April 27 to be a day of prayer for Georgia as fight against COVID-19 continues

Press Release
severe day of prayer

Atlanta, GA – On Monday, April 27, Governor Brian P. Kemp will join Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, Speaker David Ralston, and faith leaders from across Georgia in holding a Day of Prayer service in the rotunda of the Georgia State Capitol at 10:00 a.m. As the state continues to battle COVID-19, Kemp, Duncan, and Ralston are calling on all Georgians and members of the faith community around the state to participate by posting videos of their prayers on social media throughout the day.

“Our unprecedented battle with COVID-19 has proven the resolve of the people of Georgia to fight hard, come together, and do what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus,” said Governor Kemp. “While we cannot all be together right now, we can join with one another in prayer for our frontline healthcare workers, first responders, law enforcement, business owners, local leaders, and fellow Georgians as we continue the important work of fighting COVID-19 and safely reopening our state. On Monday, I am calling on all Georgians to participate in our Day of Prayer by posting on social media and showing their support for their fellow citizens.”

“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on countless lives across our state and nation. In the midst of tremendous loss, uncertainty, and anxiety, I look forward to joining together in prayer,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “Faith and prayer are a comfort to millions of Georgians, and whatever your background, I hope Monday will be a chance for us to focus on those who are hurting and seek wisdom for the hard road ahead.”

“I’m very proud of the response to this crisis by our state government and local and federal partners as well as healthcare workers and frontline personnel,” said Speaker David Ralston. “In such trying times, it is appropriate that we come together to pray for those battling this disease and its impact as well as those who have tragically lost loved ones. I join with Governor Kemp, Lt. Governor Duncan, and all Georgians in praying for the mercy and comfort of our Lord as we look forward to brighter days ahead.”

To ensure adherence to social distancing guidelines, the Day of Prayer service will not be open to the general public. Georgians are encouraged to participate via livestream at www.facebook.com/GovKemp at 10:00 a.m.

Live Call-In With House Speaker David Ralston

Community

#BKP has House Speaker David Ralston on the show to discuss the elections in Georgia, the worldwide pandemic, and much more.

 

UPDATE: Ralston sends another letter to Raffensperger regarding Georgia Primary

Featured, News
ralston

UPDATE: April 8, 2020

ATLANTA, Ga – After announcing his support of extending the Public Health State of Emergency through May 13, House Speaker David Ralston has again asked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to move the Georgia Primary to June 16.

Ralston has been very vocal about moving the election until Georgia can overcome the COVID-19 outbreak, which has a death rate in Georgia of 3.65 percent.

“We have seen many reports recently about how impactful a May 19 primary will be on the
ability of poll workers to report. Paramount is the health of voters, poll workers and others who
must be at polling precincts on Election Day,” stated Ralston in the letter.

Letter to Secretary of State 4.8.20

Copy of the April 8 letter.

Original Story from March 26, 2020 below: 

ATLANTA, Ga – Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (Ga -7) sent a letter to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) asking him to please move Georgia’s May 19th primary due to novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

In the letter, Ralston asserts that he would like the primary to be moved to a date of June 23 or later. He cites several other southern states that have already moved their May Primaries to June or July as a precautionary measure to keep the public safe.

An exert from the letter below:

“At the present time, our state, the entire nation and the world are confronted by a public health emergency of unprecedented magnitude.

Our prayer is that we will be on the other side of this difficult period sooner rather than later. However, the inescapable truth is that we do not know the duration of the immediate health peril. Reputable scientists and physicians cannot agree on its duration.

All of which means that the precautionary measures recommended by the CDC and adopted in executive order by Governor Kemp will continue for an unknown period of time.”

The Georgia Speaker of the House also addresses the right to vote as one of America’s “cherished freedoms” and it “should be free of impact from circumstances which create obstacles to its exercise.”

The May 19th primary puts Georgia over a month ahead of anyone else in the south.

