Leaving Paris Accords: A Bad Idea

Early this month, the president announced that the U.S. is pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement.  We have now joined Syria and Nicaragua as the only three countries in the world who have not signed this agreement.  

The Paris Agreement is a non-binding agreement that asks countries to set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The signing countries agreed to a goal of limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.  The goal the U.S. set for itself was a 26% emission reduction from 2005 levels by 2025.  

These goals are well within sight for the U.S.  But here’s the thing: these are voluntary goals.  There is no punishment for failing to reach these goals.  Therefore, there was no practical reason to leave the agreement.  

In pulling out of the Paris Agreement, we have forfeited our role as a global leader.  Our entering into this agreement was a show of confidence, a means to encourage other countries, particularly high-emitting developing countries such as India and China, to commit to lowering their emissions as well.  It worked.  China and India (and 195 other countries) signed the agreement.  China has now emerged as a global leader in renewable energy.

The president has cited jobs as a major factor in his decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.  What he did not address is the hundreds of thousands of jobs emerging in the renewable energy sector.  These are growing fields, and the potential for growth in these fields is enormous.  Just last year in Georgia, solar energy jobs grew by 23%, adding 3,924 jobs to our state.

In his speech announcing our exit from the Paris Agreement, President Trump stated that he was not elected to represent Paris, but Pittsburgh.  In response, Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto replied, “I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future.”

Peduto is not alone in vowing to work locally to reduce emissions, despite a lack of federal support.  In fact, 187 mayors from across the country (including Kasim Reed of Atlanta) and 10 governors have vowed to uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement.

It is notable that many high-ranking officials in the president’s administration, as well as those in industry (even the fossil fuel industry!) advocated remaining in the agreement.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as industry leaders of Shell Oil, GE, IBM, and Google, among others, have argued against leaving this agreement.  

As we look at the decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement, what stands out to me is that we have taken ourselves out of the picture.  We have taken ourselves out of discussions about solutions.  We have taken ourselves out of planning for new renewable energy-based industries and jobs.  We will be left behind if we do not act as towns, cities, and states.  We must do this ourselves; it looks like our president will not.

Time to Speak

Wouldn’t it be nice for a political candidate to start by knowing what the district actually wants from their representative?

Deborah Gonzalez is running for the GA House of Representatives District 117 (which includes parts of Oconee County). Deborah wants to know what the residents in Oconee County are concerned about so she is inviting you to come to a forum so she can listen to and learn exactly what is on your minds.

Join us on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 in the Main Auditorium at the Oconee County Library from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

This forum is open to and welcomes the public.  Oconee Democrats are sponsoring it, but the goal is a non-partisan discussion.

Deborah has some questions she’d like to ask you, such as:
• What do you like about living in Oconee County?
• What are the most significant issues facing our county?
• What should be the role of citizens related to legislation in the State?

Most importantly, she would like to hear your concerns and questions. As a candidate Deborah really wants to know what can she do for you.

The forum will be moderated by Oconee County resident, Margaret Holt, who has worked with the National Issues Forums since 1981. The process is designed for our community to have a conversation, not a protest. Ideas shared will be captured to help Deborah shape a legislative agenda that matches the concerns of the District. She’s a candidate who will speak to you clearly and honestly. She is also a candidate who will listen to you attentively and authentically. So stop by and share your thoughts, your story, your voice.

Non-partisan. All are welcome.

Website for Deborah Gonzalez:
votedeborahgonzalez.com

Minutes of June 20, 2017

Minutes of the Meeting of the Oconee County Democratic Committee

JUNE 20, 2017, GOVERNMENT ANNEX, WATKINSVILLE

Committee members present: Wendy Wade, Carolyn Crawford, Dan Matthews, Sarajane Love, Bill Ghodes, Wanda Stitt-Ghodes, Angie Eells, Priscilla Sumner, Margaret Holt, Pam Davis, Pat Adams and Paul Dotterweich

Committee members absent and excused: Ann Stoneburner, Ray Zwaagstra, Robert Wyatt, Diana Jeffreys

Absent: Violet Dawe (Did not stay for the business meeting.), Vicky Moody

Guests: Ten people signed in as guests.  However, there were many more guests than ten.  The room was very crowded and there was an overflow into the hallway. In addition, some guests that had attended prior meetings did not sign in.

