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breaking news

Obamas leave Washington to begin life as private family

Politics


President Trump: ‘America first. America first.’

12:45 p.m. -- Former President Obama and Michelle have boarded Executive One, and the helicopter has taken off from the Capitol as they officially re-enter private life. 12:35 p.m. -- In the meantime, reports our Tamar Hallerman: 12:30 p.m. -- The congratulations have begun. From our inbox, Georgia congressman Doug Collins issued this statement: 12:19 p.m. -- Trump has finished his speech...
Georgia jobless rate rises, layoffs up, 7 things to know

Georgia jobless rate rises, layoffs up, 7 things to know

Georgia’s unemployment rate edged up to 5.4 percent in December from 5.3 percent in November, the state labor department said today. The state added 5,900 jobs during the month. So the overall picture is mixed, but the unemployment rate is no longer the crucial metric to judge what is going on. There is job growth along with a rising jobless rate – but the rate was going up mainly because...
Trump taps Perdue as agriculture chief

Trump taps Perdue as agriculture chief

Sonny Perdue was selected Wednesday as Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary, giving the first Republican governor to lead Georgia since Reconstruction the opportunity to set the nation’s farm policy. The 70-year-old Perdue, a veterinarian by training, has deep ties to agribusiness. That helped him win over Trump, but it could also pose potential conflicts as he seeks confirmation to lead...
Breaking: Donald Trump taps Sonny Perdue as his agriculture chief

Breaking: Donald Trump taps Sonny Perdue as his agriculture chief

President-elect Donald Trump picked former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue on Wednesday to be his agriculture secretary, tapping a veterinarian-turned-politician who was the state’s first Republican governor in more than a century to lead the sprawling department. Perdue, 70, had emerged as Trump’s leading contender to run the agriculture department in recent days, and he is said to...
Parties lock horns during Tom Price’s Senate hearing

Parties lock horns during Tom Price’s Senate hearing

Georgia U.S. Rep. Tom Price’s first public turn before the Senate on Wednesday was at times a dizzying affair, oscillating between the fuzzy and the theatrical. Democrats frightened by the GOP’s plans for the government’s health care programs swung hard at the Roswell Republican, while GOP senators enthusiastically backed President-elect Donald Trump’s senior-most health pick...
Guide to the AJC’s inauguration coverage

Guide to the AJC’s inauguration coverage

Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president Friday. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will have eight staffers on the ground in D.C. to document the events of this historic weekend. Starting with the Wreath Laying on Thursday afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery, our team will bring you live coverage of all the major moments from Inauguration Day and the Women’s March on Washington...
Trump’s nominee for education secretary wants more school choice

Trump’s nominee for education secretary wants more school choice

In a contentious Senate hearing Tuesday, Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary signaled she would represent a major change in direction for federal policy, a change that may lead more children out of traditional public schools into private and charter schools. Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos has never attended or worked in a public school and has devoted a lot of her time and family...
Obama pardons East Point man once imprisoned for being gay in the Army

Obama pardons East Point man once imprisoned for being gay in the Army

A 56-year-old East Point man who was imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth almost 30 years ago because he had a homosexual relationship with another soldier in the 1980s received a presidential pardon on Tuesday. And just like that, it’s as if Peter Heidgerd was never convicted on July 17, 1989, of conduct unbecoming an officer while at Fort Gordon near Augusta. With the pardon, he no longer has a...
Georgia governor hopeful about state’s economy as budget hearings open

Georgia governor hopeful about state’s economy as budget hearings open

Gov. Nathan Deal and the state’s chief economist gave legislative leaders a pretty optimistic financial outlook Tuesday as Georgia begins a new year. They see continued growth in Georgia’s economy, enough, Deal hopes, to continue socking money away in the state’s savings account, which now holds about $2 billion. “We have good news in Georgia,” Deal told legislative...
Price to face tough questions about stocks, plans to end Obamacare

Price to face tough questions about stocks, plans to end Obamacare

More than six weeks of preparation have built up to this for Georgia U.S. Rep. Tom Price, who on Wednesday faces the din of Senate lights for the first of two confirmation hearings. Democrats have indicated they won’t leave any thread untugged regarding the Roswell Republican’s nomination for health and human services secretary. They particularly plan to drill in on his buying and selling...
Trump slams Lewis on Twitter again — over 2001 inaugural boycott

