HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Maria Strickland, a contender in the 9th Congressional District race, spoke with the Towns County Republican Party, Feb. 27, introducing herself as a candidate. Strickland, a retired law enforcement officer of 26 years, resides in Fannin County.
“I am a conservative Republican and I am a pro-Trump supporter,” Strickland said. “I am a true outsider. I am not a politician. I am an American, just like you, who wants to go to Washington and help President Trump drain the swamp.”
Strickland, the sole female candidate to join the race thus far, was met with applause by the Towns County GOP.
“I feel very strong about that,” Strickland continued. “We need to send more people who can make change, and in doing that, we need to stop sending career, establishment politicians. We’ve been doing that and we’re not making any difference. Nothing is changing. Sending someone like me, me in particularly, to Washington, we can do that. We can help President Trump with his policies, and with that, we can bring in term limits, and maybe we can stop these career politicians from staying there for 30, 40 years.”
The Republican candidate attended the “Hats off for Trump” event in Blairsville earlier in the day, sponsored in conjunction with the Union, Towns, and Rabun Republican parties.
“We need to stop the radical left from destroying this country. I am pro-gun, pro-life. I am pro-American,” Strickland emphasized.
Georgia’s 9th Congressional District includes Banks, Dawson, Elbert, Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White counties. Portions of Clarke, Forsyth, and Pickens counties lie within the district.
The seat was vacated by Representative Doug Collins who announced candidacy for U.S. Senate last month. Collins will run in the late-2020 special election, vying to complete the final two-year term of retiring Senator Johnny Isakson.
“I want to support our booming economy and help small business by removing red tape and reducing taxes,” Strickland later stated. “I represent the people, not the special interest groups. We can’t keep sending career establishment politicians and expect different outcomes. Some will be naysayers and claim I have no experience. I say, well look at Washington DC and tell me how that experience is working out for us. Republicans are going to take back the House, and Republicans need to keep their promises, and you can count on me to keep my word to the people of the 9th District.”
Strickland will face the following Congressional contenders on the General Primary ballot, May 19:
- Michael Boggus
- Paul C. Broun
- Andrew Clyde
- Matt Gurtler
- Kevin Tanner
- Tyler Tolin
- Ethan Underwood
- John Wilkinson
Official qualification for candidacy takes place the week of March 2, 2020.
HIAWASSEE, Ga.- As qualifying quickly approaches, five Towns County sheriff candidates and two coroner candidates are scheduled to briefly address the Towns County Republican Party on Thursday, Feb. 27. The monthly GOP meeting, which typically meets on the third Thursday of each month, was rescheduled due to winter weather conditions.
House Representative and the U.S. Congressional candidate Matt Gurtler was invited to speak at the canceled session, and according to the GOP, cannot attend on the alternate date due to a scheduling conflict.
In addition to hearing from the county candidates, Towns County Republican Chair Betsy Young informed FYN that the meeting will feature opening exercises by local students, along with a discussion on the Precinct Caucus and County Convention.
Towns County sheriff candidates, listed in the order of their announcement to seek office, are as follow:
- Daren “Bear’ Osborn
- Kenneth “Ode” Henderson
- Linda J. Curtis
- Jim Couch
- Lisa Joseph
Towns County coroner candidates are:
- Harold Copeland – incumbent
- Tamela Cooper
All candidates intend to run on the Republican primary ticket, May 19. No Democratic candidates have announced intent to seek office in Towns County at the time of publication. Office of the Commissioner, Tax Commissioner, Probate Judge, and Clerk of Court remain uncontested thus far. Official qualification for candidacy, however, takes place during the week of March 2.
“The Towns County Republican Party does not endorse any candidate or candidate’s committee in a contested Republican Primary,” Young stated.
The Feb. 27 meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Towns County Civic Center, adjacent to the Towns County Courthouse. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.
“The Changes to the By-laws or Rules as referred to from now on, of the Republican Party of Towns County, are presented below, per requirement to be voted on the following meeting, March 19, 2020,” GOP Chair Young stated in an email.
RULES OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TOWNS COUNTY, INC.
As adopted on
ARTICLE I – GENERAL
1. Code: Georgia Election Code, O.C.G.A. §183-1, et seq., as existing at the time of adoption of these Rules and as may be amended from time to time.
2. County Committee: As defined in Article II.C, below.
3. Executive Committee: As defined in Article II.D, below.
4. Georgia GOP Rules: The Rules of the Georgia Republican Party, Inc., as existing at the time of adoption of these Rules and as may be amended from time to time.
5. National GOP Rules: The Rules of the Republican National Committee, as existing at the time of adoption of these rules and as may be amended from time to time.
6. Ninth District Rules: The Ninth District Republic Party of Georgia Rules, as existing at the time of adoption of these Rules and as may be amended from time to time.
7. Quorum: As defined in Article II.J.3, below.
8. Rules: These Rules of the Republican Party of Towns County, Inc.
9. TCGOP: The Republican Party of Towns County, Inc., a Georgia nonprofit corporation
10. TCGOP Beliefs: Those certain beliefs enumerated in Article I.B.2 herein.
B. Mission and TCGOP Beliefs:
1. Mission. The purpose of the TCGOP is to elect Republicans to public office; identify, recruit, cultivate and support Republican candidates for elective office and conservative candidates for nonpartisan offices; promote conservative values in local, state and national communities; promote the TCGOP Beliefs; and carry out the legal direction of the district, state and national Republican organizations.
2. TCGOP Beliefs. The TCGOP believes in:
a. The U.S. Constitution, as written;
b. States’ rights;
c. a limited roll for government intervention into individuals’ work for prosperity
d. the right to life, from conception to natural death;
e. the idea that each person is responsible for his/her own place within society;
f. the Voter Identification Law;
g. one vote for one legal voter within the framework of the electoral college;
h. the idea that every legal American citizen has a right to vote and for his/her vote to count;
i. the notion that English should be America’s primary language, spoken and written;
j. a strong hand against human trafficking;
k. a strong stance against sharia law;
l. supporting the Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and
m. supporting our military, law enforcement and first responders.
