ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
36°
Broken Clouds
H 51° L 44°
  • cloudy-day
    36°
    Current Conditions
    Broken Clouds. H 51° L 44°
  • rain-day
    48°
    Afternoon
    Showers. H 51° L 44°
  • cloudy-day
    46°
    Evening
    Cloudy. H 51° L 44°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Kemp prepares to lead Georgia after rough, partisan campaign
Close

Kemp prepares to lead Georgia after rough, partisan campaign

Kemp prepares to lead Georgia after rough, partisan campaign
Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore, File
FILE- In this Nov. 7, 2018 file photo, Brian Kemp speaks to supporters in Athens, Ga. Georgia's new governor campaigned as a self-described "politically incorrect conservative" who sealed support among fellow Republicans with an endorsement from President Donald Trump and eked out a close November victory. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Kemp prepares to lead Georgia after rough, partisan campaign

Georgia's new governor campaigned as a self-described "politically incorrect conservative" who sealed support among fellow Republicans with an endorsement from President Donald Trump and eked out a close November victory after lobbing a last-minute accusation that the state Democratic Party tried to hack the election.

Now the question is whether Brian Kemp will be as partisan a governor as he was a candidate after he's sworn into office Monday.

He told reporters during a statewide victory lap last week he plans to work hard to win support from Georgians who didn't vote for him in November. And he's already thinking ahead to running again in 2022.

Republicans still control all statewide offices in Georgia and both chambers of the legislature, giving Kemp little short-term need to reach across the aisle. But the 2018 midterms saw Georgia Democrats make their first notable advances in years, including a gain of a dozen seats in the state House.

Continued momentum, spurred by demographic changes as the state becomes less rural and less white, could threaten Georgia's red-state status in future elections. Kemp defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams by fewer than 55,000 votes out of 3.9 million cast in November.

A group backed by Abrams has filed a federal lawsuit saying Georgia deprived many low-income and minority voters of their voting rights with Kemp, serving as secretary of state, overseeing the 2018 election. Outgoing state Democratic Party Chairman DuBose Porter, in a final address to party members, called Kemp a "morally corrupt man who knows he has to cheat to win."

Outgoing GOP Gov. Nathan Deal focused his two terms, above all else, on protecting Georgia's reputation as a desirable state for businesses to relocate and expand. Deal worked with Democrats on criminal justice reforms aimed at keeping nonviolent offenders out of prison. And he outraged social conservatives by vetoing a so-called "religious freedom" bill that some feared would legalize discrimination against same-sex couples and risk boycott threats by big corporations.

Kemp has revealed few specifics of his agenda for the legislative session that begins in tandem with his inauguration Monday. Touring the state last week, he revisited broad campaign promises to promote small business and economic growth in rural areas, and to crack down on violent gangs.

"Those are bipartisan issues," Kemp said. "They are going to be my focus of the (legislative) session."

While competing in a crowded field for the Republican gubernatorial nomination last year, Kemp staked out conservative positions on social issues, pledging to sign tough abortion restrictions and expand gun rights.

He also vowed to sign a version of the religious protection bill that Deal rejected. During the general election campaign with Abrams, Kemp said he would approve only a narrowly drawn version that mirrors an existing 1993 federal law, insisting such a law "doesn't discriminate."

Asked at an Augusta stop last week if his 2019 legislative agenda includes a "religious freedom" bill, Kemp replied: "I'm going to be talking about a lot of things I'm going to do legislatively when we get ready to talk about them."

University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock said new governors often try to avoid hot-button issues as they take office.

"Often a person who gets elected in a close contest, they spend an inordinate amount of time in their first term reaching out to people or groups who didn't support them initially," Bullock said.

That's not what some supporters among Kemp's Republican base want to see.

"From what I've noticed, compromise involves Republicans caving on principle and ideology," said Benjamin Richardson, 36, an information-technology specialist who backed Kemp and turned out to see him in Augusta. "While they have power, they should seize it and use it."

Democratic state Rep. Scott Holcomb of Atlanta said he can't yet tell whether Kemp will tack right or try to work across the aisle and set a more moderate tone.

