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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Storm response makes waves in governor’s race

Nathan Deal

Nathan Deal

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David Pennington

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Steve Henson

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Hank Johnson

The aftermath of Winter Storm Leon may be with us for months after the snow has melted.

The state’s response to the snow, which left thousands of motorists stranded in their cars, some for more than 18 hours, and thousands of children at school or on school buses is already making waves in this year’s gubernatorial race, where Gov. Nathan Deal is battling for a second term both against fellow Republicans and against Democrats.

“Government’s primary role is to protect the people; Nathan Deal has failed miserably once again,” said Dalton Mayor David Pennington, a Republican who is challenging the governor in the primary, along with State Schools Superintendent John Barge.

While the lead Democrat in the race, state Sen. Jason Carter, has so far been mum on the issue, Senate Dems sent out a press release criticizing the government’s handling of the issue and calling for earlier emergency response and greater cross-agency communication.

“The state government’s response this week demonstrates a continued pattern of poor decision-making,” said Sen. Steve Henson, the leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus whose district includes portions of southwestern Gwinnett.

“There appears to be a disconnect between state leaders and the needs of everyday Georgians — from dealing with the HOPE Scholarship, the state health plan, child welfare to the handling of this week’s storm. The governor continues to respond reactively instead of proactively,” Henson said.

He went on to say that he hopes the situation will bring attention to the need for more mass transit options in the state.

On Thursday, Deal apologized for the strain that the city shutdown put on families and vowed to learn from the situation.

Congressman achieves leadership rank

Rep. Hank Johnson, who district includes portions of Gwinnett, was named ranking member of the House Judiciary subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law this week.

“As the former chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy, I have long supported competition, consumer welfare, and workers’ rights,” said Johnson. “I look forward to continuing my work on these issues as ranking member of the Regulatory Reform, Commercial & Antitrust Law Subcommittee.”

Under Judiciary, Congressman Johnson serves on two subcommittees — Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, where he will pursue his Arbitration Fairness Act, and the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, where he will fight for civil rights, ethics in government and protect citizens’ voting rights.

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.

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