C. Qualifications for Participation in Party Action: All qualified voters under the laws of the State of Georgia who are residents of Towns County, Georgia, and are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, believe in its declaration of policy and are in agreement with its aims and purposes, may participate as members of the TCGOP in the Conventions and caucuses of the Republican Party in their respective jurisdictions. All Chairmen and Members of Committees, Delegates and Alternates to Conventions and voters in caucuses, provided for in these Rules, shall be members of the TCGOP and must be qualified, registered voters of the respective precincts which they represent and shall have signed a declaration of identification with the Republican Party.
D. Relation of State and County Rules: These Rules are adopted pursuant to the Georgia GOP Rules. Should any of these Rules conflict with or be incompatible with the Georgia GOP Rules, the Georgia GOP Rules shall control.
E. State Election Laws: These Rules, where appropriate, shall be subject to the Code. Terms used but not defined herein shall have the definitions ascribed thereto in the Code.
ARTICLE II – COUNTY ORGANIZATION
A. NAME: The name of the organization shall be the Republican Party of Towns County, Inc., herein referred to as the “TCGOP”.
B. Membership of the TCGOP: The TCGOP shall consist of the County Committee, the Executive Committee and such other members-at-large as shall qualify under these Rules. The TCGOP may, upon a two-thirds vote of a quorum present, enlarge the Executive Committee as additional Republicans are elected to office and as additional precincts become organized. Use of the word “chairman” is intended to refer to either sex.
C. County Committee: The County Committee may consist of any or all of the following members, with a minimum of a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer:
- County Chairman
- First Vice Chairman
- Second Vice Chairman
- Third Vice Chairman
- District Chairmen (one from each Commission District)
- Assistant Secretary
- Assistant Treasurer
- Immediate Past County Chairman
- Chairman, Elections
- Chairman, Membership Committee
- Chairman, Communications
- Chairman, Headquarters Operations
- Director of Community Outreach
- Chairman, Community Relations
- Chairman, Rules Committee
- Chairman, Resource Development Committee
- Precinct Chairmen, from each organized Precinct
- Authorized Voting Members: All individuals listed below qualify as members of the TCGOP and may participate in its business, upon oral or written notification to the Secretary:
- All previous Chairmen of the County Committee;
- the present and all past Chairmen of the Ninth Congressional District Republican Committee provided that they are residents of Towns County;
- the present and all past Chairmen of the Georgia Republican Party provided that they are residents of Towns County;
- Georgia GOP State Committee Members residing in Towns County;
- incumbent Republican public office holders within Towns County; and
- the Presidents/Chairmen of any Towns County Area Young Republican Clubs, Federation of Republican Women’s Clubs, Black Republican Councils, or College Republican Clubs which are sanctioned by their respective State and National Organization and provided they are residents of Towns County.
22. Members-at-Large: Shall be admitted upon their signature of their membership card acknowledging their accordance with the TCGOP Beliefs and payment in full of their annual dues.
D. Executive Committee of the TCGOP: There shall be an Executive Committee of the TCGOP composed of members listed in Article II.C.1 through II.C.21. The Executive Voting members shall include those listed in Article II.C.1 through II.C.11. (The Assistant Secretary and the Assistant Treasurer shall only have voting rights in the absence of the Secretary and the Treasurer). The County Chairman shall be the Chairman of the Executive Committee. At the call of the Chairman, the Executive Committee shall conduct the routine business of the TCGOP and act in emergencies when there would not be adequate time to convene the full membership of the TCGOP.t the routine business of the
E. Election of the TCGOP Officers: All persons holding office as listed in Article II.C.1. through II.C.9, as well as the Delegates and Alternates to the District and State Conventions, shall be nominated and elected at the County Convention held pursuant to the call of the Georgia State Republican Committee subject to the following exceptions:
1. District Chairmen: Within the four-week period following the Precinct Caucuses held pursuant to the State Call in each District, or within the four-week period following a vacancy created for any reason, the elected Precinct Chairmen from the precincts in that District shall meet to elect a resident of that District to be the District Chairman to serve on the TCGOP. If no election has been held prior to the County Convention, this election may be held during a recess of the County Convention. If a reasonable effort to fill the TCGOP District Chairman position for a particular District fails, the position may be filled from members of other Districts.
2. From the electorate of Towns County, the County Chairman may appoint a person to be Counsel to the Party (who shall also be a nonvoting member of the County Committee and Executive Committee) and persons to be Chairmen of the following Committees, or such other Committees as may be appropriate:
- Communications/Public Relations: (Shall maintain the TCGOP webpage and membership e-mail roster. Shall send out communication as directed by the TCGOP Chairman. Shall post updates on TCGOP Facebook Page.)
- Community Outreach: (Shall be responsible for organizing community outreach and attending local civic clubs and groups (such as the Rotary Club) on behalf of the party. Shall plan events to increase party membership.)
- Elections: (Shall work in conjunction with the Board of Elections related to election dates and candidate qualifying.)
- Headquarters Operations: (Shall be responsible for the day-to-day operations of TCGOP Headquarters: volunteers, event preparation, mail. Shall be responsible for maintenance and repairs of the TCGOP Headquarters. Shall work in conjunction with the building landlord.)
- Membership: (Shall be responsible for member recruitment and membership roster.)
- Resource Development: (Shall be responsible for planning and coordinating fundraising activities for TCGOP.)
- Rules: (Shall be responsible for updating and maintaining the By-Laws for TCGOP.)
3. Precinct Chairmen: Elected at the caucuses
4. Authorized Voting Members: Become members upon proper notification to the TCGOP as outlined in Article II.C.21.
F. Election of County Members to the Ninth District Committee:
1. The total number of members elected shall be determined as specified in the Ninth District Rules, Article 1.1.
2. Pursuant to Article 2.2.B.4 of the Ninth District Rules, the County Chairman shall serve on the Ninth District Executive Committee; unless said Chairman otherwise declines not to serve in writing to the District Secretary.
