10 Republican state senators helped strike down Georgia’s Buckhead bill
Ten Republican senators from Georgia joined all Democrats last week in delivering a legislative blow to the Buckhead City Committee, which has long been pushing for Atlanta’s wealthy Buckhead neighborhood to secede from the city.
The state Senate on Thursday voted 33-23 against SB 114, a critical bill for the Buckhead town committee, whose goal is to see a ballot referendum for neighborhood residents to vote on the creation of Buckhead City.
“We are of course disappointed with the results of the Senate vote today, but we will never give up until Buckhead votes,” the committee said in a statement after the bill fell through.
Committee CEO Bill White, a Buckhead resident, is largely responsible for organizing what began as a grassroots movement more than a decade ago into a well-funded and vocal committee in 2021 in response to an increase in violent crime in the region.
“There’s no leadership here in Atlanta,” White told Breitbart News in 2021. “No one is taking corrective action on police resources, allowing them to do their jobs,” he said. added, explaining how Buckhead City would have its own police department.
Thursday’s vote was a significant setback for White and the committee, but White promises not to give up.
After Thursday’s vote, he identified all ten Republican senators in a social media post, noting that they had actually voted against the result of a GOP advisory question that appeared on last year’s primary ballot.
Ten “Republican” senators are going against the will of their constituents, who in each of those districts voted overwhelmingly (the average was 79% in each) in the May 24 GOP GA primary. statewide, sending a very clear message to each of them to “allow Buckhead to vote.” pic.twitter.com/mMCbUwgyJq
— Bill White Buckhead City GA (@BWBuckheadCity) March 3, 2023
The senators were:
- Bo Hatchet
- Brian Strickland
- chuck hufstetler
- Frank Ginn
- John Albers
- Kay Kirkpatrick
- Larry Walker III
- mike dugan
- Mike Hodges
- Shelly Echols
Ginn, one of the Republican opponents of the bill, called the legislation “really embarrassing” and said “Atlanta would die” if it lost Buckhead, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported.
“It makes no sense politically, operationally, or financially,” said Albers, another GOP opponent, according to the outlet.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens (D), who has pledged to focus on reducing crime in the city, is also one of many city leaders who strongly oppose the separation of Buckhead of Atlanta, a move that would decimate the city’s revenue.
Under Dickens, Atlanta saw a decrease in most types of violent crime; however, the city saw homicides increase in 2022 for the third consecutive year.
Buckhead City critics, such as Dickens and some of the opposing Republican senators, were bolstered ahead of Thursday’s vote by Gov. Brian Kemp (R), whose executive council sent a memo to the Senate, obtained by the AJCwhich posed many legal questions about the logistics of Buckhead’s hypothetical deannexation.
Kemp, a hugely popular governor who was recently re-elected, has long refused to take a stand on the town of Buckhead as the legislative process unfolded, so the memo marked an escalation in the governor’s approach.
About a year ago, Kemp told Breitbart News that he felt the Buckhead City debate was positive for Atlanta following Dickens taking office.
“We passed a bill last year that does not allow rogue local governments to fund the police, and that is one of the reasons why it is good that this debate continues and why I am not somehow intervened, does the mayor need to feel the pressure on this issue,” Kemp said at the time.
Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.