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New lawmaker settled 2013 arrest last month

State Rep. Matt Gurtler last month was sworn in as a new lawmaker and days later settled a four-year-old criminal court case against him in Lumpkin County. 

Gurtler was arrested in 2013 and charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer. A

Republican from the north Georgia town of Tiger, Gurtler was elected to House District 8 in November. 

Four days after the Jan. 9 start of the legislative session, a Lumpkin County assistant district attorney filed paperwork in Superior Court agreeing not to prosecute Gurtler after he completed a pre-trial diversionary program and paid a $250 fine stemming from the 2013 arrest. 

"This incident occurred four years ago,” Gurtler said Wednesday. “After requesting a jury trial to clear my name, the district attorney dismissed the charge."

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University of North Georgia police arrested Gurtler on July 7, 2013 off Boyd Circle in Dahlonega. 

According to a police report, officers were arresting Gurtler’s friend for driving under the influence when Gurtler repeatedly ignored orders to stay in the car. 

Gurtler “did not comply and continued to move toward us in an aggressive manner,” Officer Diane Kimmel wrote in her report. 

He was then arrested. 

When a university official asked for copies of Gurtler’s police report a week later, Capt. James Wright wrote: “On a side note, Mr. Gurtler was hostile during the incident. He advised Diane that he worked for a state representative and would sue her and have her job.”

Gurtler at the time was an aide to Rep. Stephen Allison, R-Blairsville. Allison retired at the end of last year and Gurtler was elected to his seat. 

In just over a month in office Gurtler has already made a name for himself in the House. He has been the lone “no” vote against the governor’s budget proposal and Speaker David Ralston’s top legislative priority. 

In a statement after the budget vote, Gurtler said, “Growing the size of government and harming the free market goes against the values and principles I believe in and was one of the reasons I was elected. While I agree that there are times for compromise, I believe someone had to take a stand. That is why I voted NO.”

Gurtler also made news this week when he got into a spat with Chris Riley, Gov. Nathan Deal’s chief of staff. 

Gurtler accused Riley of threatening him for voting against the budget while Riley said Gurtler can’t complain about state spending and still expect state money to flow to his district. Riley denied that he threatened Gurtler. 

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