I went to and participated in the Candidate Forum hosted by the LaGrange/Troup County Chamber of Commerce and the Lagrange Daily News. My opponent was there, of course. I really don’t care for the things because you cannot get into the topics with answers that are only one minute long and ‘off-the-cuff’. I’m a more “in depth” kind of person and those things frustrate me no end. But they are something that you have to do in political life, so you go, smile, and do the best you can.
My blog posts on here are a much better answer to those questions than I could possibly do in that forum. I’ve delved into issues much more deeply and thoroughly. Thing is, there is so much more to say. There always is.
Healthcare: He’s very proud of getting Mercer to partner with Morehouse Medical School and put up clinics in south Harris County. That is a good thing and very commendable. However, he leaves out the fact that those clinics might as well be IN Columbus. They don’t really help the people who live up in Pine Mountain Valley, Shiloh, Mountain Hill, or Antioch. The folks who live out there STILL have to drive a long ways in for healthcare, and I can guarantee you that if a woman has a baby’s foot coming out first, she is NOT going to a clinic that has medical students working. She’s wanting a DOCTOR that has done this before or, at the very least, mid-wives and nurse practitioners who are specially trained in OB.
Plus it leaves out the moms in rural areas down dirt roads with no car and no neighbors who can’t get somebody to watch the current toddlers in the house while she goes to the doctor IF somebody can come get her IF she can come up with gas money and IF they can get off work that day IF the car is running. Does he even know those houses exist? I do. I go down those roads. Heck, I grew up on a dirt road. My grandparents had kinfolk who still had privies. Some folks back up those dirt roads do, too. We think in terms of cell phones. They just want a good well pump that works and a roof that doesn’t leak.
Affordable housing: The new developments around me are all on lots that REQUIRE houses that will cost in the $300K+ range. Now I know the county wants to plan for “better” developments to raise the tax base and I know the land owners around want any new construction to be something that raises their property value, too. That’s natural. However, if you want jobs, which people swear they do, the people who work at the bottom of the employment ladder have got to have somewhere to live. Right now, KIA says they are having problems hiring due to “lack of affordable housing”. They pay some pretty good wages, too. That tells me that we need construction in the $95-125K range. Perhaps our county planners need to rethink the mini-housing thing?
Responsible Job Growth: Now the big worldwide companies are nice, and I’m not against them. The KIAs, Amazons, Duracells, TSYS, AFLACs, and all those guys are fine in their way but they all have one problem, i.e. they all tend to build big box buildings and pull in employees from all over. That means Joe Smith, Betsy Jones, and Frank Brown from itty, bitty crossroads places that may not even have a post office wind up driving 25-35 miles one way to get to work. Meanwhile, the crossroads store they were buying their fish bait, lottery tickets, and tanks of gas, is going to close up and become another empty building boarded up on the roadside. That little town where they went to church is going to slowly die, too. I don’t think that’s right.
What I want to see is a LOT more support for small businesses. For example: Woodbury has a little restaurant called the Blackbird Cafe. Down the street a couple doors is an antique and collectibles shop. Just mom and pop type places, but fun to go in and spend some time. Smitty’s is out on the highway and does a pretty good amount of business. The old fruit stand on the other side of town is getting a BIG upgrade. It’s been slow, but it’s looking better for Woodbury. Some other businesses could use a cash infusion. It would definitely bring more jobs LOCALLY into the town. The same could be said for Gay and Alvaton. Manchester and Greenville seem hollow when you drive through them. That’s one county.
Common sense gun laws: No, I do not want to take anybody’s guns. I recognize that people who live rural might need a gun. I live on 30 acres myself. Give me a break, folks. Apart from hunting, there’s rabid coons, coyotes, and whatnot out there and I have livestock. What I am talking about is essentially the same thing as a Driver’s license. A car is considered under the law as a deadly weapon and you are not allowed to drive one until you have proven that you know the laws and have the minimum skills to operate one. If you want to ride a motorcycle, then you have to prove to them you can do that. CDL/HAZMAT drivers do the same thing. Your car is registered with the state and has to have a tag or you’ll be pulled over and ticketed (the first time-try it some more and the car is THEIRS.) My stance on guns is: why aren’t we doing the same thing with them?
Don’t EVEN start with the arguments about all the guns already out there, the criminals, and blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it and, to tell you the truth, I think it’s childish. It sounds like a kid saying, ‘But, DAD, ALL the other kids have…..” If that makes you mad, you’re just going to have to be mad. I’m not listening.
We have to start somewhere, sometime. Now is as good a time as any. The situation is not getting better. In fact, it is getting worse. So let’s begin and at least we can say we’re trying.
That’s it for this time. Look through the other posts to see more thoughts and views. I’m Ellen Wright, candidate for GA State Senate D29, and I hope I can count on your vote.