POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Georgia Tea Party puts out platform

Wonder what local tea parties stand for?

Georgia Tea Party Patriots and its 45 groups throughout the state have created a platform that the group will distribute to candidates to see if they will sign a pledge.

“We are in the process of forming an interactive, online voter guide which will be available to the public,” said Tea Party Patriots State Coordinator and Atlanta Tea Party Organizer Julianne Thompson, who lives in Gwinnett. “Candidates’ stands on issues, past voting record and commitment to this platform will all be included in the voter guide.”

The platform includes not awarding contracts to elected officials or their family members, banning lobbyist-funded travel, advocating property and income tax reform, publication of committee votes, pushing for classes on the Constitution in public schools and other measures.

“The questions which are strongly on the minds of voter this election season are issues dealing with fiscal responsibility, limited government and ethics reform in Georgia,” Thompson said. “We worked hard to make this a well-rounded platform with a strong emphasis on ethics in government.”

Special election will be costly

The election of Gwinnett’s new chairman could cost more than $1 million, if a runoff is needed.

Officials estimated the cost of the March 15 special election at $650,000, with a possible $400,000 for a runoff, which could be likely if a large number of contenders enter the race.

Heather Sawyer, a county spokeswoman, said the numbers are based on current registration figures and trends from previous special elections.

To keep the costs low, the county has decided to forego satellite voting locations during the advanced voting week prior to the election, Sawyer said. Instead, hours at the elections office in Lawrenceville be extended to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.