Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday's 5 Races to Watch for 2012

With Qualifying now over with, let's take a look at the 5 races to watch:

(1) Quentin Howell (D-Hardwick) vs Rusty Kidd (I) Milledgeville HD 145

This will be a rematch of the 2010 contest in which Kidd bested then newcomer Howell to retain his seat. Since then Howell has been continuing to work in the Baldwin County Community & raising his profile even more with voters. Howell, a conservative democrat is poised to pickup this seat from Kidd, who has questins of his residency questioned before the maps were redrawn.

(2) Mike Cheokas (R-Americus) vs Kevin Brown (D-Buena Vista) HD 139

This seat is being targeted by democrats as a pickup opportunity as Kevin Brown, County Commissioner for Marion County will challenge Mike Cheokas who switched parties in 2010. Brown, a centrist democrat is leaving his seat to challenge Cheokas in a district that now has Chattahoochee County after redistricting. The seat is a lean democratic district with conservative Schley County in the mix. It would not shock me if Brown ends up winning this seat from Cheokas

(3)  Amy Carter (R-Valdosta) vs J.C. Cunningham (D-Valdosta)

Another switcher Amy Carter will be running as a republican against newcomer JC Cunningham, a disabled Veteran. Carter who was appointed as floor leader to Nathan Deal will not in a district which now will include democratic Brooks Co, republican leaning Thomas County & western Lowndes Co0. Cunningham, another moderate democrat is trying to unseat Carter who will no doubt have the support of the GOP, as well as Nathan Deal. This race is favored for Carter, but if Cunningham can make the case that her support of policies such as the Immigration Law, Charter School Amendment & further cuts to education & the restrictions on the Hope Scholarship, Id give him a solid chance of unseating her. Stay tuned!

(4) Jay Powell (R-Camilla) vs Jewell Howard (D-Baconton)

HD 171 is one of those seat that makes you wonder, why democrats can't pickup that seat? Jewell Howard hopes to be the one to pickup that seat from Powell. HD 171 includes Northern Decatur County, Mitchell & Western Colquitt Co

(5) State Senate GOP winner vs Gene Mitchell (D-Fitzgerald

This seat became vacate by the retirement of Greg Goggins. Tyler Harper, Mark Hatfield & Rodney Vickers will take on 26 yr old Army Veteran Gene Mitchell. Im curious to see what Mitchell is all about. The district stretches from Ben Hill County all the way down to Ware County.

I will feature more races to watch Monday

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chris Steverson to run for Telfair County Sheriff

Down in Telfair County, Conservative Democrat Chris Steverson (D) will challenge Incumbent Johnny Smith for the right to become the next sheriff of Telfair County.

Steverson, 43 was born, raised, and schooled in Telfair County. He spent his childhood working on the family farm, and was taught early in life the importance of hard work, keeping your promises, and helping others.  He is a member of the Telfair County Pioneer Historical Society / Telfair Arts Association and the Telfair county Chamber of Commerce.

He was previously employed with Blackwater Worldwide, also was Detective Sergeant for the Douglas Police Department, Dyncorp International as a international Polics Advisor & Georgia Secretary of State Office-Investigations. He is a 1990 graduate of ABAC.

Steverson would bring a wealth of experience, to the office of sheriff for Telfair County. Voters should give this candidate a serious look when they go to the polls in July in addition to his international experience working for companies such as Dyncorp International.

 Check out his Facebook Page here:!/SteversonforSheriff

Monday, May 14, 2012

Farmers, Politics and Change: The Beginning of the End of Rural America?

I hope not!

While the plight of urban decay has been widely publicized,  we are confronting similar issues facing us: lack of well-paying jobs, rural brain drain, food deserts, poverty, and lack of access to quality health care have either been ignored or largely misunderstood by policy-makers and the press. Today, more rural Citizens are on food stamps and face bleaker economic prospects than their urban counterparts, despite the romantic image of small-town life often portrayed in the media.

For the past 50 years, rural America has seen its best, brightest, and most mobile flee the countryside in search of jobs as federal farm, economic, and trade policies have slowly bled family farmers off the land. Here's something I found.....Since 1960, when John F. Kennedy was elected, America has lost over 1.7 million family farms — the backbone of rural economies — with farmers in the U.S. today now outnumbered by prisoners which is ridiculous

Despite increases in farm productivity and improved planting and harvesting equipment, more insidious economic factors, like increased industry consolidation, poorly designed subsidy programs, and overspecialization in industrial livestock production, with poor contract protections, have hollowed out the countryside. Instead of prosperity, industrial agriculture has created vast profits for corporations at the top of the food chain, but left a growing number of rural America’s Main Streets to resemble ghost towns, and its residents poorly prepared to meet the nation’s important challenges of the 21st century.

While, despite a growing national awareness of food and agriculture issues, many people in urban areas have never met a farmer or someone who produced the food that appears on their plate each day, most Main Street businesses in rural America realize that their livelihood and very survival are tied to the economic well-being of the local farm economy.

And if you want to save rural America, you have to save the family farmer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rebuilding the Democratic Party in Georgia

Some of the things I'm about to mention here you may already know or heard about.....

 For the Democrats to regain the majority and make it stick, they will have to build a strong organizational foundation everywhere, even in those places where Democrats don't have an immediate chance. Democrats may not win many red-counties/or districts this year, but I believes that they will be better off in the long run if they start shoring up the party in Republican strongholds now.

What is missing from the current debate is a clearer appreciation for how the Democrats got to where they are today, and how the current leaders might learn from the record of the past.

Democrats have given party building short shrift. Democrats who run for higher office in this state(statewide) tended to use the formal party apparatus as an instrument for raising money but looked to other vehicles for building political support. They relied on organized labor to get out the vote; on urban machines and on the strength of incumbents to win their own re-elections.

While this was a winning formula, it could not last forever. By failing to create durable organizational capacities in their party, Democrats were often forced to cobble together new political networks with each campaign season. Republicans and party chairmen, on the other hand, were driven by their perpetual minority status back in the 1980s & 90s to strengthen their organization as a means of expanding their party.

To establish a new majority, Democrats need to  aggressively build up their organizational presence in weak Democratic areas, especially in rural South & Central Georgia. Operate schools to train activists and campaign managers & developing new methods of recruiting candidates and enrolling party workers and volunteers, create teams of "field men" to travel from campaign to campaign to lend their expertise where needed, built new small-donor fund-raising networks and begin to send money where it needs to go. Something democrats have done is invest in technology and voter database management. But what's more, these practices were disseminated down to the local level.

Other examples like give local leaders the resources they need to develop a campaign-support system that would entice attractive candidates to run for office with the (D) next to their name. Also show Political neophytes, like business and religious leaders suppor0..tell them that we will support you -- if only you would take a chance on running.

By developing an organizational structure now,  Democrats will have something sturdy to rely on if, and when, they win back the governor's mansion.
This is a Rural Blog that provides views & insights from a Conservative Georgia Democrat

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