Monday, October 22, 2012

Q&A With House District 33 Candidate David Vogel (D-Hull)

1. Short Bio about yourself.

I am a retired biophysicist who split his work teaching and doing research at medical schools into two parts because I got interested in what goes wrong with math eduction in the public schools and spent 15 years teaching for less money and prestige to see what I could do about it before returning to research.

2 Why are you a Democrat;( Progressive, Moderate or Conservative?)

Some people think life is hard and we need to work together to make the best of it. Others think life is hard and they'd better be ready to scrap for everything they can get for themselves. I'm in the first group

3 Why are you running for the Georgia State House?

I understand that the rate at which wealth is being transferred from the middle class and the modestly rich to the extremely rich is increasing exponentially. (It's all over for the poorest 10% who owned 3% of the national wealth in 1900.) We are not far from a day when almost every American spends his or her entire adult life in debt to a financial aristocracy. We don't notice this happening already because we focus on our debt instead of their wealth, but when a new college graduate starts his life $50,000 in debt, that debt is someone else's wealth. Every time someone refinances a house, extending the payout time, that's wealth headed for the top. Companies such as Two Harbors Investment Corp. are turning all those subprime loans into gold by turning homes into rental properties. One place to start is with tax policies more like those of the 1950's. Republican tax policies from the 1950's would be a good start because in those days we all understood the consequences of letting all the country's wealth float to the top.

4 What’s the most pressing issue facing the state. Your House District?

Jobs and jobs.

5 What is something you think the current Legislature has done well?

It has created special courts for drug offenders and the mental ill that should lead to more treatment and less incarceration.

6 What is something you think the current Legislature hasn’t done well?

The effort to create a State board that could authorize charter schools that have been denied charters by local school boards.

7 What is the number one issue you would address as a State Rep?

Because no one in this state has paid any attention to Citizens United, I will attempt to get the Georgia legislature to join the seven other state legislatures that have passed resolutions calling on Congress to start the legal process of amending the U.S. Constitution to allow citizens, through their legislators, to control the role of money in politics.

8 Hailing from rural Georgia. In your opinion what must the Democratic Party of Georgia must do to win the hearts & minds of Rural Georgians who have drfited to the GOP over the last decade?

My chief interest in restarting the Democratic Party in my part of Georgia, where it has been legally dead, has been to put together a program to educate rural Georgians - first about tax policy and their own financial interests because that underlies a lot of other issues. I think that can only be done by getting volunteers to talk directly to voter's, canvassing door-to-door. I have developed a script that seems to be effective at doing just that.

9 Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day.  What makes you a better choice than your opponent?
My opponent thinks the sales tax is the best tax because it treats everyone the same. He also thinks it's ethical to take campaign contributions from Waste Management Inc. while his constituents are fighting against the construction of an incinerator in their county.

10 Comment (anything you would like to add)

I have a life long record of socially responsible work. I've started several large programs for both children and the elderly. I've raised money for organizations such as the National Center for Science Education. I once studied the ballot access laws of all 50 states before organizing a team lawyers who won 29 out of 29 suits aimed at overturning excessively restrictive parts of those laws. 

GA State Senate 17 Debate Conservative Democrat Dr. Nelva Lee. Republican Rick Jeffares was a No-Show

Q&A With House District 1 Candidate Tom McMahan (D-Rising Fawn)

1 Short Bio about yourself

I’m 45, a Navy veteran of the Persian Gulf War, currently a teacher who holds a Masters Degree in History from Old Dominion University. I grew up and currently live in Dade County, one of the two counties covered by House District 1 (Walker County is the other). I attend Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Lookout Mountain, TN. I’ve taught alternative high school social studies for 13 years in nearby Catoosa County, GA.

2 Why are you a Democrat;( Progressive, Moderate or Conservative?)

I’m a moderate on economic issues, tend to be libertarian on social issues. I’m a Democrat because, as an educator, the Democratic Party is far more favorable to public education than is the Republican Party. In fact, the Democratic Party takes the basic functions of government far more seriously than the current Republican Party does, which seems to frequently hold public service and public life in contempt.

3 Why are you running for the Georgia State House?

I’m not running for state senate, I’m running for state house (district 1). I’m running for it because I’m concerned about the state of public education in this state, the fact that 2/3 of our school systems are on reduced calendar years, a fact that all Georgians should be embarrassed by, and the general decline of our state’s infrastructure and the level of corruption shown by the current majority in Atlanta.