3. Pursuant to Article 2 of the Ninth District Rules, additional members may be added. These members shall be elected by the County Chairman and an interim Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee Members shall be appointed every odd-year to serve an interim period (to only conduct the business of this committee), by the County Chairman as follows: consisting of members from the Executive Committee and the members-at-large.
4. Members shall be elected, each odd year, to the Ninth District Committee for a two-year term. Any vacancies may be filled at the discretion of the County Chairman with the approval of the Executive Committee.
G. Term of Office of the TCGOP: The officers and members of the TCGOP shall be elected for a term of two years or until their successors are duly elected. Officers (as listed in Article II.C.1- 4, and 6 – 9) may serve a maximum of two consecutive two-year terms in the same position.
H. Vacancies on the TCGOP:
- A vacancy is deemed to exist upon the happening of any one of the following:
- Failure to be a voter of Towns County.
- Failure of the voters in a precinct to organize.
- Failure of the Precinct Chairmen in organized precincts to elect a District Chairman.
- Extended failure to act. Such failure shall be determined by a two-thirds majority vote of a quorum present at any duly called meeting of the TCGOP. Provided, however, that the individual involved is given notice of such meeting mailed at least 30 days in advance thereof, setting forth the grounds therefore, and is given an opportunity to be present and heard in person. Extended failure to act as used herein shall include continued failure to perform his/her duties or participate in the affairs of the Party, or conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Party, all as may be determined by the aforesaid vote of the TCGOP.
- A vacancy shall include any office not filled by the County Convention.
- Vacancies in any of the offices comprising the Executive Committee, with the exception of the District Chairmen and the immediate Past Chairman of the TCGOP, shall be filled by election at a regular or special meeting of the TCGOP.
- Vacancies in the office of the District Chairman or Precinct Chairman in organized or unorganized precincts shall be filled by eligible persons appointed by the Executive Committee on an interim basis. At the next regular or special meeting of the TCGOP, such an appointment shall be confirmed as a member of the TCGOP by a majority vote of those present.
- Upon the happening of any of the events described above or the certification by a duly licensed physician that the County Chairman is incapable to act or conduct the usual and ordinary business of the County Party, such certification is to be referred to the County Party, such certification is to be referred to the TCGOP for action. In the event that the TCGOP takes action to remove the Chairman, the First Vice Chairman shall assume the duties and position of County Chairman. Should the First Vice Chairman decline to accept the position of Chairman, he/she shall call a special meeting of the TCGOP for the purpose of electing a new Chairman. The First Vice Chairman would continue to serve until the end of his term.
- Vacancies in any of the Committee Chairmen positions appointed by the County Chairman, as listed in Article II.E.2, shall be replaced at the discretion of the County Chairman with the approval of the Executive Committee.
I. Removal from Office
1. TCGOP Members: any member listed in Article II.C.1 through II.C.22 may be removed from office or membership for cause by a two-thirds vote of a quorum present, by secret ballot, at any duly called meeting of the TCGOP; provided however, such individual must be given written notice of said meeting mailed or circulated by written electronic communication at least 30 days in advance thereof, setting forth the grounds for removal, and given the opportunity to be heard in person or by his/her representative. “Cause” as used herein shall include:
a. Failure to perform duties of his/her office for an unreasonable period of time, as determined by the Executive Committee with the approval of the TCGOP
b. Failure to participate in the affairs of the Party
c. Conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Party
d. Public service or professional service to any candidate in opposition to the official Republican candidate in a general election by an elected officer shall constitute conduct detrimental to the best interests of the party
2. As soon as an officer qualifies to run for an elected public office (including non-partisan races) for which at least one other Republican has also qualified, he/she shall be deemed to have resigned. Any officer who qualifies as a candidate for an elected public office (including non-partisan races) for which no other Republican has also qualified shall be deemed to have resigned immediately upon being elected to that office. As soon as an officer qualifies as a candidate for elected office as a candidate of any political party other than the Republican Party, he/she shall be deemed to have resigned all positions on the County, Municipal, Precinct, or other TCGOP governing committees.
3. Whenever the Executive Committee and TCGOP determine the Chairman or other officer is subject to removal for cause as defined in Article II.J.1.a. through d., or Article II.J.2, and remedial action has not been taken, and the 30-day notification period has expired, the TCGOP shall remove such Chairman or officer and shall appoint a new Chairman or officer. The Chairman or officer appointed shall perform the duties of the office until his/her successor is duly elected at a County Convention.
J. Meetings of the TCGOP:
1. Regular Meetings: The TCGOP shall hold regular meetings at least quarterly, but may hold monthly meetings, at the pleasure of the Chairman, generally on the third Thursday of each month. In case of a conflict, the Chairman may schedule the meeting on another day of the month. In the event of exceptional circumstances, the Executive Committee may cancel a scheduled meeting with immediate notice to all TCGOP Members. Notice of such meetings shall be emailed or mailed to all members of the TCGOP and mailed to members who do not have an email address on file at least 10 days prior to the date of the meeting. As referred to in these Rules, these are considered to be regular meetings.
2. Special Meetings: The Chairman may call special meetings if he/she chooses to do so, provided proper notice as detailed in Article II.J.1 above is given. When requested in writing by at least 15% of the total membership of TCGOP, the Chairman must call a special meeting. Such special meeting must be held within 15 days of the receipt of the request by the Chairman. If, and only if, the meeting notice so specifies, other items of TCGOP business may be considered. Should the Chairman fail to call such a special meeting, then a mailed notice, signed by the 15% of the TCGOP members requesting said special meeting, shall constitute proper notice of the special meeting. Such notice shall specify the date, time, place and purpose of the special meeting. In the absence of the Chairman, the First Vice Chairman shall preside over this special meeting.
3. Quorum: A quorum is constituted upon the attendance of a majority of the members of the TCGOP at a meeting, in person or by proxy. We hereby acknowledge that one person may serve in multiple positions, however, there shall be a one person one vote rule. No more than a total of three proxies may be counted in order to establish a quorum.
- A member may direct his/her proxy to any other member of the TCGOP, except that no proxy may be directed to, or voted by, the Chairman.
