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Redistricting, E-SPLOST, ‘22 election discussed at Tea Party meeting
McCormick
Congressional candidate Rich McCormick speaks at a meeting of the United Tea Part of Georgia on Monday, Oct. 25. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

A gun giveaway, hearing from candidates and discussing state and local issues were on deck at a recent meeting of the United Tea Party of Georgia.

On Monday, Oct. 25, the United Tea Party of Georgia hosted its monthly meeting at VFW Post 9143 on Dahlonega Highway, where attendees heard from group leaders, heard from local elected officials and candidates, and took part in giveaways, including for a Sig Sauer SIG M400, a Taurus G2C, magazines and ammunition.

Here’s a look at what was discussed.

 

Redistricting

During the meeting, District 24 state Rep. Sheri Gilligan briefly spoke about the upcoming special legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly to consider new boundary lines for state and U.S. Congress seats using information gathered in the 2020 census.

Gilligan said redistricting will be the only item discussed during the special session, which will begin on Thursday, Nov. 3, and though some maps have been proposed, there is still work to be done.

“In the House, we’ll be looking at the state House map first. The Senate will be worried about the Senators. Those bills will cross, then we’ll look at the Senate bill, and they’ll look at the House bill. Finally, we’ll get to Congress.

“Right now, we’re not talking Congress. I know there’s been a map out there.” Gilligan said, “… we’re not talking Congress, guys. Until I know what my House district looks like, I don’t give a rip what [the Congress map] looks like.”

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E-SPLOST

The meeting occurred about a week before the Nov. 2 elections in Forsyth County and the city of Cumming.

At the meeting, Bobby Donnelly, chairman of the group, urged members to vote against the upcoming special purpose local option sales tax for education, or E-SPLOST, a 1% sales tax toward Forsyth County Schools projects.

“Right now, what we’re recommending is for you to vote against that. We feel like the board of education has raised taxes through our property taxes through assessments and their spending seems to be a little out of control.

“Also, we don’t feel like they’re being responsive enough on [concerns about the school system’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan and Critical Race Theory], and we feel like this will bring them to the table and make them listen to us.”

For several months, Donnelly and others opposed to the school system’s plan have clashed with supporters of the plan at Forsyth County Board of Education meetings.

 

McCormick

The evening’s main speaker was Rich McCormick, the Republican nominee for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in 2020 who has already committed to again run for the seat in 2022.

McCormick is an emergency medicine physician at Northside Hospital Gwinnett and served for more than 20 years in the Marine Corps and Navy as a pilot and emergency medicine physician, serving in combat zones in Africa, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.

During the meeting, McCormick was critical of the U.S. military’s exit from Afghanistan, which he called “a travesty.”

“It was literally one of those days… I lost my cool,” McCormick recalled. “I had to stop phone calls, I had to stop everything, I was emotional because I had never seen anything that so many Americans had put time and effort and money into turn out so poorly.”

Like Donnelly, he was also critical of local school boards and said “there are people that better be replaced this next election.”

With the 2022 elections and primaries on the horizon, McCormick also urged attendees to support their candidates but not to get too nasty with fellow conservatives.

“Consider what we’re voting for and realize when we get to the end of this, we are on the same team,” he said. “I would challenge you not to get nasty in these primaries. I think we have done that too often as a go-to. There are divisions in a church, to use that [previous] analogy one more time, but we don’t want to split the church.”