4 What’s the most pressing issue facing the state. Your House District?

Our state’s schools. Public education is the largest expenditure of our state, but it is being allowed to decline year by year for a decade now, with no real signs of reversing that trend. Plus, amendment 1 on this year’s ballot is a direct threat to public education in that it falsely pushes the lure of “choice” while hiding that the intent of the amendment is to turn more and more schools over to for-profit management companies while leaving the traditional schools on marginalized budgets for years to come.

An issue more specific to our district is the lack of representation our district has had for 8 years, as our outgoing representative and the leaders of his own party had their relationship deteriorate to the point where we seldom received any representation at all.

5 What is something you think the current Legislature has done well?

The recent penal sentencing reform.

6 What is something you think the current Legislature hasn’t done well?

Failure to address infrastructure needs comprehensively, as well as passing the charter school amendment and short-changing Georgia’s students.

7 What is the number one issue you would address as a State Rep?

As stated, I want to address the shortfall in revenues that will allow Georgia’s school systems to once again operate on a full 180-day year. I also think changing the HOPE scholarship to a needs-based approach that would allow qualifying students from families making less than $120K/yr to once again receive the full scholarship, which would stem the loss of college students our state is currently seeing.

8 Hailing from rural Georgia. In your opinion what must the Democratic Party of Georgia must do to win the hearts & minds of Rural Georgians who have drfited to the GOP over the last decade?

I don’t think we have to consciously “win the hearts and minds,” I think we just have to know our areas, know our constituents, and frame our concerns as the Democratic Party in ways that rural Georgians understand and agree with. This isn’t impossible, it simply requires us to keep our focus on bread-and-butter issues and not play the Republican Party’s game of getting involved in social issues which the state can do little about in the first place.

9 Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponent?

My opponent is a good man, but I believe I will be a more active representative than he would be, I feel that I have more experience with the folks in my district, and my education experience is something sorely lacking among Georgia legislators.

Q&A With House District 175 Candidate J.C. Cunningham (D-Valdosta)

1.Short Bio about yourself 

JC Cunningham was born on July 27, 1959 and is the son of Retired Command Sergeant Major Logan L. Cunningham and Patricia E. Cunningham and was born in Detroit Michigan. I have always considers Eatontown, New Jersey my hometown because my father seemed to always get stationed back there after serving overseas assignments. For the past 21 years we have made Valdosta Ga. our home. I am married to Barbara Jean Stokes Cunningham, and they have four children and three grandchildren. I am a Disabled Veteran and a cancer survivor.

2. Why are you a Democrat;( Progressive, Moderate or Conservative?)

 I am a Moderate Democrat.

3. Why are you running for the Georgia State House?
I’m running to represent District 175 in South Georgia, but I’m concerned about all of Georgia’s citizens. I worry because Georgia is not getting the representation she deserves. Backroom deals,  outof-state special interest groups, and turncoat politicians have become the norm. Our Legislators pass bills that allow massive tax credits to wealthy corporations with one hand while they cut funding for our public schools with the other. Unemployment is up, the HOPE Scholarship no longer helps the very people it was meant to help. I believe the time has come for the people of South Georgia to have someone in Atlanta who will insist that the people of South Georgia start getting their fair share of that hundreds of millions of dollars so that we can create more jobs, improve our infrastructure, develop businesses and bring a public transportation system to this region that sorely needs it so that hard working folks can get to work each day. I am running because I don’t owe any favors to anyone in Atlanta, so I have no problem standing up to big business and fighting the partisanship in Atlanta that is crippling our small communities throughout South Georgia.

4. What’s the most pressing issue facing the state. Your House District?
Economic Recovery...Currently the unemployment rate in Georgia is 9.3%, while the national unemployment rate is 7.8%. Those figures are much higher in rural and heavily populated minority communities. Brooks County has the highest percentage (%) of jobs lost in Georgia over the past 20 years and during that time have lost four (4) major industries. The economic revitalization of Brooks County must be a priority. More jobs in Brooks County means more jobs for Lowndes and Thomas County. When elected I want to ensure that Brooks, Lowndes and Thomas Counties are in consideration for any industry that are looking to relocate their businesses to Georgia. It must be the legislature’s responsibility to spread the wealth. I will work hard to get appointed to the Economic and Development Committee to ensure that this region of South Georgia is getting its fair share of all new business. I believe that the true backbone of South Georgia is our Farmers and they have been punished severely for the mistakes of lax immigration enforcement over the past 50 years. I am opposed to HB 87 (illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011) because it has severely hurt the small farmer and in some cases have forced them into bankruptcy. Legislation must be written to reform the visa programs to help migrant workers as well as the farmers and ensure that future immigration is regulated and controlled rather than illegal and chaotic.

