Capitol Corner

Issues In Focus: A Visit to Athens Transit

April 06, 2017

By: Alex Estroff Last week, the Fellowship team had the pleasure of meeting with Athens Transit director, Butch McDuffie. After learning more about Athens Transit’s unique citizen engagement and incredibly efficient service, there was no doubt from any of us that Athens Transit indeed deserved its 2016 Urban Community Transit of the Year award. In […]

Fellowship Spotlight

March 15, 2017

Meet Alex Estroff Graduation Date:  May 2017 Majors or Areas of Study:  Political Science and Journalism Hometown: Marietta, GA Community & Campus Involvement: Peabody Awards Student Honor Board, head mentor for the Thomas Lay afterschool program, writer for the Georgia Political Review, and member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity Interesting fact about yourself?: I climbed the […]

Fellowship Spotlight

February 27, 2017

Meet Julia Ricciardulli Graduation Date: December 2019 Majors or Areas of Study:  International Affairs, Economics, Political Science Hometown: Alpharetta, GA Community & Campus Involvement: I currently serve on the Student Government Association’s Policy Research Board. Additionally, I am a disk jockey at WUOG 90.5FM and the Political and Economic Correspondent for the Athens Journal. Interesting fact about […]

Issues in Focus: the ACCA and ageism

February 24, 2017

By: Thomas Gambill This week the Spencer Frye Legislative Research Fellows met with Eve Anthony and Erin Beasley, the CEO and Director of Operations respectively, of the Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA) to learn more about the aging adult community within the city of Athens and the public services provided to them. Engaged in […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome

February 21, 2017

By Annefloor de Groot With session being almost half-way complete, bills are making their way to the House floor to be voted on. New legislation is introduced every day, and as we will see, it can make direct impacts on the lives of Georgians. Continue reading below to learn about some of the important topics […]

Fellowship Spotlight

January 10, 2017

Ishana Ratan Graduation Date: May 2017 Majors or Areas of Study: Double Major in  International Affairs and Economics, Minor in Spanish Hometown: Chennai, India Community & Campus Involvement: I wrote for the food column for UGA’s Ampersand Magazine, am a tutor for Economics classes at UGA, and have been part of the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program for a year. […]

Fellowship Spotlight

December 15, 2016

  Evan Katz Graduation Date: Spring 2019 Majors or Areas of Study: Political Science, International Affairs Hometown: Atlanta, GA Community & Campus Involvement: Georgia Political Review, American Founding Group, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Interesting fact about yourself?: I’ve played the piano for 13 years. What interested you most about the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program?: The […]

Fellowship Spotlight

November 15, 2016

Fellow: Annefloor de Groot Graduation Date: May 2019 Majors or Areas of Study: Political Science and Communication Studies Hometown: Peachtree City, GA Community & Campus Involvement: UGA Miracle, Phi Mu Sorority, and UGA Young Democrats Interesting fact about yourself?: I was born and raised in The Netherlands until the age of eight. This experience has taught be […]

Issues in Focus: Opportunity School District

November 02, 2016

This election season in Georgia there are four amendments for the voters to decide upon.  Amendment One, also known as Opportunity School District (OSD) garnered much controversy and debate throughout the state.  OSD was created by Senate Bill 133 and would allow the government to take over “chronically failing” schools and inject various policy changes […]

Issues in Focus: Public Transportation

October 20, 2016

By: Tyler Parks Georgia, known for its great weather, good food, and recent economic boom, is also known for its terrible traffic problems. The most recent survey by INRIX, a traffic information leader, ranks Atlanta as the 9th worst U.S city for traffic, with 59 hours per commuter wasted annually. This is due, in part, […]

Fellowship Spotlight

October 04, 2016

Fellow spotlight: Alanna Pierce Graduation Date:  May 2017 Major:  Theatre Hometown: Athens Other Community & Campus Involvement: Demosthenian Literary Society, UGA Theatre Department, Athens Anti-OSD What interested you most about the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program? What interested me was how much the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program gives to the community.  I really like how the fellows are given […]

Fellowship Spotlight

April 01, 2016

Fellow Spotlight: Luke Boggs Graduation Date: December 2015 Majors or Areas of Study: Political Science and History Hometown: Saint Marys, Georgia Community & Campus Involvement: Demosthenian Literary Society, Young Democrats of Georgia What interested you most about the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program? I first became interested in the program because of how varied and deep […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Sine Die