View the full letter here. Secretary Raffensperger 3 26 2020

On Tuesday, March 24, Raffensperger announced that the Secretary of State’s Office would be mailing out absentee ballots to 6.9 Georgia voters for the May 19th primary. This was his answer to ensuring the health of Georgia voters and poll workers during the pandemic.

In a press release issued by Raffensperger on the absentee ballots, he said,

“Times of turbulence and upheaval like the one we Georgians face require decisive action if the liberties we hold so dear are to be preserved,” said Raffensperger. “I am acting today because the people of Georgia, from the earliest settlers to heroes like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Congressman John Lewis, have fought too long and too hard for their right to vote to have it curtailed. Georgia has faced challenges before and overcome them, and we can do so again through the grit and ingenuity that has made America a shining example for democracies around the world.”

In the 2016 and 2018 November elections, around 95 percent of Georgia voters opted to cast their ballot in person versus the 5 percent who did so by mail. With social distancing as the most important tool for limiting the spread of coronavirus, providing alternatives to voting in person is crucial. All Georgia voters can request and vote an absentee ballot for any reason.

While Secretary Raffensperger is encouraging as many voters as possible to vote by mail, some rely on in-person voting to exercise their right to vote privately and securely. People without internet or mail access, such as those experiencing homelessness; Georgians who need language assistance; and people with disabilities who rely on voting machines to cast their ballot will still be able to do so in person on the state’s new voting system. Additionally, research from the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law shows that eliminating “in-person voting could disproportionately disenfranchise Black, Latino, and young voters”. Their right to vote too needs protection.

To that end, Raffensperger is taking extra steps to limit the threat of COVID-19 at the polling place. Poll workers will receive additional resources to clean the equipment regularly. In-person voters who show up to vote in person will be instructed to maintain a safe distance when waiting to vote.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

These measures will protect poll workers as well. Understanding the extra risk Georgia’s generally elderly poll workers face, Raffensperger is working to help counties hire more and younger poll workers. Extra staff will allow those who feel sick to be absent from the polls without significantly impacting continuity while a younger pool of workers will increase resiliency in the face of the COVID-19 threat.

Speaker Ralston asks Raffensperger to move Georgia Primary

Featured, News
ralston

ATLANTA, Ga – Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (Ga -7) sent a letter to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) asking him to please move Georgia’s May 19th primary due to novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

In the letter, Ralston asserts that he would like the primary to be moved to a date of June 23 or later. He cites several other southern states that have already moved their May Primaries to June or July as a precautionary measure to keep the public safe.

An exert from the letter below:

“At the present time, our state, the entire nation and the world are confronted by a public health emergency of unprecedented magnitude.

Our prayer is that we will be on the other side of this difficult period sooner rather than later. However, the inescapable truth is that we do not know the duration of the immediate health peril. Reputable scientists and physicians cannot agree on its duration.

All of which means that the precautionary measures recommended by the CDC and adopted in executive order by Governor Kemp will continue for an unknown period of time.”

The Georgia Speaker of the House also addresses the right to vote as one of America’s “cherished freedoms” and it “should be free of impact from circumstances which create obstacles to its exercise.”

The May 19th primary puts Georgia over a month ahead of anyone else in the south.

View the full letter here. Secretary Raffensperger 3 26 2020

On Tuesday, March 24, Raffensperger announced that the Secretary of State’s Office would be mailing out absentee ballots to 6.9 Georgia voters for the May 19th primary. This was his answer to ensuring the health of Georgia voters and poll workers during the pandemic.

In a press release issued by Raffensperger on the absentee ballots, he said,

“Times of turbulence and upheaval like the one we Georgians face require decisive action if the liberties we hold so dear are to be preserved,” said Raffensperger. “I am acting today because the people of Georgia, from the earliest settlers to heroes like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Congressman John Lewis, have fought too long and too hard for their right to vote to have it curtailed. Georgia has faced challenges before and overcome them, and we can do so again through the grit and ingenuity that has made America a shining example for democracies around the world.”