5.What is something you think the current Legislature has done well? 
I really don’t have an answer for that. I believe the legislature has failed the citizens of Georgia

6.What is something you think the current Legislature hasn’t done well?
They have not gone to work each day for the sole purpose of making life better for Georgians.
Partisanship in Atlanta is destroying our state. Partisan politics is responsible for putting T-SPLOST and the Charter School Amendment on the ballot and dividing this state.

7.What is the number one issue you would address as a State Senator?
Education. K-12 must be budgeted properly. The Governor keeps bragging about Georgia having
the lowest fuel tax in the nation, but we can’t properly fund our public schools. HOPE must go back to an income cap immediately.

8. Hailing from rural Georgia. In your opinion what must the Democratic Party of Georgia must do to win the hearts & minds of Rural Georgians who have drfited to the GOP over the last decade?
First and foremost we need new leadership! Leadership that can see past I - 20. The party has turned it’s back on Rural Georgians while the Republican party seized on that as an opportunity and embraced them. There is practically no presence of a Democratic party in South Georgia and the party has once again failed to support any candidates south of Macon. I would have thought they would have ;earned a lesson from 2010 when so many turncoats jumped ship. This may continue to be a trend if the party and the caucuses don’t wake up. We cannot turn Georgia Blue if you don’t spend time or money in Rural Georgia. Their excuse is there’s only money for candidates in major races, well there are races in 177, 175 that are major. They are both polling about 50 - 50, but the Republicans are out spending us thousands of dollars, and not to mention the Governor, Lt. Governor and Atty. General have come here to campaign for their candidates. The Democratic party has never even so much as called to say hello. Until we as a party begin to go out and promote our platform and our candidates we will continue to see a decline.

9. Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponent?
Because they can trust me! My opponent, Amy Carter has already proven that she cannot be trusted when she jumped to the Republican party two weeks after running unopposed as a Democrat. Shortly after making her announcement, she was selected as one of the Gov. Deal’s Floor Leaders. She has shown no loyalty to the citizens of South Georgia and has supported and voted on legislation that did not reflect the wishes of those she was elected to serve. South Georgia deserves someone who is bold enough to say no thanks, because this is not good for or is not in the best interest of the people of Lowndes, Brooks and Thomas Counties. Properly budgeting of our Public Schools and Economic recovery must be front and center during the next General Assembly. I will not make any apologies for speaking out and standing up to the partisanship that is crippling our State. Rural, Poor and Middle Class Georgians all pay taxes that support this state, but they are heard from the least. I will bring your voices with me when I go to Atlanta. I will insure that each person in district 175 is aware of pending legislation before it goes to a vote. I will not bow to the elitist attitudes of special interest groups will work to inspire other Legislatures to remember why they ran for office in the first place. I won’t sell out your vote!

10. Comment (anything you would like to add)
I’m running to represent District 175, because South Georgia is not getting the representation she deserves. Unemployment is up, the state ranks last in job growth, women are treated like cattle, teachers are being furloughed, and farmers our being put out of business. Our primary focus should be the future of Georgia’s public schools. The state’s budget for k -12 has steadily decreased while the number of children entering public schools have increased. Since 2008 over 4,423 teachers have been laid off.

My opponent, Amy Carter voted for HB 1162, the Charter School Amendment, despite the fact that Georgia’s Public Schools have already been hit with $5.6 billion in austerity cuts over the last 9 years. I am opposed to this amendment because it is designed to overturn a Georgia Supreme Court Decision
which ruled “ ....that the power to create charter schools belongs to local school boards, not the state. I also oppose this amendment because I believe that taxpayers dollars should never fund private for-profit charter schools or independent schools. I am also concerned for “the forgotten average working family” to quote Governor, Zell Miller as it concerns the HOPE scholarship. HOPE, is no longer serving the people it was meant to serve, and reports indicate that incoming freshman from South Ga. receive less HOPE than those from more affluent counties in North Ga.

