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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Amendment Vote Linked to Georgia Environment

Georgia voters will make an important decision regarding forest land and the environment on Tuesday, November 4. Georgians will cast ballots on Amendment #1, the “Georgia Forest Land Protection Act of 2008,” which asks voters whether the state Constitution should be amended to allow timberland taxation on the basis of its actual value as a forest, rather than its potential or speculative future use.

“As land values have increased, property taxes have risen to the point where many landowners are forced to decide whether it makes economic sense to keep their land in forests or sell it for development,” explained Lauren Bush, Public Affairs Staff Forester with the Georgia Forestry Commission. “Amendment #1 encourages landowners to keep their land in forests rather than sell it to developers.”

Georgia boasts approximately 24 million acres of forest land, 92% of which is privately owned. The forest industry contributes $28.5 billion to our state’s economy, and provides invaluable nature services to Georgia, including clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities. The Georgia Forestry Commission provides leadership, service, and education in the protection and conservation of the state’s forest resources.

“Forest management is a long-term commitment for landowners,” said Bush. “They may not receive a return on their investment for 20 or more years, but their property taxes are due every year. Amendment #1 can help encourage property owners to keep their land in forests, which enhance the life of every Georgian.”

To receive the forest value assessment, Amendment #1 requires forest land owners to leave their land in tree production for at least 15 years. If a county’s total tax digest of revenue is reduced by more than three percent, the money will be reimbursed by the State of Georgia. If it is affected by three percent or less, the county will be reimbursed 50%.

If ratified by Georgia voters on the November 4 General Election ballot, the Forest Land Protection Act will go into effect on January 1, 2009.

For more information, visit GaTrees.org, www.forourforests.com or www.keepgeorgiagreen.org.

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Justice Department, U.S. Attorney's Office Announce Contacts to Handle Election-Related Complaints

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias announced today that William R. Toliver, an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in Atlanta, will lead the efforts of his Office in connection with the Justice Department's nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 4, 2008 general elections. AUSA Toliver has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer for the Northern District of Georgia, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District's handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

United States Attorney Nahmias said, "We are committed to assuring an honest and fair election, and to assuring that every lawful vote is counted. Election fraud and voting rights abuses dilute and preclude honest votes. They strike at the very heart of our rights as citizens and corrupt the essence of our representative form of government. As such, we will address credible reports of election fraud and voting rights violations promptly and aggressively. Anyone who has information suggesting electoral corruption or voting rights abuses should make that information available immediately to the FBI, my Office, or the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division."

On October 8, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft established a Department-wide Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative. The goals of this Initiative are to increase the Department's ability to deter voter intimidation, suppression, discrimination and election fraud and to prosecute these offenses whenever and wherever they occur--to make voting easier and cheating harder. Both goals are equally important. It is imperative that in pursuing voter integrity, ballot access is not in any way diminished or harmed. The Department's long-standing Election Day Program furthers the goals of the Initiative. The Program also is intended to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department where the public can report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on election day. The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise exercise it, while those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice.

In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 4, 2008, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, U.S. Attorney Nahmias stated that AUSA Toliver will be on duty while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at the following telephone number: 404-581-6000.

The FBI will also have Special Agents available in the Atlanta Field Office and each resident agency in this District to receive allegations of election fraud, intimidation, suppression and other election abuses. The FBI can be reached by the public at 404-679-9000.

Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can also be made directly to the Civil Rights Division's Voting Section in Washington at 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767. Where voter intimidation or suppression tactics target voters on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin, the Civil Rights Division's Criminal Section may be contacted at 202-514-3204.

For further information please contact David E. Nahmias (pronounced NAH-me-us), United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.usdoj.gov/usao/gan.

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Georgia Front Page

National Right to Life PAC Announces Endorsement of Saxby Chambliss for Re-election to the U.S. Senate

The political-action arm of the nation's largest right-to-life organization today announced its strong endorsement of the re-election of Saxby Chambliss to the U.S. Senate.

