Author: Scarlet Hawk

Leadership, Ladies, and Lists: Georgia Ranked First in States with Fastest Growth in Number of Women-owned Firms

So if you didn’t read it in the daily, Georgia has been ranked as the first state in the nation with the fastest growth of women-owned firms AND the state also leads in share of businesses owned by African-Americans.  Governor Deal would like to take the credit for that, even though the years span from 1997-2014.  I don’t blame him.  He needs the votes of the fastest growing voting bloc in the state.  The deets are below the fold.   Read more

On The Question of Children

It’s always a pleasure to return home, isn’t it?  For me it means less traffic, more stars, back roads, and time with my family.  Additionally, Walton County also has the pleasure of having an active Republican party, chaired by Roy Roberts.  If you have not been to the BBQ that Mr. Roberts hosts annually, then I encourage you to do so this year.  It is one of the biggest Republican events in the state.

On Monday night Mr. Roberts outdid himself yet again by hosting Governor Deal and the Lt. Governor for their regular campaign stop.  Their speeches touted their devotion to business, economic success, and good governance.  H/t to the Lt. Governor for his mention of Invest Georgia, and Deal endeared himself to all in the room when the First Lady corrected him audibly and kindly from the front row in the midst of his speech.

What was the most interesting part of the evening?  The first two questions dealt with autism and the cannabis bill.  Read more

The Red Coats Are Coming

No, the Brits have not returned to claim their colony.  Today is Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. Day at the Capitol.  You will see the halls (and the Governor’s office) inundated with ladies in their red coats representing the interests of women and children in the community.  First Lady Sandra Deal was a Junior League of Gainesville member before she occupied the Governor’s Mansion.

I know, I know…you’re thinking oh, the Juuunior League (said while looking down your nose) and holding your tea cups with your pinky out…that’s those ladies who lunch coming to play politics for a few hours with the boys.  Not so much.

I think of us as that group of 3,500 women (the third largest Junior League in the nation) as that group of ladies who last year gave 34,550 hours of community service (valued at $750,000), those do-gooders who gave $261,992 in direct funding through grants, and gave 37,000 hours of training to women to be effective leaders and volunteers in the community.

Oh, and we VOTE.

If you’re from OTP, you’ve probably enjoyed the fruits of the JLA’s labor here in the city as well.  Ever been  to the opera? Yep, we helped get that started.  So too, did the Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. help to establish The Atlanta Speech School,  The Atlanta Children’s Shelter, CHRIS Kids, and the Power Over Prejudice Summit.  We’ve been working quietly in this community since 1916.  We also co-hosted a forum at Agnes Scott College (my alma mater) recently featuring Somaly Mam, focusing on human trafficking in the City of Atlanta.

We’ll be advocating today as a bloc, but many of our members are in your midst as lobbyists, staffers, party presidents, and run of the mill politicos, like myself.  Some of us might even know the inside track on the latest bill.  You’ll never know unless you get to know us.  So don’t judge us for our past, pay attention to what difference we’re making in the present.

So when you see the red coats today, why don’t you do something unexpected?  Write THEM a thank you note.


Grrls before Gays?

Incumbent endorsements are nothing new in politics.  Incumbents who raise funds for candidates aren’t news either.  However, when one of the most vocal openly gay state lawmakers requests funding in a race where one candidate is openly gay and another is not- that is news.  

Representative Drenner endorsed Elena Parent early on, but now is making an ask for funds on Parent’s behalf- not Kyle Williams.  Drenner’s endorsement carries weight for the district as is, as she is a well-liked incumbent who is unquestioned on issues of energy and education, among others.  However, her endorsement and solicitation of funds for Parent bears weight in the queer community as well.  Drenner is an unwavering advocate of the LGBT community who I last saw serving on a panel at the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus event. (Their a cappella rendition of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way put Gaga to shame and brought the house down at Glenn Memorial.)  For Drenner to choose to support Elena in this race versus Kyle shows Parent’s implicit ability to build bridges, serve a larger community, and that she is wise enough to know how to play bigger political chips.  Drenner’s email is below the fold.  

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Rumors, Reshuffling and Reloading

Qualifying week is always a hectic one.  For consultants, we want to know up to the minute data so we have the edge on our competition.  For candidates, they hold their breath hoping for no contest, or if they get it that the competition will be easy but a means by which to fundraise.  Georgia has redistricted itself in such a way that entire seats are determined in the primary.   Two party elections are not prevalent here, and third party candidates are even rarer.

