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Everson blasts Obama stimulus policies

The Snellville man who made history as the first black Republican elected in a contested race in Georgia is criticizing the country's first black president.

Melvin Everson, a state House member from Snellville seeking to be the next Georgia labor commissioner, blasted President Obama's jobs summit.

"Today the unemployment rate in the United States and Georgia stands at 10.2 percent -- higher than President Obama said it would go unless we allowed them to waste $787 billion dollars in so-called 'stimulus' spending," Everson said. "Since then, every proposal they've put on the table has been a job killer; cap and trade, health care reform, tax increases, another 'stimulus.'"

Everson said he's seen turmoil as he has campaigned around the state, blaming Obama's policies for bringing more pain to struggling families.

"Mr. President, talk is cheap, and so far seems to be about all you are good at," Everson said in a press release.

Everson, a Republican, also took a swipe at another Democrat, incumbent Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, saying he is failing to bring jobs to the state.

"We need a partnership that brings together the Labor Department, the executive branch and the private sector to bring full-time, good-paying jobs to Georgia," Everson said. "Our hard-working families deserve real leadership that is committed to job growth and steady employment."

Chamber officials seeking new speaker

Gwinnett's Chamber of Commerce officials thought they had a great headliner to talk about the upcoming session during a membership lunch planned for later this month.

But the departure of Glenn Richardson as Georgia speaker of the House has put a kink in the plans.

Richardson, the first Republican to lead the legislative chamber since Reconstruction, resigned his seat as well as the speakership Friday, after his ex-wife said in a television interview he had an affair with a lobbyist.

By the end of the day Friday, Chamber of Commerce spokesman Demming Bass was not able to confirm a speaker for the Dec. 16 luncheon but had issued invitations to many of the Legislature's prominent leaders.

Quick update

A special grand jury reportedly began investigating Gwinnett County land deals last week.

While District Attorney Danny Porter has said he will not discuss the schedule or information given to the special body, Magistrate Judge Warren Hutchinson said at Thursday's Engage Gwinnett session that Porter was unable to present to the group that day because the special grand jury was holding its first session.

The special grand jury was chosen after Porter sought a judge's permission to present information on several controversial land deals. Regular grand juries have looked into some of the cases in the past, but have not looked at the items together, Porter has said.

A special grand jury determines its own schedule and course of investigation. Whereas grand jury terms typically last six months, special bodies can exist as long as an investigation lasts.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.