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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Arizona immigration issue reaches Gwinnett politics

Camie Young

Camie Young

In his campaign for Congress in Georgia, minister and radio commentator Jody Hice is tackling issues across the country.

The Walton County man, who is running for the 7th Congressional District, is sponsoring a Defend Arizona Now petition drive.

"Why would a candidate for Congress in Georgia sponsor a petition supporting Arizona in its efforts to fight illegal immigration? I simply want to ask Americans, wherever they live, to encourage the people of Arizona, Gov. Brewer, and Arizona legislators who have been under a firestorm of criticism and threats, including a possible lawsuit by the Obama administration," he said. "Frankly, I got tired of all the piling-on against Arizona by Pro Illegal Immigration, political leftists. I decided to give Americans who are tired of this non-sense a simple way to speak up and to be heard."

He said he knows he may be considered racist for taking up the cause, but he finds it "truly disturbing that liberal interest groups resort to race-baiting and inciting violence to push their agenda."

"Governor Brewer and the Arizona legislators acted to protect the safety and security of their state because the federal government has been, I think, criminally negligent in not enforcing our laws and securing our borders," he said.

Hice will be speaking today at a meeting of the Gwinnett Tea Party, which has become so popular that meetings are now scheduled for the first and third Thursday of each month. Today's event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Flying Machine in Lawrenceville.

Timothy Swiney, a candidate for the state House of Representatives, also recently said illegal immigration will be a top priority.

"Georgia, like Arizona, must aggressively pursue immigration reform for the protection of our citizens and preservation of our budgetary resources," said Swiney, who is seeking the 104th District. "Currently, Georgia is estimated to have over a quarter of a million illegal aliens, making our state host to the seventh largest illegal immigrant population in the country. For those keeping track, Arizona is sixth in illegal immigration, surpassing Georgia by a mere 30,000 estimated illegals."

Other District 7 candidates

District Attorney Danny Porter and seven presidents of the Gwinnett Bar Association gave their support to former GOP chair Chuck Efstration, who is an assistant district attorney.

"I am pleased to endorse Chuck Efstration for Congress because he understands the challenges facing law enforcement," Porter said. "We need a Congressman that has the principles and judgment to effectively serve our district and our country in Washington. Chuck is the right man for the job."

Clay Cox, a state representative also in the race, sent out a press release congratulating candidates who have "received an endorsement or two" -- an apparent dig at Efstration.

Then he thanked his own supporters, barreling out a list of dozens of supporters, from local county commissioners and mayors as well as legislators to local athletes.

In the meantime, candidate Rob Woodall, the man who has the endorsement of the incumbent, U.S. Rep. John Linder, has released statements on a variety of issues.

In his latest, he talked about his work as Linder's chief of staff on water issues at a forum for the Lake Lanier Association.

"Even though the Seventh District only covers a small portion of Lake Lanier's shoreline, the water in the lake has a profound effect on the economic future of the Seventh District," he said. "Unless Congress acts to authorize Lake Lanier for drinking purposes, we will forfeit control of our water supply to the courts. We have made some important strides in Congress in doing what must be done, but there is more work to do and we only have two years do it before the courts take control. I am proud of the work that Congressman Linder and I have done together on this issue to date, and I look forward to being your next Congressman so that I can put my successes and experience with this complicated tri-state water issue to work immediately on day one for you."

Clark to open headquarters

State House District 98 candidate Josh Clark is hosting a campaign headquarters grand opening cookout tonight.

The event is scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 425 Buford Highway, Suite 103 in Suwanee. Attendees are asked to RSVP by calling Margie Phelps at 770-932-3804.

"I'm committed to personally meeting and listening to as many citizens of District 98 as possible," Clark said. "That's why we've been knocking on doors and holding meet and greet events since last September. Our donated Campaign Headquarters will serve as the home base and as a public focal point for our campaign."

He will also host a coffee event at the Buford home of James and Jamie Vick May 28. To RSVP, call 678-464-4174.

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

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.