"I'm having trouble reading the tea leaves because he's said both things," Holcomb said. "He's said that he's interested in bipartisan work to improve our state, but he's also said that he's not going to forget his base and is going to push very conservative policies."

Kemp's fellow Republican, House Speaker David Ralston, said during a Thursday news conference that he has little appetite for taking up issues that have the "potential to divide us as a state." Ralston said he did not favor another attempt at passing "religious freedom" legislation.

The schism between Kemp and many Democrats remains deep following the bruising campaign. Two days before Election Day, Kemp directly accused the Georgia Democratic Party of attempting to hack the state's online voter database. Kemp refused to provide evidence of any hacking, but said party officials were being investigated "for possible cybercrimes." Democratic Party leaders denied wrongdoing and accused Kemp of abusing his office as Georgia's then-top elections official.

More than two months later, no further details about that investigation have been released.

___

Bynum reported from Augusta, Georgia.

Read More

News

  • Maine's giant spinning ice disk that quickly gained international fame seems to have met its end. The formation in the Presumpscot River in Greater Portland stopped rotating Wednesday, two days after a video of its mesmerizing movement was widely shared on social media. The roughly 100-yard (91-meter) wide disk is lodged against the river's edge, preventing it from moving. Meteorologist Ryan Breton tells the Portland Press Herald if the disk freezes into place, 'that might be the end of it.' The ice formation is believed to have formed naturally where there's a circular current that creates a whirlpool effect. Social media users compared it to an alien spacecraft and the moon, and ducks used it as a big raft.
  • A star athlete at a high school in Douglas County, Georgia, is being held in jail without bond after police arrested him on murder charges. >> Watch the news report here Police arrested Jalen Morgan, 17, on the Alexander High School campus last week because they said he was part of a conspiracy to commit murder in May of last year. Investigators said seven people were involved, and Morgan, along with his cousin LeAndrea Morgan, acted as the lookouts for the crime. “Two of these individuals had pre-existing issues with each other, and they showed up in an attempt to commit this act,” said Sgt. Jesse Hambrick, with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. WSB-TV’s Tyisha Fernandes learned that the intended target for the crime was not the person shot and killed. The documents say that during the robbery, one of the suspects fired a shot at the intended target – Kenneth McClary – but McClary shot back and killed the suspect. Now, all seven suspects are being held in jail without bond. >> Read more news stories  Police arrested the suspects just a few weeks after the slaying, and last week they arrested the Morgan cousins. They've wrapped the case. “These last two were the last two that they expect, and they’re ready to move forward from there,” Hambrick said. Each suspect is facing several charges, and one is accused of being a gang member. Investigators said he's part of the Bloods. They're saying he committed the crime with the intent to maintain and increase his status as a known gang member.
  • Crews are on site this morning to repair damage caused by a MARTA train derailment.  The derailed cars are still stuck on the tracks more than a day after the accident.  MARTA officials say two cars on an out-of-service train derailed around 9 p.m. Tuesday at the airport station, causing train service to stop on the red and gold lines. No passengers were on board and the rail operator was not hurt.  We're at the scene as crews prepare to bring in a giant crane to the scene and we'll have the impact for travelers, on Channel 2 Action News This Morning Passengers trying to get to the airport must get off at the College Park station, where a shuttle train and buses are taking people back and forth. The agency is investigating what caused the issue. TRENDING STORIES: Forsyth County man charged with plot to attack White House, FBI says High school football star arrested at school on murder charges Boy suspended for unintentionally using counterfeit money in lunch line
  • A Tennessee schoolteacher is accused of sex crimes involving a teen. >> Watch the news report here Jasmine Edmond, 24, was arrested Monday. She is charged with sexual battery by an authority figure. Edmond, who is a teacher at Power Center Academy High School in Memphis, began working at the school in August 2018, according to a letter sent to parents. She taught several different math classes. The alleged incident happened in November 2017, prior to Edmond’s employment with PCA High. She was employed by Shelby County Schools at the time, according to the letter, which was written by PCA High Principal Antonio Ryan. >> On Fox13Memphis.com: Man accused of attacking woman he forcibly held into prostitution, police say Ryan said the school completed a background check on Edmond, but it didn’t show anything about the alleged crime. Edmond is accused of engaging in sexual contact with someone between the ages of 13 and 17. At the time of the unlawful sexual contact, she 'had supervisory power over (the victim) by virtue of her occupational status and used the power to accomplish sexual contact,' according to the indictment. Edmond was released from jail on bond. WHBQ reached out to both Gestalt Community Schools – which operates PCA High – and Shelby County Schools for comment.  