March 28, 2016

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Sine Die Time during the final day of the 2016 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly expired on Sine Die. While lawmaking is technically supposed to end at the stroke of midnight on the 40th day, legislators found themselves voting into the early morning of March 25, what […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Ten

March 21, 2016

With only two legislative days remaining, Rep. Frye is still working hard in the General Assembly to have a strong finish.  Keep reading to see what happened this week under the Gold Dome. Religious Liberty Bill Passes On Wednesday night, the religious freedom bill passed the Georgia state legislature. In order for the bill to […]

Fellowship Spotlight

March 18, 2016

This week we caught up with Eleanor. Read more here to learn a little more about her experiences as a fellow. Fellow Spotlight: Eleanor Traynham Graduation Date: May 2017 Majors or Areas of Study: Public Relations and Political Science Hometown: Macon, GA Community & Campus Involvement: I’m a member of Phi Mu where I previously […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 9

March 14, 2016

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Nine The Georgia General Assembly had another busy week as the 2016 session quickly approaches an end.  With only a few legislative days left in the session, the House and the Senate both passed several bills, and a number of other bills are working their way through the […]

Fellowship Spotlight

March 11, 2016

This week we talked with Anna Beth Smith about her experience as a FACS intern and fellow for Rep. Frye. Graduation Date: August 2017 Majors or Areas of Study: Human Development and Family Sciences and Political Science Hometown: Macon, GA Graduation Date: August 2017 Majors or Areas of Study: Human Development and Family Sciences, Political Science Community […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 8

March 07, 2016

With Crossover Day in the rearview mirror, work in the Georgia General Assembly is now overflowing across the halls. Bills passed in the House of Representatives will now need to be approved in the Senate, and the same goes for bills that received the Senate’s approval that await a decision in the House. There are […]

State Route 316

March 03, 2016

Learn more about how Rep. Frye is supporting Georgia State Route 316 improvements here:

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 7

February 29, 2016

Today marks day 30 under the Gold Dome! On day 30, also known as Crossover Day, any bill that has not passed its original chamber will not continue in the legislative process. However, there are creative ways to amend bills that have survived by inserting the legislation that did not pass, thus keeping the idea […]

Fellowship Spotlight

February 26, 2016

Fellowship Spotlight: Kristyn Hicks Graduation Date: May 2017 Majors or Areas of Study: Public relations, Political Science and New Media Hometown: Dallas, Georgia Community & Campus Involvement: Public Relations Student Society of America, Rep. Spencer Frye Fellowship What interested you most about the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program? I was interested in the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program […]

House Bill 1032

February 25, 2016

House Bill 1032 could be a step towards positive change regarding public transportation. Rep. Frye is proud to co-sponsor a bill that would provide more public transportation and help relieve some of the frustrating Atlanta traffic. Learn more about HB 1032 and some of the potential beneficial outcomes here.

Issues in Focus

February 24, 2016

Save Yourself Some Green…We Mean Money and the Environment By: Kristyn Hicks What is House Bill 877? House Bill 877 clarifies what it means for a vehicle to use alternative fuel, clean fuel or electricity by plugging-in. This bill also proposes income tax credits for the next three years for vehicles that uses alternative energy. “I […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 6

February 22, 2016

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Six This week was a busy one for the Georgia General Assembly.  With just a few legislative days remaining, every single day brings us closer to reaching decisions that impact the community. Continue reading below to see what Rep. Frye accomplished during week six. Cutting the Cost HB […]

Fellowship Spotlight

February 19, 2016

This week we caught up with Karsyn Kendrick, a senior at UGA with a passion for helping others and a special interest in the German language and culture. Graduation Date: May 2016 Majors or Areas of Study: International Affairs and German Hometown: Augusta, Ga Community & Campus Involvement: Spencer Frye Fellowship, Pi Sigma Alpha member […]

House Bill 877

February 18, 2016

  Legislation from the 2015 session removed some of the benefits of purchasing environmentally friendly vehicles. Rep. Frye is working with other representatives this session to win those incentives back. HB 877 will bring back the income tax credits for low-emission and plug-in vehicles that were lost. Learn more about the legislation here.   

