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Civil rights pioneer Lewis to speak at rally for North Georgia Democrats
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U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, will be the keynote speaker for a North Georgia Democratic rally at the Georgia Mountains Center on Sunday.

Lewis, a pioneer in the civil rights movement, is the longest-serving member of the Georgia congressional delegation. He served with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was seriously injured on "Bloody Sunday" at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965.

"We’re really pleased to have a national figure like John Lewis come to the rally, and it is generating additional excitement," said Abb Hayes, chairman of the Hall County Democratic Party.

Others scheduled to speak include U.S. Senate candidate Jim Martin and Public Service Commission candidate Jim Powell.

The event is open to the public and will begin at 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, Hall County Republicans have applied for a permit to have a rally of their own just outside the mountains center at Roosevelt Square.

Gainesville police Chief Frank Hooper said the party applied Wednesday for a special event permit at the square. Hooper said the city considers the square an extension of the Georgia Mountains Center and requires private groups to pay a rental fee.

He said applications for special events are normally filed 10 days in advance. Hooper stressed that the city did not deny a permit; however, the party must first make arrangements for the site through the Georgia Mountains Center.

Carol Moore, who manages the center, said she has not heard from representatives of the Republican Party. Both Moore and Hooper said messages were left for Hall County GOP Chairman Paul Stanley, who filed the original application. As of late Thursday afternoon, Stanley had not returned the city’s calls, nor did he return calls from The Times seeking comment.

In other political news, the McCain-Palin campaign has announced its Georgia leadership.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal have been named honorary vice chairmen of the Georgia effort. Mike Evans, husband of State Transportation Commissioner Gena Evans, has been named 9th District chairman.

Tack Cornelius and Kris Yardley will be co-chairmen for Hall County. Other area county chairmen are Clint Smith, Dawson; Lori Jones, Habersham; Gary Black, Jackson; Alfred Chang, Lumpkin; Josh Kinsey, White.