiar? Maybe because it was part of your platform nearly four years ago. To me, transparency means that resources and information are available for every one individual to access without prejudice, judgment or difficulty. The resources and information are clear - -without self-interest, greed, ambition or power. For my part, my self interest as Mayor of Atlanta is to cook, lead and serve the people of Atlanta.
As Mayor of Atlanta, I want to be known around the world for recognizing and highlighting the love that makes Atlanta.
The world came to Atlanta - -for its love. We have great leaders in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin Luther King Jr., Jimmy Carter, Mtamanika Youngblood, and John Lewis, to name a few. These great minds contributed to the beauty that we are the creation of one. That together, through creative thinking, the world is a beautiful place. That hate has nothing to do with humanity - only love.
That being said, I am publicly requesting every City Councilmember to work with me in creating a new vision for Atlanta. One not based on a "city too busy to hate".
He also expressed support for improving the state's system for reviewing mental-health records of gun-permit applicants.
Deal addressed gun legislation at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's annual Eggs and Issues breakfast, where he answered reporters' questions on the topic.
The gun-control debate has made its way back into the national spotlight following the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn. President Obama unveiled proposals for stricter laws on gun control legislation at the White House at noon Wednesday.
Deal said at the event that most new gun-control measures would come from the federal government, Athens Banner-Herald reported.
The governor's spokesman Brian Robinson told CL that the governor does not have any legislation regarding gun control on his agenda.
Regardless, Deal said, he supports plans to "tighten up ... the checking of mental-health records of permitting purposes," ABH reported. He said that Georgia needs to become "more vigilant" in reviewing these records, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
On the issue of armed administrators, which has been proposed by state Rep. Paul Battles, R-Cartersville, Deal told the ABH: "If someone is going to be in an environment around children, they certainly need to be trained... I think it's one that may receive favorable consideration by the General Assembly."
Other proposed bills in the Georgia legislature aim to eliminate restrictions on carrying guns in Georgia in places such as college campuses and churches, and to prevent the governor from suspending gun sales in emergency situations.
According to his prepared remarks, Deal focused on healthcare in Georgia. It's a long speech that's worth reading if you want an idea of what the state's chief executive is thinking on healthcare and the Affordable Care Act. (Yes, he referred to the law as "Obamacare.") From the speech:
As I have indicated, I have rejected the Medicaid expansion in Georgia already, but let me emphasize that the expansion would have put our additional costs over 10 years closer to $4.5B - and that's operating under the dubious assumption that the federal government, with its ever-growing national debt, would have fulfilled their promised share. The 620,000 new enrollees would have stretched our resources and our state to the limit. But whether the cost to our state would have been $2B, $4B or $6B, it does not make much sense to ask for more hurdles when you are already utilizing every muscle in your state's body to overcome the ones you currently have before you and that you must face. So unless the federal government changes it to a block-grant program and allows Georgia to design the benefit plan, I cannot justify expanding Medicaid.
Worth noting about that "dubious assumption" mentioned above: Deal's referring to reports that expanding Medicaid in Georgia would cost the state roughly $2.5 billion over 10 years. However, Georgia would receive more than $33 billion in federal funding over the same time period if it participated in the program.
Deal's full speech follows after the jump.
"And in Missouri, Todd Akin ... was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, 'Look, in a legitimate rape situation' - and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that's pretty tough and might on some occasion say, 'Hey, I was raped.' That's what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don't find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman's body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He's partly right on that."
Gingrey pointed out that he had been an OB-GYN since 1975.
"And I've delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, 'Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don't be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.' So he was partially right wasn't he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you're not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman's body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart."
Gingrey's office later released the following statement to the AJC's Jim Galloway:
"At a breakfast yesterday morning, I was asked why Democrats made abortion a central theme of the presidential campaign. I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin and Mr. Mourdock. In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued."
Under the proposal, which the legislative body voted to approve 10-4 earlier this month, councilmembers' salaries would increase from approximately $39,000 to $60,300.
Mayor Kasim Reed neither approved nor vetoed the proposal, but the law went into effect without his signature.
The proposal also hikes the mayor's salary, from $147,500 to $184,000. However, Reed has said he'd decline the bump in pay if he's elected to a second and final term in office next November.
Earlier this month, councilmembers voted 10-4 to approve the increase in pay based on the recommendations of a commission which studied fair compensation for Atlanta's elected officials.
City employees have protested the pay hike, citing the fact they've gone years without a salary increase. The mayor met yesterday with union officials who represent City Hall employees and promised to work with them about bumps in pay once budget writers get a better idea of the city's financial situation. Those talks could begin as early as January, once Fulton County delivers the latest tax digest estimates to the city.
"We are confident that we can reach a resolution when we meet again in January," Reed said in a statement released today. "My goal is to agree on a pay increase for City of Atlanta employees - one that is fair to them, and responsible, affordable and sustainable for the city."
What's interesting about this whole brouhaha, aside from the debate over how much we pay elected officials, whose lives are often times taken over by their duties: Voters next November will visit the polls for the municipal elections. And we've heard very little about possible challengers to councilmembers.
You could argue that councilmembers who voted for the pay increase just gave a lot of people a reason to run for office. Not only do potential challengers have a talking point with which they can hammer councilmembers during the campaign, they'd also get a decent paycheck if they win.
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