- Members of the Executive Committee may direct his/her proxy only to another member of the Executive Committee.
- No TCGOP member may vote more than three proxies.
- No member may give his/her proxy more than four times during their term of office, unless, in the opinion of the TCGOP, good cause exists.
- Proxy blanks are to be included with the call to each meeting in the form set forth in the Ninth District rules.
J. Duties of the TCGOP: The TCGOP, in its entirety, shall call the County Conventions and Precinct Caucuses or County Primary, make arrangements therefore, fix the basis of representation by Delegates and Alternates to the County Convention consistent with the State Rules, and shall set the time and place for holding the County Convention. It shall cooperate with the State Committee and its Congressional District Committee in conducting all elections within its boundaries. The TCGOP shall decide all controversies and contests arising within its jurisdiction, with the right to appeal to the District Committee within 30 days after the decision by a petition signed by at least 25 qualified Republican electors of the political unit affected.
ARTICLE III – DUTIES OF OFFICERS, DISTRICT CHAIRMEN AND PRECINCT CHAIRMEN
- County Chairman:
- Is the Chief Executive Officer and spokesperson of the TCGOP and shall perform all duties required by these Rules.
- Shall convene the TCGOP as the Rules and needs of the Party dictate.
- Presides at all TCGOP meetings and all Executive Committee meetings.
- Appoints committees called for in the Rules and such other committees he/she may deem desirable.
- Shall appoint a presiding officer for Precinct caucuses in those instances when the Precinct Chairman is unable to attend.
- Presides at all County Conventions.
- Appoints interim County Convention committees and their respective Chairmen subject to the approval of the TCGOP.
- Is responsible for the general direction and affairs of the Party.
- Must review and approve all outgoing correspondence to be emailed, mailed or distributed to the TCGOP at large or to the public. The County Chairman may designate this duty from time-to-time to the First Vice Chairman to make such approvals.
All officers shall assist the County Chairman
C. First Vice Chairman
1. As provided for in the Rules, presides in the absence of the Chairman.
2. Shall assist the Treasurer with the Finance Committee and the Chairmen of the Rules, Resource Development, and Headquarters Operations Committees.
D. Second Vice Chairman. Shall assist the District Chairmen and the Chairmen of the Elections and Membership Committees.
E. Third Vice Chairman. Shall assist the Chairmen of the Community Outreach and Communications/Public Relations Committees.
F. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall have the following responsibilities and duties:
1. Shall have custody and responsibility of the funds of the TCGOP, and shall deposit said funds in a bank selected by the Executive Committee. These funds may be drawn as prescribed or approved by the Executive Committee.
2. Shall collect and deposit all funds at least monthly.
3. Shall prepare all checks and sign them, together with one other Officer designated on the bank account. In the absence of the Treasurer, checks may be prepared by the Assistant Treasurer and signed by the Assistant Treasurer, together with the County Chairman or First Vice Chairman. No officer may sign a non-operational check in excess of $500 without the prior approval of the Executive Committee. No disbursements shall be made without an invoice, paid receipt or written request.
4. Shall make and keep an accurate record of all income and disbursements and have available at all Executive and TCGOP meetings a current financial report summarizing income, expense, assets and liabilities of the TCGOP.
5. Shall serve on the Resource Development Committee, as applicable. This committee, if formed, shall track financial status, provide oversight and prepare an annual budget for each new year for review and approval by the Executive Committee by December of the current year.
6. Shall, in the event the Executive Committee believes it to be in the best interest of the TCGOP, prepare an internal audit of the records of the Treasurer to be presented to the TCGOP, and shall work with all relevant Committees in the preparation of any such audit.
G. Assistant Treasurer. In the absence of the Treasurer, the Assistant Treasurer shall perform the duties of the Treasurer.
1. Shall maintain the lists of the Executive, County, District, and State Committee members, contributors, and the like, publish notices and other materials as required by the party rules and/or the Code. The Secretary shall also record the minutes of all Executive and TCGOP meetings including the date, identity of those in attendance, and a record of all actions taken. Executive Committee minutes should be emailed or mailed within ten (10) days. The Secretary shall also determine and announce the status of a quorum at all Executive and TCGOP meetings. The minutes from the most recent past county meeting shall be emailed or mailed with the notice of each upcoming official-call County meeting sent out by the County Chairman. All correspondence distributed to the Executive or TCGOP at large or the public must be approved by the County Chairman prior to distribution.
2. Shall, or shall direct the County Chairman to, maintain a “Minute Book” with the minutes from all meetings during his/her tenure. A complete and current copy of said book to be kept at the TCGOP office. If the TCGOP has no office, the TCGOP Chairman shall retain the copy of the Minute Book.
3. Shall, or shall direct the County Chairman to, maintain an official TCGOP “Member List Book” with a list of the names and contact information of all Executive Committee, TCGOP, TCGOP Members of the Ninth District Committee, Towns County Republican elected officials, and GA State GOP Members who are current TCGOP participants. Said book to be kept at TCGOP office. If the TCGOP has no office, the TCGOP Chairman shall retain the copy of the Member List Book.
I. Assistant Secretary. In the absence of the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary shall perform the duties of the Secretary.
J. District Chairmen
- Serve on the Executive Committee.
- Be responsible for assisting in the recruitment of Precinct Chairmen in their District.
- Maintain periodic contact with Precinct Chairmen in their District.
- Assist in obtaining poll watchers during elections.
K. Precinct Chairmen
- Be responsible for maintaining contact with the voters in their precinct.
- Assist with the conduct of voter canvasses.
- Assist with recruitment of Poll Watchers.
L. Duties/Responsibilities for Vice Chairmen, District Chairs, Precinct Chairs, Committee Chairmen
1. Will establish an action plan and objectives.
2. Will submit said action plan to the Executive Committee within thirty (30) days after being elected to or accepting said position.
ARTICLE IV – MEMBERSHIP DONORS
The TCGOP membership application and donor fees shall be determined by the Membership Committee with the approval of the Executive Committee or, in the absence of a Membership Committee, by the Executive Committee.