In the 2016 and 2018 November elections, around 95 percent of Georgia voters opted to cast their ballot in person versus the 5 percent who did so by mail. With social distancing as the most important tool for limiting the spread of coronavirus, providing alternatives to voting in person is crucial. All Georgia voters can request and vote an absentee ballot for any reason.

While Secretary Raffensperger is encouraging as many voters as possible to vote by mail, some rely on in-person voting to exercise their right to vote privately and securely. People without internet or mail access, such as those experiencing homelessness; Georgians who need language assistance; and people with disabilities who rely on voting machines to cast their ballot will still be able to do so in person on the state’s new voting system. Additionally, research from the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law shows that eliminating “in-person voting could disproportionately disenfranchise Black, Latino, and young voters”. Their right to vote too needs protection.

To that end, Raffensperger is taking extra steps to limit the threat of COVID-19 at the polling place. Poll workers will receive additional resources to clean the equipment regularly. In-person voters who show up to vote in person will be instructed to maintain a safe distance when waiting to vote.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

These measures will protect poll workers as well. Understanding the extra risk Georgia’s generally elderly poll workers face, Raffensperger is working to help counties hire more and younger poll workers. Extra staff will allow those who feel sick to be absent from the polls without significantly impacting continuity while a younger pool of workers will increase resiliency in the face of the COVID-19 threat.

Gurtler leaves 8th District voters hanging in limbo

Election, News
Matt Gurtler

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – With candidate qualification just three weeks away, House Representative Matt Gurtler continues to leave 8th District voters in the dark regarding which office he will pursue. Whether Gurtler will choose to remain the incumbent in the State House race or move toward a bid in the 50th State Senate or 9th Congressional districts remains a mystery.

As constituents question the elected official’s delay, it begs the question: What exactly is Gurtler waiting on?

Gurtler alluded to a potential State Senate, or U.S. Congressional House run, in a Feb. 4 social media post. “With the announcement of Congressman Doug Collins seeking the U.S. Senate seat, as well as our State Senator John Wilkinson’s seat opening up, I wanted to answer all your questions about whether I’m considering a run for either seat, the 9th Congressional or the 50th State Senate,” Gurtler stated, adding that he was “weighing my options.”

Last month, the second-term representative received substantial backlash on social media following a controversial “no” vote proclaimed to honor President Trump and the U.S. military. Challenging candidate Stan Gunter took aim at the self-professed conservative’s history of opposing Republican-backed bills at the State Capitol.

In turn, Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw weighed in on the matter at the Towns County Republican Party meeting on Jan. 16, shining a spotlight on Gurtler’s unpopular position with conservative officials in the State House. “This isn’t the first time that a vote like this occurred,” Gunter publicly reminded. “You can imagine what he does to his relationships with other Republicans because this bill went down the party line. The Democrats all voted against it, and he joined the Democrats.”

In response, Representative Gurtler issued a Feb. 6 rebuttal reminiscent of his 2018 campaign rhetoric. “The establishment, lead by (House Speaker David) Ralston himself, never give up, and unfortunately, because they’ve been in power for so long (back when many of them were Democrats), they have endless resources….” Gurtler stated in part. “Unfortunately, my opponent has decided to carry on the establishment torch.”

In a Feb. 6 statement to FYN, Gunter said that he is focused solely on the 8th District House. “I’m running my campaign as if (Gurtler) is still in it, which he is,” Gunter said. Gunter issued the statement following the news that Gurtler confirmed a low-profile visit to Washington D.C.

With time narrowing in, the elected official will have to reveal his hand sooner than later, announcing whether he wishes to continue representing the citizens of the 8th House District or attempt to secure a seat elsewhere.

Additional information can be found by clicking the highlighted links above.

Continue to follow FYN for campaign developments as Election 2020 approaches.