Chair Angie Eells called the Meeting to Order at 6:30 p.m., and she requested and received unanimous approval of the Agenda. The pledge of allegiance was followed by the call to order.

As our State Committee Member, Angie Eells gave a report on the activities of the Committee and submitted them to Pam Davis, Secretary.

Affiliates were recognized:  Rocky Rafael from the Clarke County Democratic Committee and Courtney Davis from the Oconee Progressives were recognized and welcomed.

The Chair welcomed guests.

Rob Mischler from Greening Georgia discussed the mission of Greening Georgia. Other guests included candidates Deborah Gonzalez who is running for the seat currently held by Regina Quick and Chalis Pomeroy Montgomery who is running as one of the Democrats hopeful to unseat Jodi Hice in the 10th District.

Program:  The Candidate Recruitment Subcommittee invited local elected officials to share their experiences and advise on the election process and what their elected positions entail.  The panel guests were Spencer Frye, Norman Garrett, Penny Mills, Violet Dawes and Paul Dotterweich.  Candidates Deborah Gonzales and Chalis Pomeroy Montgomery also spoke during the program.

Business Session

Recognition Of Newly Elected OCDC Members: There were three newly elected OCDC members: Tracey Wyatt (District 1), Jennifer Gude (District 2) and Freeland Abbott (District 3).

Reports from Members of the Executive Committee, Principal Committees and Liaisons:

Chair Angie Eells read and submitted a report of her activities in June.

Secretary Pam Davis called for additions or deletions to the previously circulated minutes of the May16, 2017 Business Meeting.  Receiving none, she called for a motion to approve the minutes as submitted. Dan Matthews made the motion; it was seconded by Margaret Holt and unanimously approved.

Treasurer Robert Wyatt through Pam Davis, informed the Committee that the current bank balance is  $1611.86

Past Chair, Margaret Holt had no report.

The Communications Committee:  Chair, Freeland Abbott stated that the subcommittee met on June 10th.  He discussed the accomplishments the committee has made thus far.

The Affirmative Action/Membership Committee: Chair, Jennifer Gude stated that the subcommittee met on May 20.  She reported on the items discussed at that meeting.

The Candidate Recruitment and Development Committee: Chair, Tracy Wyatt discussed the activities of the committee and their future goals.

The Special Events and Fund Raising Committee:  Co Chair, Margaret Holt announced that this committee had met earlier on this day and discussed several ideas for upcoming events. A subcommittee meeting was scheduled in July but cancelled.

Caucus Liaisons: Carolyn Crawford, Veterans Affairs Liaison had nothing to report.  

County Advisory Board Updates: Robert Wyatt was absent but had communicated that he had nothing to report.

New Business: On behalf of Wendy Wade, Margaret Holt, informed the meeting that the upcoming 8th Annual White Linen Scholarship Gala will be held on Saturday July 22, 2017 at 7pm at The Classic Center.  Please contact Wendy Wade for more information and to purchase tickets.

Upcoming Events:  No upcoming events to report.

The next OCDC meeting will be On August 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm at the Watkinsville library.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Pam Davis, Secretary

Oconee Democrats at Deborah Gonzalez’ Launch

Deborah Gonzalez
Deborah Gonzalez at her launch event

Today at Bishop Park, Deborah Gonzalez official launched her campaign for Georgia State House Representative for District 117, composed of parts of Oconee, Clark, Barrow, and Jackson counties.  She is challenging Regina Quick in November 2018.