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 5

February 15, 2016

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Five Another week has passed, and the Georgia General Assembly has officially reached the halfway point in the session.  With 20 days left to create new legislation this session, continue reading here to see what Rep. Frye has accomplished so far under the Gold Dome. At the Crosswalk […]

Fellowship Spotlight

February 12, 2016

Fellowship Spotlight:  Kalin Wilson Today we talked to Kalin Wilson for our Fellowship Spotlight. Kalin shared some of her future goals and plans as well what she is learning during her time as a legislative fellow with the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program. Graduation Date: May 2016 Majors or Areas of Study: Economics/Pre-law Hometown: New York […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 4

February 08, 2016

As the Georgia General Assembly presses onward towards March 24 and Sine Die, here’s a look at the issues Rep. Frye discussed this week under the Gold Dome. Early Voting Starts Monday Advance voting for the 2016 presidential preference primary started Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, at the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections located at 155 […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Three

February 01, 2016

By: Ryan Switzer Another week under the Gold Dome has passed, and the Georgia General Assembly is beginning the 13th day of the legislative session this morning. During week three in Atlanta, Rep. Frye fought for many issues that will have direct and significant effects back home in the 118th district. Carry On Campus Debate […]

Issues in Focus: “Marijuana: The Overlooked Outcomes”

January 29, 2016

By Kier Joy According to the Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group for criminal justice reform, the United States currently holds the largest incarceration rate of any country in the world with 2.2 million people in prison. Of those 2.2 million people, 55 percent of those federal prisoners are placed in prison for non-violent […]

Fellowship Spotlight: Elizabeth Hall

January 27, 2016

  Fellow Spotlight: Elizabeth Hall Today we talked to Elizabeth Hall for our Fellowship Spotlight. Elizabeth shared some of her favorite places in Athens as well as what she is looking forward to during her time in the public relations department with the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program. Graduation Date: Spring 2017 Majors or Areas of […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 2

January 25, 2016

This Week Under the Gold Dome By: Ryan Switzer During the second week of the legislative session, Rep. Frye continued to build positive proposals to address issues affecting the district and the state. While he worked, several controversial issues were discussed. Let’s Talk About Taxes Senate Bill 280 is a proposal to lower the state […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome

January 18, 2016

By Elizabeth Holland The 2016 presidential election is the most explosive campaign in recent memory. Everyone seems to have an opinion about whom should win the primaries or ultimately be president. But while this talk consumes the media, lawmaking with direct results is actually taking place. The 2016 Georgia General Assembly convened for its first […]

Efforts to End Domestic Violence and Help Victims of Sexual Assault

December 03, 2015

By: Sam Cleare The Spencer Frye Fellowship team recently had the opportunity to visit The Cottage, an Athens-based non-profit devoted to child advocacy and combating sexual assault.  While there, we had the opportunity to hear about the organization’s work, recent changes in the services it provides, and possible challenges it may face in the future. Through […]

November Policy Snapshot

November 18, 2015

By Gary Ashcroft As Thanksgiving draws near, and as one lucky bird eagerly awaits a presidential pardon, the Spencer Frye team is here to highlight three political stories that are sure to “gobble up” any awkward pauses in your Turkey Day family arguments discussions. Forget Bay of Pigs – what about “Bay of Chickens”? While […]

The Earned Income Tax Credit: A Bipartisan Tool to Fight Poverty

November 11, 2015

By: Daniel McCracken Over the last several years, Americans have been paying more attention to the growing problems of poverty and income inequality. However, there is broad disagreement across the political spectrum about how to address them. Among Democrats, popular positions include expanding social programs (funded by raising taxes on wealth or capital gains) and raising […]

Community Connections: Ensuring No Need Goes Unmet

November 04, 2015

By: Karsyn Kendrick   Founded in 1978, Community Connection serves 13 counties in Northeast Georgia, and its mission is to “strengthen the individuals and organizations of our region to ensure that no need goes unmet”. This last week, the Spencer Frye Legislative Fellows had the opportunity to meet with Julie Farmer, the Referral Manager for […]

On the Docket: Fundamental Tax Reform in Georgia?