In a letter to Chambliss, the National Right to Life PAC (NRL-PAC) commended Senator Chambliss for his "exemplary 100 percent pro-life voting record throughout your entire six-year term in the U.S. Senate."

NRL-PAC Political Director Karen Cross said, "Senator Chambliss has a perfect, 100 percent pro-life voting record for his entire six-year term, but Democrat Jim Martin favors continuation of the current policy of allowing abortion for any reason."

The entire text of the NRL-PAC letter to Chambliss appears below. For further information, contact National Right to Life PAC at 202-626-8825, or by e-mail to Legfederal@aol.com.

October 28, 2008

Senator Saxby Chambliss
Chambliss for Senate
Atlanta, Georgia 30355

Dear Senator Chambliss:

The National Right to Life Political Action Committee (NRL-PAC) is pleased to endorse you for re-election to the United States Senate.

NRL-PAC is the political arm of the nation’s major right-to-life organization, representing right-to-life affiliates throughout the nation.

We commend you for your exemplary 100 percent pro-life voting record throughout your entire six-year term in the U.S. Senate. This record includes support for the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (enacted in 2003) and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (enacted in 2004). It also includes your consistent votes against federal funding of abortion and of organizations that promote abortion.

We are also grateful for your cosponsorship of other important pro-life bills that have not yet been enacted, including parental notification legislation and a bill to ban the practice of human cloning.

In addition, we applaud your consistent support for the confirmation of federal judicial nominees who believe that the proper judicial role is to interpret and apply the written law, not to engage in legislating from the bench.

Your extraordinary pro-life record should earn you the support of every voter who is committed to preservation of the fundamental right to life and to the protection of the most vulnerable members of the human family.


David N. O'Steen, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Karen Cross
Political Director

Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director

The National Right to Life Committee is the nation's largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Friday, October 24, 2008

Macon Telegraph Endorses Saxby Chambliss

It's funny how time and circumstances beyond the control of candidates change campaigns. Eight months ago Democratic challenger Jim Martin wasn't in the primary picture. Party leaders had to twist his arm to jump into the race. Martin obviously had the most state-wide name recognition among the five challengers who included Vernon Jones, DeKalb County's CEO, Dale Cardwell, a former TV journalist, Rand Knight, an ecosystem scientist and Josh Lanier, a former Senate aide and Washington lobbyist. Martin won in a runoff against Jones.

While the Democrats were fighting it out, the incumbent first-term senator, Saxby Chambliss, was deemed invulnerable. He had a huge war chest, all the name recognition a candidate would need after serving in the House and now Senate. But even Superman can be brought to his knees by Kryptonite. Chambliss' weakness can be spelled in three simple examples. Along with Georgia's other senator, Johnny Isakson, Chambliss barnstormed the state in favor of an immigration plan that blew up in their faces. They got the message and turned tail and ran from the issue.

The two senators were also instrumental in forming the Gang of 10 that pushed an energy plan that many saw as giving too much sway to the Democratic point of view. And there's the wild card named Sen. Barack Obama and the electorate he's managed to inspire. All those factors have made the race between Chambliss and Martin a dead heat.

We have no qualms with Martin; he has been an exemplary public servant from his days in Vietnam to the Georgia Legislature to state commissioner for the Department of Human Resources under governors Roy Barnes and Sonny Perdue. That said, we are not ready to kick Chambliss to the curb just yet. Chambliss' knowledge of Middle Georgia interests, particularly agriculture and Robins Air Force Base, make him a vital component in the economic future of the mid-state. Chambliss has not forgotten what part of the state he comes from, and he must be given credit for his courageous vote for the $700 billion bailout bill. For those reasons and more, we choose Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Charles E. Richardson/for the Editorial Board
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Absentee Ballots Being Reprinted - Gwinnett County

Gwinnett County elections officials have discovered a problem with 19,000 absentee ballots that have been sent to voters. The ovals where voters mark their choices are too thick for the optical scanning machines to read.

