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Sen. Charlie Bethel
Sen. Charles Jones Bethel (R-Dalton)
District 54 (Whitfield, Murray, Gordon & Pickens counties)
Bethel was one of about a dozen freshmen whose votes were sought in late 2010 by Senate leaders who took control of that chamber from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle; the freshmen’s votes may have been decisive. Bethel was an early supporter of Cagle’s bid for governor, but switched to Nathan Deal in 2009 after Cagle backed out of the race.
- Served 2006-10 as a member of the Dalton City Council.
- Elected to an open seat in the Senate in 2010 after winning the Republican primary with 58 percent of the vote.
- Re-elected in 2012 without opposition.
- Government Oversight (2013 – present)
- Insurance and Labor (2011 – present)
- Judiciary (2011 – present)
- Judiciary Non-Civil (2013 – present)
- Reapportionment and Redistricting (2011 – present; chairman, Oct. 2011 – 2012)
- Retirement (2011 – 2012)
- Special Judiciary (2011 – 2012)
- Director of corporate affairs at commercial carpet manufacturer J&J Industries Inc.
- Formerly director of human resources at J&J.
Business ownership interests
- Shareholder, J&J Industries.
- Partner, South Creek Properties LLP (real estate; owns 10 acres valued at $2.14 million at 622 S. Thornton Ave., Dalton)
- Partner, Bethel Holding Co. (family farming; owns 1,175 acres valued at $2.97 million in Whitfield County)
- DBSIF-31 Properties LLC, a company created in September 2011 and dissolved in July 2012
- None disclosed
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence in Dalton valued at $249,000
- Bank of America Corp.
- Coca-Cola Corp.
- Dominion Resources Inc.
- Exxon Mobil Corp.
- General Electric Co.
- Georgia Municipal Electric Authority revenue bond
- IBM Corp.
- Intel Corp.
- Johnson & Johnson
- Proctor & Gamble Co.
- numerous investment funds
Business transactions with state government
- None disclosed
Friends & family
- Bethel’s father, James, is retired CEO of J&J Industries, and his grandfather, Tom Jones, was co-founder of the company. Jones served on the Dalton Board of Education for 28 years.
- James R. Jolly, J&J’s former chairman and CEO, served 2003-11 on the State Board of Regents following his appointment by Gov. Sonny Perdue. J&J, which won Georgia Trend magazine’s Family Business Award in 2009, provided carpets for Nathan Deal’s 2011 inauguration as governor.
Donors have given Bethel’s campaign more than $149,000 since 2010. The breakdown by election cycle:
- 2010: $57,553
- 2011-12: $63,425
- 2013: $28,400
- Reported cash on hand (Jan. 2014): $110,351
- $8,000 Georgia Senate leadership (Sens. Tommie Williams, Chip Rogers, Bill Cowsert) *
- $4,000 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
- $3,000 BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia
- $2,750 Georgia Apartment Association
- $2,592 Brown Industries, Dalton, Ga., and chairwoman Mary “Sis” Brown
- $2,500 John Deere Co.
- $2,500 The Doctors Co. (DOCPAC), malpractice insurance
- $2,400 Philip Morris USA/Altria
- $2,250 Georgia Pharmacy Association
- $2,100 Georgia Dental Association
* Members of the Senate leadership gave nearly $45,000 to incoming freshmen in late 2010 as they were lining up the votes needed to wrest control of the Senate from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
Candidates may use campaign funds to make political donations, allowing prolific fund-raisers to share contributions with other legislators or candidates. Some advocacy groups believe such transfers should be limited to an aggregate of $10,000 per election cycle. The candidate’s committee made these political donations:
- 2011-12: $7,300
- 2013: $3,000
Lobbyists have reported paying for meals and other gifts for Bethel valued at more than $2,900 since 2010. The big spender: The Georgia Association of Manufacturers ($480). BFF lobbyist: George Bowen ($480).
- 2010: $94
- 2011: $1,648
- 2012: $886
- 2013: $480
- 2014: $10
Committee days & travel expenses
When the Legislature is out of session, members may collect $173 per diem, plus mileage, for committee meetings or other official business. (Per diem was $127 prior to 2007.) Lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, which were originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging. Here’s the annual breakdown, based on the year in which the expenses were paid:
- 2011: $2,139 (9 days)
- 2012: $0
- 2013: $173 (1 day)
Posted Dec. 26, 2011; updated March 7, 2014