Former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, is having a good week.
An endorsement by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson in the race to represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District earlier this week was followed by endorsements from U.S. Sen. David Perdue and Gov. Brian Kemp.
Handel, who narrowly lost her seat in Congress to Democrat Lucy McBath in 2018 by just under 3,000 votes, is hoping for a rematch in the Nov. 3 general election, but first must win the May 19 general primary.
Kemp said Handel is hard-working and has a track record of service and bold leadership.
“Like Sens. Isakson and Perdue, I am proud to support Karen and know she will work diligently to advance policies that continue our economic growth, preserve freedom, enhance public safety and lower health care costs for American families,” Kemp said.
Handel said she is grateful for Kemp’s support as well as the endorsement from Perdue and Isakson.
“I look forward to working with him while in Congress on behalf of the people of GA6,” Handel said of Kemp, adding that 2020 is “too important” to lose.
“We must work together to ensure President (Donald) Trump and Sen. Perdue are reelected,” Handel said.
Perdue said Handel is a “fighter” who works hard on the campaign trail and in Congress.
“She is tough and tenacious and has exactly what it takes to represent the people of GA6 and win this seat,” he said. “She brings her business experience to the issues in Congress to work for commonsense solutions that matter to the hardworking families here in Georgia.”
The endorsements came after state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, announced last week he was stepping down as a candidate. Beach was followed by Republican candidate Nicole Rodden of Vinings, who dropped out on account of a lack of funds.
Still at it is Marjorie Taylor Green, owner of Alpharetta-based Taylor Commercial, who seems to be rattled, given that she has stepped up her attacks on Handel on social media, calling her the “the poster child for the Never Trump movement.”
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: “I don’t feel badly that we got hung out,” Pete Waldrep, executive director of the Marietta Housing Authority, said recently. “What I hate more than anything is, we’re the only people building affordable housing in Cobb County.”
At the Nov. 13 meeting of the MHA’s board, its first since a controversy that ultimately nixed an expansion of the McEachern Village senior housing complex in Powder Springs, Waldrep explained to his bosses what went wrong.
The MHA was enacted by state law rather than a county ordinance. Among the privileges that confers is the MHA’s ability to build what it wants, where it wants, zoning be damned. But the developers — the MHA and the nonprofit Beverly J. Searles Foundation — were seeking tax-exempt bonds, and for that, they needed, sought and were denied county commissioners’ approval, a first.
“Obviously it’s the first time we’ve ever been turned down,” Waldrep told MHA commissioners. “I think we just got caught in the middle of a political battle.”
But he said the future of “phase one,” the portion already under construction, is bright. One of the MHA’s partners has a waiting list of more than 800 people on one of its other subsidized projects, many of whom it will direct to McEachern.
Tellingly, Waldrep used the phrase “phase one” to describe the portion under construction, despite the fact that county commissioners shot down “phase 2” last month.
The MHA still owns 7.5 acres of undeveloped land there, and hasn’t given up on putting something on that land, Waldrep said. Yet he disagreed with one suggestion apparently floated by county Chairman Mike Boyce.
“He said, you guys just need to go ahead and build it. You don’t have to come back to us,” Waldrep recalled with a laugh, saying that was the former Marine in Boyce talking.
Waldrep said the MHA could build 15 houses there “without asking anybody anything,” given the way the land is currently zoned. But right now, his priority is finishing construction of phase one.
They are, however, eyeing another spot. A patch of land beside the Bojangles’ on Powder Springs Road and across from the Walmart will have a public hearing Dec. 17, Waldrep said, although he did not share any details about the plan.
VACCINATIONS: MDJ reporter Rosie Manins was labeled a “pro-vaxxer” this week by an irate reader in relation to an article about the current Cobb measles outbreak.
The email, from a north Cobb mother called “Mary Jane,” claimed Manins’ article included pro-vaccine information that is being used to brainwash medical school students and the wider public by the “evil genius” big pharma for profit.
Jane’s 3,300-word rant claimed this federal money-making scheme is at the expense of children who are being poisoned by the “toxic chemicals” in vaccines.
She’s angry at doctors, the pharmaceutical and medical industries, pro-vaxxers and the media, as well as Mabry Middle School and the Cobb County School District — the latter two for telling unvaccinated students to stay home until the contamination risk at the campus ends, following confirmation that a student there had the measles.
Labeling Manins’ article “bogus, ridiculous, outrageous, irresponsible and 100% inaccurate,” Jane said Manins “should be very sickly, or possibly not even alive” given her pro-vaxxer status.
“Why don’t you get seven vaccines all at once, like so many precious babies receive (and then die)?,” Jane wrote to Manins. “Get jabbed with poison against the measles. See if you will be able to continue to do your job without getting very sick!”
Jane followed this, after some lengthy exposition about immunity and gene mutations, with “while you’re at it, get caught up with the rest of the 50, 60 or 70 vaccines that you never received in your childhood!”
Explaining the real reason pro-vaxxers’ children don’t get sick is “sheer luck” and an absence of said gene mutations, Jane added she is upset her three children received some vaccinations before she saw through her doctor’s lies and put a stop to their suffering. “Unfortunately, one of them is fully vaccinated,” she bemoaned.
Jane finished her epistle by urging Manins to “apologize to those poor parents for your ignorance regarding this matter” and announcing her plans to pray that “outrageous articles, such as this one, will NEVER get published ever again.”
The correspondence got Manins thinking.
Born in New Zealand in 1986, she has been immunized against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, diphtheria, meningitis, chickenpox and influenza — taking as many as three needles for each, and up to four in the same arm at a time.
“I feel fine,” Manins said Friday.
Perhaps it is her thick skin as a 14-year journalist, although getting told to “get seven vaccines and die” is a first.
Or perhaps the information in Manins’ article, from the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, wasn’t as “despicable” as Jane claimed after all.
UNVEILING: Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price had his portrait unveiled in Washington this week, his wife, Dr. Betty Price shared on her Facebook page.
“Many former colleagues and employees were teary eyed as Tom expressed his appreciation for their dedication and exemplary work. We were especially touched that they presented him with his former cabinet chair,” Betty Price wrote.
She said the portrait would be hung in the front entrance of the HHS headquarters building.