Political News – Poll of Latinos finds strong support for Obama’s actions

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President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration aren’t very popular with Georgia’s Republican congressmen – Rep. Doug Collins, in a typical reaction, said he is “outraged” – but they have strong support among America’s Latino population.

A poll conducted by Latino Decisions found that 89 percent of Latino voters support the president’s executive actions that would confer temporary legal status for roughly five million undocumented immigrants.

Obama’s proposed executive orders, which he announced last Thursday, also had the support of 85 percent of independent voters and 76 percent of the Latino voters who identify as Republicans.

“This is the most unified we have seen Latino public opinion on any issue,” said Matt Barreto, one of the co-founders of the opinion research firm.

Even the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Obama launched in 2012 to defer the deportation of young Latinos brought to this country by their parents only had the support of about 84 percent of Latinos, Barreto said.

Obama’s plans to sign executive orders on immigration were generally lauded by Democrats and immigration activists, but denounced by Republicans.

“We rejoice with the millions who will be able to come forward, get a work permit and lift the burden of fear of deportation off their family’s shoulders,” said Jerry Gonzalez of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO).

“This decision by President Obama will be transformative for millions of families across the nation and hundreds of thousands of families in Georgia,” Gonzalez said.

“Executive action granting amnesty to millions of illegals is President Obama taking out his anger on the American people for rejecting his agenda through the due process of elections two weeks ago,” Collins said.

“It is political retribution under the false guise of compassion, and it is yet another abuse of power the branch of government closest to the people will have to resolve,” Collins said.

“That was a political speech; this whole thing is a political exercise,” Sen. Johnny Isakson said after Obama’s announcement. “We’ve got to make sure we don’t get trapped in playing a political game. The president was constitutionally and legally wrong, and that’s the issue.”

Food stamp workers putting in overtime

Bobby Cagle has instructed employees at the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to work overtime for the next few weeks to prevent another backlog of applications for food stamp benefits.

Cagle, the interim director of DFCS, sent out a memo Nov. 14 ordering case managers and supervisors who work with food stamp users to work eight hours of overtime each week, excluding the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“This is a proactive strategy to ensure our customers will have access to the benefits to which they are eligible,” said Cagle. “We also want to be sure we are in the best possible position to train and transition our staff to our new call center platform.”

A backlog earlier this year in processing applications for supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits (SNAP) threatened Georgia with the loss of $15 million in federal funding for the program, but DFCS was able to keep the funding intact.

DFCS will move to a new call center platform in December that is intended to improve responses to persons calling the agency about information about eligibility for the food stamp program.

Perdue says ‘Go Fish’ wasn’t that bad an idea

Sonny Perdue is still defending his actions as governor to sink more than $23 million in state funds into a “Go Fish” program that would attract more bass fishing tournaments and tourists to Georgia – not to mention building a pricey fishing center in his home county of Houston.

When plans for the Perry facility were first announced, state officials projected that 200,000 people would visit it annually, but in the most recent year the fishing education center had 24,930 visitors.

Questioned about those numbers by Macon’s WMAZ-TV, Perdue said, “I don’t regret that at all.”

From the WMAZ report:

Perdue said, “It’s not really about vast numbers. It’s about the quality of the experience.” The former governor and main proponent of Go Fish, Perdue said he never set attendance goals. He said numbers that floated around near the center’s opening, did not come from him.

He said, “We never had numbers in mind.”

Perdue’s administration invested about $23 million in state and local tax dollars in the Go Fish Initiative, for an economic return.

He said, “I don’t regret that at all.” . . .

Perdue said, “It kind of became a derisive moment in my administration, but I’m proud of our efforts to expand opportunities for people to fish with their children and grandchildren.” . . .

As for paying off construction costs for Go Fish, the state bought bonds in 2007, before the recession — Georgia will be paying those off at the rate of about a million dollars a year, for the next 13 years.

Personnel notes

One of the announcements coming out of the last Board of Regents meeting was that Tom Daniel, the longtime lobbyist for the University System, will retire June 30 after nearly 40 years in state government.

Daniel, currently the senior vice chancellor for external affairs, started out as an administrative aide to Gov. George Busbee in 1975 and moved over to the University System in 1982. He was promoted to vice chancellor for external affairs in 1988 and then to senior vice chancellor in 2000.

Charlie Sutlive, who came on board Oct. 1 as vice chancellor for communications, will assume responsibility for intergovernmental relations after Daniel’s retirement, according to Chancellor Hank Huckaby.

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Barack Obama , Bobby Cagle , executive orders on immigration , food stamps , Go Fish , Latino voters , Sonny Perdue , Tom Daniel , University System