Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Coke CEO: ‘Too much sugar isn’t good for anyone’

A corporate honcho who gives health advice isn’t news. Unless that CEO heads up a company that has been the backbone of the metro Atlanta economy for decades. From the AJC’s Russell Grantham:

Coca-Cola’s recently named chief executive said excessive sugar “isn’t good for anyone” as the company released its annual report on its impact on the environment and consumers…

The bulk of Coca-Cola’s 2016 Sustainability Report, released late last week, deals mostly with environmental and social issues, such as what portion of Coke’s cans and bottles were recycled (60 percent) and the company’s total charitable giving ($106 million.)

But in a letter accompanying the report, Coke CEO James Quincey talked mainly about the sugar issue.

“Concerns about obesity and health mean people now want more natural ingredients, drinks with more nutrition and benefits, and often less sugar,” said Quincey.

“We’re listening to consumers, and we agree with the World Health Organization that too much sugar isn’t good for anyone,” he said.


It’s hard to express how dire the situation is in Houston, which remains underwater today, in 140 characters. But Marshall Shepherd, a professor of meteorology at the University of Georgia, gives it a shot this morning: @JimCantore just said on @weatherchannel #Harvey has existed as a Tropical Storm for 141 hours over Texas....that is a record


Meanwhile, officials along the Texas coast acknowledge that the death toll, still officially low, could soar once the floodwaters recede. One Houston woman said Monday that she presumes six members of a family, including four of her grandchildren, died after their van sank into Greens Bayou in East Houston, though Houston emergency officials couldn't confirm the deaths. (AP)


One would think that a tragedy like the one that hovers over Houston would supersede politics. And in some ways it does – and doesn’t. Politico.com reports that U.S. Reps. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., and Peter King, R-N.Y., are promising to support emergency federal aid to Texas – even if U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, refused to vote for increased federal aid after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.


President Donald Trump said Tuesday, and not via Twitter, that "all options are on the table" in terms of a U.S. response to North Korea's launch of a missile over Japan. And so we think it timely to acknowledge the recent gift of this “hugs” T-shirt from Dawn Balfour, an 80-year-old reader from Atlanta:


She said it was inspired by a recent Insider column. Other recipients of the shirt: President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Thanks, Ms. Balfour.


For the first time, President Donald Trump on Monday defended his pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. From the New York Times: “A lot of people think it was the right thing to do....Actually, in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they were normally.”


Legislative politics in Georgia just got a little simpler. State Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Atlanta, said Tuesday he will resign his seat in order to concentrate on his campaign for governor. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who presides over the chamber, is also running. Hunter’s resignation leaves Michael Williams, R-Cumming, as the only other gubernatorial candidate in the chamber.


U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson on Monday dismissed President Donald Trump’s threat to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t fund his border wall with Mexico, according to the Marietta Daily Journal: “It’s the easiest threat in the world to make, but it’s one that if you ever deliver on it, which Newt Gingrich did back in 1996, you have a disaster like we had in 1996, so it’s not going to happen.”


In the aftermath of Charlottesville, much talk has come from Democratic quarters about removing Confederate symbolism from public spaces in the South and elsewhere. Bernice King on touched on the topic on Monday, when her father’s statue was unveiled at the state Capitol. Stacey Abrams, a Democratic candidate for governor, was at the same ceremony – and has drilled down on the topic.

But according to Politico.com, Democratic strategists in D.C. are warning about the perils of a debate focused on identity politics: “Republicans, they say, may be trying to goad Democrats into talking about hot-button issues that fire up the GOP base more than they energize liberal voters.”


The two Democratic candidates for governor seized on Monday's unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. statue to press their campaign messages. State Rep. Stacey Evans said in a statement that Georgians should "use this dedication of a statue to rededicate ourselves to his dream." And former state Rep. Stacey Abrams sent a fundraising appeal reminding supporters that King not only fought segregation but "against the two-headed chimera of racism and economic inequality."


State Rep. Allen Peake, the godfather of Georgia's medical marijuana program, is about to have more time on his hands. The Macon Republican sent us a release saying that his C&P Restaurant Co. signed an agreement to sell their 11 Cheddar stores across to Darden Restaurants. He and his business partner Mike Chumbley also sold the development rights for the restaurant chain in Alabama and Georgia.


U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, will hold her first-ever telephone town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Republican, who recently marked her second month as a member of the U.S. House, has previously held forth in front of an invitation-only gathering, but has avoided in-person town halls. Register for Handel's town hall here.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.