 

 

House Majority Caucus announces plans to introduce healthcare legislation

News

PRESS RELEASE

ATLANTA – Members of the House Majority Caucus today announced their plan to introduce legislation during the 2020 legislative session that seeks to return health care dollars and day-to-day health care decisions to patients and health care professionals in Georgia. The caucus announced its legislative plan after the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care meeting on Tuesday.

“Today, we heard from patients and providers about opaque practices of PBMs and managed care organizations that increased costs to patients and taxpayers and, more importantly, compromise the health of Georgians,” said Majority Caucus Chairman Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin). “We are committed to bringing a stop to these practices.”

“Wall Street is bleeding us of money and choices, and we are going to take both of those back,” said State Representative David Knight (R-Griffin). “This money and decision-making power has been shipped by massive health care companies to Wall Street, where it has enriched investors, while hurting those who need care across Georgia.”

The proposed legislation, which will be spearheaded by Rep. Knight, aims to bring transparency to the prescription drug market, while at the same time, closing loopholes in existing laws that managed care organizations (MCOs), pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) and state contracted PBMs use to continue to engage in practices that may harm patients. Additionally, the new legislation would carve out of prescription drug benefits from Medicaid managed care. The legislation was in part inspired by actuarial study by the state of West Virginia that showed the carve out saved over $50 million, while paying community pharmacies fairly at the same time. Finally, the legislation would bring true oversight to PBMs and MCOs that contract and subcontract with the state.

This legislative plan builds upon House Bill 233, or the “Pharmacy Anti-Steering and Transparency Act,” which was passed during the 2019 legislative session and enacted January 1, 2020. HB 233 prohibits pharmacies owned by PBM and insurance affiliates from poaching patient information for profit or non-patient care purposes. It also prohibits pharmacies from receiving self-dealing referrals from their affiliates and billing to the Board of Pharmacy, tasks the Board of Pharmacy with enforcement authority for violations of the law and requires pharmacies to disclose affiliates.

“Lowering costs, empowering patients and improving outcomes are the holy grails of health care legislation,” said House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). “We are going to significantly advance all three of those goals with this legislation in 2020.”

Representative Matt Hatchett represents the citizens of District 150, which includes Treutlen County and portions of Johnson and Laurens counties. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 and currently serves as House Majority Caucus Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Rules Committee. He also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and the Economic Development & Tourism, Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications, Ethics and Health & Human Services committees.

Representative David Knight represents the citizens of District 130, which includes portions of Henry, Lamar and Spalding counties. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004 and currently serves as Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education. He also serves on the Banks & Banking, Higher Education, Rules, Small Business Development and Ways & Means committees.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

Ralston Endorsed by Georgia Carry – Vote Ralston

Politics

Our 2nd Amendment rights are not up for debate. That’s why I refuse to entertain gun control activists who seek to undermine our safety and compromise the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. From passing “the most pro-gun bill in state history” to ensuring that students, faculty, and visitors can protect themselves on a college campus, I am proud of my record of defending and expanding our 2nd Amendment Rights.

This election, I am once again endorsed by the NRA – National Rifle Association of America and countless #2A supporters throughout the District. Together, we will stand up for our God-given rights and remain “freedom’s safest place.”

District 8 House race turns sour in final stretch

Election 2018, News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – As the May 22 General Primary election draws near, State House District 8 challenger Mickey Cummings has launched what his opponent, Representative Matt Gurtler, described as a “smear campaign” by resorting to a barrage of published political attacks, geared toward the incumbent’s voting record.

At a public speaking engagement on April 27, in Hiawassee, Cummings said he had no intention of running a negative campaign.

Matt Gurtler

Rep. Matt Gurtler

In a paid advertisement, Cummings claims that Gurtler has “voted against our kids,” while asking, “Don’t our children deserve better?”

Cummings included Gurtler’s voting history, listing “no” to school safety funding, “no” to better training for school resource officers, and “no” to hundreds of thousands of dollars for our local schools.