South Georgia has been getting table scraps from Atlanta for years and we have not received our fair share of the economic pie. Governor Deal has just announced Georgia creates records jobs and investments for 2012. While I am grateful for any increase in job growth, it must be pointed out that Ga. unemployment rate is still 1.5% higher than the national avg. I would be remiss if I did not ask, where are Lowndes, Brooks and Thomas Counties portions of those jobs?

I am asking for your vote on November 6th, because South Ga. doesn’t need another politician who
knows Atlanta, they need a leader who understands South Georgia. I am JC Cunningham, ..............New Leader, Better Direction

Q&A With State Senate Candidate Donald "Gene" Mitchell (D-Fitzgerald)

1.Short Bio about yourself

My name is Donald "Gene" Mitchell. I am originally from Fitzgerald, GA. I am twenty-six years old, and am the second of five children: my older sister Kristy, then my younger sister Denae, and my two younger brothers Morgan and Chance. I graduated from Fitzgerald High School. While in attendance, I played football, wrestling, state winner in Dramatic Interpretation, and participated in one act play. After becoming the first man in my family to graduate from high school, I joined the United States Marine Corps. During my enlistment, I served in an overseas capacity for most of my enlistment all over the world.

At the end of my enlistment, I returned to Georgia to attend college at Mercer University. Mercer was my dream school as a child, but I could not afford the tuition. I was able to put myself through college utilizing the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I graduated from Mercer University with honors with a degree in political science and economics. During my tenure at Mercer, I was invited to participate in a paid internship at American Embassy Oslo, Norway as a political and economic consultant. I also traveled abroad to Eastern Europe to learn more about Post-Soviet Union economics. Lastly, I visited Peru to learn about South American Culture and the current socioeconomic status of the country. Following graduation, I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to continue my economic research in eastern Europe, but I have deferred that scholarship to run for District seven's state senate race. I am a Christian and live by the passage which saved me, James 2:14-17.

2. Why are you a Democrat;( Progressive, Moderate or Conservative?)

I have always been a Democrat. I am proud to say I have supported other Democrats like me. These great individuals include Former Congressman Jim Marshall, Mayor Gerald Thompson of Fitzgerald, and former U.S. Senator Max Cleland. My party affiliation represents my values of equal access, compassion, and morality. I believe many Georgians today are frustrated with our State government because my constituents believe those who currently represent us do not care about our beliefs. As a Democrat, I believe it is essential to the governmental process that every voice be heard, every voter have access to his representatives, and no matter what a person's societal status that individual should hold equal weight to his fellow citizens. 

I also believe that our government should be one which shows great compassion. I am always troubled when I hear politicians relegate certain people because they live in different circumstances or share different views. We need leaders who are able to bring everyone to the table to share his or ideas, not pit brother against brother. I am also a Democrat because I am a Christian. When my savior walked this Earth, he taught us that we followers should bless the weak, the poor, and the hungry. He also taught us to walk in his image. My Christian values compel me to face this difficult world with my faith in Jesus and to strive be an unwavering example of Him. Today, our state has a black because of all of the politician in Atlanta who take advantage of the government access they posses. We need representatives who will protect are state's reputation and not tarnish it.

3. Why are you running for the Georgia State Senate?

After speaking with thousands of voters across my district, the one major theme that arises from their concerns is that South Georgia no longer has a voice in the political process. A state senator should be measured by the success, or failure, of his legislation and voting record. Because South Georgia does not have the population majority, we need to convince others with big ideas. Along those same lines, the only two races that could prevent a super majority of the ENTIRE GOVERNMENT is my race and Doug Stoner. If we both fail to make our case, then over the course of the next two years no adequate discourse will occur under the Gold Dome. South Georgia cannot afford two more years of failed policies, political posturing, and poor judgement by the likes of the majority party.

4. What’s the most pressing issue facing the state. Your Senate District?

Overwhelmingly, the economy is the number issue in my district and the State as a whole. Even though the State of Georgia is the 19th largest economy in the world, our citizens are suffering through a 9.2% unemployment (that is two points higher than the national average) and my district currently meanders with a 11% unemployment rate. Almost 20% of our citizens live in poverty, we are the fifth highest state with citizens who have no health insurance, and last year agriculture lost ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN REVENUE because of discriminatory policies put in place by our Governor. Now, Republicans are trying to dismantle our constitution by eliminating public education. All of these decisions demonstrate how those in Atlanta have no clue how to build an economy and what steps we need to move forward.

