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Graves to tour Israel as part of delegation

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves will be in Israel this week on a bipartisan congressional mission.

Graves, the north Georgia Republican whose district includes parts of Braselton, said he hopes to strengthen American-Israeli ties and learn more about regional security and economic issues and the impact on the United States.

"During this time of historic change in the Middle East, and with the United States fighting three wars in the region, it's critical to maintain the strongest possible bond with Israel, our great ally and partner in democracy," Graves said in a statement.

Last week and this week, a total of 81 members of Congress are traveling to Israel, funded by the American Israel Education Foundation. Members of the U.S. Delegation will meet with key Israeli and Palestinian government officials, American diplomats and others and will visit military bases, universities, hospitals and holy sites, a press release said.A few tidbitsDuring his speech to the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Attorney General Sam Olens gave kudos to Gwinnett's new commission chairwoman.

Olens, who worked with the past regime as former chairman of the Cobb commission and Atlanta Regional Commission, said he would continue his reputation of refraining from political correctness, although his comments were tame.

"I'm thrilled with your new commission chair," Olens said, calling Charlotte Nash "a very bright lady, a very determined lady. ... I think the voters of Gwinnett County did a wonderful thing."

Finally, look for news Monday on Gwinnett's commission and school district boundaries.

The county's House and Senate delegations will meet in a joint meeting around lunchtime at the Capitol to discuss the maps, which will be considered during the current special session on redistricting.

Electronic versions of the maps were not available last week, but Sen. Don Balfour has said the boards will have the same number of districts as they currently do -- four for commission and five for school board.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.