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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Local tea party activists want ethics reform

Camie Young

Camie Young

Local tea party advocates are hoping to push the General Assembly to make ethics reform a top priority in the legislative session, which opens Monday.

Julianne Thompson, of Suwanee, and Debbie Dooley, of Dacula, key organizers of the Tea Party Patriots, have been working with members of Common Cause and the League of Women Voters on reform, an e-mail from the group said.

“We are normally not in agreement on most issues but found we did reach agreement on the fact that tough ethics reform was needed,” the e-mail said. “This is especially important since one party controls the Governor’s office, both chambers of the Legislature and State Constitutional offices.”

A draft of the legislation will be presented in the coming weeks, officials said, and they hope to obtain support from both sides of the aisle.

“Don’t think for a minute that because the GOP controls state government passing tough ethics reform will be easy. It won’t be. We have already seen excuses and push back from a few in leadership, but we have also seen some embrace this reform,” the e-mail said. Appealing to grass roots supporters, it continued, “It will take all of you being actively involved in your area to pass this legislation. We are all partners in this endeavor.”

Reform approved last year does not go far enough, Thompson and Dooley contend.

As part of their strategy, the groups plan to post information about lobbyist funded travel and gifts online. While the website has not been established, people can report tips to gagovtransparency@gmail.com

Beard chairman again

Phillip Beard was once again elected chairman of the Buford City Commission.

Last week, Beard’s fellow commission members gave him the nod of approval.

The long-time servant is in his 36th year at City Hall. When asked how many times he has served as chair, he said, “Lord only knows,” although he said the number is likely well into the 20s.

Buford’s three commissioners used to rotate the job, but the task has fallen to Beard for decades, especially as the hours it requires have increased.

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.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.