Elections Director Lynn Ledford said routine equipment testing two weeks prior to the election revealed the problem. State law requires such testing no later than three days before Election Day. “We want to assure everyone who has used an absentee ballot that every vote will count,” Ledford said.

The absentee ballots have been reprinted and new requests are being filled with correct ones that will scan properly, according to Ledford. She also emphasized that voters who are holding absentee ballots have the option of voting the absentee ballot or surrendering it and voting on Election Day.

Votes on incorrect forms will be counted using a manual process observed by a representative of each political party and a monitor from the Secretary of State’s office. Non-partisan candidates will also be allowed a monitor. State law requires that all participants be sequestered with no outside contact to prevent information leaks.

Unreadable ballots will be duplicated in accordance with state law so that they can be scanned and the copy will then be stored with the original in case a recount is necessary.

Voters submit absentee ballots in two envelopes, so the identity of any individual voter will not be known once the outer envelope is removed. Election workers will tabulate and post the votes as usual after the polls have closed on Election Day. No delayed results are expected.

“The problem is not apparent to the naked eye but the machine can’t read the ovals,” said Ledford. “And we can’t reprogram the scanner after it has been certified by state officials.”
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Isakson, Chambliss Express Concern over Proposed Expansion of Bulldog Military Operating Area in East-Central Georgia

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today sent a letter to Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, and Bobby Sturgell, Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, expressing their concern over the proposed expansion of the Bulldog Military Operating Area in East-Central Georgia and the negative impact it could have on operations at civilian airports in that region.

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Secretary Donley and Administrator Sturgell:

Today our
staffs met to discuss the proposed expansion of the Bulldog Military Operating
Area (MOA) over East-Central Georgia. We had previously written to you
regarding this issue, and appreciate you making your staffs available to

We strongly support the ability of the Air Force to conduct
necessary training and operations in support of its readiness and our nation’s
security, and recognize the requirement it has. We remain concerned,
however, about the potential impact the proposed expansion as outlined in the
letter we received from Colonel Miller on March 10, 2008 may have on operations
at civilian airports in Emanuel County, Georgia, and Millen,

Specifically, the community is concerned that the proposed
expansion may negatively affect arrivals and departures flights into the
Swainsboro / Emanuel County airport and that the recent upgrades to the
Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the airport may be negated by the proposed
expansion. Swainsboro is also concerned about communications issues and
delays as they relate to instrument arrival and departure clearances at the
airport. Both communities are concerned about MOA usage notifications
between the Wing and the airports, and the steps forward with regards to the MOA
should traffic at these airports increase and necessitate new airspace

We appreciate the reassurances by your staffs that
they will take these, and other concerns raised at tomorrow’s public meeting,
into consideration and that both the Air Force and FAA will work to mitigate
these concerns before implementing changes to the MOA. We hope that the
Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration can agree on a proposal and a
process of closing the MOA to accommodate arrivals and departures into these
airports so as not to negatively affect existing or dissuade future commercial
air traffic and economic development, and we stand ready to assist you in any
way possible in this regard.

We appreciate you keeping us fully
informed as this issue develops, and we intend to carefully follow this issue to
ensure that out national security needs are met without negatively impacting
operations at local, civilian airports in Georgia.

truly yours,

Saxby Chambliss
United States Senator

Johnny Isakson
United States Senator
The community will have an opportunity to engage the Air Force and the FAA and share their comments at a public meeting on October 23, 2008. Isakson and Chambliss encourage all interested residents to attend the meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the Augusta Regional Airport, Large Conference Room, 1501 Aviation Way, Augusta, Ga.

The FAA and the Air Force have extended the public comment period to November 24, 2008, and have pledged to Isakson and Chambliss that they will look at ways to mitigate the existing concerns of the community.

