Thursday, August 17, 2017

Candidates For Local And Federal Offices Step Forward At Oconee County Democratic Party Meeting

Watkinsville And Congress

Jennifer Gude told Oconee County Democrats gathered in the Watkinsville Library on Tuesday night that she has decided to run for a seat on the Watkinsville Council to make a good city even better.

Richard Dien Winfield of Athens followed Gude to the front of the room, stating that he plans to announce in January that he is a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives from the 10th Congressional District to put forward what he called a “new social bill of rights.”

Gude, who lives at 1240 Stone Shoals Terrace in Watkinsville, said she thinks she will run for Post 2 on the Council.

That seat is open now that Connie Massey has been sworn in as mayor to replace Charles Ivie, who stepped down on Monday for health reasons. Massey could decide to run again for her old Post 2 position.

Winfield said he will try to unseat Republican Jody Hice in the 10th Congressional District, which runs from the Atlanta suburbs to the Savannah River and from Athens nearly to I-16 on the south.

Chalis Montgomery from Bethlehem also has declared she will seek the Democratic nomination to oppose Hice, so Winfield and Montgomery would face off in a Democratic primary in May.


Gude, a “stay-at-home mom,” said she was motivated to run for the Watkinsville Council in part by a desire to have more Democrats involved in local government.

She said she wants to increase the number sidewalks in the city and develop bike paths. She also would like to see the city use solar energy.

Gude said she thinks Harris Shoals Park needs to be updated. The playground does not have equipment at the park for people with physical disabilities, she said.

“Watkinsville is a really great city already,” she said. “So it’s a little bit hard to improve. But we definitely can’t just sit where we are.”


Winfield, a philosophy professor at the University of Georgia, proposed a $20 per hour minimum wage, guarantees of collective bargaining for workers, and employee participation in corporate governance.

He also said he wants to tax accumulated wealth, provide “super medicare” for all, and offer affordable housing.

He also wants to guarantee equal access to legal representation.

Winfield said he will make an official announcement of his candidacy in January, when he takes a leave from the University of Georgia.

“If we are going to remedy the continued decline of freedom and justice in our country,” he said. “We need to fight for a new social bill of rights, the anchor of which is the true right to work.”

Recruitment Of Candidates

Party Chair Angie Eells asked Gude and Winfield to introduce themselves to the group meeting at the library. Twenty-four people were in attendance.

Tracey Wyatt, who has been working to recruit Democrats to run for seats in the four Oconee County cities, all of which will have elections this fall, said Gude was the only one to agree to do so at this point.

Qualifying is next week for the four cities, and elections are nonpartisan.

Watkinsville has two council posts and the mayor’s position up for election. Terms are two years.

Bogart has two council seats open. Terms are for four years.

North High Shoals has three Council posts up for election. Terms are four years.

All four seats on Council and the mayor’s position are up for election in Bishop. Terms are for four years.


The video below is of the entire meeting of Oconee Democrats.

Chair Eells paused the meeting before going into a formal business session. That gap has been eliminated in the video.

Gude started to speak at 16:28, and Winfield started his comments at 26:10.

The Oconee County Republican Party will hold its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 24 at the Thomas Cotton Gin on SR15 south of Watkinsville. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black is the speaker.

OCO: Oconee Democrats 8 15 17 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Watkinsville Swears In New Mayor To Replace Charles Ivie, Who Stepped Down On Monday For Health Reasons

Massey Takes Oath

Watkinsville got a new mayor tonight (Wednesday) as Connie Massey took the oath of office at the beginning of the City Council meeting.

Massey replaced Charles Ivie, who resigned as mayor on Monday morning because of health problems. Ivie had previously announced that he would not run for re-election.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Daniells Bridge Road Flyover Removed From Transportation Planning Documents For Oconee County, But It Could Reappear In The Future

Kittles Make Plea

The Policy Committee of the Madison Athens Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) last week removed the proposed flyover connecting Daniells Bridge Road with the Oconee Connector from its 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan.

The Policy Committee also added five projects to its 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan to accommodate the Construction Work Program of the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Oconee County Citizen Committee Raises Concerns About Traffic At Oconee Veterans Park With Addition Of New Fields

Multi-Use Fields Planned

Members of the Oconee County Citizens Advisory Committee on Recreational Affairs were pleased last month with the county’s decision to begin construction of three multi-use fields at Oconee Veterans Park but expressed concern about the impact of the project on traffic at the park.

Lisa Davol, newly appointed director of the Parks and Recreation Department, updated the group on county plans for the fields, originally designated for adult softball but now being redesigned for multiple sports.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Oconee County Commissioners Approve Rezone In Preparation For Sale Of Barber Creek Fire Station Acreage

Warning On Alcohol Licenses

Oconee County commissioners last (Tuesday) night rezoned nearly two acres on the Oconee Connector and Daniells Bridge Road where the Barber Creek fire station sits in preparation for selling it for business development.

Although the property was donated to the county prior to 1997, the county owns the land outright and is preparing to sell it to the best bidder. The owners of the nearby SpringHill Suites by Marriott, 3500 Daniells Bridge Road, seem likely to be interested.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Oconee County Commissioners To Approve Sewer Contract And Consider Alcohol License For Convenience Store At Athens Ridge

Rezone On Agenda

Oconee County commissioners are set to give final approval tomorrow (Tuesday) night to a $1.9 million contract to upgrade the sewer line running from Epps Bridge Parkway at McNutt Creek and down Daniells Bridge Road and Government Station Road.

The upgraded sewer line will allow the county to divert sewage now being pumped to the sewage treatment facility on Rocky Branch Road to the Calls Creek plant currently under expansion outside Watkinsville.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Regional Transportation Body Votes To Eliminate Daniells Bridge Road Flyover From Its Plans

Another Vote Needed

The Technical Coordinating Committee of the Madison Athens Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) voted last week to recommend to the body’s Policy Committee that it remove from its long range plans the proposed flyover connecting Daniells Bridge Road with the Oconee Connector.

The Technical Coordinating Committee also recommended that five projects be added to the MACORTS long range plans, all to accommodate requests from the Georgia Department of Transportation.