The Democratic field to replace outgoing State Rep. DuBose Porter for the Dist. 143 seat continued to grow Friday, when longtime Laurens County resident Claudia Graham announced her bid for the post.
Graham, who has spent the last six years working as a political consultant and legislative aide for more than two dozen Democrats, including Senate Dean George Hooks, J.B. Powell, Gail Buckner, Curt Thompson, Freddie Powell-Simms and Billy Mitchell, said she felt like she could take her energies and put them toward helping her neighbors in Laurens and Johnson counties.
“I want to make the whole cycle work,” Graham said. “It all has to work together. We have to maintain the businesses we have, which will create a larger tax base. That will provide more money for education, and the better education you have the better draw you become for more business.
Graham joins fellow Democrat Mitch Warnock and Republican contender Matt Hatchett in a field that is expected to grow in the coming weeks and months, as each tries to replace Porter; a 27-year veteran of the House of Representatives who announced a gubernatorial bid in April.
Graham’s lineage in Laurens County stretches across three centuries, going back as far as the 1860s.
Educated in Laurens County public schools, Claudia grew up with her five brothers – Jim, Tim, Jeff, Ted and Dan. Jim, Tim and Jeff work for the family-owned Graham Brothers Construction Company of East Dublin, and Dan works for the Graham Restaurant Division. Ted is self-employed and lives in west Georgia. Claudia’s father, Claude, still goes to work every day at the youthful age of 79.
Graham is vowing to prioritize education, healthcare, agriculture, economic development and public safety. Graham said she plans to give people of the 143rd “more sugar for their nickel,” pledging to be a full-time representative. “It’s going to take a full-time representative to tackle some of the state’s toughest issues.”
According to Graham, “my experience at the Capitol has taught me that our most pressing issues are intertwined. Solving them requires innovative solutions and a proactive approach, so stay tuned.”