State Senator Jack Hill, State Representative Butch Parrish and other elected officials as well as Bill Rogers and the Swainsboro/Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce have worked with Isakson and Chambliss on this important effort.
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Michelle Obama Meets with Members of the Military Community in Pensacola

Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic Presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama, met with 14 members of the military community in Pensacola, Florida today, before taking the stage for an Early Vote for Change rally. Among those who met with Mrs. Obama were Wendy Bennett, a military wife and mother whose husband is serving in Iraq and Amanda Allen, a junior attending the University of West Florida, whose husband currently serves in the Navy. Also in attendance were military community members who volunteer for the Obama-Biden campaign and serve as Team Pensacola members and have been heavily involved in the campaign’s grassroots voter registration and early vote for change efforts.

At today’s meeting, Mrs. Obama thanked them for their service to the country, and shared her perspective on the opportunity that military families have in this year’s election to cast their ballot for the only candidate who shares their vision of a military system that does more to support its troops and their families.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from these roundtables, it’s that when our military goes to war, their families go with them,” said Mrs. Obama. “Barack is the only candidate in this race who wants to create a 21st century VA that offers world-class care and rejects the idea that we should only treat combat injuries, but not those sustained in training or on the deck of an aircraft carrier. And Barack is the only candidate in this election who has put the middle class at the heart of his economic plan. ”

Today’s meeting builds on the series of roundtable discussions that Mrs. Obama has hosted with military families over the last several months to give a voice to the concerns of men and women who are facing the challenges of balancing work and family – particularly in a troubled economy – and to help communicate Obama and Biden’s plans to support America’s families. Mrs. Obama has met with military spouses and families in North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.

Today’s rally is part of the Obama-Biden campaign’s three day barnstorm across the state to mark the beginning of early voting in Florida. Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, will crisscross the state, speaking with Floridians about the importance of early voting and making their voice heard at the polls in advance of Election Day in order to bring the change we need in Florida and across the nation.

This evening, Mrs. Obama will join her husband in Miami for an Early Vote for Change rally. Tomorrow, Mrs. Obama will host similar events in Jacksonville and Gainesville. In Jacksonville, she will be introduced by Command Sergeant Major Michelle Jones, who served as the 9th Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserve from October 2002 through August 2006, and retired in March 2007 after 25 years of service.

Isakson, Chambliss Urge Treasury, Federal Reserve to Address Needs of Community Banks

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke asking them to address the needs of community banks in Georgia and across the country.
The text of the letter is below:

Dear Chairman Bernanke & Secretary Paulson:

Given the current financial climate and its challenges, it is imperative that we address the significant needs of both large financial firms and money center banks for the protection of our investments and retirement security. We must also address the needs of our community banks that small businesses and individuals look to for everyday needs such as inventory loans, operating capital and payroll.

As you move forward implementing your new authority established by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, we urge you to determine how best to use your authority to provide much needed capital and access to credit to community banks in Georgia and across the country.


Saxby Chambliss
United States Senator

Johnny Isakson
United States Senator

Chambliss Campaign: Jim Martin Won’t Stand Up for Georgia in

During the WALB debate that aired Monday, October 20, Jim Martin refused to condemn Senator Barack Obama’s promise that he will make Florida’s water resources a priority in the tri-state water war if elected president.[1]

- “As President, I will make protecting Florida's water resources a priority,” Obama continued.[2]

Jim Martin actually tried to deny that this was Obama’s stated position!

- “Saxby people don’t believe you, they know that’s not true. They know that’s not the position Senator Obama has taken, no Presidential candidate would take a position like that.”[3]


- “…if that is-and its not-if that were by some silly reason Obama’s, President Obama’s position, I’d stand up to him.”


Jim Martin: Standing Up For
Florida’s Mussels & Sturgeon!

[1] 11Alive News, http://www.11alive.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=122516&catid=3
[2] Gainesville Times, October 17, 2008, ”Obama says he’ll protect Florida’s water resources”
[3] Jim Martin, WALB debate, October 20, 2008

MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL: Editorial: Chambliss win vital to curbing liberals' excess

Published: 10/21/2008

The headlines in recent days have said that incumbent U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) is in "the fight of his life." They're right - and that's unfortunate both for him and the people of Georgia.

