Thursday morning, Columbia County's Chamber of Commerce will score its third coup in the past year by bringing in another top-level state official as an event speaker.
A year ago, the chamber brought in Gov. Sonny Perdue as speaker for the 2007 Post-Legislative Breakfast. In the fall, the Chamber landed House Speaker Glenn Richardson.
On Thursday, the streak continues as the chamber brings Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for the 2008 Post-Legislative Breakfast.
Cagle likely will offer his take on what happened during the recent session - after all, that's the point of the breakfast - but it's a virtual guarantee that he'll also provide somewhat of a contrast to Richardson's speech.
Known for a sometimes harsh, confrontational style, Richardson launched into this year's session with ambitious plans for statewide tax reform that were ripped to shreds by virtually every city, county and school system official in the state.
As a result, Richardson's plan fizzled - as did any other tax reform. But the irritation over Richardson's effort still hasn't subsided. County Commission Chairman Ron Cross even used this month's "Endless Opportunities" newsletter, inserted in county water bills, to denounce the recent legislative session for "waste of taxpayer dollars and the total lack of efficiency and leadership," and alluded to lawmakers as "idiots."
When tax reform died and the session ended, Richardson blamed Cagle. Thursday morning, visitors at the chamber breakfast will get a great opportunity to hear what Cagle has to say about that - while keeping in mind that he and Richardson likely will be running against each other for governor in two years.
Along those lines, I doubt anyone will remind Cagle that when he ran for lieutenant governor in 2006, he lost Columbia County in the Republican Primary to Ralph Reed (53 percent to 47 percent). The county kissed and made up in November, giving Cagle 74 percent of the vote in the general election vs. Democrat Jim Martin.
Hear them roar
It seems the Columbia County Chamber isn't the only group getting attention for booking big-time speakers. The Greater Columbia County Republican Women is getting in on the act.
And there's a little buzz that it's overshadowing its parent organization - the county's Republican Party.
Compare these: The GCCRW recently held a reception at Jones Creek, with guest speaker Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. Her comments were timely, as the U.S. Supreme Court had only days earlier upheld voter identification laws.
Meanwhile, this Saturday, the party will hold its monthly breakfast where the speaker will be Laura Stone, chairman of the University of Georgia College Republicans.
Stone also is the current Miss Augusta, so at least she should be able to highlight how much politics has become a beauty pageant.
And the winner is...
Speaking of ladies (sort of), congratulations to Lady Antebellum, winners of the Academy of Country Music Awards' "top new duo or vocal group" award.
Two members of the trio - Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley - are class of 2000 graduates of Lakeside High School.
For The Fans Entertainment hit a home run in April when it landed Lady Antebellum for its Music Evolution Series of concerts at the amphitheater in Evans. Lakeside High School then snagged the group for a surprise concert at the school the next day.
Let's hope you enjoyed them when you had the chance. After this award, it might be a little tougher to get Lady Antebellum to play their hometown again any time soon.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.