Author: Nathan

IT Geek. 14th District GOP Chairman. American. Georgian. Republican.

Servicemen Who Died And Were Wounded In Chattanooga To Get Purple Heart

5 months ago yesterday, four Marines and one sailor died in an attack on military sites in Chattanooga.  Yesterday evening also yielded an official determination on the attack by the FBI: a “homegrown violent extremist.”  Meanwhile, the Navy announced that it would award the Purple Heart to the men who died as well as the hero who was wounded that day.  From The Chattanoogan:

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said, “Following an extensive investigation, the FBI and NCIS have determined that this attack was inspired by a foreign terrorist group, the final criteria required for the awarding of the Purple Heart to this sailor and these Marines.

“This determination allows the Department of the Navy to move forward immediately with the award of the Purple Heart to the families of the five heroes who were victims of this terrorist attack, as well as to the surviving hero.”

Life has gotten back to normal, but there are displays throughout the city that mark the memory of that tragic day.  We may have returned to our daily routines, but I don’t believe we will ever forget.

Advice From A Father To His Newly-Minted Senator Son

Former State Representative and Current Regent Larry Walker penned a piece giving fatherly advice to his son and his new state senator, Senator Larry Walker III (R-Perry), in the Macon Telegraph.  Here are a few tidbits that, honestly, can be applied to our own lives:

4. BE LIKABLE: Be friendly. Smile. Be courteous. This applies to your constituents and your fellow legislators (on both sides of the aisle). Don’t think you are too important, even though the office you hold might be. Use words like “please,” “I’m sorry,” “please forgive me,” “that’s a good idea,” etc.

7. BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE WHEN COMPROMISE IS IN ORDER: Politics is the art of compromise — or, at least it used to be. Listen to the other person’s point of view. Try to reach consensus. Don’t compromise your principles, but sometimes you ultimately get what you want by initially starting with something less or different than you preferred.

10. KNOW WHEN TO QUIT: You might say “this is strange advice to be giving when I am just starting.” But, the time will come, and there will be life after politics. Knowing when to quit is more important than deciding to run.

You can read the whole article over at the Macon Telegraph.  This is sage advice that people in general should take to heart.

I’ll leave this open to the Peach Pundit community:  What constructive advice would you give to the Senator?

#GAGOP Foundation Chairman Jack Kingston: What We’ve Been Working On

Former Congressman, and now GAGOP Foundation Chairman, Jack Kingston laid out the accomplishments that the Georgia Republican Foundation has made over this past year in an email sent out today. Specifically, he highlights what has been accomplished in the last four months since his appointment:

  • We’ve grown from 8 members to 78 members, which includes more than 30 who have given far more than the requested amount.
  • Secretary of State Brian Kemp became the first statewide Constitutional officer to join us and Tom Price became the first Member of Congress to join.
  • Eight state legislators have joined, including Senators Burt Jones, Jack Hill, Bill Cowsert, Tyler Harper and Josh McKoon and State Reps. Regina Quick, Terry England, and John Meadows.
  • Three local Republican parties – Jackson and Fulton Counties and the 9th Congressional District have joined the Foundation.
  • We’ve hosted receptions for Foundation members with Rep. Buddy Carter, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, Sen. David Perdue, and State House Speaker David Ralston where our members hear from elected officials in a relaxed setting that allows for conversation, and question and answer not usually possible at other GOP events.

The Georgia Republican Party has had some financial challenges, but, in spite of what detractors of the current GAGOP administration, efforts are ongoing to boost Party coffers through the various Georgia Republican Foundation events, encouraging Republicans in Georgia to become Foundation members, and asking for contributions from the grassroots.

Jack has been a tremendous asset to the Georgia Republican Party.  The work that he has done for the Georgia Republican Foundation is much appreciated.  Thank you, Jack!

A Few Thoughts On Training A Skilled Technology Workforce In Georgia

Screenshot 2015-12-02 at 15.37.14
Codecademy: One of the many online tutorial sites to learn various programming languages and other IT skills
Screenshot by Nathan Smith

I wasn’t able to make the PolicyBEST breakfast this morning, but I did see a few highlights about the booming technology sector in Georgia. One in particular was from Jon Richards regarding Governor Nathan Deal’s statement on Georgia needing a skilled workforce to meet the needs of business:

Georgia is rich in the technology business, as I’ve said on here before, and there needs to be (and are) talented Georgians to fill positions within those businesses. We need a good education system to build a foundation on which people can learn on their own, but the burden of developing the technical workforce shouldn’t fall totally on the shoulders of our public education institutions.
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Cyber Monday Morning Reads – 11/30

Here’s your special flash deal of the day: Cyber Monday MRs at a deeply discounted rate!