Trump slams Lewis on Twitter again — over 2001 inaugural boycott

The fight between Donald Trump and John Lewis reignited Tuesday when the president-elect again took to Twitter to bash the Georgia congressman. This time Trump’s Twitter ire was raised after several news outlets reported that Lewis’ claim Sunday that he never missed a previous inauguration was untrue. It turns out that Lewis also took part in a Congressional Black Caucus boycott of George...
Georgians plan sizable contingent in Women’s March on Washington

Georgians plan sizable contingent in Women’s March on Washington

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, Grant Park actress and visual artist Cassidy Russell 29, wanted a way to show that many women “weren’t OK with it.” Across Georgia, a disheartened Courtnay Coco Papy, 31, of Savannah asked herself, “Now, what do I do?” Also yearning for a constructive way to respond, Lyndsay Arrendale, 25, learned a women’s march was...
Gov. Nathan Deal touts Georgia’s growing economy to budget writers

Gov. Nathan Deal touts Georgia’s growing economy to budget writers

Gov. Nathan Deal and the state’s chief economist expressed optimism about Georgia’s economy as it heads into the upcoming fiscal year. “We have good news in Georgia,” Deal told legislative leaders as they began hearings on the fiscal 2018 budget this week. “We have brought the state a long way in a short time.” Ken Heaghney, the state’s fiscal economist, said...
Georgia conservatives want to ‘re-think’ death penalty

Georgia conservatives want to ‘re-think’ death penalty

A group of Georgia conservatives on Thursday will call for the state to re-examine the death penalty but thus far will stop short of calling for a end to state-sanctioned executions.  The group, calling itself Georgia Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. Thursday. The organization includes Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville.  “I...
The making of a Trump voter: Lance Toland

The making of a Trump voter: Lance Toland

As the sun settled on a recent Thursday, Lance Toland lifted off from the Griffin/Spalding County Airport and rocketed south toward his home in Milner in one of his French-made helicopters. He flew at about 100 mph over the forests and lakes of Spalding County, high enough that the green landscape below seemed to move at a stately pace. “Can you believe that you were in the city a minute ago?&rdquo...
Sheriffs want state to set minimum pay for deputies, city police

Sheriffs want state to set minimum pay for deputies, city police

Georgia sheriffs were rankled when they heard that state troopers, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and other state law enforcement officers would see 20 percent salary bump starting with their first paychecks of 2017, on the 16th. The governor’s plan to give state law enforcement officers an average increase in pay of $8,000 left sheriffs statewide asking “what about us?”...
The making of a Trump voter: Nancy Gallegos

The making of a Trump voter: Nancy Gallegos

Nancy Gallegos grew up in Venezuela and enjoyed a carefree childhood in a quiet and lush neighborhood tucked inside the large city of Valencia. She and friends freely roamed from house to house. They climbed mango trees. They played board games. They set up pretend-school under a canopy of lime trees. But as crime started to tick up in the 1970s, her parents started considering the unthinkable &ndash...
Georgians to ring in, or rally against, the Trump era

Georgians to ring in, or rally against, the Trump era

Staff writers Jennifer Brett and Tamar Hallerman contributed to this article. Some Georgians are dropping everything for the can’t-miss spectacle of watching Donald Trump’s inauguration. Some are just curious to find out what will happen as the Trump era begins. And some want to send a message to Trump that they stand ready to fight his policies. Scores of Georgians are headed to the nation&rsquo...
Tom Price likely to sail through Senate despite Democratic scrutiny

Tom Price likely to sail through Senate despite Democratic scrutiny

Georgia U.S. Rep. Tom Price hasn’t faced real political competition since he was first elected to his suburban Atlanta congressional seat in 2004. That will change very quickly Wednesday, when the Roswell Republican will be subjected to the grilling of a lifetime in the first of two Senate confirmation hearings to be Donald Trump’s health chief. A deeply conservative policy wonk with a...
Atlantans say Trump is wrong about their city and John Lewis

