Political Notes — State prepares for the MLK statue unveiling

[private]The long-awaited unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. statue will finally take place Monday on the northeast corner of the Capitol grounds.

The 10 a.m. ceremony will include Gov. Nathan Deal, state Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and members of the King family.

Although members of the Capitol Arts Standards Commission have been invited, one member who’s not expected to attend is state Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson).  Benton is a Confederate Heritage sympathizer who asked that his name not be included on the statue’s plaque.

The unveiling will be held on the same day, Aug. 28, as the 54th anniversary of King’s most famous speech: the “I Have a Dream” address at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963.

It’s taken more than three years since legislation was passed authorizing the statue to get to the unveiling ceremony.  The first artist picked for the project was killed in a motorcycle accident and the Georgia Building Authority had to sell some surplus state property to raise $100,000 to get the project finished.

But the big day will finally be here Monday.

Gooch is out

State Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) has decided he will not run for lieutenant governor.

Gooch told the Dahlonega Nugget:

“I have had a lot of encouragement from family, friends and business leaders from all over Georgia and while I am humbled by all the positive support, I feel my time and energy for the next few years needs to be on Samuel, Seth and Sawyer. It requires a lot of time to run a statewide race.”

Gooch’s wife Shannon added:  “Steve representing eight counties in North Georgia already takes a big toll on our family. Our three boys won’t be young and with us long, and with Sam starting high school this year that is more evident to us now than ever. The most important job we have right now is to be parents to our boys.”

Kemp endorsements

Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced three more endorsements of his candidacy for governor: Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, former Cobb County congressman Bob Barr, and Barbara Dooley, the wife of former football coach Vince Dooley.

“When it comes to picking Georgia’s next governor, I know that Brian Kemp is the right man for the job,” said Hudgens. “He has a proven track record of fighting – and winning – for hardworking Georgians and the values we hold dear. Brian Kemp is a man of his word and we can trust him to deliver.”

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Brian Kemp , Martin Luther King statue , Steve Gooch