The turkey has been consumed and people are now spending their productive hours at work trying to find the best deals.




Apparently Stacey Evans Isn’t Alone In Sending PSAs

Friend and GOP stalwart Justin Tomczak forwarded me an email from State Representative Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta) also encouraging her constituents to take preventative measures against identity theft.  Interestingly enough, the email is almost, an exact copy of Stacey Evans’ email that she sent out earlier this week.  The only exception is that Rep. Gardner’s email ends with “Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!” instead of another paragraph like Rep. Evans.

Either the honorable ladies have the same consultant who used a cookie cutter approach in order to seize the opportunity created by the Secretary of State’s mistake, or perhaps there is another person looking forward to the 2018 election.

Stacey Evans Wants You To Protect Your Personal Information (And Maybe Keep Her In Mind)

State Representative Stacey Evans (D-Symrna) sent out a newsletter to her constituents encouraging them to contact the three credit bureaus to set up an initial fraud alert.  This PSA comes in the wake of the Secretary of State’s office accidental release of personal information on voter database extracts.  Also in her PSA, she makes the note that now isn’t the time to play politics with the matter:

While I believe Secretary Kemp should be held responsible, now is not the time for politics. Right now, we need to make sure that the personal information of voters his office failed to keep safe has not been used in a nefarious manner.

Today isn’t the time to play politics with this accidental release, but it will be a target on the 2018 campaign trail.  It might be reading too much in to the email, but it makes you wonder if Rep. Evans is looking at a run for Secretary of State on the Democratic ticket in 2018.

Afternoon Reads for Monday, November 23rd

I promised to fill in for Tim for the next couple of weeks, and I remembered that this morning while I was at the store gathering items for Thanksgiving.  Here are today’s morning afternoon reads.


National & World:


Congressman Doug Collins Highlights Anti-Competitive Behavior Of Pharmacy Benefit Managers

Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA-09) questioned witnesses during a House Judiciary Committee hearing about practices and behaviors of Pharmacy Benefits Managers and the impact to rural pharmacies that serve their respective communities. From the presser:

Today, in a House Judiciary Committee hearing examining “The State of Competition in the Pharmacy Benefits Manager and Pharmacy Marketplaces”, Congressman Doug Collins questioned witnesses about anticompetitive behavior by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and the resulting devastating impact on independent and community pharmacies, and the families they serve.

Community Pharmacies are on the healthcare frontlines in rural communities such as Northeast Georgia. Consolidation in the PBM Marketplace and the lack of transparency in the dealings between PBMs and community pharmacies has resulted in local pharmacies closing their doors for good. Congressman Collins and 30 of his colleagues have advocated transparency requirements for PBMs contained in H.R. 244, the “MAC Transparency Act”. This hearing was an important first step to level the playing field in the pharmacy marketplace, and brought to light the need for immediate Congressional action.

Here’s the video from yesterday’s hearing:

Things Aren’t Always As They Seem

I posted the other day about the perception that some student activities at Dalton State having more preference than others.  I got a call from a friend of mine at the Dalton State Foundation setting the record straight.  He told me that he has documentation that the College tried to accommodate a recent meeting of the College Republicans but declined these accommodations. I’m willing to believe my friend, and I hope that they will continue to treat all clubs and activities equitably in the future dealing with their limited meeting space.

Sometimes, politics can get the best of us and distort our view.  I hope that my friends in the Dalton State CRs will be understanding of space constraints and even build relationships with those in the Student Life office.

Whitfield GOP Chairman Chuck Payne Steps Down To Join Carson Camp

My friend and Chairman of the Whitfield County Republican Party is stepping down from the GOP chairman’s position to become the North Georgia director for Ben Carson’s presidential campaign.

Chuck is one of the hardest working people in the Georgia Republican Party.  He stands behind candidate that he believes in.  He will tell you himself that he doesn’t do it for the candidate’s benefit, but rather he does it because he wants to help build a better future for his kids and their kids.

