clear
Thursday August 27th, 2015 10:22PM

Ga. GOP US Senate candidates denounce immigration bill

By The Associated Press
ATHENS (AP) -- The four Georgia Republicans running for U.S. Senate said Saturday they are united in opposing a comprehensive immigration reform bill, because it doesn't do enough for border security.

U.S. Reps. Paul Broun of Athens, Phil Gingrey of Marietta and Jack Kingston of Savannah, along with former Secretary of State Karen Handel, spoke at an event sponsored by the Georgia Republican Assembly as the GOP gathered for the second day of its state convention. The sign of unity came on a day when the state's top elected official, Gov. Nathan Deal, urged the four "to be nice to each other" with a reference to a legendary feud.

"Competitive primaries may be exciting and energizing but we in Georgia cannot become the Hatfields and McCoys of Georgia, killing off our own before they even get out of the primary," Deal said. "It's important to win the primary but it's even more important to win the general election."

It was a message that Deal's wife, Sandra, delivered early Saturday at a convention breakfast and the four candidates appeared to embrace - at least on the issue of proposed immigration reform. The bill pending in the Senate calls for funds to increase border security but candidates said the first step should be enforcing existing law.

"We absolutely must deal with it but we don't need any new laws," Broun said. "The solution is to secure the borders, both north and south."

"We absolutely are going to be opposed and stand strong against any amnesty," Gingrey said. "My idea about solving this problem is to enforce the laws that are currently on the books."

Gingrey and Handel both said the current proposal was too similar to a 2007 immigration bill that ultimately failed.

"We are about to have deja vu all over again," Handel said. "Only in Washington could the same failed policies be put forward as `reform.' We need to secure the borders now before we do anything else."

Kingston also called for the end of automatic citizenship for those born in the United States.

"When you come to America as a visitor and if you have a child, that child should not automatically be an American citizen," Kingston said. "We are one of the few nations left that still have that relic on the books. It was needed at one time but it is not needed anymore."

During the convention, delegates heard from a number of speakers, including Republican strategist Karl Rove, who rallied the crowd in opposition to President Barack Obama and national Democrats. State tea party activists had earlier expressed unhappiness with Rove's appearance, passing out stickers warning of "Republicans in name only." In the end, Rove received a warm welcome and applause after he finished his remarks.

"Our goal as Republicans is to help restore the American dream, to make it real and vital in the lives of every single American," Rove said. "And we have got to get candidates that reflect the diversity of our country."

Also Saturday, Republicans elected John Padgett as their new state chair. Padgett is a business owner and longtime party activist who most recently served as party secretary.

During an all-day session, all four Senate candidates made speeches. Broun emphasized his commitment to ending what he called "out of control spending." Gingrey touted his conservative ideals, advocating for "limited federal government and strong local government." Kingston talked about his roots across Georgia and his belief that government is "there to serve the people and not the other way around."

Handel, who just announced her candidacy the day before, was added at the last minute. She immediately sought to distinguish herself from the other three congressmen.

"I am running for United States Senate because we need less Washington in Washington," she said.

During his speech, Deal began to make his case for re-election in 2014. So far, he has not drawn any GOP primary challengers, although Dalton Mayor David Pennington has said he's weighing a bid.

The governor said he has decreased the size of state government and balanced the budget while keeping the state's AAA bond rating. He also talked about how minorities are a fast-growing population in Georgia, and encouraged his fellow Republicans to make it a priority to reach out to them. Later in his speech, he talked about the strain on resources that has resulted in a "disproportionately larger share" of refugees sent to Georgia by the federal government.

"We are not cold-hearted. We are very compassionate," Deal said. "We're willing to do our fair share but you just can't dump these large numbers of these communities without having significant consequences that are probably unintended but should have been anticipated."

He ended his remarks emphasizing unity.

"Let's remember that we have to remain strong, that we have to remain united and work diligently to expand our base," Deal said.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Medicaid growth creates gap of 5M without coverage; 409K in Ga.
About 5 million people will be without health care next year that they would have gotten simply if they lived somewhere else in America.
7:30AM ( 1 year ago )
Vandals spray graffiti against Kerry in West Bank
Suspected Jewish vandals set fire to three vehicles in a West Bank village early on Tuesday and sprayed threatening graffiti referring to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of his expected visit to the region, police said.
7:28AM ( 1 year ago )
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Cornelia posts revised sign ordinance, extends moratorium
The Cornelia City Commission has extended its moratorium on freestanding sign permits until Oct. 7.
9:33PM ( 49 minutes ago )
US stocks end sharply higher; Dow up 369
U.S. stocks are closing sharply higher after China's main stock index logged its biggest gain in eight weeks. A report also showed that the U.S. economy expanded at a much faster pace than previously estimated.
By The Associated Press
4:33PM ( 5 hours ago )
New building planned for Jackson Co. industrial park
Pattillo Industrial Real Estate plans to develop a 458,640 square foot speculative building in McClure Industrial Park in Jackson County.
By AccessWDUN staff
1:22PM ( 9 hours ago )
Settlement reached in lawsuit over decade-old Gulf oil leak
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Environmental groups and a New Orleans company that failed to end a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico have reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit over the slow-motion s...
12:32PM ( 9 hours ago )
Gainesville City Council mulls fireworks ordinance; hearings set for ad valorem tax
City leaders in Gainesville are considering an ordinance that would regulate where "consumer fireworks" can be sold in the city.
10:30AM ( 11 hours ago )