26 July 2014

Recapping GA House 112

Well...it's been a few days and I've been stewing things over in the mental back-burners and I think I'm ready to get my thoughts out there on this race that has been such an integral part of my life for quite some time.

As some of you may already know, I was very much involved with and had a vested interest in this race as my good friend was running for this seat. You can read my thoughts on why I thought my friend, Aaron Brooks, was the right man for this job here.

My friend lost. By 108 votes. That was the difference in this race. A difference of 1.9% . 2,885 votes vs. 2,777. A very slim margin, but a loss is a loss. It hurts. It sucks. But...it is what it is (and again, for the record, I hate that saying, but sometimes that's all you can say).

As I mentioned, I was very much involved with my friend's campaign. Not in any official capacity. As I told many folks over the last 8 months, I was just a friend trying to help get a good man elected to the Gold Dome. I was equal parts assistant campaign manager, sign putter-upper, canvasser, phone-banker, and fund-raiser. More importantly, I was an adviser, confidant, and friend to the man who had put it all on the line to try to create a better future for the 112th. It was truly an honor, and an experience I will never forget.

And let me just say this: I can't tell you how proud I am of Aaron. He ran a great race, kept it positive, and campaigned on the issues. Even after his opponent went negative with complete and total lies, Aaron had said from the get go that he was going to stay on the high road and stick to the issues and concentrate on hitting the grassroots to get his message directly to the good folks of Newton and Morgan counties. As I mentioned in my previous post about this race, I probably couldn't have done that, but as I also said then - Aaron is a much better man than I. In fact, he was told by folks who do this type of thing as a business, that if he went on the attack and went negative, he would probably most definitely win. Chances are, he would have. But he wouldn't do it. He was going to stick to his principles, and in this day and age, that is so damn admirable. 

So...where do we go from here?

For starters, Newton Co. is having to wrap its mind around the fact that for the first time in generations (maybe in its entire history), that it will not have any representation in the state government. That's a shame when we had someone like Aaron that would have been such a great advocate and representative for the people. But, as many of us know. there were several folks in Covington and Newton Co. that didn't want that to happen. First and foremost would be the man that currently holds this seat, Doug Holt, and the man who finished 3rd in the primary that campaigned on the fact that we had to keep a Newton County resident in this seat - Ester Fleming. There were others as well. You can look at the campaign disclosures and see the usual suspects. The old money. The power elite. When things go the way I expect them to, remember who was responsible for this.

But I will sure as hell say this: Dave Belton, the man that completely changed all of his core stances and co-opted Aaron's entire platform (while also going negative and spreading lies) does NOT have a mandate in Newton Co. Look at the numbers. Aaron won Newton Co. with 60% of the votes and in some precincts was pushing 70%. Even after all of the old guard threw their weight behind Belton and his campaign pulled all of those punches, he didn't come anywhere close to winning anywhere in Newton Co. That's because most folks weren't buying it. And I tip my hat to them.

But, again, you have to go back to the phrase - it is what it is. I tell you one thing that puts a smile on my face, though. They, the other side, gave everything they had and spent so much dang money and completely shot their wad and 50.95% overall and 40% in Newton was as good as they could do. That tells you something right there. That says a lot.

As always, I remain very optimistic about the future.

Til next time...

21 July 2014

Thoughts on GA House 112

Whenever I think about Ronald Reagan, I think about a line in his autobiography. A line, to paraphrase, that talks about him looking at a bunch of people going by in a very busy place and thinking to himself - who are these people; what are their stories?

When I think about the 112th district of the great state of Georgia, I think about the regular folks of that district. And I think about their stories. The working folks, the blue collar, if you will. I also think about most of the the small business owners - the engine of Georgia. Several folks who are very close to me, and several other folks that I know who fit the description of the line in the great Guy Clark song, "the heroes of this country."

When I think about GA HD 112, I think about the power-elite in Newton Co. And Covington. The folks that run the local GOP party. And other folks. The folks behind the 2050 plan. I think about how they have been so dead set on stopping my good friend Aaron Brooks, and, every time I think of this, I realize that my buddy is doing something so right.

And then I think about how a win for Aaron Brooks would be a win for the people in this district. A much needed and hard fought win. After dealing with a tax increase last year, based on millage, and then another tax increase this year, based on real estate valuation, and then I think about the persons I mentioned earlier in this column, and I think about the hardships that these folks will deal with. And the hardship that me and the Missus will deal with with our measly property tax burden and the taxes on our two modest vehicles, even though our income - like most folks - has fallen yet again because, as most of us know, the economy is not in recovery. All because the powers-that-be can't let go of certain things. And that certain things can't get done because...they're "off the table" ( Hell, people, it's a laundry list here: county attorney, hospital authority, landfill contract, ambulance service, etc. etc. etc.)

And then a negative mailer goes out in which every single, goddam sentence is one lie after another. I start to get hot...I can feel the blood pressure going up...but then, I realize a beautiful thing. They are losing. They're getting desperate. And with each move they make, just like the Newton Co. establishment pick a couple of months ago, they hurt themselves more and more. Well, I'll tell you what: It puts a smile on my face...

My friend Aaron Brooks has kept it on the high road. And I have no doubt that he will win Tuesday. I think he would have won even if he hadn't kept it that way. If it was me, I sure as hell wouldn't have stayed high. By God, I sure would have fought fire with fire!!! But...I wasn't running. Aaron was. And he's a much better man than I am. I think helluva lot of him, and I think a lot of folks around town do as well.

So...I guess to find the rub, that would be it. Aaron winning would be a huge win for a lot of folks who need a win right now.

So if this column finds you - I hope it finds you well - and if you were to live in the 112th House District of Georgia and are able to vote in the GOP run-off on July 22nd, I sure hope you cast your ballot for a man that I admire and am fortunate to consider a good friend, Mr. J. Aaron Brooks.