Mark Butler, Georgia Labor Commissioner
Mark Butler

Carroll County Part 3: Mark Butler, and the Beat Goes On

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You might think that things would improve in Carroll County over time, but depressingly it seems like corruption and coercion never changes (see Part 1 and Part 2 of this series). A local real estate agent who became the district’s Republican Representative to the Georgia Legislature, Mark Butler, saw fit to carry on a two year affair with a  state-paid lobbyist.

Mark Butler, Georgia Labor Commissioner
Mark Butler

for, you guessed it, West Georgia College of Carrollton, Georgia, stomping grounds of “Professor” Newt Gingrich and the Richards College of Business.

Richards College of Business
Architectural Rendering of the new building to house the Richards College of Business

West Georgia’s College of Business was built, of course, with the ill-gotten wealth of- you guessed it – local industrialist, Roy Richards.

Richards School of Business students
Richards School of Business. At least someone is having a good time around here.

When the college had the effrontery to eliminate the position of the state-paid lobbyist, Butler called an official at the university to inform him that he had “pissed off a whole political party” (to Butler’s credit, he was not married at the time).

Rather than being reprimanded for his misconduct, the Republican Party of Georgia did the logical thing by promoting him up and out of his position as Representative, to become… ta da! Candidate for Georgia Labor Commissioner. After all, the Republicans aren’t really interested in promoting the interests of labor, so why not have someone incompetent doing the job? It seems the job suited him well, since Butler doesn’t seem like a very ambitious guy, anyway.

Along the way, Butler was accused of obstructing worker’s rights, and constructing barriers to Georgia citizens rights to collect unemployment insurance.

Here Butler is tried by a People’s Court for hostility to workers and obstructions related to obtaining unemployment insurance, which we all pay into and is everyone’s right:

More recently he refused to act when workers in North Georgia were illegally locked out of the Bull Moose Pipe Company plant and denied healthcare and other benefits:

Workers locked out of Bull Moose Pipe plant talking to candidate for Georgia Labor Commissioner Richard Keatley
Workers locked out of Bull Moose Pipe plant talking to candidate for Georgia Labor Commissioner Richard Keatley

Over the past eight years as Georgia Labor Commissioner, Mark Butler hasn’t seemed very interested in the job. He mostly makes comments like applauding a state trooper for arresting a little old lady for driving too slow. He also has a pentient for making false promises that the Georgia pro-business climate would sweep everyone up and lift Georgia from its bottom-of-the-barrel status in terms of unemployment. Lately those figures have gotten a little better, although you wouldn’t know it talking to people from South Georgia. Butler mostly posts wrong statistics (which to give him credit, doesn’t seem to be his forte), like that Georgia is #7 is jobs. Truth is, they are #42 in jobs, and most of the new ones have been created in Atlanta. They are also close to last in figures that represent true economic status, like number of months late on credit card payments, or access to childcare. In a particularly egregious move, Butler blocked Savannah school bus drivers from collecting unemployment during the summer months, when- duh- little kids don’t need to drive them to school. Who wants to employ a bus driver for two months, anyway? Does this guy hate kids? Fortunately, the bus drivers were able to take action and overturn this unfair action.

Savannah bus drivers demand their unemployment insurance rights.
Savannah bus drivers , locked out by Mark Butler, demand their unemployment insurance rights.

More recently, Butler had the distinction of giving a speech at Burt’s Pumpkin Patch where they had a citizen journalist who had the audacity to film the speech arrested and charged with felony trespassing.

Do we need written permission to attend events featuring our elected officials now? The sheriff deputies handled her so roughly she later said she felt like she was being “raped with my clothes on.” Fortunately for her she was able to sue and recover $200,00 in damages from the county.

Butler is running for re-election in November 2018 as Georgia Labor Commissioner against Democrat Richard Keatley.