Political Insider

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

Group accuses UGA's Mark Richt of using 'public office' to push religion


A group that advocates the separation of church and government has called on University of Georgia President Jere Morehead to abolish the position of UGA football team chaplain, now held by UGA football coach Mark Richt’s brother-in-law.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation also accused Richt of using his “public office” to raise money for a Christian ministry.

Richt raised funds in 2014 for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at a gala event in the Butts-Mehre Building, the headquarters of the UGA Athletic Association, the group charged.

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Today's Donald Trump fix: He's reportedly expecting 35,000 people tonight in Mobile, Ala. The event was moved to a football stadium to accommodate the crowd. That's Bernie Sanders-level excitement, there.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker continues to work the SEC Primary states. AL.com reports that he will name Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed as his state chairman.

Walker is in Talladega and Birmingham on Saturday, Tennessee on Sunday, and North Carolina and South Carolina on Monday.

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The Republican presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush already had the Georgia endorsements of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Attorney General Sam Olens, and state Sens. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta and Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga.

Now the Bush campaign has pushed out a few more names:

-- Public Service Commissioner Stan Wise;

-- State Sen. John Kennedy of Macon;

-- State Sen. John Wilkinson of Cumming;

-- State Rep. Matt Dollar of east Cobb County;

-- State Rep. Joe Wilkinson of Sandy Springs;

-- Sandy Springs City Councilman Ken Dishman;

-- And Ed Lindsey of Atlanta, the former state representative and majority whip.

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U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, has brought VA Secretary Bob McDonald to Gainesville today for a hearing on the department's struggles in implementing the Veterans' Choice Program.

Festivities begin at 2 p.m. at the University of North Georgia, Gainesville campus, and you can get the audio here.

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U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, is hosting a field hearing next week of the Education and the Workforce Committee.

The hearing in Savannah is designed to hit the National Labor Relations Board for classifying franchises as "joint employers" with the franchiser in the case of McDonald's. Republicans argue this is bad, and restrictive, for small businesses if it spreads.

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The OK Cafe saga continues. We told you earlier this week that state Sen. Vincent Fort, the chamber's No. 2 Democrat, appealed to Atlanta's convention arm urging it to sanction the Buckhead landmark if it doesn’t shelve its carving of Georgia’s 1956 flag when it reopens from a fire.

Now comes this letter from William Pate, the Atlanta Convention and Visitor Bureau's leader, asking OK Cafe owner Susan DeRose to send the carving to the woodchipper, or at least to storage. Wrote Pate:

While we recognize that you are a private business and have every right to run your business as you see fit, as a member of Atlanta’s broader hospitality community, we would ask you to reconsider this position.

As ACVB wants every restaurant, attraction and hotel to receive the full financial benefit of Atlanta’s hospitality efforts, we hope you will give this request all due consideration.

DeRose has said she can do whatever she wishes with the carving.

“If we don’t remove the art, is this Congressman going to next demand our licenses be taken away?” she wrote in a statement this week. “Where do our First Amendment rights stop?”

 


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