Winfred Dukes, Albany State, and Transportation

By now, you’ve probably heard that State Rep Winfred Dukes has been accused of costing Albany State University the funding for the Ray Charles Fine Arts Center.

You may have even heard that he got into a very verbal and visual altercation with his accuser around lunchtime today.

I can verify that the accusations are indeed accurate, and to steal a phrase from the late great Paul Harvey, here’s the REST of the story…

It all began, according to several sources, on January 30. On that day, the House of Representatives debated the Homeowner’s Tax Relief Grants. At about one hour and 36 minutes into the debate, Rep Dukes makes the comments shown in this video – which was taken directly from the video in the GPB archives. Now, the comments Rep Dukes makes about Delta and Gulfstream could be taken as attacks on Reps Burkhalter and Keen, respectively. Rep Burkhalter’s district is in the North Fulton/Alpharetta area, where Delta is a major player due to the proximity of its home base at Hartsfield Airport. Rep Keen’s district in Brunswick is the site of a major Gulfstream office. Burkhalter and Keen are also 2nd and 3rd in charge of House leadership, right behind Speaker Glenn Richardson.

So the comments in the video, and the fact that this early in the session he was already balking on major initiatives of House Leadership, didn’t earn Rep Dukes too many favors. And ultimately, as we all know, the way politics unfortunately works is who owes who favors. I personally can’t STAND this, but until we elect people with spines that will stand for right no matter what, it is the way the game is played.

So Rep Dukes already was shooting himself in the foot, when ANOTHER major pet project of House Leadership came up. Indeed, this particular project was SB 200, the Department of Transportation reorganization that was signed by Governor Perdue today, and has been a pet project of his throughout the session. House Leadership knew this particular bill was going to be extremely close, and the voting was kept open for quite a long time – roughly 5 minutes, about 5x as long as any other vote. While it was speculated then by myself, Jason Pye, and many others, that much deal making was going on during this time, I can now confirm this – and Reps Dukes and Fullerton were at the heart of it.

You see, according to what I am hearing, a deal was made whereby if Reps Dukes and Fullerton voted for SB 200, BOTH the Ray Charles project at Albany State AND the project at Darton would be funded in this year’s budget. Rep. Fullerton upheld her end of the deal and voted for SB 200, and Rep Dukes simply walked away from the chamber and did not vote. Because he did not vote, the Speaker himself was forced to take the EXTREMELY unusual move of casting a vote himself, and the Speaker’s vote – that should have been Rep Dukes’ vote – was the deciding factor in the passage of the bill.

Because of Rep Dukes reneging on his end of the deal, and because he had made no secret that the Albany State project was a pet project of his, Leadership then decided to strip the Albany State project from the budget during the final conference committee.

So you see, Rep Dukes DID, in fact, cause Albany State to lose the funding for the Ray Charles project, no matter how much he protests it.

SB 200 House Vote Record


Project VoteSafe

I have just been informed that Governor Perdue has signed HB 227 into law as of last Friday.

This is a VERY good law that allows people who are victims or potential victims of family violence to not risk their lives by registering to vote. Basically, it says that if you have a protective or restraining order or are a verified resident of a family violence shelter, you can request that your voter registration data not be made public.

In case you didn’t know, by and large, voter registration data is publicly available, at least for political organizations and the military, and maybe other individuals/organizations. Meaning that prior to HB 227 and Project VoteSafe – the Secretary of State’s name for her implementation of the bill – if a guy wanted to know where his ex-wife was living now and knew she had registered to vote in Georgia, he could get the voter registration data and track her down. This WAS perfectly legal, and now – thankfully – it is not, once the proper procedure has been done.

So consider this a public service announcement: To those with protective/restraining orders and/or who are living in a family violence shelter: You no longer have to fear for your life or your kids’ lives if you want to vote. PLEASE go register, and PLEASE vote in every election affecting your district!

For everyone: If we here at SWGA Politics can be of any use in helping you locate any information about who your politicians are and/or where they stand, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

[Updated] Closer Look at 2010 Governor’s Race with Fox 5 Atlanta

Fox 5 Atlanta is doing a series called ‘Closer Look: Race for Governor 2010’ where they interview each of the candidates.