5. What is something you think the current Legislature has done well?

Go to recess so they can no longer do harm to our state.

6. What is something you think the current Legislature hasn’t done well?

That list is very long, but I will point out a few. This year we will see something very rare in state politics. You have a party which promised to lower taxes across the state without explaining the ramifications of those actions. After a decade of heavy cuts and austerity measures, Republicans and the State Chamber of Commerce promoted an increase in tax to invest in rebuilding Georgia's infrastructure.

TSPLOST failed horribly because no one trusts our Governor, the Lt. Governor, the state senate leader, or the leader of the house to follow through on the plans in which they laid out. Now, House Bill 1162 is getting murdered because Republicans are trying to consolidate power in Atlanta over education. This is all because of a lack of moral leadership in Atlanta. If we had leaders who had the moral courage to do what this state needs, then the TSPLOST legislation would not have been written so poorly. A revenue increase would have been passed and sign by the Governor, and then they would have let the electoral process decide whether or not that legislation was necessary. Instead, we have no investment in our future, heavy doubts looming over the future of education, no one trusting the democratic process, but those in power remain. As I see it, only the politicians can win in this environment.

7. What is the number one issue you would address as a State Senator?

The first piece of legislation that I will propose to the State senate will be a law to prevent the state government from cutting education in the state budget for the next ten years. We must send a message to our teachers and educators that we still believe in what they do and the importance of their mission. South Georgia, more than ever, needs an investment which will ensure a vibrant workforce for years to come. This investment will also ensure that we begin the process on curbing poverty and high unemployment in our state.

8. Hailing from rural Georgia. In your opinion what must the Democratic Party of Georgia must do to win the hearts & minds of Rural Georgians who have drifted to the GOP over the last decade? 

Much like the economy, a theory exists that only Atlanta matters. The Democratic Party of Georgia has bought this theory. In my district, only five of the ten counties have active local parties. Only one Democratic candidate ran in the seven house races that cover my district. Even in my race, if I had not ran no Democratic candidate would have ran for this seat. As a state, the Democratic party lost half of the senate by simply not running.

These are not the signs of a successful party. The DPG needs to move away from National politics and refocus on winning our state, especially in the South. Many people are still registered Democrats down here. Most gave large donations to Gubernatorial candidates and Congressional candidates in the past. These same people have stopped supporting Democrats not because of our beliefs, positions, or demeanor, but because they no longer believe we can win. They no longer see a strong party willing to fight for its beliefs. People love to cheer and support winners. We need to show people that Democrats can win again, show people that we can fight too, that we believe in God, and we believe in freedom. But that also means we must believe in ourselves.

9. Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponent?

If the constituents in South Georgia want a strong voice that will fight to invest in our district, if they want someone who understands what it takes to rise from poverty, if the people of South Georgia want someone who has fought for our country and is willing to put his life on the line for our freedom, values, and fellow man, then I believe they should vote for me, Donald "Gene" Mitchell. As the next State Senator of District 7, I will be a champion of sound economics, growth in our district, and public education. Everything I am, everything I have done, I have done to serve my fellow man, my fellow countrymen, my family, and my God. If South Georgia wants a candidate with courage, a candidate with strong conviction, and ready to serve on day one. I would ask they consider me, Donald "Gene" Mitchell for State senate.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Peanut Politics Q&A Next Week With State Legislative Democratic Candidates.

Beginning next week Peanut Politics will have Q & A with democratic candidates running for the State Legislature this year. Stay Tuned!

New Poll Show Barrow leading Anderson for GA-12

In a poll conducted by House Majority PAC shows Incumbent Congressman John Barrow (D-Augusta) leading challenger Lee Anderson (R-Grovetown)by a margin of 48% to 45%, according to a new House Majority PAC poll.

The poll was conducted October 8-10 by the Benenson Strategy Group of 400 likely GA-12 voters and has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

A poll conducted back in September conducted by McLaughlin & Associates show Anderson at 44% to Barrow 43%.