 

Deborah Gonzalez
Deborah Gonzalez speaking at her launch

We’re excited to have a strong candidate to support, in a district which has been identified as one of the likeliest for Democrats to flip.  Ms. Gonzalez spoke of her father’s service in the U.S. Army and his Puerto Rican heritage, of her own career spanning from computer networking to entertainment law, and of her philosophy on the importance of “borrowing” the present from future generations: how can we ensure we not only give to our children all that we enjoy today, but more?  She also stressed her support for local entrepreneurship, environment, and education issues, all dear to the hearts of those of us who attended her launch from Oconee County.

Thank you for running, Deborah!  Those interested in volunteering to assist or, or merely in learning more about the candidate, can visit her website at http://votedeborahgonzalez.com/.

Oconee Democrats at Gonzalez launch
Oconee Democrats with Deborah Gonzalez after her campaign launch

Minutes for May 16, 2017

Minutes of the Meeting of the Oconee County Democratic Committee

May 16, 2017, Oconee County Library In Watkinsville

Committee members present: Wendy Wade, Ann Stoneburner, Carolyn Crawford, Dan Matthews, Bill Gohdes, Wanda Stitt-Gohdes, Angie Eells, Ray Zwaagstra, Margaret Holt, Pam Davis, Robert Wyatt, Diana Jeffreys, Pat Adams, Paul Dotterweich

Absent: Sarajane Love, Vicky Moody, Violet Dawe and Priscilla Sumner

Guests: Freeland Abbott, Anne Hammonds, Andrea Wellnitz, Jennifer Gude, Karen Hilyard, Susan Thomas, Susan Bleyle, Melissa Hopkinson, Robin Dotterweich, Tracey Wyatt

Chair Angie Eells called the Meeting to Order at 6:30 p.m., and she requested and received unanimous approval of the Agenda.  After the Pledge of Allegiance, the Chair recognized elected officials present, who spoke briefly about the townships represented: Dan Matthews (Watkinsville city council) and Paul Dotterweich  (New High Shoals city council).

As our State Committee Member, Angie Eells gave a report on the activities of the Committee and submitted them to Pam Davis, Secretary.

Affiliates were recognized:  Karen Hilyard, representing the Indivisible Group, reported on their recent visit to Jodi Hice’s office in Monroe, as did Melissa Hopkinson and Andrea Wellnitz.

The Chair welcomed guests and introduced our speaker.

Program:  Technology Reboot for Oconee Democratic Committee Our new head of the Communications committee, Freeland Abbott, reviewed in great detail all of the new tools he has set up for the committee, including a new Google Voice telephone number (706-705-2516), a new website (ocgadems.org), a Mail Chimp account to replace our old listserv, and Google Calendar and Shared Documents.  Donations through Act Blue will also soon be possible.

Business Session

Recognition Of Newly Elected OCDC Members:  There were no new members to recognize at this meeting.  However, Ann Stoneburner discussed expected upcoming vacancies.  One through a recent resignation and four others as Ann Stoneburner, Pat Adams and Sarajane Love volunteered to move to Emeritus status and Angie Eells to Ex Officio.  All of this to create openings on the Oconee County Democratic Committee for those who have taken leadership positions chairing our four principal committees.

Reports from Members of the Executive Committee, Committee of Principals and Liaisons:

Chair Angie Eells read and submitted a report of her activities in May.

Secretary Pam Davis called for additions or deletions to the previously circulated minutes of the April 18, 2017 Business Meeting.  Receiving none, she called for a motion to approve the minutes as submitted. Margaret Holt made the motion; it was seconded by Wanda Stitt-Gohdes and unanimously approved.

Treasurer Robert Wyatt informed the Committee that the current bank balance is  $1060.86.

Past Chair, Margaret Holt announced that Deborah Gonzalez (Democrat from Athens) will be running in 2018 for the seat now held by Regina Quick, District 117 House Of Representatives.

The Communications Committee:  Chair, Freeland Abbott referred to his presentation.

