HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw told local Democrats last week that one of the biggest challenges facing him as commissioner is managing the county’s expected growth. “We are going to expand, and we need to be involved with that growth because we want it to be controlled growth,” Bradshaw told the Democratic Party Aug. 8 at the Towns County Civic Center. The commissioner cited an increase in tourism tax dollars from $37 million to $41 million in the past three years as evidence of a growing local economy. “The only way we are going to grow the economy here is more population, but we also have to consider how much do we want to grow and how,” Bradshaw added.
Bradshaw responded to questions and spoke to the Democrats for almost an hour about accomplishments during his first three years in office as well as future goals. Clearly enthusiastic about his time in office, Bradshaw told the Democrats, “I love doing this job. I work every day for the people, and I don’t know how they vote and I don’t care. My job is to be the very best commissioner I can be for Towns County. My job is to protect our mountaintops, to keep the county clean, and to keep our water clean.”
Towns County Democratic Party Chairwoman Charlotte Sleczkowski said that she appreciated Bradshaw taking the time to share his vision for the county with the group. “We want to work alongside Commissioner Bradshaw as he strives to make Towns County a great place to live and work,” Sleczkowski said. “Our mutual goals for the county have no political distinction.”
A challenge related to growth is providing a skilled labor force to supply the needs of businesses, beyond the restaurant and service industry, that want to locate here, Bradshaw explained. Additional traffic comes with growth, and Bradshaw stated he will be meeting with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and the state transportation director later this month regarding installing a left-turn lane on State Route 76 West, near Papa’s Pizza.
Among the accomplishments of his first term Bradshaw listed:
- Remodeling the old county recreation center gym with new lighting, roofing, painting, and flooring, making it pickleball friendly.
- Building a new fire station on Highway 66 in Young Harris and the addition of a helicopter landing pad there to provide a second site for medical evacuations. He also noted the fire station will contribute to lower home insurance rates for people in that part of the county.
- Replacing county road equipment, particularly old dump trucks with high repair bills.
- Adding a recycling station for electronics (cell phones, TVs, printers, computers, etc.) at the county dump.
- Maintaining the $3.1 million financial reserve which he inherited from the previous commissioner. Any funding above that amount will be used to improve the county, Bradshaw said.
- The county’s 2018 audit report revealed general revenue increases of more than $600,000 as a result of efficiency changes Bradshaw said that he has instituted, with no increase in taxes since 2007.
- Instituting a veterans’ program that formally recognizes any veteran who has grown up in Towns County, graduated from the county high school, or who has moved into the county. The program is carried out in cooperation with the local VFW chapter and includes a suicide hotline.
Bradshaw cited as a primary goal reclaiming for the county the one percent special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) which expires for county schools in 2020. “We want to get it for the county to remodel the courthouse. It’s time,” the commissioner said. Another fire station near the Emergency Management Services building is an additional future goal.
Bradshaw also plans to renegotiate the county medical air flightcontract, which he emphasized covers every full-time homeowner in Towns County, with the county covering the fee. Bradshaw said the current contract has a cap on the price so the county doesn’t pay more if the airlift service flies out more people than in the previous year. The commissioner wants the new contract to provide a lower cost if the service flies out fewer people than in the previous year.
Towns County Democrats will meet again on Sept. 20 at the Towns County Civic Center. A potluck dinner will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the business meeting at 6:30. Meetings are open to the public.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Six local residents represented Towns County at the Rabun County Democrats’ Big Blue Barbeque in Clayton, Georgia, on Saturday, June 29.
Towns County Democratic Party Chair Charlotte Sleczkowski and husband Bob, Towns County Party Treasurer Karen Powell and husband Jim, all of Hiawassee, and David and Vickie Plunkett of Young Harris joined some 175 Democrats from seven north Georgia counties at the second annual event held at Moonrise Distillery.