October 28, 2015

By: Jordy Berne Months in advance of the next legislative session, attention is already turning to tax reform. Legislators typically pass a few tax bills every year, but substantial overhaul hasn’t happened since 2012. This year might be different though; a new tax overhaul bill was introduced last session that appears to have the support […]

Habitat for Humanity: Building a Better Future for Athens-Clarke County

October 21, 2015

By: Stuart Swinea On Friday, October 16th, the Spencer Frye Fellowship Team visited the Athens Area Habitat for Humanity. Our visit involved a conversation with Representative Frye on the organization’s operations and their positive impact on the community. This discussion helped us examine the challenges that face Athens and the ways in which those challenges […]

What We Talk about When We Talk about Women’s Reproductive Health: A Look into the Planned Parenthood Controversy and its Implications for Georgia

October 14, 2015

By: Leah Young   This July, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a secretly recorded video in which Planned Parenthood executives discussed providing fetal tissue to medical researchers. This video has prompted a raging debate over women’s reproductive rights and government funding of Planned Parenthood. Despite the great degree of noise about these issues, […]

October Policy Snapshot

October 07, 2015

By: Gary Ashcroft October Policy Snapshot As lawmakers continue to gear up for the spring session, and as policy wonks wait for the political fireworks to start at the Golden Dome, the Spencer Frye team is here to bring you up to speed on 5 important policy developments from the past month.    1. Craft […]

Fellow Visit: Casa de Amistad

September 30, 2015

By: Gregory Joy At the intersection of multiculturalism, community outreach, religion, and Athens lies a small nonprofit with a big heart. This organization, Casa de Amistad, seeks to address the needs of Athens’s Latino community and assists over 300 Latino families each year. On Wednesday September 23rd, the members of the Spencer Frye Fellowship team […]

The Sharing Economy

September 22, 2015

By: Gary Ashcroft The sharing economy has become an idol of the modern business world, with the success of companies in this field suggesting that the sky is the limit. Room-sharing service Airbnb is projected to rake in over $900 million this year, while ride-sharing facilitator Uber is expected to net around $2 billion. Beyond […]

What the Supreme Court’s Decision Means for Me

July 01, 2015

By: Luke Boggs After last week’s Supreme Court decision in King vs. Burwell, the Affordable Care Act remains intact, preventing hundreds of thousands of Georgians from losing access to the financial assistance they need to maintain good health. The plaintiffs’ argument, based on a narrow interpretation of the law, sought to have subsides removed for […]

June Policy Snapshot

June 26, 2015

By: Kyle Hayes Although the legislature is not in session, policymakers across the state are hard at work dealing with the important problems and preparing for next session. Over the summer we’ll deliver monthly policy updates to keep you informed on the latest in Georgia’s policy debates. Here’s June’s top 5: *Update*: Friday morning saw […]

Fellow Spotlight: Victoria Ward

April 20, 2015

This week we talked with Victoria Ward for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to her about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what her best experience has been so far, and what some of Victoria’s favorite things about Athens are. Graduation Date: May 2015 Majors or Areas of Study: Public Relations and Marketing Hometown: Augusta, […]

Fellow Spotlight: Breyuana Smith

April 10, 2015

This week we talked with Breyuana Smith for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to her about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what her best experience has been so far, and what some of Breyuana’s favorite things about Athens are. Graduation Date: May 2016 Major or Area of Study: Public Relations Hometown: Lawrenceville, […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Sine Die Edition

April 07, 2015

By: Elizabeth Holland The legislative session for 2015 came to an end late in the evening on Thursday. Here is a recap on what made it through the legislative gauntlet this year including Spencer’s crosswalk bill, new transportation funding, and a plan to take over schools perceived to be failing. Spencer’s Legislation: Although Rep. Frye […]

Fellow Spotlight: Kaylee Maxwell

April 04, 2015

This week we talked with Kaylee Maxwell for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to her about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what her best experience has been so far, and what some of Kaylee’s favorite things about Athens are. Graduation Date: May 2016 Major or Area of Study: Law Hometown: Bainbridge, GA […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Sine Die Draws Near

March 30, 2015

By: Kyle Hayes The pace at the Gold Dome picked up last week as the end of the 2015 Session nears. Dozens of bills worked their way towards the end of the legislative process including legislation impacting our schools, the civil rights of Georgians, our environment, and our beer. House Approves Opportunity School District, Decision […]

Fellow Spotlight: Samantha Keitt

March 27, 2015

This week we talked with Samantha Keitt for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to her about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what her best experience has been so far, and what some of Samantha’s favorite things about Athens are. Graduation Date: May 2017 Major or Area of Study: Public Relations | Minor: Political […]