ARTICLE V – CONVENTIONS AND CAUCUSES
A. The call for Conventions and Caucuses shall conform to the Ninth District Rules, the Georgia GOP Rules, the National GOP Rules and the Code.
B. The conduct of Precinct Caucuses and the designating of Delegates and Alternates to the County Convention shall conform to the Ninth District Rules, the Georgia GOP Rules, the National GOP Rules and the Code.
C. Interim Committees: The County Chairman shall appoint the following Interim County Convention Committees and their respective Chairmen subject to the approval of the TCGOP at the January quarterly meeting held in odd-numbered years and in Presidential Election years:
- Nominating Committee
- Rules Committee
- Credentials Committee
- Platform Committee
- Resolutions Committee
Each Committee may consist of a Chairman plus three to six members. No person may serve on more than one Committee. Each Interim Committee shall have a majority of members who are members of the TCGOP.
D. Delegates and Alternate Delegates: Persons elected to be Delegates and Alternates to the District and State Conventions shall be allocated among the Commission Districts pro rata in accordance with the number of votes cast therein for the Republican candidate for President in the last General Election provided, as a sufficient number of Republicans living in a District desire to so participate. If a reasonable effort to fill the allotted number of Delegates and Alternates in a District fails, vacancies may be filled with persons from other Districts.
E. Any contested races elections shall be conducted by secret ballot.
ARTICLE VI – AMENDMENTS
A. These Rules may be amended at any County Convention by a majority vote or at any regular meeting (or special meeting called for such purpose) by a two-thirds vote of a quorum present. With respect to action to amend by the TCGOP, such meeting must be duly held and written notice setting forth in detail; the proposed intention to amend the Rules shall accompany the emailed and/or mailed notice of the meeting.
ARTICLE VII – ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER
A. Except to the extent modified by these Rules, Robert’s Rules of Order (latest revision) shall govern the conduct of all meetings.
For additional information, contact Betsy Young at TCGOPChair@gmail.com
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Following feedback from the community concerning a recent project at the local high school by the Towns County Democratic Party, encouraging registration of students nearing the voting age, the Republican Party issued a copy of its mission statement and beliefs to FYN for release. Towns County GOP Chair Betsy Young said that while members of the Republican Party did not attend the three-day outreach due to scheduling conflicts, the Towns County Democrats were provided a copy of the GOP’s mission statement and beliefs for interested students to view.
Highlighted at the top of the information was a famed quote by former President Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
Young explained that the GOP has considered including quotes from Reagan in additional literature. “We are reviewing it and will present it at the next meeting,” Young said.
The mission statement of the Towns County Republican Party reads: “Promoting political participation through education, loyalty, respect for each other’s opinions, and unified support of the Party’s objectives and policies”
According to the political group’s charter, the Republican Party of Towns County believes:
• Each person is responsible for their own place within society.
• Government’s role is to enable the people to secure the benefits for themselves and their families if they are unable to do so for themselves.
• In a limited role for Government intervention into individuals’ work for prosperity.
• States’ Rights
• US Constitution 2nd Amendment
• The Right to Life
• The Voter ID Law
• One Vote for one legal voter
• Every Legal American citizen has a right to vote and their vote to count
• English as a primary language, spoken and written
• Against Human Trafficking
• Against Sharia Law
• Support of ICE
• Support our Military and Law Enforcement
The Towns County Republican Party meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Towns County Civic Center. 8th District State House Representative Matt Gurtler will be the Feb. 20 keynote speaker. Meetings are open to the public.
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – FYN received information on Jan. 27 that the Towns Republican Party headquarters in Young Harris was targeted in an overnight “egging” incident. FYN spoke with Towns County GOP Chairwoman Besty Young, with Young stating that she is “shocked” by the political attack. “In all my years in politics, I have never had anything like an egging happen before,” Young said, concerned that the incident could be the start of an escalating situation.
Towns County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Terry Conner confirmed that an incident report was taken by a responding deputy and that the matter will be followed up with an investigation. Conner said that the offense is related to criminal trespass, given the fact that less than an estimated $500 in property damage occurred.
Young later informed FYN that a sheriff’s office investigator collected the eggshells from the scene to process as evidence.
FYN was additionally contacted by Jeanie Loiacono, an office volunteer for the Towns County Republican Pary. Loiacono reported that Trump campaign signs have been disappearing from the area. Loiacono said that the issue was brought to the attention of Towns County Sheriff’s Office Captian Jim Couch over the weekend at the candidate’s meet-and-greet event, with Couch advising the public to report the theft of campaign signage to authorities. “I guarantee that Couch is going be the next sheriff,” the GOP volunteer began, adding that the allegedly stolen Trump signs were secured with zip ties to prevent wind damage and deter theft. “If the signs are stolen from private property and the people are caught, it’s criminal trespass.”
FYN reached out to the Towns County Democratic Party, offering an opportunity to weigh-in on the alleged , overnight attack. The Towns County Democrats did not respond to FYN’s request for comment prior to publication.
It should be noted that no assumptions as to who may be responsible for perpetrating the incident were issued by the Towns County Republican Party.
“Throwing perishables in protest has a long and often illustrious history,” the Guardian reported in 2015. “In AD63 the Roman governor Vespasian was pelted with turnips by subjects fed up with his punitive policies. Eggs made an appearance in the middle ages when prisoners were regularly put in stocks and pelted with them. Elizabethan theatre-goers threw rotten eggs to protest against bad acting, which some might say is not so dissimilar to their use in the theatre of politics today. And in Middlemarch, set in the 1830s, George Eliot was familiar enough with the practice to subject Mr. Brooke to the humiliating fate of a substantial egging during an election speech: “Here an unpleasant egg broke on Mr. Brooke’s shoulder… then came a hail of eggs, chiefly aimed at the image, but occasionally hitting the original, as if by chance.”
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A candidate forum for the contenders in the Towns County sheriff’s race will be held Saturday, March 14 at 6 p.m. at the Towns County Civic Center, adjacent to the Towns County Courthouse in Hiawassee.