The Affirmative Action/Membership Committee: Chair, Jennifer Gude, noted that only Angela Thibodeaux responded to her email to her committee members.  Jennifer asked that members respond as soon as possible so she could schedule their first meeting.  On Affirmative Action/Membership are Committee Members Diana Jeffreys, Violet Dawe, Carolyn Crawford, Sarajane Love, and Vicky Moody, and Community Volunteers Susan Bleyle, Andrea Wellnitz, Fran Thompson, and Angela Thibodeaux.

The Candidate Recruitment and Development Committee: Chair, Tracey Wyatt discussed plans for the June 20th meeting when elected officials will speak about various aspects of running for office including qualifying, fund raising, and knocking on doors.

The Special Events and Fund Raising Committee:  Co-chair, Margaret Holt announced that this committee had met earlier and discussed several ideas for upcoming events.

Caucus Liaisons: Carolyn Crawford, Veterans Affairs Liaison had no report.  Melissa Hopkinson, Environmental Caucus Liaison, discussed our speaker in June, Rob Milsher, from Greening Georgia.

County Advisory Board Updates: Robert Wyatt noted that there was one opening on the Farmland Preservation Committee and three openings on the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission.

New Business: On behalf of Wendy Wade, Margaret Holt, informed the meeting that the upcoming 8th Annual White Linen Scholarship Gala will be held on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 7pm at The Classic Center.  Please contact Wendy Wade for more information and to purchase tickets.

Upcoming Events: The co-event with ACCD scheduled for June 10, 2017 has been postponed.

The next OCDC meeting will be on June 20, 2017 at 6:30 pm. At the Oconee County Annex.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 pm

 

Respectfully Submitted, Pam Davis, Secretary

Minutes for April 18, 2017

Minutes of the Meeting of the Oconee County Democratic Committee

April 18, 2017, Oconee County Library In Watkinsville

Committee members present: Wendy Wade, Carolyn Crawford, Dan Matthews, Sarajane Love, Angie Eells, Priscilla Sumner, Ray Zwaagsstra, Margaret Holt, Pam Davis, Diana Jeffreys, Pat Adams

Committee members absent and excused: Ann Stoneburner, Bill Gohdes, Wanda Stitt-Gohdes, Robert Wyatt, Paul Dotterweich

Absent: Violet Dawe, Vicky Moody

Guests: Deborah Gonzalez, Melissa Hamlin, Ken Davis, Patrick Ferguson, Ken Lill, Whit Lill, Viviane VanGiesen, Lara Iyer, Malcom Sumner, Leslie Boby, Tracey Wyatt, Melissa Hopkinson, Jennifer Gude, Angela Thibodeaux

Chair Angie Eells called the Meeting to Order at 7:00 p.m., and she requested and received unanimous approval of the Agenda. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the Chair recognized elected officials present, who spoke briefly about the townships represented:

Dan Matthews (Watkinsville city council).

As our State Committee Member, Angie Eells gave a report on the activities of the Committee in February and March and submitted them to Pam Davis, Secretary.

Affiliates were recognized: Whit Lill representing the Young Democrats Of Oconee High School.

Guests were welcomed by the Chair and asked to introduce themselves and name the county in which they lived and their particular interests as Democrats.

  • Deborah Gonzalez, who is an Attorney, is considering running against Regina Quick in 2018. She spoke briefly about her goals and visions.
  • Whit Lill from the Oconee County High School Young Democrats stated that they need two more members to be chartered.

The Chair announced that the official business session of the meeting would begin in five minutes and that all present were invited to stay for the meeting if they wished. Most, but not all, guests chose this time to leave the meeting.

Business Session

Reports from Members of the Executive Committee:

  • Chair Angie Eells read and submitted a report of her activities in February and March.
  • Secretary Pam Davis called for additions or deletions to the previously circulated minutes of the March 17, 2017 Business Meeting. Receiving none, she called for a motion to approve the minutes as submitted. Sarajane Love made the motion; it was seconded by Margaret Holt, and unanimously approved.
  • Treasurer Robert Wyatt through Pam Davis informed the Committee of its current bank balance of $920.86 and reminded Members that she was still accepting dues not received since the due date of January 2017. Activity for the month of March included a deposit of $55 and a withdrawal by check for $50 annual dues covering our chair and vice-chair membership of the GADCC.