Gurtler explained that the issues Cummings has chosen to highlight were lumped together within the “all-or-nothing” $26 billion dollar state budget, which Gurtler has repeatedly described as “omnibus, riddled with subsidies, and wasteful spending.”

Gurtler believes the budget should be divided and departmentalized, with separate votes cast for each sector.

Gurtler says Cummings is cherry-picking segments embedded within the bloated budget, hoping to solicit an emotional response from voters.

“What you are seeing are typical establishment tactics, a blanket attack,” Gurtler tells FetchYourNews (FYN), “This election is between me and the establishment. It shows just how deep the swamp goes. They don’t want a dissenting voice in the House. They want an ask-no-questions, yes-man.”

State House leaders, including House Speaker David Ralston, have poured a total of $13,700 into Cummings’ campaign thus far, with Cummings recently announcing a political rally scheduled for May 16, at the Union County Farmers Market, with sitting Governor Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston in attendance.

While negative campaigning is often considered “politics as usual,” it is unprecedented for an acting governor to endorse the opponent of an incumbent within his or her own party.

Mickey Cummings

Mickey Cummings

Time will tell whether Governor Deal’s decision to campaign for Cummings hinders or favors Gurtler’s reelection odds.

Cummings did not return FYN’s request for comment on campaign contributions, nor the upcoming rally.

A debate between the State House candidates will be aired live on FYNTV.com on Tuesday, May 14, at 9:00 a.m.

FYN Chief Executive Officer Brian Pritchard will moderate the State House District 8 debate.

Count on continuing coverage as Election Day approaches.

Speaker David Ralston Attends White House Speakers Conference

Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) is attending the White House State House Speakers Conference. This conference brings together state house speakers from across the country to receive an update on President Trump’s policy initiatives. Several administration officials will meet with the group including Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Ben Carson and Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.

“I thank President Trump for his invitation, and I appreciate his administration’s continuing outreach to state and local officials,” said Speaker Ralston. “The President understands that our government can be most effective when the federal, state and local levels work together as partners on behalf of the citizens we serve.”

Following the conference, Speaker Ralston will attend the President’s recognition of NASCAR Cup Series Champion Martin Truex, Jr., and his team at the White House.

Speaker Ralston previously visited the White House in February to represent Georgia at President Trump’s infrastructure plan announcement. That proposal would combine public-sector funding with private-sector investments to rebuild and improve the nation’s infrastructure – particularly in rural communities.

“It is refreshing to have a President who leads on issues like tax reform and infrastructure improvements,” said Speaker Ralston. “I am hopeful that Congress will support the President’s infrastructure plan, which would spur economic growth and create jobs across the country.”

 

Rep. Matt Gurtler explains vote against Speaker’s re-election

News, Politics
Matt Gurtler

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – State Representative Matt Gurler, branded the “rebel” of the Georgia House, was the sole Republican to vote against the re-election of House Speaker David Ralston, Jan. 14. Ralston represents District 7, encompassing parts of Dawson County, Fannin County, and Gilmer County, and has served as Speaker of the House since 2010.

Matt Gurtler

District 8 Rep. Matt Gurtler

“The Speaker’s role is that of a facilitator, to ensure the legislative process is respected,” Gurtler stated, “While I understand the power dynamic that is politics, to say that we need to raise our standards is an understatement. If one individual controls the entire process, does that not undo the framework our government was founded on? A representative government with limited, delegated powers, derived from the people. This applies within the legislative bodies and between the legislative bodies – separation of powers.”

Notably, Gurtler and Ralston butted heads during the 2018 primary election cycle, with Ralston openly supporting Gurtler’s challenger. Despite opposition from state leaders, Gurler was re-elected to serve a second-term representing the citizens of District 8. “As always, my votes are based on principle, merit, and policy, and I simply cannot approve of this type of dictatorial rule,” Gurtler explained,” I’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand. This isn’t surprising. It’s the reality and product of big government, and it’s a big reason why people hate politics. For those reasons, we must take a stand, and that is why I voted against Representative Ralston as I enter my second term, even though I gave him the benefit of the doubt the first time.”