However, there are those interesting twists in qualifying when someone unexpectedly doesn’t go up for their seat again or announces they are considering some other office.  Senator Jesse Stone is one such example.  Last week, Peach Pundit was considering the truth behind the rumors Austin Rhodes had indicated of whether or not Stone had been appointed to a judgeship.  I contacted the good Senator and he told me that he had released a press statement to the contrary earlier.  I posted on Thursday the statement he forwarded me. Late Friday night, Senator Stone posted a 180 degree update to the rumors regarding his consideration of his appointment as judge, and I posted in accord.

However, I was left asking myself, why would Stone not be shouting to the rooftops his good fortune?  In my humble opinion, he would make a great judge.  He is not hot headed or rash, and while he is a team player, he thinks independently of leadership.   He and I got to know one another a few years ago via a leadership class where I was personally encouraged by his willingness to ask challenging questions of certain accepted pillars of thought at the time. He has a quiet nature about him that some may mistake for being too soft.  I would offer that he is wise enough to wait to strike at the right time.

I got my answer to that internal question a little after 11pm on Friday evening and if the prediction is true, it’s a helluva good reason for the Senator to keep his mouth shut.

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Stone Said Rumors Were Untrue…Turns Out They Aren’t

Senator Jesse Stone has in fact decided to seek a judgeship, after telling folks the opposite earlier this week.  His statement, on Facebook this evening is below the fold.

To be clear, I contacted the Senator personally before making the post earlier this week, to ensure I had an accurate story.  I prefer going to the horse’s mouth before posting.  In this event, it obviously did me no good.

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There are very few things that actually get under my skin in politics, but singling me out as a woman really does.  Most of the stances, slogans, and platforms I see as either a leveraging for business or personal gain.  However, I cannot express the depths of my ire when parties pander to me as a female by talking about reproductive rights or equal pay.

I was skimming through twitter yesterday when I noticed the above hashtag was trending.  Really?  Please, do tell me what I need.

Essentially this hashtag is being used as a tool to promote the discussion of healthcare from a female perspective (which inherently includes reproductive rights, but should not be limited to the discussion of abortion), equal pay, raising the minimum wage, etc.  It’s also being done in preface to Valentine’s Day, as another means to focus on a more “female” holiday. Ugh.

Here’s an alternative hashtag I would suggest considering: #WeNeedTheSameThings Read more

Of Disclosures and Discourse

Disclosures are in, and while they are not THE determining factor for a candidate’s ability to win, they do determine the ability to buy the necessary attributes for a successful campaign.  While having lots of money on hand is always helpful, the ability to raise a significant amount of money in a short amount of time (and from where that money comes) is also notable in consideration of success.  Jason Carter’s initial disclosure, anyone?

Speaking of the Senator, the folks vying for his seat have been busy raising money.  I got buzzed Friday afternoon en route to a Republican rendez-vous from Parent’s campaign touting her $100K upcoming disclosure.  She raised this in three weeks.  Nice.

Williams not only has less money to report, it is my understanding that his burn rate is higher.  This will make his ability to effectively message and GOTV later in the primary more challenging.   He also raised his money in three months, not weeks.

A look at Parent’s kick-off party invitation showed her to be more of the establishment choice in this race, with Williams more the populist.  A look at their endorsement list affirmed this for me as well.  At a recent MAAP meeting I discussed Williams’ campaign with folks from the LBQT community.  I was surprised that only one gentleman spoke about the candidate.  I live in Midtown, and have heard little chatter among neighbors of his campaign.  Maybe I am in the wrong circle, but it would seem that this would be a base from which Williams could easily draw.  If he has already exhausted this low-hanging fruit, that’s not good.

Both candidates are young, unquestionably intelligent, progressive-but-not-reactionary individuals who have previously held elected office.  It will be a difficult choice for their district to make, but the choice will be made for them if messaging and staff cannot be afforded.  It’s early yet for issues to divide these two, and probably they agree on many points.  Right now, voters are left with little policy substance.

Williams gets points from this blogger on his bow-ties, openness about his sexuality (still unfortunately unique in politics in this state), and mentioning his dog in his biography, but Parent touts her experience, which matters (or at least should) in an election.  She seems to be running on her resume.  He’s running on his charm.  We’ll see how that shakes out in the primary.

“Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.”-Will Rogers


Happy to admit I was wrong

You might have noticed it snowed.

Tuesday and Wednesday were days that most Georgians will not forget for a variety of reasons.  They are memorable days for me because I saw Georgians doing what Southerners do best- opening their hearts and homes to each other.  It is my supreme pleasure to note that I cannot possibly name in this post all the folks that have helped.    There are a few notable ones that I know of like Michelle Sollicito,  Zach Haedt and Sam Tarquina, who handed out hot chocolate on I-75, or Matthew Miller who handed out hot cocoa and food near Turner Field, Senators Gooch and Ginn,  who helped stranded Atlantans while they were stranded in the Capitol city. (How’s THAT for state assistance??)  Me? I’d like to thank my pharmacist, Stephen Freeman of Walgreens, who braved the elements to fill scripts.  May seem like a small gesture to most, but for this insulin dependent diabetic, it was life saving.

If you’d like a list of businesses that offered aid to stranded motorists, please click here. Patronize these businesses, as many offered the help at a loss.

So hats off to every Georgian who helped.  You not only helped individuals, you helped all of us to remember that Georgians care.  We give, show compassion, and don’t give in, even when it is for a perfect stranger.  Hell, some of the guys I know LIVE for this stuff!  Way to go, Georgia.  You did not hesitate, you did not defer, y’all all leaned in and often went back out into the cold to continue to help.

It is said, “Ask and ye shall receive”.  I did, and Georgians have answered resoundingly.   I’ve never been so happy to admit I was wrong.

Now if I may ask one more thing of Georgians: continue this hospitality.  Not just in emergencies, but 24/7.  We are Southerners; it’s what we do.

The Chairman knows how to eat crow like a lady

I like to give credit where it’s due.  And a H/T should be given to Chairman Sharon Cooper who has told the AJC that closing rural hospitals would be “unthinkable”, and to do so, would have serious consequences on the affected community, hurting it economically and limiting access to acute care for Georgians.” 

Damn straight it would, and props for the good lady from Marietta for recognizing that. 

She had to eat a bit of crow from her previous statements this week, about which I posted/got on my soapbox.  I would be willing to bet her office got a few emails about that statement from folks OTP.

Moreover, she recognizes that these rural hospitals need to have their own fiscal houses in order to survive and to fully give back to the communities they serve. “If we don’t act to make real, substantive changes, we very well could be faced with the hard reality of hospital closures in rural parts of this state, no matter how many short gap measures we take, leaving many communities without the economic engine and access to care people depend on,” she said.

I could not agree more. Brava, Chairman, brava.

So now the pendulum swings back to community hospitals…

Remember that to whom much is given, much is expected.

Rural Hospitals Closing… No Big Deal.


And they say women are too soft for politics!  Chair Sharon Cooper of Marietta removes all doubt of that today in her comments to Galloway in response to Medicaid expansion.  She suggests rural hospitals may need to close due to the fact that in certain Georgia communities these hospitals may not be self-sustaining.

Galloway offers the glaring challenge to her assertions, “But the problem is more circular in south Georgia: The region is losing population because there are no jobs. There are no jobs because companies are unwilling to relocate. Companies are unwilling to relocate because of a lack of health care.”

I’d say it was circular just outside the perimeter, y’all.  You don’t even have to drive down 75.  Come on down the Atlanta Highway and you will find that Walton County has a new hospital.  It is a major economic driver and employer in the area.  It provides essential care and jobs to the community that would otherwise have to drive to Athens Regional.

Although I don’t live there any longer, it is nice to know that other kids growing up with type 1 diabetes will not have to drive all the way to Athens for urgent care like my parents took me.  Those minutes are life-saving and the proximity of a community hospital being closer is an undeniable comfort to families in emergency situations.

I think this speaks to a larger problem in Georgia, though.

We just do not care.

For whatever reason, we don’t seem to care here about other people.  We would rather see them essentially die on the side of the road rather than pay $10 for a trauma center.  For a state that in some ways prides itself on having strong values and faith, what grace have we been willing to show to our friends in central and south Georgia? I’m not making an argument for Medicaid, for the ACA, or for government sponsored anything.  I am asking what this says about us when we are asked to open our wallets and pay for something with no personal ROI?