One thing is certain, this race will be close & it will not be the runaway some have predicted for Lee Anderson due to redistricting which made the 12th CD a lean republican district. I predicted last month that Barrow would survive efforts by the GOP to oust him from his congressional seat. Barrow, a Conservative Democrat is running a campaign showing his Independence from the more liberal National Democratic Party. It appears that strategy is working & another factor that could help Barrow is the fact his challenger Lee Anderson has turned down every opportunity to debate Barrow. Anderson's strategy to duck Barrow & instead rely on the R next to his name in hopes of capturing the 12th Congressional District, in my opinion isn't going to cut it.

Barrow has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business & Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

(GA-12) Here's Mr M.I.A. Lee Anderson. You be the Judge!

Well here's Lee Anderson the candidate who refuses to debate Incumbent Conservative Democrat John Barrow. Based on some of the videos I've seen, how in the world did this guy win the republican nomination for the 12th Congrssional District for Congress over more impressive candidates such as Wright McLeod & Rick Allen. Not impressive at all!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Democratic Candidates who can WIN in November

63 Democrats in the House, 22 Democrats in the State Senate. That's it! About half of the legislative seats are unopposed this year in the state house & more than that in the State Senate.

Now its time to separate the contenders from the pretenders as far as democrats who can WIN in November:

1, Quentin T. Howell (D-Hardwick). Howell is trying for a second time to unseat Independent Rusty Kidd for HD 145, which covers Baldwin & southern Putnam County. Howell has been campaigning for this seat for well over a year, and has been building support since his 2010 loss. Howell, a Blue Dog Democrat is a businessman/entrepreneur, radio talk show host & veteran of the Navy. He has worked throughout the community in Milledgeville on numerous issues that affected the citizens.  Howell is by far the strongest candidate running as a democrat this year. 

2. Jana Hill (D-Clayton) Hill is making her first run for office against Republican Stephen Allison. Hill, a former educator is a strong advocate for public schools and economic development. Hill serves on the Boards of the Rabun Chamber of Commerce and Community Pantry and is a founding member of the Old School Community Garden. Recently, she was elected as a 2012 Georgia Delegate to the Democratic National Convention and she works with the Development Authority of Rabun County.

3. Renita Hamilton (D-Lawrenceville). This seat is definitely one democrats can win. Hamilton who ran for Lawrenceville City County in 2011 is taking on Joyce Chandler for HD 105. Hamilton, a pro-business, pro-family democrat has the vision, integrity, and real-life experience necessary to bring family-sustaining jobs and a healthier economic prosperity back to the district.  As the owner of a small business, she understands the difficulty of sustaining a viable small business & also understand the problems of entrepreneurs, investors and developers. 

4. Kevin T. Brown (D-Buena Vista) Brown is challenging Mike Cheokas who changed parties & now running as a republican this election cycle. Brown is a former U.S. Army Veteran, Director of the Marion County Family Connection & member of numerous boards thoughout the West Central Georgia Area. HD 138 is one of the few seat that democrats can flip to blue. It consist of Chattahoochee, Marion, Schley & Sumter County.

5. Dr Nelva Lee (D-McDonough) Lee, a native of Panama, moved to the US due to the Noriega Dictatorship.  Lee, a Conservative Democrat is the President and Founder of the MiTio Institute and the MiTio Foundation. The MiTio Institute is an Online Medical Interpreting and Translating Diploma Training Program. She has also served as a Mental Health Coordinator for the Department of Health and as Director of Patient Advocacy for the Grady Health System. And Chair of the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. Lee main focus in her run for the State Senate is bringing attention on making the Small business industry in her district as robust and viable as possible and expand hiring incentives to make them S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering Math) industry specific, among other things in her platform.

6. Mary Ann Whipple-Lue (D-Gordon) Lue is taking on James Epps of Dry Branch for HD 144 which now includes NW Laurens County & Bleckley County with Wilkinson, Twiggs & east Bibb County & Eastern Jones Co. Lue a former member of the Wilkinson County BOE is running on bringing more Industry to HD 144.  And being heavily involved in education, wants to fix Georgia's struggling Public Schools. Lue hails from the same hometown as did late State Rep. Ken Birdsong.

John Barrow Interview with the Baxler News Banner

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Part 2: The future of the Democratic Party in Georgia: Strength in Unity

With Republicans holding firm control of the Georgia Legislature for decades, Democrats looking to take it back know they’ve got a long, uphill struggle ahead of them.