County Advisory Board updates were given.

  • Robert Wyatt, the Committee’s representative on the Board of Elections and Registration noted that there had been just one meeting of the Board of Elections, on March 24, 2017. The purpose of the meeting was to certify the results of the March 21, 2017 special election, which was a referendum on sales of alcohol on Sundays. Both Sunday sales in restaurants and stores passed by a large majority. This report was given by Pam Davis in Robert’s absence.

New Business:

  • Chair, Angie Eells announced that a joint event will be held with the ACCD at Live Wire on June 10, 2017 from 4-7. This is a meet and greet for the 10th Congressional district.
  • Angie also announced that the National Federation of Democratic Woman Conference will be held in Atlanta June 8-June 11, 2017.
  • In addition, Angie announced that we now have bumper stickers for sale. They choices are round or rectangular and cost $5.00 each.
  • She also announced that Carolyn Crawford, a committee member, reported that she has volunteered to be the liaison for the Veterans Caucus.
  • Angie also called for a volunteer to be a liaison for the Environment Caucus.

The meetings program focused on the development of the four subcommittees.

  • Tracy Wyatt will chair The Candidate Recruitment and Development Committee.
  • Jennifer Gude will chair The Affirmative Action/Membership Committee.
  • Freeland Abbott will chair The Communications Committee
  • Margaret Holt and Pam Davis will co-chair The Special Events and Fundraising Committee

There were no newly elected OCDC members. At the June meeting, there are an anticipated five vacancies to be filled on the Committee due to a recent resignation, three Members moving to Emeritus status (Pat Adams, Sarajane Love, Ann Stoneburner ) and our Chairwoman moving to Ex Officio status. As Emeritus and Ex Officio members, they retain full voting and member privileges, but they intend to provide Committee openings for new Oconee Democrats who have taken on leadership responsibilities with the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:15.

Respectfully submitted,

Pam Davis, Secretary

Call for Candidates!

We’re looking for candidates to stand for a number of local elections.  Elected officials are just regular people—people with jobs, families, and all the rest—who are willing to do the work to keep our towns and county working smoothly.  If you even might be interested, we’d love to know, and to help you learn what would be involved.  In fact, that’s the subject for our June meeting.

If you’re interested in learning more, either for yourself or someone else, there’s a form you can use to let us know, and we’re going to have a workshop at our June meeting to help answer people’s questions, featuring existing office-holders to speak about the process.  Send questions to ocgadems+candidates@gmail.com or (706) 705-2516.

Generally speaking, you need to “qualify” (that is, register so your town or the county knows you’re running) in August.  In many cases at the local level, that’s it: there may not be any opposition at all, and come the November ballot, you win.  In any event, the party is here to try to help you, and to help you understand the process and the steps.

Coming up for election in 2017 are:

Watkinsville

  • Mayor
  • Council Posts 1 & 2 (these aren’t district-based, just 2 of 5 posts, split by even/odd year elections)

Bishop

A full slate!

  • Mayor
  • Council Posts 1 through 4

Bogart

  • Council Posts 2 & 3

High Shoals

  • Council Posts 3, 4, & 5

Blood Drive 5/17 at Oconee Veteran’s Park

The Red Cross is collecting blood donations in the Community Room at Oconee Veteran’s Park, Wednesday May 17 between 11am and 4pm.  Walk-ins are welcome!

Each pint donated can save up to three lives.  Most people over 18 are eligible to give blood… if you have questions, follow these links to the Red Cross for answers to frequently asked questions and a special page for first-time donors.

This drive is co-sponsored by the Rotary Club of Oconee County and by Oconee County Parks & Recreation Department.