Opportunity School District Falls Short of Meeting Needs of Georgia’s Most Disadvantaged Students

March 24, 2015

By: Kyle Hayes During his State of the State Address, the Governor signaled his intentions to file a plan with the legislature to provide greater state oversight for schools deemed “failing” based on standardized assessments. By February, this plan was introduced in the form of Senate Bill 133 and Senate Resolution 287. His proposed constitutional […]

Fellow Spotlight: Blake Feldman

March 21, 2015

This week we talked with Blake Feldman for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to him about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what his best experience has been so far, and what some of Blake’s favorite things about Athens are. Graduation Date:  May 2015 Major or Area of Study: Law School Hometown: Newton, MS […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Crossover Day Edition

March 17, 2015

By: Elizabeth Holland Athens was a little quieter this week as students were away for spring break, but debate under the Gold Dome was loud as members of the General Assembly made their final push to get bills to the opposite chamber before Crossover day. Crossover day, the 30th day of session, is the final […]

Fellow Spotlight: Emma Cramer

March 13, 2015

This week we talked with Emma Cramer for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to her about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what her best experience has been so far, and what some of Emma’s favorite things about Athens are. Graduation Date: May 2016 Major or Area of Study: Public Relations, International Affairs Hometown: […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Roads, Rails, and Crosswalks

March 09, 2015

By: Kyle Hayes The House made it closer to the home stretch of session last week by voting on one of Georgia’s most important challenges. Check out the all transportation edition of This Week Under the Gold Dome. Transportation Funding Clears House On Thursday, the House passed legislation injecting almost $1 billion into Georgia’s roads […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 7

March 03, 2015

Despite the weather, last week was a busy week as the House made progress on some of the more visible legislative proposals during this session. The House passed the budget for fiscal year 2016, discussed minority participation in transportation projects, and approved medical marijuana legislation after a two-year effort. House of Representatives Votes to Approve […]

Issues in Focus: Raising the Minimum Wage

February 25, 2015

By: David Douds and Kaylee Maxwell Raising the minimum wage, or the existence of a minimum wage at all, is one of those topics that nearly everyone you meet will have some opinion on. Some will argue that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs because employers won’t be able to employ the same number […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 5

February 23, 2015

By: Elizabeth Holland Transportation Update This week the Transportation Committee passed House Bill 170 by committee substitute. As it was passed by committee substitute, the bill has seen many changes since its original version. One of the new amendments allows local governments to create a 1.25 percent sales tax instead of the 1 percent allowed […]

Fellow Spotlight: Andrew Stoehr

February 20, 2015

This week we talked with Andrew Stoehr for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to him about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what his best experience has been so far, and what some of Andrew’s favorite things about Athens are. Graduation Date: I will graduate in May 2017. Major or Area of Study:I am […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 4

February 16, 2015

By: Elizabeth Holland House Votes to Facilitate Residential Use of Solar Power Athens is a city on the front lines of conservation and concern for the environment. From the recycling bins across UGA’s campus to the recycling pick-up that occurs in many of your front yards, Athens is a town that knows our current resources […]

Fellow Spotlight: Sezi Erdin

February 13, 2015

This week we talked with Sezi Erdin for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to her about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what her best experience has been so far, and what some of Sezi’s favorite things about Athens are. Graduation Date: Spring 2016 Major or Area of Study: Political Science and International Affairs […]

Square One: Medical Marijuana

February 11, 2015

By: Shannon Mcdermott On this edition of Square One, we take a look at the increasingly important issue of medical marijuana, including how it can help children suffering from debilitating diseases and why everyone in Georgia seems to be talking about it. Legalizing medical marijuana is an issue that frequents all forms of media and […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Transportation, Education, and Medical Marijuana

February 09, 2015

By: Elizabeth Holland The legislators were back to work last week with discussions on some of the biggest challenges the state faces like transportation and education. While we wait for the bills to start hitting the floor, check out the latest from the Dome this week. Tracking Transportation The Transportation Funding Act of 2015 has […]

Fellow Spotlight: Elizabeth Holland

February 06, 2015

This week we talked with Elizabeth Holland for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to her about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what her best experience has been so far, and what some of Elizabeth’s favorite things about Athens are. Graduation Date: Spring 2016 Major or Area of Study: Political Science and Public Relations […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 2