And while any Democratic uprising is likely to take time, money and an unprecedented amount of energy, there are some here in Georgia who believe that the current party leadership is not capable of doing exactly that & then some.

There is plenty of blame to go around as to why the state party continue to do in a downward spiral but you must look at the top. Mike Berlon has been on the job for well over a year now & depending who you're talking to have or haven't done enough to turn around the sagging fortunes of the DPG. Like I said there's plenty of blame to go around so it'll be unfair to pin all of the blame on Berlon's shoulders.

Last night, I wrote about State Representative & former DPG Chairman Calvin Smyre coming in to fix the once dominant Georgia Democratic 2015. Leadership is sorely lacking a this point. Smyre is known as a bridge builder, who carries a big stick with many current & former democratic officials across the state & nationally. I used a sports analogy to make my case..Buck Showalter, a re-thread former manager of the New York Yankees & Texas Rangers & ESPN Analyst was brought in by the Baltimore Orioles & in his second year has led the Orioles to the playoffs, Davey Johnson who has ben out of baseball for years was brought in to fix a young, but woeful Washington Nationals Baseball team and in his second season has led the Nats to the division title & a playoff berth Bill Parcells was brought in to turn around struggling franchises such as the New England Patriots ('96 Super Bowl), New York Giants ( 90 Superbowl), New York Jets ('98 AFC Championship game). All these guys are re-threads, re-runs, veterans who many thought was way past their prime or over the hill. This is a direction the Georgia Democrats need to go to to fix problems that are hurting the party & Calvin Smyre in my opinion is the guy who could do that!

Improving the party's ground game should me the main objective, more than anything & that is missing below the gnat line. Having a strong ground game all over the state of Georgia can result in Georgia going from a reliably red state to a purple state. Plus it would help future statewide democratic candidates,. Achieving this kind of transformation in Georgia is not a daunting task, but difficult. There are clear inroads Democrats can make at the statewide level, as well as the legislative and the party job is to make sure its candidates make the most of those opportunities.

What Democrats needs to do here in Georgia is simply get to people’s guts instead of retreating to the ivory tower of the State Capitol to a place where they talk statistics when things begin to get difficult for working people who feel left behind.  Go on a tour of the state where communities have been hard hit by job losses, struggling school systems, high in poverty like Fort Gaines, Hazelhurst, Mount Vernon, Millen, Homerville, just to name a few & to hear & to see what's going on in those areas.

The thing that’s missing from the state Democratic Party’s efforts has been the need for human connection on a gut level. In the past Democrats were most successful when they were able to connect emotionally with voters, whether it was Carl Sanders 1962 victory or Zell Miller's 1990 and 1994 victories, even go back to the rabble rouser Eugene Talmadge's victories for governor in the 1930s & 40s. Its all about connection on gut level with voters. But to do that you must have candidates who have that ability to connect on a personal & emotional level.

But to achieve that kind of connection Democrats first need the infrastructure. When a Democratic candidate shows up at a campaign event, they need to have people already in place to inform them of local issues, to coach them on what policy points they need to emphasize, and to provide surrogates on the ground to introduce them before they speak.

(To do that) they need to have an ongoing, consistent and sustainable fundraising mechanism and, in general, they need to professionalize and modernize the governing bodies of the party. As the party begins to build a stronger infrastructure, its candidates need to begin focusing on the start of a great fracturing within the Republican Party of Georgia. Georgia Republicans are more in line with the National GOP which is ultra-conservative for the most part.

The Republican coalition here in Georgia is showing some signs of fracturing, and as orthodoxy continues to take precedence over compromise, Democrats (if they ever get their act together) are poised to capture the votes of independents and moderate Republicans in ways they never could before.

Democrats have to start fielding more moderate & conservative, pragmatic, sensible Democrats who intend to fill their (republicans) shoes as moderate, sensible, pragmatic Republicans are purged from that party.

Scott Holcomb may well be considered one of those moderate Democrats I hopes to see more of in Georgia.

First elected in 2010, Holcomb represents State House District 81. He serves as deputy whip for the Georgia House Democratic Caucus. The 12 year Military Veteran is considered one of the few rising stars in the party who has the ability to appeal to independents and moderate republicans. But while he may or may not agree with the national party on much of its platform, he and many other Georgia Democrats tend to shape their opinions to reflect some of the state’s key issues, often to the point where there is little daylight between the Republican and the Democratic positions.

