Political Notes — Abrams will step down as House minority leader

[private]State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), who’s already started her campaign for the 2018 governor’s race, will step down as House minority leader as of July 1.

“As I pursue my bid for Governor of Georgia, the Caucus will be best served by a leader for whom the Caucus is the central focus,” Abrams said in a letter to her Democratic colleagues.

“We have opportunities for smart legislation, electoral expansion and deeper service to our constituents; and now is the time for a new leader to offer a vision for the path forward,” Abrams said.

Rep. Winfred Dukes (D-Albany), who challenged Abrams in 2016 for the minority leader’s position, has already said he will run for the post again.

Abrams, an attorney who was first elected to the House in 2006, became minority leader for the 2011 legislative session, succeeding DuBose Porter.

She has earned a lot of national media attention in being the first African American woman to hold that job, as well as being the first black woman to run for governor.

SRTA, GRTA combine their headquarters

The State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) said Monday it has combined its offices with the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA), with both agencies moving into a new location:  the Marquis One building at Peachtree Center, with the main reception area on the 22nd floor.

“SRTA and GRTA have worked diligently over the past year to combine staff and functions so that SRTA can provide services of behalf of both state authorities,” said Chris Tomlinson, the executive director of both agencies.

“Moving into combined space and integrating Xpress and Peach Pass services allows us to more effectively deliver mobility services to our customers by leveraging the enhanced connections between transit and tolling in Georgia,” Tomlinson said.

Teacher of the Year

John R. Tibbetts, an economics teacher from Worth County High School in Sylvester, has been named the 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

“Throughout the application process, it’s been clear that Mr. Tibbetts is both an exemplary teacher and an individual who is concerned, first and foremost, about the success and potential of every student who enters his classroom,” state school Supt. Richard Woods said.

Tibbetts graduated from the United States Military Academy and went on to serve for 21 years as an officer in the U.S. Army. During his time in the military, he was stationed overseas for more than five years, including service in Desert Storm, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

Following his military service, Tibbetts spent time working in the private sector but then pursued a teaching career– first at Tift County High School and later at Worth County High, where he currently teaches economics.

Personnel notes

Voices for Georgia’s Children said that Emily Pelton, who has served as executive director for the past two years, is stepping down to pursue a new role at CARE. The organization’s board of directors has selected Erica Fener-Sitkoff to serve as the new executive director starting July 1.

Fener-Sitkoff joined Voices for Georgia’s Children in October of 2014 as policy and outreach director.  She earlier led the student support services transformation for the District of Columbia Public School System.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: GRTA , SRTA , Stacey Abrams , teacher of the year , Voices for Georgia's Children