“Featured speakers were Daniel Blackman, the first black person elected to office in Forsyth County, who announced at the event that he will be running for a seat in 2020 on the Georgia Public Service Commission, and Sarah Riggs Amico, who said she is ‘giving serious consideration’ to challenging Georgia’s junior senator, David Perdue, whose U.S. Senate seat is up for election in 2020,” Vickie Plunkett said. “Riggs Amico was the Democratic nominee for Georgia lieutenant governor in 2018.
“Both Blackman and Amico stressed to their fellow Democrats the importance of ensuring ‘nothing goes unchallenged’ by fielding candidates for every state, local, and congressional office (Georgia’s 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and one seat in the U.S. Senate) on the ballot in 2020. Blackman urged voters not to get comfortable or complacent or to settle for mediocrity or simplicity from candidates. Amico also cautioned to leave nothing unsaid, urging north Georgia activists to stress values and voice the conscience of the country.”
Towns County Democrats meet on the second Thursday of each month at the Towns County Civic Center, 67 Lakeview Circle, in Hiawassee. The meeting is open to the public.
The next meeting on Aug. 8 will feature Cliff Bradshaw, Towns County Sole Commissioner, as the guest speaker, and will begin with a potluck dinner at 6 p.m. followed by the business meeting at 6:30 p.m. Drinks and dinnerware will be provided.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Democratic Party held its July 11 meeting at the Towns County Civic Center to discuss several topics of interest, including plans for an upcoming “Blue Fest” fundraiser to be held in October at Meeks Park in Young Harris. “Our goal should be to register new voters, get shy Democrats active again, and help with fundraising for 2020,” Towns County Democratic Party Secretary Terrylynne Marshall said. A tentative date of Oct. 26 was noted.
The group discussed creating a Facebook presence, and possibly a website to feature content related to the Party. The Democrats voted (feature image) on a logo for representation, and discussed participating in future high school speech contests by mentoring students and raising prize money alongside the Towns County Republican Party who has exclusively hosted the event in past years.
Towns County Democratic Party recently began hosting “Taco Tuesday” and deemed the initial gathering a success, with 14 guests in attendance. “This is a social event, not a business meeting,” Marshall reminded. Towns County Democratic Chairwoman Charlotte Sleczkowski spoke on scheduling a time to meet with Towns County Republican Chairwoman Betsy Young to publicize the objectives and values of each Party.
Towns County Democratic Party meets on the second Thursday of each month at 6 pm. Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw is scheduled to attend the August session, and the group hopes to learn more about the veterans recognition program that the county, in cooperation with the local VFW, recently initiated.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Democratic Party met Feb. 14 to discuss their political by-laws and brainstorm ideas to raise college scholarship funds for graduating Towns County students. Last year, the group awarded two graduating seniors $500 each to apply toward tuition at Young Harris College. The group plans to add North Georgia Technical College as an option this year.
New officers were recently elected, including Democratic Chair Charlotte Sleczkowski, Secretary Terrylynne Marshall, and Treasurer Karen Powell. Past Chair Mary Mahoney attended the meeting along with three other members, two of whom were first-time attendees, recently relocating to the area from Colorado.
The Democrats discussed ways to grow the local party by encouraging a younger generation to participate, and the group plans to motivate Democratic candidates to run for county offices in the upcoming election.
A “cover-to-cover” reading of the by-laws is scheduled to take place at the April meeting, held at the Towns County Civic Center. Next month’s meeting is set for March 14 in Union County at the Unity Church of Blairsville. A potluck dinner will be held at 5:30 p.m. followed by the session at 6 p.m.
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HIAWASSEE, Ga. – An echoing theme from Towns County GOP Chair Betsy Young, along with Party members in recent months, has been dire concern that voter apathy could shock local Republicans this coming November. “If this is all we’ve got, we’re in trouble,” Young said on Thursday night, referencing the slight attendance at the monthly Towns County GOP meetings, “People seem to think that because (Stacey Abrams) is black and a woman, that she could never become the Governor of Georgia. I fear Republicans will stay home in November. The voters in Atlanta alone can determine who wins this race. We cannot become complacent.”
Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams is facing Republican candidate Brian Kemp for the Governor’s seat in the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Tauted as a “progressive champion” by supporters, Abrams is on a mission to win, battling conservative Kemp each step of the way.
Young may harbor a valid point if the lack of voting trend continues. The May Primary Election beckoned a mere 21.6 percent of Towns County’s registered voters to the polls. While the county is composed of roughly 80 percent Republican voters – and if Towns is an indicator of statewide placidity – widespread Republican disregard could potentially swing the election in Abrams’ favor, turning Georgia from red to blue in November.
Towns County GOP meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Towns County Civic Center in Hiawassee.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com
BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. – Democratic candidates from across the state will gather at Meeks Park in Blairsville on Saturday, May 5, from noon to 3 p.m.
All statewide Democratic candidates and the two 9th Congressional District candidates have been invited.
To date, 11 statewide candidates and the 9th Congressional District candidates have confirmed they will personally participate.
The forum will take place at Pavilion 3 at 490 Meeks Park Road, Blairsville, Georgia.
For more information, contact Mary Mahoney at 706-487-9300 or email TownsCountyDemocrats@gmail.com
YOUNG HARRIS, GA – While there is no denying differences in opinion exist between Republicans and Democrats, 9th District Democratic Chair and the Georgia Mountains Progressive Democrats of America Leader David Robinson made his position crystal clear in a letter circulated among members of his Party on October 12, 2017.
Towns County GOP Chair Betsy Young extended an invitation to the Democratic Party to attend the “United We Stand” event held on Sunday, October 15, at the war memorial at Foster Park in Young Harris. “It is not a Republican thing,” Betsy Young explained, “It is an everyone celebration of our flag.”
The ceremony included the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem.
In an email sent to Democratic members and obtained by Fetch Your News, David Robinson wrote:
Republican Chair Betsy Young says although she realizes her offers of inclusion won’t likely be accepted, it won’t prevent her from attempting to unite the Parties in the future.
Hiawassee, GA – The hot topics of Confederate monuments reached a local level on Friday, September 15, during the Movers and Shakers weekly meeting at Sundance Grill.
Sam Fullerton, a co-founder of the community discussion group, invited Sheriff Chris Clinton to address the crowd before the forum adjourned.
Although it was a impromptu request, Sheriff Clinton took the podium and began to tell the sentimental story of how his grandparents met and married in Towns County after World War II. The tale formed the foundation for what was to follow:
The sheriff’s views on the eradication of history.
Sheriff Clinton didn’t mince words and spoke with passion about his beliefs.
“Monuments are being torn down. Books are being burned. We cannot destroy history,” the sheriff said, “There’s a vacuum in the media and the pulpits. The only way we can move forward and heal this nation is by teaching our children the truth about about the past.”
“Many people don’t realize that George Washington wasn’t our first President because it isn’t taught in schools. George Washington was actually our ninth President. There were eight before him under the Articles of Confederation.”
Sheriff Clinton went on to say that while slavery was a “horrible thing” and acknowledged the role it played, he explained the Civil War was fought by Confederate citizens in defense of state sovereignty , in opposition of Union taxation.
“That’s the part the media fails to mention,” the Sheriff said, “Robert E. Lee, he hated slavery. Abraham Lincoln was originally willing to keep the Union intact by either preservation or abolishment of slavery. How can we teach our children, our children’s children, if we erase history?”
“I believe I’m responsible for telling the truth,” Sheriff Clinton concluded, “What’s done with it isn’t up to me.”
Fetch Your News reached out to the Towns County Democratic Party for their general take on the controversial issue.
Although a reply as to whether the comment was “on record” wasn’t returned, a member of the Party, who identifies as a Progressive, wrote in an email, “History is important to remember. But when it offends an entire group like Jews, ethnic minority tribes in Asia, and maybe African Americans, a non-combative conversation should take place by officials in charge with input from the community.”
Due to in explicit permission to publish the quotee’s name, Fetch Your News respects the privacy of the individual.