In addition to Gurtler, nine Democratic House members opposed the re-election of Speaker Ralston, with Ralston securing the role with 170 favorable votes.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties, as well as Clay and Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week, reaching between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page.

Margaret Williamson to challenge David Ralston in Republican Primary

Featured, Politics

 

Margaret Williamson announces run for Georgia House of Representatives, District 7.

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The 2018 election is already starting to take shape as challengers emerge announcing bids for candidacy against well-known incumbents. The most recent of these announcements comes from Margaret Williamson who intends to face off against Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston.

Ralston was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2002 and represents House District 7, which includes Fannin County, Gilmer County and a portion of Dawson County. Ralston is the 73rd Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, a position he has held since 2010.

Williamson, who resides in Ellijay, made a statement discussing her decision to run:

“For many years I have been involved in political campaigns, on local, state, and national levels. I have actively participated in legislative issues, in support of or in opposition to, learning all the way. Now I intend to use this experience and acquired knowledge to enter into the process as a candidate.”

Already having begun the process of running for the House District 7 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, Williamson acknowledged in her statement that she has mailed the “Declaration to Accept Campaign Contributions” form to the Georgia State Transparency & Campaign Finance Committee.

After approval of this form, Williamson’s next step will be to complete the qualifying process held in March of this year. The qualifying will officially make Williamson a candidate in the Republican Primary for Georgia State House Representative, District 7.

Williamson concluded her statement by announcing that she is in the process of creating a Facebook page which will contain her position on various issues.

“This decision is the culmination of months of debate and prayer. Please continue praying for both John and me,” Williamson said. “This is an exciting time for me.”

A General Primary Election for both Republicans and Democrats will take place on May 22, 2018. Voter registration deadline for the Primary Election is April 23.

Winners of the primaries will face off in the General Election to held on Nov. 6, 2018.

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

A Best Veteran’s Day Speech

Opinion

For nearly two decades, Veterans Day in Gilmer County, Ga., has been a big event, celebrated with a parade, music, marching veterans in uniform, flags, the Gilmer Co. High School Band and chorus, free breakfasts and after parade lunches for vets. The schools also participate with prize money offered in essay and poster contests. A few times we have even enjoyed the thrill of fly overs by reserve aviation unites or CAP planes. Even a out of county High School ROTC Unit has asked to participate in the parade for the past several years. It’s always a busy day and always includes, as the main speaker, some dignitary or other, often a military officer, returned from a war zone, a local business personality or some other recognizable name.

This year, 2017, the invited guest speaker was Georgia’s own Speaker of the Georgia Assembly, and our state representative, The Honorable, Mr. David Ralston and also, a friend of mine. The following essay is the excellent speech, (verbatim) of speaker Ralston this year and was, in my opinion, just too good not to share:

Good morning. What a beautiful day to be in Gilmer County!

I stand before you today as one who is proud to be an American. I am proud to be in Gilmer County. I am proud and honored to be a part of this very special occasion to honor our veterans for their service and sacrifice. Nothing I can say will full express the enormous debt of gratitude we owe to those who have served our nation in our military.

I want to thank everyone who helped put this spectacular display of patriotism on this morning. I particularly want to thank all of the students who have participated in today’s festivities. You all have helped us show that the American spirit is alive and well in North Georgia!  Serving as Speaker of your House of Representatives as well as your State Representative is an honor for which I am thankful each and every day.

I know our political dialogue isn’t as kind as it once was. We’ve got some divisions that need healing. But we are so much better off than many other nations in the world. Here we are free to discuss and debate our disagreements. We can come to a table with different views and reason together. We have open, free and fair elections that put each and every one of us on a level playing field.  That’s not the case in North Korea. That’s not the case in Zimbabwe. That’s not the case in Cuba. That’s not the case in Venezuela.

