Kelvin Cochran as one of Ted Cruz’s religious liberty ‘victims’

Ousted fire chief Kelvin Cochran talks at a press conference after learning of his termination. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Ousted fire chief Kelvin Cochran talks at a press conference after learning of his termination. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, fired by the city after publishing a religious book in which he called homosexuality a “perversion,” has been busy on the conservative talk circuit for the past few months.

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blogHe spoke at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta, received an award at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s conference in Washington and on Friday appeared in Des Moines at a religious liberty rally for presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. From CNN:

A crowd of over 2,500 men, women and young children turned out for the three-plus hour event. Upon arrival at the venue, guests received Ted Cruz Pocket Constitutions, Cruz stickers, mini-American flags emblazoned with “Courageous Conservatives for Cruz,” bracelets reading “Marriage = 1 man + 1 woman,” and, for younger attendees, Ted Cruz coloring books.

Cards and pens were placed on the seat of every chair to sign up attendees to commit to caucus for Cruz, a vital step in campaign organizing here in Iowa.

Cochran is also featured in the below Cruz campaign video about people “persecuted” for their religious views.

(A City of Atlanta investigation found that Cochran did not receive the proper permission to publish the book and gave it to firefighters who did not ask for it, though his religious views did not affect disciplinary actions.)

Cochran does not appear to have offered Cruz an official endorsement, but he’s clearly become a hot commodity among the religious conservative voters the Texas senator is seeking.

In related news, Cruz is hosting a conference call today with pastors across the country about his strategy for defunding Planned Parenthood when Congress returns next month.

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It looks like state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, is going to be a primary face of the Hillary Clinton campaign in Georgia.

Abrams was brought in for a media conference call Monday about Clinton’s higher education plan and its impact on Georgia. Asked about Clinton’s attention to the state, Abrams pointed to Clinton’s Atlanta visit planned for next month:

“We’ve been in very close contact with the campaign, understanding the proposals that are out there, have been engaged in pushing the information out. … We’ve been very active in the quiet phase, recognizing that while Georgia is having the SEC Primary next year, the most important thing right now is to make sure everyone understands” the policies.

Our AJC colleague Janel Davis has more here on Clinton’s plan:

The plan, estimated to cost $350 billion over 10 years, comes as college tuition has continued to increase and student loan debt has hit more than $1.2 trillion nationally. The proposal would provide grants for states and colleges pledging to create no-loan tuition plans for students, including a new fund for small private colleges, including historically black institutions serving many low-income students. It would push states to invest more money in public higher education and penalize colleges for not graduating enough students on time.

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The Anti-Defamation League has joined in the debate over whether OK Cafe should house a carving of the 1956 Georgia flag – complete with the Rebel emblem – when it reopens.

Restaurant owner Susan DeRose said those calling her to shelve the carving “sound like a Nazi” trying to restrict her free speech rights.

From the ADL’s statement:

“It has become too common to use comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack people with opposing views, whether the issue is global warming, immigration or health care. The six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of Hitler deserve better.  Their deaths should not be used for political points or sloganeering.”

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At Monday’s press conference announcing Mercedes-Benz bought naming rights to the new taxpayer-financed Falcons stadium, Gov. Nathan Deal was asked what he thought of the fact that the word “Georgia” or “Atlanta” would not be in the stadium.

Here’s what he said:

“Don’t lose sight of the fact that this is all part of the Georgia World Congress Center complex. I think there will be certainly adequate reason for them to know that this is in the capital city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia. If they don’t know that, we’ll give them a map.”

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U.S. Rep. John Lewis is working to enlist his House Democratic colleagues in support of President Barack Obama and the Iran nuclear deal. Though Republican majorities are certain to vote down the agreement next month, Democrats are working to hold enough votes together to sustain a presidential veto.

From Lewis’ “Dear Colleague” letter, via Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

“As elected representatives, we are sometimes faced with a vote of conscience – a personal moral decision that rises above politics and partisanship. In a few short weeks, Members will need to report the results from their executive sessions with themselves and their constituents on the question of Iran.”

Lewis enclosed an op-ed in support of the deal by Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to Republican Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.

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A Georgian was elected leader of the Young Democrats of America.

Louis Elrod won the title – and kudos from Democratic Party of Georgia chair DuBose Porter.

Said Porter:

“Louis’ victory brings not only strong leadership to YDA, but representation for Georgia at the national level. Georgia Democrats wish Louis the best of luck in building the next generation of Democratic leaders.”

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FetchYourNews has your Wacky Constituent Question of the Day from a U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, town hall event in Fannin County:

On his ideal opponent in an Mixed Martial Arts fight against Obama [Collins replied] “Ha ha. I have no idea..I don’t think he’d ever show up [to the fight].”


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