UPDATE: The venue was changed to Towns County High School.
Dr. John Van Vliet, Professor of Business and Public Policy at Young Harris College, will moderate the forum.
“It’s going to be a wonderful time for us to get questions,” Towns County GOP Chairwoman Betsy Young said. “You can write your questions. There will be no questions from the floor. We’ve also got a committee and there will be no ‘gotcha’ questions or personal questions. It’s going to be strictly on policy.”
The doors will open at 5 p.m, and written questions will be accepted for review until 5:45 p,m. Light refreshments will be served.
“We’ll draw numbers out of a box, and in that order, (the candidates) will be asked questions,” Young explained “The same question will be asked to each candidate, and Candidate 1 answers the question first. The next question will go to Candidate 2, so then it will rotate so that Candidate 1 will then get an opportunity to hear the answers to the other questions. There will be an opening of two minutes, in the beginning, then there will be a closing of three (minutes).”
At the time of publication, five candidates have announced their bids to seek Office of Sheriff on the Republican ticket: Daren “Bear” Osborn. Kenneth “Ode” Henderson, Linda J. Curtis, Jim Couch, and Lisa Joseph.
Qualification will take place during the first week of March. The primary election date is set for May 19, 2020.
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HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Stan Gunter, a challenger in the 8th District State House race, spoke with the Towns County Republican Party Jan. 16, reading House Resolution 882 meant to commend President Trump for his leadership, and the United States military, for taking down worldwide terrorist Qasem Soleimani.
The resolution was met with applause, but the mood quickly shifted when Gunter informed the local GOP that 8th District Representative Matt Gurtler voted against the resolution that very day. “That is a perfect example of why I got into this race,” Gunter said. “This isn’t the first time that a vote like this occurred. You can imagine what he does to his relationships with other Republicans because this bill went down the party line. The Democrats all voted against it, and he joined the Democrats.”
Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, who attended the meeting, asked candidate Gunter to touch upon the Hurricane Michael Relief Bill that Gurtler opposed 162-1 in 2018, drawing similarities between Gurtler’s most recent controversial vote.
FYN spoke with Gunter following the meeting, asking the State House candidate to weigh-in further on Gurtler’s obstinance toward House Resolution 882.
“The vote is obviously against President Trump and our armed forces, and I don’t understand why he would vote against something like that and vote with the Democrats,” Gunter told FYN. “It’s a party-line vote, but he’s voting with the Democrats. I don’t know what that says. I think that creates the problem with other Republicans down in the legislature, and that’s why he can’t get anything done. He’s antagonistic by the way that he votes, and he ruins those relationships.”
House Representative Gurtler indicated Friday morning that he intends to issue a press release on the hot topic.
HIAWASSEE, Ga – Training will begin Jan. 21 for the 12th annual Top of Georgia Student Public Speaking Contest at the Towns County Senior Center. The competition is scheduled for March 10, following 10 weeks of training.
The Top of Georgia Student Development Organization is sponsoring the 2020 contest. The program welcomes all students in grades 6 through 12, including Towns County public- and private-school students, as well as local students who are homeschooled. Samantha Church, last year’s winner who is homeschooled and dual-enrolled at Young Harris College and North Georgia Technical College, is the lead organizer for this year’s contest.
“I remember the first time I went to the public speaking training program. My knees were shaking and I was very nervous to simply introduce myself in front of everyone, Miss Church said. “Being involved with the program for the past three years has given me confidence in my public speaking skills and has positively impacted my life and the way I communicate with others.”
Application forms are available in local stores as well as the Towns County Public Library in Hiawassee and the Mountain Regional Library in Young Harris. Interested students may also obtain applications from their teachers. The completed form must be returned to one of the contacts listed on the form.
“The contest committee and trainers have been diligently working for several weeks to make this year’s contest the best yet,” Vickie Plunkett of the Towns County Democrats said. “They are developing and simplifying the judging criteria. Trainers represent local businessmen and women and educators and leaders in the community who have experience in public speaking and a passion for investing the younger generation, including trainers from both the Towns County Republican and Democratic committees, who are working with the contest in a joint venture.”
Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw attended some of the organizing meetings and is very supportive of the program, Plunkett said, adding that he is enthusiastic about what this endeavor will promote within the next generation and within the community.
Student speakers may choose their own topic and must present a speech of at least three minutes and no longer than six minutes. Prizes are $400 for first place, $300 for second place, $200 for third place, and $100 for fourth place. Prize amounts are the same for the high-school and middle-school divisions. Contest winners are subsequently invited to present their speeches to local civic and governmental organizations in order to give the speakers and the program visibility in the community as well as to educate more people on their chosen topic.
“This county-wide event is extremely powerful and invests in the lives of students in the community every year,” Miss Church stated.. “This is an opportunity that no one should pass up as it could change their lives and give them opportunities they would not have had otherwise.”
Speeches will be presented judged at a public event on March 10, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Towns County Civic Center in Hiawassee. Admission is free. The contest could continue on additional nights if student participation warrants multiple judging events.
For further information, contact Sam Fullerton at 706-994-4658.
Feature Image: Organizers and trainers for the 12th annual Top of Georgia Student Public Speaking Contest are, from left, front row, Charlotte Sleczkowski, Towns County Democratic Committee chair; Frances Peacock; Terrylynne Marshall; Samantha Church (seated), 2020 contest lead organizer; Betsy Young, Towns County Republican Committee chair; Crissy Figg, and Sam Fullerton, a contest founder and 2020 point of contact.
Back row from left are William Albert Jones, Gene Moss, Dr. Gerry Chotiner, Ken Edwards, and Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw. Not pictured are John Alger, Ronald Emerich, and Gary Meir.
HIAWASSEE, Ga.- Towns County’s Republican and Democratic parties have joined forces in an effort to promote leadership skills among area youth. Initiated in 2009 by members of the Towns County GOP, the annual “Top of Georgia Student Development Speech Contest” was created to bolster the confidence and encourage achievement for local students. Specialized preparation is offered by members of the speech contest committee, and this year’s event will be chaired by 2019 winner Samantha Church. Church was the first student selected in the history of the program to chair the committee.