April 21, 2009 Karen Handel text and video
April 22, 2009 Ray McBerry text and video
April 23, 2009 John Oxendine text and video
April 24, 2009 Austin Scott text and video
April 28, 2009 David Poythress text and video
April 29, 2009 Thurbert Baker text and video
April 30, 2009 DuBose Porter text and video
May 1, 2009 John Monds text and video

SWGA Politics will also have a continuing series ‘Candidate and Liberty’, examining each candidate’s statements as they appear on their websites and looking at them from the eyes of one Libertarian – namely, me. The first mini-series in this series is now complete, and ‘John Oxendine and Liberty: Series At a Glance‘ has already been posted.

John Oxendine and Liberty: Series At a Glance

Here’s the entire ‘John Oxendine and Liberty’ series in one spot for easy viewing:

Part 1: Intro, Transportation and Values

Part 2a: Oxendine Business Plan: Goal to Agriculture

Part 2b: Oxendine Business Plan: Working for Georgia Business

Part 2c: Oxendine Business Plan: The Business of Georgia is Business

Part 3: Jeff’s Conclusion

John Oxendine and Liberty, Part 3: Jeff’s Conclusion

Hopefully my readers now know exactly how ignorant, theocratic, and hypocritical this ‘politics as usual’ politician named John Oxendine is and intends to be as Governor.

I wrote the following nearly two weeks ago in my introduction to Part 1 of this ‘John Oxendine and Liberty’ series, and I believe it all the more now, after having looked in depth at his positions as noted on his website:

You see, quite honestly John Oxendine is a theocratic Statist of the worst sort. While this comes into play somewhat in his current position as Insurance Commissioner, it will be one of the greatest tragedies this state has ever experienced if he somehow lays claim to the Governor’s Mansion.

I’ve also come to find out that ‘ignorant’ and ‘hypocritical’ also apply to Mr. Oxendine, and I sincerely hope that you will join me in working to defeat him in the GOP primary next July,as I believe him to be worse than any politician I’ve yet seen running for Governor – but I could be proven wrong in future ‘Candidate and Liberty’ series.

As always, thank you for reading SWGA Politics. (Now if we can just get some of y’all to comment more… :D)

John Oxendine and Liberty, Part 2c: Oxendine Business Plan: The Business of Georgia Is Business

The Business of Georgia is Business

The choice in 2010 is clear. Georgia can continue down the same road of traditional politicians putting ego before policy, personal political gain before the taxpayers or Georgia can elect a pro-business, pro-free enterprise Governor.

As we’ve seen, such a pro-business, pro-free enterprise Governor is NOT you, Mr. Oxendine. In fact, as we’ve seen in this series, you are NOTHING but a ‘traditional politician putting ego before policy’ and ‘personal political gain before the taxpayers of Georgia’. Personally, I think the candidate that best espouses what you yourself just admitted Georgia needs is John Monds, but I will be continuing this series as more information from each of the candidates is released online, and I encourage any candidate that wishes to speak with SWGA Politics for an in-depth interview to please contact us, as we’d LOVE to talk to you personally. We try to be genuinely equal opportunity here, and as you’ve seen in these posts, I do admit when I agree with your positions.
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John Oxendine and Liberty, Part 2b: Oxendine Business Plan: Working for Georgia Business

Moving into the ‘Working for Georgia Business’ category, we find:

We must preserve and maintain a fair and impartial judicial system in Georgia.

I could not agree with Mr. Oxendine more on this point, as the Judiciary is one of very few legitimate functions of government. I just hope his use of ‘fair’ and mine coincide, as I remember once having an education professor who insisted that ‘fair’ did NOT mean doing the same thing in every situation, and I insist that it does. If two people come in who have committed the same crime under the same circumstances, they should receive the same punishment, regardless of ANY other factor.

A John Oxendine Administration will support a business friendly tax code which is fair, stable and encourages economic growth, entrepreneurial enterprise, and freedom. A John Oxendine Administration will support a repeal of sales tax on energy used in the manufacturing process and the elimination of the inventory ad valoreum tax.

The most business and freedom-friendly tax code is some form of flat tax with ZERO exceptions, yet in the very next line Mr. Oxendine is making exceptions to his tax system. Mr. Oxendine, if you’re going to be a hypocrite, try not to put the actions that make it obvious so close together, please!
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