Chambliss stands a chance of becoming a victim of Obama Barack's expected coattails, which many suspect will be long enough to unseat Republicans who just a month ago were thought to be nearly impregnable. Democratic challenger Jim Martin is running an unexpectedly strong campaign. He is a good man, a diligent worker on behalf of Georgians during the Barnes administration, and though more liberal than most Georgians, he likely would be a capable senator if he were to be elected.

But should a senator so recently seen as secure as Chambliss become one of the victims of the Obama voter surge, it's a virtual lock that the Democrats will wind up with a "filibuster-proof" working majority in the Senate. With the Democrats in control of the White House and the House of Representatives as well, we should then get ready for an onslaught of liberal legislation unseen from Washington since the days of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society."

Our form of government is predicated on built-in "checks and balances," and in this case retaining enough Republicans there to mount a filibuster is looking like the last, best hope of checking an expected flood tide of far-left moves. Otherwise, you can expect a hasty retreat from Iraq, probably two and possibly three stridently left-wing nominees for the Supreme Court, punitive tax hikes on business and so on.

In that light, a vote for Saxby Chambliss seems more important than ever. But even were that not the case, Chambliss has more than earned another term in Washington. He has voted in accordance with the wishes and desires of most Georgians throughout his term, in favor of a strong defense, low taxes and less government.

With neither Obama nor Republican John McCain enamored with the Lockheed Martin-built C-130 Hercules or the F-22 Raptor, Chambliss is strategically situated to help defend them as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, following in the footsteps of legendary Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn. He also has played a vital role as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; and in keeping with what has become a Georgia tradition, sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee, where he is the senior Republican.

Saxby Chambliss has represented Georgia well in Washington, and deserves your vote for another term there.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

AAUW Hosts Political Forum Tuesday in Valdosta

The American Association of University Women will host the South Georgia Political Forum from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14, at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center.

Candidates for all national and local offices will participate in free-form roundtables and offer three-minute speeches, which will be moderated by Dr. Sharon Gravett, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs and longtime member of the AAUW. Prior to the addresses, the estimated 20 candidates from state and local races will be available in the meeting room to entertain questions from the public and distribute campaign information.

The Valdosta branch of the AAUW organized the forum, in conjunction with Myrna Ballard of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce, Julie Greenhaw of the Lowndes County Republican Party and Dennis Marks of the Lowndes County Democratic party.

Georgia Front Page
Fayette Front Page

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Statement of Senator Barack Obama on Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Today, Senator Obama made the following statement acknowledging October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

"Today, I join all Americans in observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month. At a time when one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, it’s more important than ever that we dedicate ourselves to working on behalf of the thousands of women who suffer in silence.

"Too often, victims of domestic violence don’t know where to turn, or have no one to turn to. And too often, a victim could be someone you love. That’s why, as a State Senator, I led the fight in Illinois to pass one of the strongest employment protection laws in the nation, ensuring that victims of domestic violence could seek shelter or treatment without losing their jobs.That’s why I introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to provide $25 million a year to domestic violence prevention and victim support efforts. That’s why I co-sponsored and helped reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. And today, I am so proud to have Senator Joe Biden, the man who wrote that groundbreaking legislation that gave so many women a second chance at life, as my running mate in this campaign.

"As President, I’ll make these efforts a national priority. This month, and every month, we must fight to bring domestic violence out of the darkness of isolation and into the light of justice, especially for minority and immigrant women, and women in every community where it goes unreported far too often. We’ll stop treating this as just a woman’s issue, and start recognizing that when a woman is attacked, that abuse scars not only the victim, but her loved ones, sending currents of violence that ripple across our society. We need all hands on deck to address this – neighbors willing to report suspected crimes, families willing to help loved ones seek treatment, and community leaders willing to candidly discuss this issue in public and break the stigma that stops so many women from coming forward. Together, we’ll make it clear that no woman ever struggles alone."