State Attorney General Chris Carr, a Dunwoody resident, described his office’s role and answered questions from participants during his keynote address at the annual Jan. 29 Dunwoody Homeowners Association held at Dunwoody High School.
Carr, the former commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Economic Development, was appointed in November to be attorney general by Gov. Nathan Deal to replace Sam Olens who left the office to become president of Kennesaw State University. Carr said he will be running for a full term in 2018.
Carr explained the many responsibilities his office has and some of the specific work it fulfills, including working to stop human trafficking and tackling widespread prescription drug and opioid abuse.
“We’ve got to prosecute, but we also have to educate,” Carr said.
Carr said the AG’s office also works to keep veterans safe by educating them about potential scams and also working to prosecute those guilty of elder abuse.
Carr took questions from the audience and Dunwoody Councilmember Lynn Deutsch started by asking Carr to reach back to his economic experience and explain how the metro Atlanta area is going to continue handling traffic as more and more development moves in.
“In a meeting recently, I asked what is the tipping point in terms of traffic. I’m concerned with long-term planning, growth will cease … due to traffic and concerns about infrastructure,” she said.
Carr said he is familiar with traffic, but said transportation in metro Atlanta is a strength. Because of the areas central location and its access to interstates makes it easy for business to come to Georgia.
“Every state is dealing with mobility. The difference is Georgia is doing something about it,” Carr said.
When someone asked about the “water war” between Florida and Georgia, Carr said he was told he could not comment on pending litigation.
Joe Seconder questioned Carr’s recent decision to join a 24-state coalition urging President Donald Trump and Congress to withdraw the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan implemented by President Barack Obama to combat climate change.
“Let’s all agree we’re for clean water and air. In our form of government, how do we pass policy,” Carr said. “We all have to believe in federalism. The EPA went outside the law and took the states’ ability away to decide what is clean…”
Another DHA member asked Carr if his office would be making a formal statement on Trump’s recent executive orders, specifically about the recent travel ban prohibiting travel to the United States from seven Muslim-majority nations. Numerous protests have spread across the U.S., including in Atlanta, where protesters are denouncing the order as discriminating against Muslims. Trump has denied he is discriminating against Muslims.
“It’s not right when any president overreaches their authority,” Carr said. “It is my solemn duty to protect the citizens of Georgia. Immigration is intended to be a federal issue.”
“We’ll continue to monitor [the situation] and if it has an impact on the people of Georgia,” Carr said. “I will say the one thing — it is not a ban on Muslims. I would be against that.”
Best Business, Lifetime Achievement Award presented
This year marks the 47th anniversary of DHA, which was formed in 1970 as a response to a development boom in the area after Perimeter Mall was built, said DHA President Robert Wittenstein.
This year, the DHA honored Dr. Douglas Morgan, owner of Dunwoody Animal Hospital on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, as Business of the Year. Morgan has allowed DHA to sponsor its Light Up Dunwoody event at his office for several years, including running six extension cords from his office to plug into the Christmas tree, Wittenstein said.
And rather than award a Citizen of the Year this year, DHA honored Dick Williams, publisher of the Dunwoody Crier, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Williams has published the paper for more than 20 years and Carr, in his remarks, said Williams and his wife, Rebecca Chase Williams, former Brookhaven mayor, were the “conscience of Dunwoody.”
A tearful Williams thanked everyone for their support and said publishing the Crier was a true honor.
And some political players
This year DHA plans to hold two candidate forums – one for those running for Congressional District 6, currently held by U.S. Rep Tom Price, who is Trump’s nominee for Department of Health and Human Services, and another for three City Council seats that are up.
At the DHA annual meeting Sunday were candidates for the District 6 seat: Democrat Ron Slotin, former state senator from Sandy Springs; state Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta); and Karen Handel, former Georgia Secretary of State. Handel has not formally announced her bid, but said Sunday she will be doing so “soon” – likely after Price is officially confirmed.
Also on hand were Mayor Denis Shortal and City Councilmembers Deutsch, Pam Tallmadge, Terry Nall, Doug Thompson, John Heneghan.
State Rep. Tom Taylor and state Sen. Fran Millar also attended as did DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester and DeKalb School Board member Stan Jester.