But here in this great nation, you and I are free. I am free to take a knee when I pray and I am free to stand with pride when the National Anthem is played or the Pledge of Allegiance is recited. In so many other parts of the world, people don’t enjoy the freedoms we enjoy. Their decisions are made for them. Their leaders are selected by others. The information they get is filtered for them by others. In 2017 when so many nations around the world are free – it can be hard to remember the millions of our brothers and sister who aren’t. Why do they still suffer under tyrants and dictators and we don’t? — Our men and women in uniform.

Our service members and veterans who have stood up to serve this one nation – under God – indivisible – say it with me – “with liberty and justice for all.” Throughout our history, America has been attacked by those who don’t value freedom. Whether it was the Axis powers in World War II or today’s terrorists from ISIS or Al Qaeda, Americans have always had the protection of our armed forces.

In the noise of today’s 24-hour news cycle, service and sacrifice aren’t qualities that we hear much about. That’s a shame. Yet there are heroes who live in communities each and every day – our mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, neighbors and friends – the veterans of our armed forces.

If anything, I hope today reminds us that no matter what happens, there are good and decent patriots who have stood up to defend our freedoms. They have offered to make the ultimate sacrifice and lay down their lives, if necessary, to protect this nation and its citizens. In the Book of John, Jesus tells us that “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

By stepping forward and volunteering to serve, each member of our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Reserves offers to do just that. So today is a day that we pause to honor and celebrate their collective service and sacrifice. Today we rededicate ourselves to supporting our veterans and showing them the gratitude they deserve.

So long as the sun rises and the stars come out at night, this nation will remain a beacon of hope and opportunity for every oppressed person around the globe. They dream of one day enjoying the freedoms we enjoy. They dream of the limitless possibilities that exist in America.

And so long as our armed forces keep watch, this nation will stand proudly as the land of the free and the home of the brave. May God bless our veterans and our United States of America. Thank you!”

Remember, Freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (13Nov17)

Georgia Speaker of The House David Ralston Talks About Rural Georgia Issues, Health Care…

Featured, Politics

Our interview Friday with Speaker of The House David Ralston focused on rural Georgia. Ralston went into detail about the new Rural Georgia Economic Council. This council will be co-chaired by (R) Terry England from Auburn, (R) Jay Powell from Camilla and Vice Chair (R) Sam Watson from Moultry. The council will be holding meetings across Georgia to hear from elected officials, local businesses and citizens about how they feel rural Georgia economy can best be improved. Ralston said jokingly that he better not find out that one meeting took place in Atlanta.

Health care is a major concern in rural Georgia. Several hospitals have closed in rural Georgia areas including one in Ralston’s district in North Georgia. We spoke to Ralston abut one possible solution to meet rural Georgia health care needs. Ralston used the example of the first stand alone emergency room, opened by Piedmont Mountainside Hospital in Gilmer county. In this interview we asked Ralston if Gilmer county still had the possibility of having a full hospital.

Ralston told us that sometime within the next month Governor Nathan Deal would be visiting Gilmer county’s Fire Station 1 to sign the fire fighter’s workmen’s compensation bill.  We asked Ralston the difference in this years campus carry bill opposed to last year’s bill which Governor Deal vetoed. Not being able to speak for the Governor, Ralston said he felt they made the changes necessary to get Deal to sign the bill. We also discussed the pay raises agreed upon in the 2017 legislative session for teachers, state law enforcement, and D.F.C.S workers.  

Our final question in our interview friday: Speaker Ralston do you see the governor’s mansion in your future?

BKP Interviews Georgia House Speaker David Ralston

State & National

On FYN TV, BKP interviews Georgia’s Speaker of the House for District-7 Representative David Ralston, as they discuss Georgia’s aggressive plan for a large infrastructure investment that was presented and highlighted at a meeting for Republican leaders including Ralston, over the weekend at The White House. Speaker David Ralston comments on what that means for Georgia.