And don’t think that OTP folks want any help from Atlantans (monetary or otherwise) – we have prided ourselves on standing on our own, having unique stories, cultures and communities diverse and rich in each small to medium sized town.  There is a pride in GOOA that is undeniably beautiful for its strength and independence.

But allocating state funds to care for folks in outer-lying areas is not a hand out IMHO.  That’s an investment in rural communities and rural people.  Is GOOA not worth that investment?  I’d kindly ask the chair lady to come visit when she has time.  These rural hospitals are worth  her time and the investment of Georgia.

“It is a rare privilege, sir, to have had part, however humble, in this work. Never was nobler duty confided to human hands than the uplifting and upbuilding of the prostrate and bleeding South, misguided perhaps, but beautiful in her suffering, and honest, brave and generous always.” –Henry Grady, “The New South”

Session Rumors

Everyone knows that session will end even earlier than last year.  My guess is that the General Assembly will end on the 13th or 14th.  The latter is my birthday (Pi Day, for all you Tech grads).

The question remains as to what will actually pass and what parts of the budget will be increased or decreased.  These have bigger ramifications than policy, but few pay attention to the budget as it is both a tedious process and difficult to follow.

Presumed policy winners will be concealed carry and economic development.  The Speaker made the statement that the latter was his legislative priority.  (Why it isn’t everyone’s is rather beyond me.) My sincere hope is that the Speaker will pull some Vincent Russo genius and expand crowdfunding further in the state, but that’s a personal pipe dream of mine.

Other points of interest will be city expansion and school district fights in Dekalb.  Interim CEO, Lee May has expressed his interest in unifying Dekalb and making it “open for business”.  He’s got a long road to hoe, but if there is anyone who can restore integrity and faith in the county, it would be him. There is a tide turning in that county, and I sincerely hope that it will be for good.

Uber and Lyft have hired lobbyists, so there may be a tax or regulatory issue that may arise from this.  As I am to understand, the companies had challenges in California. (What business doesn’t with their regulations?)  I hope they will find Georgia to be friendly to their business model.

Subsequently, (I have not verified this), the Senate President Pro-Tem is rumored to provide insurance to some taxis in the state (who are not in favor of the new presence of competitors).  This issue may not be a specific bill that manifests, and more likely may be a regulatory or tax challenge which might draw in the Department of Revenue.  And really, who likes to see the tax man?

Otherwise, I think it’ll be a rather defensive session with little passed except the budget.  The appropriations battles will be where more the drama and intrigue may be found.

“That is the one unforgivable sin in any society. Be different and be damned!”

First, thanks to the editors and contributors at Peach Pundit.  Courtesy and graciousness are lost arts, and these folks have it. Their mammas should be proud.

My name is Lora Scarlet Hawk, and while I reside in Atlanta, I am grateful to have been born in the Classic City and reared in Social Circle, GA.  More (read: boring) of my bio may be found here; follow me on twitter here.

I am not a journalist. 

Politics is my profession (lobbyist, campaign consultant, and fundraiser), and my insights/opinions are based upon the relationships and experiences I have gathered in the last nine years of my work.

I am an Independent.

You are welcome to consider me what you will.  I question and work with candidates from both parties, a few nonprofits and small businesses, and I only work with the people and organizations in which I truly believe.

I am an all-inclusive and accepting kind of Baptist (join me in the pew at Northside Drive Baptist Church), a member of the Black Ring Mafia (ASC c/o ’04), the Cashmere Mafia, the Junior League of Atlanta, Inc., and when I’m not working, I’m volunteering. I’ve got a bias for girls trying to make in it business/politics for which I make no apologies.

I am a female contributor to Peach Pundit.

Last year I was asked to join a female-focused political organization’s board by a colleague of mine whom I hold in high esteem.  I agreed.  I met with their previous chair, explained that I work with candidates from both parties, but was willing to fundraise for their organization.  It would have been my honor and privilege to help them get more women into leadership positions.  However, their board decided I was not the right fit to sit at their table.  In contrast, the all-male board of Peach Pundit accepted me and the contributors personally welcomed me aboard.  My acceptance to PP and my rejection from this board is incredibly amusing to me now.

The honor I’ve been given is appreciated and I will return the favor by attempting to offer posts worthy of the readers’ time and interest.  

*+5 to any soul who knew the title quotation comes from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind and didn’t have to Google it.