Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Rome News-Tribune. May 7, 2022.

Editorial: Go vote, your representation in the government depends on it

After all that time spent complaining, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is — go vote. Your representation for the next few years on the state and federal level will be decided between now and May 24.

We realize that we’re preaching to the choir. Newspaper readers are voters. They’re informed on the issues and in many cases know how they’re going to vote.

For those of you who fall into that category — thank you.

Education local option sales tax extension

Let’s start local with the education local option sales tax. The most visible part of that is the need for a larger Rome Middle School.

The previous ask is now a completed college and career academy building which expands the offerings at Rome High School to the benefit of its students — well done and much appreciated.

Now a quickly growing city school system needs room at the middle school level as an issue of overcrowded elementary schools continues to work its way toward the middle school level. Given, the city schools should have been working on this project for some time now, but regardless it’s needed and will be a benefit to future middle school students.

For county voters the extension of the education sales tax option will mean much needed upgrades to many of the county system’s schools.

Why is the ELOST vote important? The city and county governments are looking at this as a bellwether for how future SPLOST proposals may play out in the next election.

Runoffs in June

We’re expecting runoffs in a couple of races, especially in the 14th District Congressional race — both on the Republican and Democratic party sides.

No candidate has really come forward to define themselves. They’re all against the incumbent Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and that’s about it. Greene played a similar situation to her advantage in 2020, by being the loudest supporter of then-President Donald Trump.

Whichever candidates make it out of the primary — and it’s really anybody’s game at this point — will go to the big leagues in November.

Another couple of races we expect to revisit in the June runoff are the state Senate 52 and state House 13 races. No Democratic Party candidates qualified to run, so all of the candidates are Republican. That means all of our local races for state legislature — and one County Commission seat — will be decided in the primary.

The Senate 52 race is important for a couple of reasons. One, it’s essentially a contest between Floyd and Bartow for representation in the state Senate. Redistricting this year shifted the post from essentially just Floyd County to a split between the counties.

Two Bartow County Republicans are seeking to unseat Republican Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, a consistently effective legislator who has represented Floyd County well for nearly a decade.

The House 13 race is another that may turn into a runoff. Challengers Luke Martin and Brad Barnes are attempting to unseat Rep. Katie Dempsey.

Like Hufstetler, Dempsey is a longtime representative of Rome and Floyd County in the legislature and a veteran campaigner. For some time now, the House 13 seat has been viewed as vulnerable, which may be why Dempsey has recently seen challengers from her own party. However, despite that view no challenger has been able to unseat Dempsey up to this point.

Dempsey trounced Barnes in the primary two years ago but the addition of Martin, a former Floyd GOP chair, in the race may mix things up a bit.

It’ll be an interesting one to watch.

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Valdosta Daily Times. May 6, 2022.

Editorial: McLane will be missed

Judge H. Arthur “Mac” McLane was known as a man of integrity throughout the five counties of the Southern Judicial Circuit and the state.

Long known as “Your Honor” in the courtroom, many knew McLane simply as “Mac,” a man who once contemplated entering the family business of Carson McLane Funeral Home but, realized early, he didn’t have the patience to be a funeral director.

In his youth, he weighed medicine but opted for the law after spending time with the attorneys in his wife Jane’s family.

After years spent in private practice, he was tapped to become a state court judge in 1974. Nearly 10 years later, in July 1983, McLane was appointed to fill an unexpired superior court term in the Southern Judicial Circuit.

As a superior court judge, he heard cases in Lowndes, Brooks, Colquitt, Echols and Thomas counties. In 1984, voters elected McLane to his own term as a Southern Circuit judge, a title he held unopposed election after election.

In addition to presiding over criminal cases, McLane became an advocate for increased courthouse security, opposed the restrictions of mandated sentences in criminal cases, spoke out on various area issues, served as a charter member of Park Avenue United Methodist Church, served as a member of the Valdosta Rotary Club, the Valdosta Symphony Board and the Georgia Sheriff’s Boys Ranch executive board.

And he was the chief proponent for building the new judicial complex in Downtown Valdosta, which now bears his name.

McLane retired as the Southern Circuit’s chief judge at the end of 2008 but he remained involved in the judicial process as a part-time senior superior court judge and active in the community.

“Mac” McLane built a reputation throughout South Georgia as a man of honesty and integrity, a man who exemplified the wisdom of Solomon so many desire and expect from a judge.

Earlier this week, McLane, 83, died.

Of being a judge, McLane once said, “The only thing a lot of people see is a fella comes in wearing a black robe and see nothing else behind it. They don’t see the man behind it. But they shouldn’t see that. A judge has to keep a poker face.”

Lowndes County and the Southern Circuit will miss “Mac” McLane the judge and the man.

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Brunswick News. May 10, 2022.

Editorial: Despite claims to the contrary, Georgia a progressive state

Democrats and Republicans running for a state office owe it to voters to tell the truth when campaigning. Georgia is not a backwards state as some strive to make people believe.

Georgia remains the economic engine of the South, its deep-water ports a well-hinged gate to international trade and its multi-laned highway system an envy of many. And more road expansions and improvements are already on the books for the immediate and not-so-immediate future.

The state’s growing population says it all. More people — retirees, individuals and families — are moving to Georgia to take advantage of its quality of life and economic opportunities. From 2010 to 2021 alone, the state went from being the ninth most populated out of the 50 states to the eighth.

The Peach State’s flagship universities are second to none. Students graduating from the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology go on to become leaders in their fields.

Proof of the state’s progressiveness is reflected in the companies and corporations that have relocated or expanded here. Just recently, for example, it was announced that Hyundai plans to build a plant in Georgia and hire 8,500 workers. Bryan County, just outside Savannah and within a stone’s throw of one the nation’s thriving deep-water ports, is a favored location for the carmaker.

A lot of would-be politicians are doing their best to shove half-truths and downright lies down the throats of citizens. What they fail to mention is Georgia’s low tax rates, a rate that will drop even lower with cuts adopted by the General Assembly. They also will never let slip from their tongues that many of the taxpayers in the state’s 159 counties will benefit from dollars returned to them from a state revenue surplus.

Not only will these candidates decline to mention any of this, but they also will ignore this key fact in their speeches and ads: Georgia’s economy improved the past two years while most states are trying to recover from the whammy dealt them by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most Georgians know all of this and merely toss the words of those who talk down the state in the pile of “More Lies.”

Those who claim to represent something better should spell out what that “something better” is. They also should offer an explanation of how they propose to accomplish it.

As with any state, Georgia is not perfect. It has its problems. Just be truthful of what those imperfections are and how the government can make life better.

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