Some quick hits for the day:
- Despite hard right and hard left shots, the appointment of Brian Kemp as Secretary of State is a very good thing for Georgia and this region. Brian is a strong leader and was a very good Senator. Brian worked hard and cared deeply about the communities in his district, and will make a fine statewide official. The arguments that the appointment is politically motivated may have some truth, but what governor -- Democrat or Republican -- is not politically motivated? Was Brian honestly supposed to turn down the appointment? And since Brian was already a candidate (never mind the best candidate in my mind), he was an appropriate choice. My guess is that the political calculus was pretty easy for Brian: come November the power of incumbency easily trumps the grumbles of 100 hard core Republicans and a few Democrats who won't support any Republican for the office anyway.
- If you are interested in Georgia's transportation challenges, read this editorial and take time to review the report. I worked briefly with State Transportation Planning Director Todd Long when he oversaw GDOT's Gainesville office, and he is one of the most honest and competent transportation officials I have been involved with. His bottom line is that we have to dedicate more dollars to transportation or we will fall behind, and the report makes a very compelling case. Let's hope the legislature pays attention.
- Speaking of falling behind, check out this story on Georgia's new economy strategy. I don't know where these states get their resources (higher tax rates? different priorities?), but they are not just outspending us on transportation, but on economic development as well. The stem cell issue is one that could disproportionately impact Athens. We will be following it closely as we move into the session.
- Looks like we are getting a nifty new antiques store in Watkinsville. They are locating just south of the courthouse in the row of shops. The owner, Joann Stewart, is a nice lady -- I have purchased Daylilys from her farm on Simonton Bridge Road (all you amateur gardeners out there should check it out).