But as we start to see more hardliners entering the Republican Party, there is a opportunity for moderate & conservative Democrats to make headway in the Legislature & that's where the party leaders have to begin to change their views on. With the recent wave of party switching, most recently with Polk County Democrat Rick Crawford, there is a sense of paranoia among Georgia Democrats whether its in the caucuses or at the state level that any candidate that's either black or white moderate or conservative democrats will jump to the GOP. Like it or not, they need those types of democrats to pickup seats in the legislature. It's just that simple! Instead of supporting liberal fringe, demographic oriented democrats who can't appeal across political & racial lines, begin supporting moderates & conservative democrats, they'll begin to see progress, until the

I absolutely see Democrats in 2012 and 2014 picking up some seats. But it won't be because of the the DPG, they're too weak & have too many problems to deal with & it won't be because of the house & senate caucuses because they have a one-size fits all mentality that the only candidates they'll support are liberals & liberals only. And if you're a African American moderate or conservative democrat, you have two strikes against you before a election is even held. If you're white, well, I'm not going to go any farther with that
There are a lot of good candidates who lose races or excluded from offices in today's politics just because they're democrats. That's got to change & change soon!

Part 1: The future of the Democratic Party in Georgia

This is the first of a two party series on the future of the Democratic Party of Georgia:
It isn't easy being a Democrat in Georgia these days.
Like many states across the South, Georgia has become a Republican stronghold over the last decade.
But it’s hard to overstate just how strongly that partisan trend has prevailed in the Peach State, or the difficulty Democrats face in turning it around.
In the Georgia State Legislature, for example, Republicans hold overwhelming majorities, comprising 34 of the state’s 56 Senate seats and 117 of the 180 House seats.
Democrats have not held a majority of seats in the state House since 2004 and the state Senate since 2002.
At the national level, things are no different. Georgia has not had a Democratic U.S. senator since 2004, following Max Cleland’s loss to Republican Saxby Chambliss in 2002 & Johnny Isakson's win in 2004.
Here, there’s no doubt who will win the state’s electoral votes  in November Georgia gave John McCain 52% to Barack Obama 47%. Expect Mitt Romney to get a higher percentage than McCain in November.

So how did the Republican Party gain such a large majority, and what, if anything, can Democrats do to chip away at it?
The first question is one of population changes that occurred during the 1990s and the Republican Party’s masterful ability to capitalize on them.
Then look at the National Democratic Party. Since the New Deal era of Franklin Roosevelt and the civil rights battles of the 1960s, the national Democratic Party has earned an image of promoting “big government.” The belief is that the government, for all its faults, can still do some things better than the individual, whether it’s building and maintaining highways, regulating the harmful impacts of industry, or using the tax system to provide assistance to the working poor or disabled.
The national image of the two parties is that the Democratic Party is for centralized control and the Republican Party is for decentralized control. You see that reflected in any number of policies & gun control, any type of policy where the image generally is one of the national government imposing restrictions on the state.
Despite the state's republican trend, a  democratic gubernatorial candidate can still do well in this state. Voters across the state , I believe tend to be more likely to pay attention to who is running for governor than for their local legislative district. As a result, they’d more likely to consider their vote, rather than just pull the lever for whoever belongs to the dominant political party.
Secondly, if democratic candidates running for governor tend to focus less on national partisan issues and more on issues related directly to Georgia, he/she would do very well here. For that reason, voters may be more willing to vote for a Democrat they feel understands Georgia issues in spite of, rather than because of, his/her party affiliation.
Gubernatorial democratic candidates in 2014 can do well by appealing to the independents in the electorate. It’s much easier in a U.S. Senate or House race to characterize your Democratic opponent as symbolizing the national party. You can’t do that to the same extent when you have a gubernatorial candidate that, at the time they were elected, had no real connections to the national party.
The downside to that is that down-ballot Democrats need better infrastructure for getting their names out into the public sphere if they want to enjoy similar electoral success And the biggest roadblock to that is fundraising.
Given the spread-out nature of Georgia, fundraising can’t be ignored. Even if candidates don’t necessarily spend a lot on television ads, they still need to cover the costs of crisscrossing this huge state

This is a Rural Blog that provides views & insights from a Conservative Georgia Democrat

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