SCS confirmed Edmond was placed on administrative leave on March 27, 2018, to conduct an investigation into the allegations. She did not return to the district.  >> Read more news stories  Below is the statement given by SCS officials regarding her arrest: 'Following the reported allegations, the employee was placed on administrative leave on March 27 so that the District and law enforcement could conduct a thorough investigation. This is standard District procedure. The employee did not return to the school for the remainder of the year and is no longer employed by the District.' Gestalt Community Schools also responded with the following statement: 'We were shocked and disappointed when Jasmine Edmond was arrested. She was a new teacher at Power Center Academy, and we performed a thorough background check last summer, which showed no indication of such behavior. She is currently on administrative leave from Gestalt Community Schools pending further investigation. Although we have no knowledge at this time that her behavior impacted any of our scholars, we are doing our own internal due diligence. We will fully assist the Memphis Police Department with their investigation.' Read more here.
  • Phoenix police are looking for answers after a dead newborn baby was discovered at an Amazon fulfillment center Wednesday. According to KTVK, the body was found about 8:30 p.m. in a women's bathroom at the facility on West Lower Buckeye Road, authorities said. Officials said the baby was inside a garbage can, KNXV reported. >> Read more news stories  Amazon called the incident 'terribly sad and tragic' in a statement. 'We are working with local authorities to support their investigation,' the statement read, according to KTVK. 'The safety and wellness of our team is our top priority.' Read more here or here.
  • With the federal minimum wage of $7.25 cents an hour unchanged for ten years, Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a plan in Congress to more than double that pay rate over a six year period, arguing it’s past time for lawmakers to make it easier for working Americans to earn enough money to support their families. “President Trump isn’t going to stick up for American workers – we Democrats will,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said to cheers at a U.S. Capitol news conference. “No person working full-time in America should be living in poverty,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), who will lead the charge for a higher minimum wage in the House as chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. “The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). 'No American working full time should be living in poverty,' House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott said when introducing legislation to increase the hourly minimum wage to $15. The last time Congress raised the federal minimum wage was in 2007. pic.twitter.com/nypZl0CX7L — POLITICO (@politico) January 16, 2019 “Increasing the federal minimum wage is the right thing to do,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). “I believe this legislation would provide a boost to businesses and the broader economy.” While the Congress has not touched the minimum wage since Democrats pushed through an increase in 2007, individual states have taken a different approach, as now 29 states have a higher minimum wage than the feds. Just last year, voters in Missouri approved raising the minimum wage to $12/hour by 2023; Arkansas voters approved a minimum wage going up to $11 by 2021. “The last time we were in charge, one of the first things we did was raise the minimum wage,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), referring to a 2007 law approved by a Democratic Congress and signed by President George W. Bush. “It was not enough then,” Hoyer said of the $7.25 per hour federal wage. “It is clearly not enough now.” The $15 per hour wage – known by some groups as the “Fight for 15” – certainly has a good chance at getting through the House, now that Democrats in charge; but it faces an uphill fight in the U.S. Senate. Our #FightFor15 Sisters and Brothers welcoming members of Congress to this afternoon's announcement of the #RaiseTheWage Act of 2019. pic.twitter.com/rza7EjsAfP — Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) January 16, 2019 “A living wage for all workers helps business, families, and the economy,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA). “The steady increase is good for workers, good for business, and good for the economy,” said Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT). “No American working full time should live in poverty.” A section-by-section review of the bill can be found here. The actual legislative text is here.