I’m grateful for the work that Chuck has done over the years, for his leadership, and his friendship.  My selfishness doesn’t want him to leave, but I know he is doing what he is being led to do.  I wish him much success and luck in his new role.

Hutcheson Medical Center Ordered To Close

Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe (Source: Hutcheson Medical Center)

The debt-laden Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe, GA has finally been ordered to be shut down by Judge Paul Bonapfel.  His ruling came yesterday after the continued troubles of the hospital to make ends meet.  Chattanooga NBC affiliate WRCB talks about a report filed by court-appointed ombudsman Susan Goodman who looked into the skeleton crew operations at Hutcheson:

The report cites two abrupt layoffs since the end of August, resulting in the loss of 75 jobs and closures of the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), operating and outpatient services, lung clinic and Chickamauga Family Practice.

Goodman’s report points out the hospital’s “inability to immediately pay” the workers it laid off, and notes the fact that no jobs at the senior leadership level were impacted.

According to The Chattanoogan, the closure of Hutcheson Medical Center will not affect the sale of its adjacent nursing home.  The assets of the hospital will be sold on December 3rd with a hearing following the sale on December 14th.

Are Some Activities More Equal Than Others?

According to Wesley Ross, member of the College Republicans at my alma mater, Dalton State, the Office of Residential Life is more than willing to make sure space is available for events like the ones in the screenshot below, but there is a bit of an unwillingness from the Student Life office to be willing to be flexible to allow the College Republicans to have space on campus to host Senator Charlie Bethel at one of their meetings.

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Wesley told me that he applied for space two weeks in advance and needed access to parking for both guests from the community and students, but was denied due to lack of meeting space (understandable, since Dalton State has been strapped for meeting space).  The perception is that things like this and some minority clubs get special preference in making sure they have space for events (he mentioned the Dalton State Mosaic Club was ensured that they had space for their “Coming Out Day”).  I’m not being prudish, but it’s an interesting note that some clubs are seemingly treated more equally than others.

Walker County Republicans To Place County Governance Structure Question On 2016 Ballot

Last night, the Walker County Republican Party adopted a resolution to place on the 2016 Republican primary ballot a non-binding referendum question on what form of county government Walker County should have: a sole commission as it is currently, or a multi-member commission board.  I was not in attendance due to personal reasons, but I saw the news on Facebook and a blurb from WDEF (the local CBS affiliate).  It seems the anti-incumbent crowd is hailing it as a major victory.

The sole commission vs. multi-member board came to a head in 2011 when a challenger to incumbent Commissioner Bebe Heiskell drew an opponent in the 2012 Republican primary.  She won by a 200-vote margin, but drew a write-in candidate challenger in the general election.

The anti-incumbent crowd actually had a prime opportunity during the 2013-2015 term of the Republican Party as one of their own won the county chairmanship in 2013, resigned early in 2014, and the Walker County TEA Party leader was elected GOP chairman in early 2014.  No questions were put on the ballot in 2014, so I’m not sure if there was a lack of awareness or focus during the changing of chairmen.  For the record, we received no proposals for ballot questions in 2012 after soliciting the membership while I was chairman of our county GOP.

Those in opposition have made the issue into a personal vendetta against the incumbent and have preached over the past 4 years on how changing our form of government will cure all of our county’s ills.  Call me skeptical, but I will be listening to the arguments for and against and will keep an open mind before I cast my ballot.

As a former co-worker and good friend of mine said to me: “Be careful for what you wish for, you may just get it.”

Chattanooga’s EPB To Offer 10 Gigabit Internet Service

Right across the state line, City of Chattanooga-owned utility EPB will now be offering 10 gigabit per second service, branded as NextNet.  That makes EPB one of the first public utilities in the world to offer 10 gigabit service to customers for only $299 per month.

A video was released as a part of their announcement.


Posted by EPB of Chattanooga on Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Chattanoogan has greater detail about the announcement, but it’s a major feather in the cap of Chattanooga which has been trying to expand beyond its industrial roots by wooing tech start-ups.

The announcement comes only a few months after Comcast announcing their own 2+ gigabit service to the Chattanooga-area and other major metropolitan areas.  EPB has certainly caught the attention of Comcast (the local cable provider) and AT&T.  This affects Georgia as well as some of us are within EPB’s service area.

Full disclosure: I am an EPB Fi customer, but I’m not currently planning on getting the 10 Gbps service.