“Prior to the contest, participants receive concentrated training and practice in the various nuances of preparing and presenting speeches,” Towns County GOP Chair Betsy Young explained.
Speech contest participants will compete for a $400 prize, awarded to the top winners in the middle school and high school divisions. Organizers expect over 60 student speakers to take part in the upcoming event. Six preliminary sessions will be held, and the winners will compete on Feb. 25, 2020, at the Towns County Senior Center in Hiawassee.
Adam Penland, the contest’s sole two-time winner, went on to take top place in the state’s Future Business Leaders of America speech contest and placed runner-up in the national event. “Communication skills are the number one skills most employers look for when hiring employees, so the information you gain from this program can expand your options for employment more than you ever thought you could,” Penland said in support of the leadership training.
Past winners have proceeded to be selected to introduce state elected leaders at public events.
“Being competent in public speaking automatically instills confidence in a person as they navigate the roadways of life,” Towns County Democrats’ Chair Charlene Sleczkowski said. ” That’s why offering such an opportunity, beginning at the middle school level – 6th through 8th grades – and continuing through high school – 9th through 12th grades – gives our students a leg up in life over others.”
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HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Republican Chairwoman Betsy Young warned Sunday, Oct. 20, of Democratic plans to flip the 9th Congressional District from red to blue in the 2020 election.
“Rural, mountain counties be aware of the ‘play book’ of the far left,” Young cautioned. “They know they have the city votes so they will concentrate on the outer areas, trying to change the minds of the more conservative voters or moderate leaning voters. These communities, like ours, Union, Rabun are targets. The 9th Congressional District is a target so we must prepare.”
Young offered the following tips to conservative voters:
- Register every Republican to vote.
- Check to see if you are registered, especially if it was done through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- If registered years ago, make sure your signature has not changed or it can be challenged.
- Bring friends to the polls who can’t get there on their own.
- Be an “informed” voter. Know facts, not innuendo.
“I am sure there are other important things and we will remind you as we go forward to 2020,” Young said.
Georgia’s 9th Congressional District is located in the northeastern portion of the state and includes Banks, Dawson, Elbert, Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White counties. Parts of Clarke, Forsyth, and Pickens counties lie within the district.
Georgia’s 9th Congressional District is represented by Republican Doug Collins..
Antwon Stephens, a bisexual Democrat, plans to challenge Collins in 2020. “Stephens, 23, said his deep roots in rural Georgia make him want to run against U.S. House Rep. Doug Collins. He would become — at 25 — the youngest member of the U.S. House ever if he were to win. He would also be Georgia’s first-ever LGBTQ member of the U.S. House,” Project Q Atlanta, “queer Atlanta’s most-visited destinations for LGBTQ, gay and lesbian news,” reported earlier this year.
“Stephens needs your help to oust radical religious extremist Doug Collins from office and turn Georgia’s 9th Congressional District Blue. Flipping one of America’s reddest districts won’t be easy,” the Democratic challenger’s fundraising website states.
The primary election is scheduled for May 19, 2020. The general election will be held on November 3, 2020. The filing deadline for candidates is March 6, 2020.
In 2016, nearly 80 percent of Towns County’s registered voters cast ballots in the general election.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Dr. W. George Gaines, Director of Open Enrollment at Israel Military Industries (IMI) Florida Academy for Advanced Homeland Security, was the featured speaker at the Oct. 17 meeting of the Towns County Republican Party.
IMI Florida Academy is an affiliate of Israel’s IMI Systems Advanced Homeland Security Academy, recognized worldwide as the leading provider of Homeland Security for integrated training solutions to combat terrorism.
Gaines explained that Israeli security forces and citizens are tasked with first responder responsibilities, rather than reliance on Israeli law enforcement. “Children are taught the importance of security forces from a very young age,” Gaines, who described Israel as a small county in a bad neighborhood, said. “Military service is required for men and women.” The security expert stated that Israeli military service is seen as a rite of passage for Israeli citizens. Security training is viewed as “patriotic service.”
Gaines taught that requirements for owning a firearm in Israel are highly regulated, with a single weapon allowed and a maximum of 50 rounds permitted. Licenses are valid for 3 years and extensive training and requalification is mandatory. Approximately 40 percent of requested permits are rejected.
“Israel has universal military service, we do not,” Gaines said. “How long will it be before we return to the concept of citizen-soldier? Israel has over 175,000 active-duty soldiers stationed around the nation; they must carry their weapons openly. When was the last time you ever saw a U.S. soldier off-base and carrying a weapon? Israel has over 135,000 highly-trained security officers, many of which are armed. U.S. private security must protect buildings and facilities; it would be unfair to compare these with Israeli security forces who have a different level of training and enjoy legal protection.”
Gaines concluded the meeting by demonstrating basic firearm techniques. “We cannot count on law enforcement to be on hand when a threat occurs. Each of us needs to be responsible for our own security. That places the burden squarely on us, citizens who carry firearms to respond to a threat to innocent lives. Do we have the mindset of the ‘Israeli Single Fighter?’ Do we have the tactical skills to stop a threat without getting killed? The mission of IMI Florida Academy is to provide Israeli Tactical Training to law enforcement and civilians so that they can approach the level of an Israeli security officer.”
Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton and Towns County Fire Chief-Coroner Harold Copeland attended the event.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Daren “Bear” Osborn officially announced intent to challenge incumbent Sheriff Chris Clinton in the 2020 Towns County sheriff’s race.
“Our community deserves a working sheriff that is dedicated, fair, and will ensure quality law enforcement for Towns County citizens and visitors alike,” Osborn told FYN.
The Towns County native began his career in law enforcement in 1986, and has served as a deputy and criminal investigator with neighboring Union County Sheriff’s Office since 2013.
Osborn said that in order to be a leader, one must first be a servant, and that he strives to offer his experience and service to the citizens of Towns County. Coupled with the community support that he has received over the past several years, Osborn explained that it encouraged his decision to seek office.