Pictured below: Speaker of the House for Georgia District 7 David Ralston at this past weekends Infrastructure Meeting at the White House with Republican leaders and President Donald Trump.

Speaker Ralston Attends Trump’s Infrastructure Announcement

News, Politics

ATLANTA – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) attended President Trump’s infrastructure announcement at The White House this morning.  Speaker Ralston was one of several local and state elected officials invited to participate in a series of discussions with the President as well as members of his cabinet and senior staff about the plan and the infrastructure needs facing our nation.

I appreciate President Trump’s emphasis on public-private partnerships, as well as rural areas of America, as we look to address the nation’s infrastructure needs,” said Speaker Ralston.  “Much like his Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, this measure will make a real difference in projects of profound economic importance like the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project or long-overdue efforts like expanding broadband infrastructure into rural areas.  This is another example of President Trump focusing on creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity across our country.  I am honored to represent the State of Georgia at this important announcement.”

President Trump’s infrastructure plan looks to leverage the power of public-private partnerships to improve the nation’s infrastructure including transportation, water/sewer and other critical needs like broadband internet access.  More details on the President’s plan are available on The White House website at http://www.whitehouse.gov.

Governor Signs House Bill 146 in Gilmer Fire Station

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Nathan Deal Signing Bill 146

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal visited Fire House 1 in Gilmer County Thursday to officially sign House Bill 146 known as the “Firefigher’s Cancer Insurance Bill.”

Micah Gravley - District 67 RepresentativeJoined by several officials including Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Senator Steve Gooch, author of the bill Micah Gravley, District 67 Representative, opened the ceremony by speaking about the two year effort to bring the bill to this point. Gravley related his interactions with two firefighters, Frank Martinez and Brian Scutter, who he said were the honor of the Bill as they fought for and spoke with legislators to get the bill passed, as well as the appropriateness to have the signing in Scutter’s home station in Gilmer County. Scutter was also mentioned by Speaker Ralston who said he had made a promise to Brian that he would give all that was in him to bring this day about. Turning to face Scutter, Ralston said, “I kept my promise.”

Governor Nathan Deal, who originally vetoed last year’s Bill 216 called the new House Bill 146 an “innovative and great solution to the situation.” Deal said the Bill provides relief for firefighters by providing a different method for compensation and money for treatment and care for firefighters who contract cancers during their work. Gravley thanked the Governor for his support of, as he called it, a “better bill.”

Speaker David Ralston - House Bill 146The sentiment was echoed by Speaker Ralston who said, “We have arrived at a better solution. By requiring a local government to provide insurance to our firefighters for certain types of cancer, the firefighter can skip the process of litigating a worker’s comp claim. This will allow the firefighter to focus on getting better and recovery rather than having to worry about legal bills and depositions and hearings.”

FYN caught up with Speaker Ralston and Governor Deal to ask them to elaborate on why the bill is better, comparative to last years Bill 216. The Speaker replied saying, “This uses a Health Insurance Model as opposed to a Workman’s Comp model which means instead of having to make a claim and perhaps go through a court type process to get benefits and income, Firefighters in this case will file a claim just like health insurance.”

Governor Nathan Deal - House Bill 146Governor Deal also spoke on the insurance versus workman’s comp comparison saying it was an awkward and “adversarial way of deciding whether or not compensation is owed.” Deal went on to say the newer Bill is a much better solution “to provide insurance coverage that will define benefits and give some flexibility as to deciding the compensation that will be given to firefighters.”

More than Senators and Congressman came to see Deal sign the Bill, though. Several representatives from neighboring and local emergency services attended the event including Gilmer’s own Director of Public Safety Tony Pritchett who said the Bill “gives you a sense of protection… You can lay your head down and sleep better at night knowing that if you contract cancer because of the job, there’s some protection that will take care of you and your family.”

 

For more on the Signing of House Bill 146 watch the full ceremony below or find more Photos in our Album:

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