February 03, 2015

By: Elizabeth Holland While the days may be cold, business under the dome is heating up. Through the budget discussions, the transportation debate and new legislation, Spencer has been advocating for you on these major issues. Revised Budget When lawmakers allocate money for next year’s budget, the total amount of the budget is based on […]

Fellow Spotlight: Gary Ashcroft

January 30, 2015

This week we talked with Gary Ashcroft for our profile series Fellow Spotlights.  We discussed what was appealing to him about joining the Spencer Frye Fellowship Program, what his best experience has been so far, and what some of Gary’s favorite things about Athens are. Graduation Date: May 2016 Degree/Standing: 2L at UGA Law Hometown: Cochran, GA Community/Campus Involvement: […]

Issues in Focus: Georgia Breweries

January 29, 2015

By: Nathan Lavender and Andrew Stoehr Fairness. It’s a quality we cultivate in this country and this state. This quality extends to small businesses trying to compete in today’s competitive world. However, in Georgia, one group of businesses is not treated with the same fairness the rest of our state’s industry enjoys: Georgia’s Brewers. Craft […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Budget Week

January 26, 2015

By: Elizabeth Holland Welcome back to This Week Under the Gold Dome, our weekly rundown of events at the Capitol and here in the Athens community. Spencer Hosts Affordable Care Act Enrollment Event: Spencer’s vision of a stronger Georgia begins with you and the community he serves. Representative Frye never loses sight of this vision while […]

A Letter to My Constituents: True Solutions

January 11, 2015

By: Spencer Frye Tomorrow marks the first day of the 2015-2016 legislative session, and I couldn’t be more excited to get back to the Gold Dome. During the last two years, we have made significant progress for our state. In 2013, we eliminated red tape to allow for a grocery store in downtown areas like […]

Fellow Spotlight: Laura Pontari

October 18, 2014

Check out the latest of our Fellow Spotlights on Laura Pontari. Find out what she loves about the Spencer Frye Fellowship program, what her favorite part of the experience has been, and the things Laura loves about Athens….

What We’re Reading: Monday, October 13th

October 13, 2014

Check out what we’re reading this week, including two op-eds covering the state of standardized testing in our schools, education at the center of the AJC editorial page, and early voting dates and times!…

Fellow Spotlight: Caitlyn Todd

October 04, 2014

Check out the first of our Fellow Spotlights. Each week, we’ll be profiling our hard-working State Representative Spencer Frye Fellows. Learn more about Fellow Caitlyn Todd and what led her to apply for our program! …

Square One: Education in Georgia

October 02, 2014

Education is one of the most important issues that our community, our state, and our nation deals with each year. Whether its funding for schools, teacher evaluations, or graduation rates and poverty, education policy is made up of many facets that are critical to our children and our state. Learn more about what makes up Georgia’s education system here. …

What We’re Reading: Monday, September 29th

September 29, 2014

Check out an all-education edition of what we’re reading this week including reports on the Clarke County Schools new resolution on the teacher evaluation system, a report from the AJC that Georgia seeks to delay the impact of that evaluation system, and a few blogs from around education circles about the impact of testing in schools. …

What We’re Reading: Monday, September 8th

September 08, 2014

Check out what we’re reading this week including driverless car testing at the University of Michigan, the AJC’s report on the impact of UGA ending their ACA Navigator program, a new pilot program to track student education outcomes across state lines, and more!…

Square One: Criminal Justice Reform

September 04, 2014

Criminal justice reform has been a pretty active issue at the state and federal level over the past few years. Reforms have been passed to focus on rehabilitative practices over jail time for both adult and juvenile offenders of drug related crimes. Have we done enough? …

What We’re Reading: September 2nd

September 02, 2014

Check out what we’re reading this week including Pennsylvania expanding their Medicaid program, schools cutting PE and recess requirements, Georgia football is back, and the latest from the Bitter Southerner….

What is an Investment?

August 27, 2014

Spencer and his team talk a lot about investments in public and through this blog. But what do we really mean by investments, and what does that look like in reality? Learn more about the long-term impacts of the decision in the 1980s to expand Medicaid to pregnant women as a way to ensure better health for children. How long that better health lasts might surprise you….

