Monday, March 8, 2010

Carl Camon on the Run

Valdosta Daily Times has a terrific article on Carl Camon.

Gubernatorial candidate Carl Camon’s speaking schedule reads like a Georgia map index, with one ironic twist.

The former mayor of Ray City has spoken to audiences in Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Waycross and dozens of other cities and towns, both urban and rural, across the state.

Churches, civic organizations, breakfast groups, political clubs and others have invited Camon to speak. He was recently on the front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has spoken on various radio shows throughout Georgia, and participated in the gubernatorial debate last month. He speaks to expected Democratic organizations but has also been invited to speak to GOP gatherings and even tea-party groups.

Yet, since announcing his Democratic candidacy for governor last June, Camon has spoken to only two Valdosta churches, and has one Valdosta speaking engagement scheduled later this month. But that’s it for his home region of South Georgia.

“I’ve had request after request to speak and meet with people out of town but there hasn’t been much response where I’m from,” Camon says in a phone interview with The Valdosta Daily Times Wednesday. “... A lot of times, people look all over the world for something when sometimes what they need is right in their backyards.”

Financial support for his campaign has come chiefly from other parts of the state, too. Augusta and Middle Georgia have been very responsive to Camon’s candidacy both in terms of wanting to hear what he has to say and in making campaign contributions.

His contributions have been smaller than some other candidates, but his donations have come primarily from individual donors.

“I’d rather have a lot of smaller donations from individuals than three or four larger donations,” Camon says, “because then I’m accountable to the people rather than to those big donors.”

He mentions being contacted by a person claiming to represent several organizations across the state. This representative guaranteed $1 million in donations immediately if Camon would switch his candidacy from governor to lieutenant governor. Camon did not take the offer. He made a commitment to run for Georgia’s top job, Camon says, and he will not be swayed from fulfilling that mission.

Though running as a Democrat, Camon has promised that, if elected, he will represent all Georgians rather than a particular political party. He reiterates this philosophy in speeches, conversations and in phone calls. This, he believes, is why he receives invitations from Georgia Republicans, libertarians, independents, and members of the Tea Party movement.

That and his grassroots approach to tackling issues facing the state.

He’s heard people discuss the economy. They worry about rising unemployment. They are upset with the state’s massive cuts, he says. “We’re selling out our teachers, selling out our students, and selling out ourselves by what’s happening with education.”

Camon is a proponent for giving educators the authority they need to run their classrooms. He would improve the quality of law-enforcement training, and would work to ensure that police “aren’t outgunned by criminals.” He supports the concept of high-speed rails improving transportation in Georgia.

Camon grew up in Ray City. He served in the Air Force. He is a Valdosta High School teacher. He served several years as mayor of the Berrien County town of Ray City. He and wife Angela are parents of four children, Carl, Aaron, Camille, and Candace.

He has said in past interviews that his small-town experience can help him be an effective governor. Still, Camon has known from the start, being from a small town meant few people know his name or who he is.

Camon knew he’d have to get his name out there. He acquired a mobile home to travel the state. He developed a Web site (

The name is out there now and, he says, it’s being linked to a positive message. A message he would also like to share with people a little closer to home.

Part of the reason behind his campaign has been to ensure that the people of South Georgia have as much voice as the more populated regions of the state. But the place where Camon wants to help most, the place where he lives, he says, has mostly ignored him.

Carl Camon needs to be ON the General Election Ballot for the Democrats. SOMEWHERE!

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