Osborn, who previously ran for sheriff in the 2012 general election, presently represents the Macedonia district as a Towns County Republican Party delegate chairman.
“I will be the change you need and the voice you deserve,” Osborn publicly stated.
Osborn is the sole challenger in the Towns County sheriff’s race thus far.
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HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A week has passed since a local reporter was denied entry to a meeting held at a government facility, and while the Towns County Republican Party and guest speaker, Chris Gaubatz, have extended apologies concerning the unconstitutional ban, Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton has defiantly defended his role in the civil rights violation.
Clinton, who takes to the air waves of a Union County-based radio station each weekday morning, was questioned about the highly controversial incident by the broadcast’s host Oct. 3. The sheriff divulged on live radio that he had, in fact, conversed with Gaubatz immediately prior to the ban and agreed that the reporter, Robin Webb, was justly targeted to prevent potential “bad press” within the conservative activism workshop.
Gaubatz later stated that his snap reaction stemmed from misleading information, presumably supplied by the sheriff, and expressed earnest regret over the handling of the situation. Towns County GOP Chairwoman Betsy Young, who did not attend the meeting, called the ban “not acceptable.”
Webb – whose regular beat includes local political coverage – held reservations for seating at the public event, accepted by the Towns County Republican Party.
Furthermore, Webb reported on Gaubatz last March without incident. Click to read archive
“Denying access was deliberate suppression of Freedom of Press set forth by an elected official sworn to uphold the Constitution,” Webb stated in reference to the sheriff’s participation in the ordeal.
True to form, Clinton attempted to portray the county reporter as a hostile, left-wing member of the media on the morning show. “We live in a country where the rules no longer apply to the Progressives…,” Clinton said in apparent support of the illicit ban, going on to talk about insurrection in Washington by the “Left.”
Civil rights’ attorneys have taken a keen interest in the unconstitutional act, calling the violation nothing short of illegal.
Towns County Attorney Robb Kiker issued a formal statement Oct. 2 on behalf of Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, whom Kiker described as “prudent in protecting the integrity of the office.” Commissioner Bradshaw was not present at the event when the incident occurred, later learning details of the situation through third-party accounts.
“I understand Mr. Bradshaw personally expressed disappointment in the handling of the matter,” Attorney Kiker said. “This is characteristic of Mr. Bradshaw because I have always found him to be a strong supporter of the Constitution and, particular to this matter, the freedom of speech.”
Georgia laws requiring a transparent government were additionally called into question by Sheriff Clinton Oct. 3. “It’s staggering the amount of taxpayer time and resources the ‘fake news’ wastes with open records requests about nonsense. It’s stalking,” Clinton, who frequently describes investigative media as “threatening,” claimed.
Open record requests filed by FYN in the past have revealed unsettling revelations, such as disproving troubling “facts” dispersed to the citizens by the sheriff himself and exposing the limited amount of time that Clinton has devoted to elected duty.
FYN submitted a request Oct. 2 to review the lead lawman’s cellular log on the evening that the media blackout occurred, a point that was negatively noted by the sheriff on-air. FYN expects to receive the legally-requested information from the Towns County Sheriff’s Office in coming days.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – FetchYourNews (FYN) reported on social media Thursday evening that FYN’s entry into an event sponsored by the Towns County Republican Party was denied. Chris Gaubatz, an Islamic expert and author of “Muslim Mafia,” was the scheduled speaker. Gaubatz is a national security consultant whom FYN reported on in March without incident.
The topic of the Sept. 26 discussion was “conservative activism” with morning and evening workshops planned. The speaking engagement was held at the Towns County Civic Center, a government-owned facility with meeting space offered to the county’s dual political parties without charge. A $10 per person reservation fee was requested for the popular event, with attendance secured the week prior for FYN’s reporter and a guest.
The meeting, however, did not proceed as expected.
FYN’s reporter was advised soon after arrival by Towns County 1st Vice Chairman, John Alger, that FYN’s attendance was no longer welcome at the event, purported as relayed by speaker Gaubatz. Gaubatz was witnessed in conversation with Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton outside of the public building immediately prior to notification and throughout the ordeal. Alger, who claimed that he was “just the messenger,” falsely deemed the function an “executive session” to FYN. An executive session is a term for a time block within an otherwise open meeting in which minutes are taken separately, outsiders are not permitted, and the contents of the discussion are treated as confidential.
In addition to the media ban, FYN’s guest – a Towns County Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security deputy – was also denied entry after creditials were presented through Alger. The issue was promptly forwarded by the county official to local and state authorities for appropiate review.
Towns County Republican Chairwoman Betsy Young, who did not attend the workshop, extended an earnest apology to FYN the following day. Young stated that the handling of the matter was “not acceptable.” Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, who arrived at the civic center after the meeting began, additionally expressed disapproval.
Furthermore, Gaubatz contacted FYN’s reporter Monday, Sept. 30, offering sincere amends for the situation. Gaubatz relayed that while the decision was ultimately his, he did not understand the situation correctly, presumably based off questionable information received from Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton. “You being there would have been fine,” Gaubatz said in part. “I feel terrible…Looking back, I should have talked to you.” Gaubatz, who resides in Virginia, added that he hopes to personally meet with FYN’s reporter and the Homeland Security official when he returns to Towns County.
The incident has left local Republicans calling for GOP 1st Chair John Alger’s resignation due to his involvement in the situation.
Feature Image: Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton (left) with speaker Chris Gaubatz before the Republican-sponsored event.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton made an appearance at the Thursday, Sept. 19, Towns County Republican Party meeting to publicly announce his intent to seek re-election in 2020.
“I am absolutely seeking your vote, your support, for my campaign in 2020,” Clinton said. “I plan to run for sheriff of Towns County again, and I’m going to be running based on my track record because I think our track record at the sheriff’s office is really second to none, certainly in the history of this county. I think the truth speaks for itself.”
Clinton was elected in 2007 following a special election. No challengers have officially announced candidacy for Office of the Sheriff at this time.
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