Square One: Health Care

August 26, 2014

There has been a lot happening with health care lately. It is likely you have heard or seen news about Obamacare, doctor shortages, the end of Medicare as we know it, and all the partisan battles that typically accompany these subjects. But what does it all mean? Is everything as horrible as it can seem? Here is an overview of how Georgians get their health insurance, what the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is, and what questions remain regarding health care. …

What We’re Reading: August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

Check out what we are reading this week including a second UGA student getting hit by a car in the early weeks of classes (be careful out there!), a rundown on Athens Transit issues from Flagpole, a review of how the state legislature’s decision to bar UGA from employing Navigators impacts health reform, the passing of UGA legend Dan Magill, and the revival of the T-SPLOST to address transportation funding shortfalls….

Profiles in Service: Nuçi’s Space

August 14, 2014

Last week, our summer fellows got the opportunity to meet with Nuçi’s Space to talk about their work in the Athens community. Executive Director, Bob Sleppy was kind enough to take some time to speak to us about the work Nuçi’s Space does to address issues of mental health within the Athens music community. …

What We’re Reading: Monday, July 28th

July 28, 2014

Check out what we’re reading this week while you wait to find out if the bachelorette and bulldog are a match made in television. Clarke County Schools move to a charter school district, all Georgia schools are implementing Georgia Milestones, insurers are paying $11 million in rebates to Georgians, Georgia’s economy hasn’t recovered middle-wage jobs, and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan releases a plan to enable states and localities to address poverty. See the details here. …

What We’re Reading: July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

Check out what we’re reading on this election eve including all you need to know to cast your ballot tomorrow, an article describing the pressures on teachers in the standardized testing era, Myra Blackmon’s thoughts on Clarke County Schools becoming a charter district, and a report from Sunday’s ABH on Athens becoming the home to a new refugee center. …

Spencer Frye Selected to Serve on Georgia Bioscience Joint Development Authority

July 20, 2014

Last week, Spencer was selected by Mayor Nancy Denson and the Athens Clarke County Commission to serve on the Georgia Bioscience Joint Development Authority. The Georgia Bioscience Joint Development Authority is a multi-county group comprised of officials from Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Oconee and Gwinnett counties charged with exploring opportunities for biotechnology growth along the Georgia Highway 316 corridor. Connecting Athens to Atlanta, the 316 corridor links the local economic and educational infrastructure of Athens with comparable resources found in the Atlanta metropolitan area. …

Profiles in Service: Project Safe Inc.

July 17, 2014

Earlier this month, the Summer Fellows visited Project Safe, a local non-profit committed to ending domestic violence through prevention and educational programs. Project Safe brings together advocates, donors, volunteers, community partners, allied organizations and supportive individuals who are committed to ending domestic violence. The organization works with Athens homeless and animal shelters and other UGA organizations to provide their clients and community with a wide range of services and resources. Their services are confidential and free….

Profiles in Service: Interfaith Hospitality Network

July 09, 2014

Last week, our summer fellows got the opportunity to sit down with Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) to talk about their work in the Athens community. Executive Director, Ken Sherman was kind enough to take some time out of his day to explain how IHN of Athens strives to address the crisis of homelessness that many families face in the Athens area. …

What We’re Reading: Monday, July 7th

July 07, 2014

This week, we are reading the Bitter Southerner about the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Flagpole about the Varsity as a setting for Athens integration, Pre-K sign ups, donations for school supplies, the challenge that lay before Clarke, Oconee, and Madison counties as they plan road construction, and the heartbreaking story of a couple married over 30 years who separated to maintain health insurance. …

Profiles in Service: Action Ministries

July 02, 2014

It may surprise people to find that Action Ministries, nestled in a corner building on Lumpkin Street, is responsible for leading many people out of poverty. Solomon Smothers, the program bshinholseristrator at Action Ministries, says that they try to accomplish this through “hunger, housing, and education solutions.” In order to meet the clients’ needs, Action Ministries provides meals to the people of Athens 7 days a week, 364 days a year through a program called Our Daily Bread Community Kitchen. This program is one of the largest offered by Action Ministries. Solomon and the rest of the staff share these meals with the participants. In an interview, he explained why. “Something very special happens when you share a meal with someone. That special bond gets multiplied when you consistently share a meal with someone. We believe that one of our greatest gifts to this community (and one of the greatest gifts the community gives us) is to eat with people…with anyone…and form real, authentic bonds.” After speaking with Solomon, I became very aware of the passion he feels for the people he works with and his desire to improve their lives through Action Ministries. …