Atlantans say Trump is wrong about their city and John Lewis

Aaron Gould Sheinin, Jennifer Peebles, Leon Stafford, Chris Quinn and Ben Brasch contributed to this report. Atlantans responded with an incredulous “how dare you!” Saturday after President-elect Donald Trump kicked off the MLK holiday weekend with a twitter rant saying most of Atlanta is in “horrible shape and falling apart” and describing Georgia’s U.S. Rep. John Lewis...
Georgians among thousands marching in response to Trump inauguration

Georgians among thousands marching in response to Trump inauguration

Across the metro area this weekend, people planning to march for women in Washington or Atlanta on Saturday, Jan. 21, are making signs and knitting pink caps. Both marches were organized in response to Donald Trump’s election and our of concern rights of minorities and women could suffer setbacks under the new administration. A sign-making event this weekend in DeKalb is expected to draw 75...

Politicians, pundits slam Trump for Lewis comments

President-elect Donald Trump was swiftly condemned for his series of early-morning tweets Saturday maligning the Atlanta district that Rep. John Lewis represents as a “crime infested” area that is “falling apart.” The Republican was furious at Lewis after the civil rights icon told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he will skip Trump’s inauguration next week...
Some of Georgia’s top officials reaped big pay raises in past year

Some of Georgia’s top officials reaped big pay raises in past year

After Gov. Nathan Deal signed a budget last year offering 3 percent pay raises to teachers and state employees, his team made it clear it wanted the money to go mostly to rank-and-file workers, not highly paid administrators. That’s not exactly how it worked out in all cases, according to records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through the state’s Open Records Act. In the...
Big role expected for Georgia under Trump, but path is uncertain

Big role expected for Georgia under Trump, but path is uncertain

The Donald Trump era begins this week when the New York businessman goes from private citizen to the nation’s president without ever holding elected office. And what that means for Georgia remains hazy at best. What does his promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act “essentially simultaneously” mean for Georgia’s health policy? Will vast rewrites of tax policy upend...
Capitol Recap: Georgia Legislature opens with liquor, pot on its plate

Capitol Recap: Georgia Legislature opens with liquor, pot on its plate

Staff writers Michelle Baruchman, Greg Bluestein, James Salzer, Aaron Gould Sheinin and Kristina Torres contributed to this article. The first week in a Georgia legislative session is one rooted in organization. There’s selection of the leadership, including the election of the House speaker and the naming of chairmen in both chambers. Then heads turn toward money, namely...

John Lewis: Donald Trump not ‘a legitimate president’

U.S. Rep. John Lewis had strong words Friday on the coming inauguration of Donald Trump as president. Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd,” the Georgia Democrat was asked if he plans to forge a relationship with Trump. The civil rights veteran said Trump makes that difficult: “You know, I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with...
Deal’s 2018 state budget proposal could be a win for autism advocates

Deal’s 2018 state budget proposal could be a win for autism advocates

Georgia autism advocates are celebrating Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan to include $20.8 million to help cover autism services for children on Medicaid, part of his broader push for a record $25 billion budget in fiscal 2018. Deal unveiled the funding proposal earlier this week during his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly. Advocates had lobbied for the change...
McIver still on state elections board despite arrest in wife’s death

McIver still on state elections board despite arrest in wife’s death

Despite facing felony charges in the shooting death of his wife, Claud “Tex” McIver continues to serve on a powerful board overseeing state election issues. » Judge allows sale of Diane McIver’s furs, jewels State leaders say they are vetting a short list of candidates to replace the prominent attorney who has served some 12 years on the State Board of Elections. But it&rsquo...
Stockbridge passes no-smoking ban on motorists traveling with kids

Stockbridge passes no-smoking ban on motorists traveling with kids

Stockbridge has taken the unusual step of banning motorists who smoke from lighting up in the car if they have children under the age of 15 riding with them. Those caught smoking could face a fine of up to $500. The measure, which recently passed 3-2, goes into effect this week. Officials with The Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Municipal Association were unaware of other Georgia cities...
The making of a Trump voter: Ronny West

The making of a Trump voter: Ronny West

Donald Trump’s election may have shocked the nation, but it was no surprise in Georgia. After the votes were counted, the AJC dispatched eight journalists from the capital to the coast to the agricultural south to the mountainous north. Their mission: to meet the people who created the Trump groundswell. This is the fourth in a series of their reports.  Ronny West’s support of Donald...