State Senators Wilkinson and Gooch address Towns County Republican Party

News, Politics

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Georgia State Senators John Wilkinson and Steve Gooch were invited to address the Towns County Republican Party Thursday, Aug. 15, at Daniel’s Steakhouse in Hiawassee. The evening began with acoustic entertainment by student Summer Rahn, who later led the National Anthem. followed by a well-received rendition of two classic county songs. Student Gabe Moody delivered a powerful speech on the importance of gratefulness in America, speaking favorably toward President Donald Trump and the sacrifice of the U.S. military. Chrissy Figg informed the community on the benefits of the local 4-H extension program, and student Samatha Church proudly introduced the state senators.

Towns County GOP

(L-R) Speakers Senator John Wilkinson, Samantha Church, Senator Steve Gooch, Chrissy Figg, Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, and Gabe Moody

Senator Steve Gooch was the initial keynote speaker, touching on numerous topics of interest, including strong support for the enacted “heartbeat bill” which prohibits abortion in Georgia once a heartbeat is detected in the womb, the need for broadband internet options, the ongoing process of medical marijuana cultivation, and the upcoming change in voting machine procedures. Senator Gooch was elected to the Georgia State Senate in 2010. Gooch is a Republican representing the 51st District, which includes Fannin, Union, Gilmer, Lumpkin, White, Dawson and parts of Pickens and Forsyth counties. Gooch was elected as the Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus in 2014. The senator spoke on the importance of voting in upcoming elections in order to keep Republicans in office, not only on a national level, but state and local as well. Gooch warned that the State House could lose its majority if Republicans fail to vote. “If the Democrats take the House, game over,” Gooch said.

Senator Steve Gooch

State Senator Steve Gooch

Senator John Wilkinson mirrored Gooch’s position on the heartbeat bill, medical marijuana, and support for voter turnout at the polls. Wilkinson spoke with pride on the state’s decision to award individual Georgia schools with $30,000 funding for upgraded security, and favorably of Georgia’s $2.5 billion reserve and Triple A bond rating. Senator Wilkinson, a Republican from Toccoa, was first elected to the State Senate for Georgia’s 50th District during a special election in 2011 and has been reelected to serve in three subsequent elections. Senator Wilkinson represents Banks, Franklin, Habersham, Rabun, Towns, Stephens and portions of Hall and Jackson counties.

Ninth District Republican Chairwoman Rebecca Yardley additionally stressed the importance of voting in local elections, stating that 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has specifically targeted the highly-conservative Ninth District in an attempt to flip it from a Republican to Democratic hold.

Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw delivered the invocation at the beginning of the program, speaking briefly on the positive state of the county as the forum commenced. Towns County Republican Chairwoman Betsy Young led the meeting’s agenda. Hiawassee Councilwoman Anne Mitchell and Towns County Fire Chief-Coroner Harold Copeland attended the popular event.

Towns County Republican Party is scheduled to meet Thursday, Sept. 19, at 6 pm at the Towns County Civic Center. Meetings are open to the public.

Feature Image: State Senators Steve Gooch (left) and John Wilkinson speak with Towns County citizens.

Upcoming event:

Towns County GOP announces “Let Freedom Ring” art contest


Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Sheriff’s Office arrests Hiawassee man for manufacturing marijuana

Towns County drug use

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sheriff’s Office deputies and investigators discovered illegal drugs at a residence searched Friday, April 26 on Foster Road in Hiawassee.

Roy Lee Moneypenny,

                            Roy Lee Moneypenny

Investigators arrested Roy Lee Moneypenny, 62, of Hiawassee, on the following charges:

  •  One Count of Violation of Georgia Controlled Substance Act

(Manufacturing Marijuana)

  •  One Count of Violation of Georgia Controlled Substance Act

(Possession of Marijuana)

  •  One Count of Possession of Drug Related Objects

The investigation is currently active and ongoing. Additional charges are possible.  The case will be forwarded to the Enotah Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Moneypenny is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

While medical marijuana was legalized in Georgia, cultivation and use of the plant without a physician’s approval remains illicit. Georgia has allowed patients suffering from severe seizures and other illnesses to use cannabis oil since 2015. The state did not allow in-state cultivation, however, and thousands of individuals on the program’s registry risked defying federal law by transporting the drug across state lines. Advocates supported medical marijuana expansion, although the measure involved significant obsticals before cannabis oil could be manufactured and distributed in the state. Six private companies were permitted to grow medical marijuana, but the dispensaries could not operate without a state board license. April 17 marked Governor Brian Kemp’s historic signing of House Bill 324, which allows for legal cultivation and sale of cannabis oil in Georgia.


Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Ask the Doc with Dr. Whaley – National Prescription Drug Take Back Day!


Tomorrow, April 29th, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. You can turn in any old prescription medicines you may have to your local county police department tomorrow. Dr. Whaley explains to us why it is important not to flush these or throw them out but rather to turn them in. He also talks to us about medical marijuana and the opiate addiction issues in our country. Lastly, Dr. Whaley tells us about the benefits of taking a baby aspirin daily and what it can help prevent.

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