What We’re Reading: Tuesday, July 1st

July 01, 2014

This week on What We’re Reading: Dr. Jack Crowley has more on downtown development, ABH has reports on the primary runoff early voting and free meals being served this summer for kids, AJC’s Bill Torpy describes the embattled position of DFCS chief, and the Supreme Court rules on the Hobby Lobby and Unions cases. …

Spencer Frye Receives Clean Water Champion Award from Georgia Water Coalition

Last week, I was honored to be the recipient of a Clean Water Champion Award from the Georgia Water Coalition. The Georgia Water Coalition is a group of more than 200 organizations that works tirelessly across the state to ensure plentiful, clean water for us, our kids, and generations of Georgians to come after us. I want to thank the Coalition for their efforts and the people who took time away from their work and families to paddle the river for seven days to raise awareness about water issues. …

Profiles in Service: Casa de Amistad

June 23, 2014

Today, we are excited to bring back Profiles in Service. Throughout the summer, we’ll be connecting you with the organizations and individuals making a positive impact in the Athens community. This week our Summer Fellows visited Casa de Amistad, a local organization that works to address the needs of the Athens-Clarke County Hispanic and greater immigrant population. …

What We’re Reading: Monday, June 23rd

On this week’s edition of What We’re Reading: Pictures from Athfest, chain retailers and restaurants are increasingly finding a home downtown, Athens non-profits are pioneering Community Platform software, the Port of Savannah is booming, and President Obama hosts a summit on working families. Plus a World Cup bonus meant to look on the bright side of a gut-wrenching 2-2 draw with Portugal Sunday night. U.S. chances of moving to round two are still pretty good. …

Affordable Care Act Providing Affordable Market for Uninsured

June 20, 2014

This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report showing that Affordable Care Act Marketplaces are providing some of the cheapest premiums in the nation to Georgians. After tax credits, the average monthly premium paid by consumers on Georgia’s Marketplace is $54, second only to Mississippi’s $23 monthly premium. The report also showed that 79% of Georgians enrolled in Marketplace plans with tax credits are paying $100 or less for their health insurance. …

Spencer Appointed to Georgia Film Industry Study Committee

June 19, 2014

This week, House Speaker David Ralston announced assignments to the 10 House Study Committees scheduled to meet during the 2014 offseason. Study committees allow legislators to get together, typically on a bipartisan basis, to study issues related to pending legislation or challenges our state faces. This year, the House approved 11 study committees to study issues ranging from the Georgia alcoholic beverage code to Georgia-based film and post production. House Members will also serve on six joint study committees with members from the Senate and will be studying issues like property taxes and education funding, emergency relocation of abused adults, and sources for transportation funding. …

What We’re Reading: Monday, June 16th

June 16, 2014

On this week’s edition of What We’re Reading: Job Fairs in Augusta and Atlanta, a recap of this weekends celebration on the Hot Corner, standardized test scores, Atlanta’s rebound to sprawl, and the growing national influence in local political races. …

Port of Savannah Funding Signed by President Obama

June 11, 2014

On Tuesday, President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, a legislative package that included $12.3 billion in funding for 34 infrastructure projects to improve the nation’s ports and waterways. The package authorized $440 million for the dredging of the Port of Savannah, clearing the final funding hurdle on a project in the works since 1999. …

What We’re Reading: Monday, June 9th

June 08, 2014

This week on What We’re Reading, see the review of the winners from the Athens Clarke Heritage Foundation Preservation Awards, a report on the rise of Greenville, SC and what Athens can learn from our Upstate neighbors, a report on Cedar Shoals JROTC who marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, a report showing bike lanes increase bikers, and a rundown on President Obama’s proposed EPA rules he issued last week. …

Square One: Georgia’s Transportation and Infrastructure

June 06, 2014

Have you read the news recently and seen stories on the drying up Federal Highway Trust Funds or the confirmation that the Port of Savannah will be deepened in the next few years? Feel like you need some context to understand what all these stories are about (and why it could matter to you)? Check out the first in a series of explainers on Georgia’s transportation and infrastructure here. …