Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Stacey Evans Will Restore "HOPE!"

I have been involved in politics since I was a wee child.  In fact, I learned a political lesson when I was just four years old.  I was the youngest of nine children and my mother never passed up an opportunity to make a few dollars for our struggling family.  Back in those days, it was a common practice for candidates to pay someone to pass out their campaign cards at polling places.  I dutifully helped my mother by greeting people and giving them a card.  I was having a great time until a man walked up that I adored.  I greeted him with a big hug and he picked me up.  I handed him “the” card.  Everyone standing around started laughing and I was perplexed and embarrassed.  I didn’t know what I had done wrong.   I ran off and hid.

WHEN MY mother found me, I asked her why everyone laughed at me.  She explained the purpose of the cards and explained the irony of me giving my friend the card of the man he was running against.  I said, “Does that mean you aren’t going to vote for my friend?”  She said, “Of course, I’m voting for him.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t work for the other person and be friends with both of them.” 

SINCE THAT day, I have never forgotten that lesson.  The choice to vote for a particular person is a personal decision.  It was never used to brand or demonize a person.  You never saw people disrespecting each other because of whom they voted for.  In fact, we were taught that you never asked someone whom they voted for.  That was private.  That’s why they had curtains on voting booths. Those days appear to be a thing of the past.

THERE IS so much divisiveness in today’s society between progressives and conservatives, i.e. Democrats and Republicans.  When you can pick up a local newspaper and see hate speech headlines, such as “liberals are mentally ill,” things have gotten out-of-hand.  It is not helpful to make blanket statements as that, because while ridiculous, hate breeds hate.  Just because a person has a differing opinion does not make him/her mentally ill, or grounds to hate that person.

THE DIVISIVENESS between the two herds has become so explosive, our electoral process has been changed.  To guard against any clashes at our upcoming Primary Elections next week, the Democrats will vote on Tuesday, May 22nd, and the Republicans will vote on Wednesday, May 23rd.

I HAVE chosen to share with you my personal decision for whom I’m voting for in the upcoming Primary.  The hardest decision I had to make was between the two Staceys- Abrams and Evans.  Speaking of divisive, this race has caused a great divide in the Georgia Democrats and my choice will not be appreciated by many.  Many factors are considered when a person decides who will get their vote.  Sometimes it’s an inconsequential reason such as “they tell it like it is,” or, “he will build a border wall.”  In this case, I can relate to Stacey Evans.  And that’s why I’m voting for her.  Like me, she was dirt poor, but smart.  The difference is, I could not go to college because I couldn’t afford the tuition.  Stacey was fortunate to be a beneficiary of Zell Miller’s HOPE scholarship, in my opinion, one of the best pieces of legislation to ever pass in Georgia.

ZELL’S HOPE was a huge success.  Then in 2011, Governor Deal and the Legislature made significant cuts to the Hope program that greatly reduced the number of poor students receiving the funds needed to get their education.  If Zell Miller had presented the HOPE program in its current form, the people of Georgia would never have approved the lottery.

I HAVE met with Stacey Evans on two occasions.  Her passion for re-instating HOPE to the Zell Miller levels is sincere, just as Zell’s was.  Evans is a soft-spoken, impressive, and skilled attorney who graduated from UGA.  As a State Legislator, she proved she can oppose the other side but still stay friends.  I did really well without a college education, in my era that was possible.  Not now.  However, I’ve always wondered what greater heights I would have reached with a college degree.  A vote for Stacey Evans will provide that opportunity to many more students from low income families. Also, it’s a plus for Evans that she has a Monroe County connection.  Her campaign manager, Seth Clark, is from here.

Secretary of State:  John Barrow gets my vote!  I’ve known him for many years.  He’s a dying breed in Georgia because he has the qualities of a statesman!  Unlike our current SOS, John can make a decision based on the law.

State School Superintendent:  Dr. Sid Chapman is my choice.  With his experience in the field of education, I would feel secure with our educational system if Sid was educating our children. He’s also a talented pianist and a Methodist minister.  Besides, Sid is from Griffin and resides in Barnesville.  He’s our neighbor.

Commissioner of Agriculture:  Fred Swann.  My reason for voting for Fred is one of those inconsequential reasons I told you about.  He’s my friend!  However, he would bring a fresh perspective to an agency that has been run by the same people for many decades.


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