Posts Tagged ‘Muscogee County Democratic Party’

Some of my Best Friends are Republicans

October 17, 2010

MCDP Jefferson-Jackson Gala at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center

One of the most interesting aspects of the Muscogee County Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Gala is the diversity of the attendees.  You’d expect a lot of African-Americans, whites, Hispanics, and Asian Americans to be there.  The Democratic Party prides itself on its big tent. But, there were also some very prominent Republicans in the audience.

No doubt some were there because a friend of their’s was being honored. I had one tell me that he and his wife were there because retired Columbus attorney and state legislator Milton Jones was one of the Democrats honored for his service to his communty, state, and country.  I am on a friendly basis with every Republican I saw there.   

This was a Democratic Party event, but it was also a community event. More than three hundred  people paid $50-a-plate to attend.  The party did raise some money, but not as much as you might think. The Columbus Convention and  Trade Center ain’t cheap.

Rep. John Lewis, (D) GA 5th Congressional District

While those Republicans in attendance stood with everyone else to applaud keynote speaker and civil rights icon U.S. 5th Congressional District Rep. John Lewis,  they did also have to endure some partisan talks, the best of which was made by my cousin Carol Porter who is running for Lt. Governor.  She is a very articulate and forceful speaker.

Carol Porter, Democratic candidate for Georgia Lt. Gov.

The problem for her is that she was only speaking to three-hundred people, people – with the possible exception of some of the Republicans there – who are going to support her anyway.  To get elected, she needs for hundreds of thousands of people to hear her message.  Roy Barnes is getting to those hundreds of thousands because he has raised the money to do it.  And some of that money came, no doubt, from some Republicans.

I think it’s generally agreed that CEOs of most businesses are Republicans, but it is a well-known fact that some give to both sides.  They want whoever wins to pick up the phone when they call.  There is a very good chance that Roy Barnes will win.

One definition of power is that it is the ability to do favors.  I suppose the corollary to that would be the ability to do harm. Governors can do both.

And so can Lieutenant Governors.  Maybe Carol Porter will benefit from those who hedge their bets by giving to both sides.  With very little media coverage, she is  running close to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the polls.  If she can get her message across to enough voters, she can win.

The point is that some Republicans do support some Democrats and visa versa.  And the point is that a lot of folks in Columbus, including me, are friends with a lot of people who identify with different parties.  They also come together to get important things done for the community.  It would be great if our representatives in Washington and Atlanta would follow the Columbus example.  The meanness of spirit and polarization that is permeating our Capitols and our country is not good for America.

Yes, it is time for the country to return to civility and sanity. It is time for political leaders to put their country first instead of their party.  It is hard to do when some powerful media personalities use hatred and fear to line their pockets with millions of dollars. But, it has to be done, or this great nation stands to lose its greatness.

Almost 300 to Attend Muscogee County Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Gala

September 20, 2010

Congressman and Civil Rights Icon John Lewis is the Keynote Speaker 

 He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, was clubbed and seriously injured when he led the Selma March, played a key role in ending racial segregation in America, and has served as Georgia’s 5th District representative for 23 years. Rep. John Lewis will set the tone for this election year’s Muscogee County Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson Gala, a $50-a-plate fundraiser, at the Columbus Trade Center on September 20th. He will share the stage with this year’s Occasion Speaker Carol Porter, the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor.

 The Jack T. Brinkley, Sr. Service Award will be presented by Jack Brinkley, former 3rd District Representative, to three prominent local Democrats for their lifetime of public service to the community, state and nation. Honored will be former Georgia state Representative Milton Jones, 2nd Congressional District Representative Sanford Bishop, and Mrs. Ella Lewis.

 Jones, a Columbus attorney from 1959 to 1998, served in the Georgia House from 1962 until 1970. He also participated in Jimmy Carter’s campaign for governor in 1970 and President in 1976. He was appointed by Carter to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in 1974 and served as Board Chairman during 1978-79.

Bishop has served as Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District representative for 17 years. He won the seat after serving only one term in the Georgia Senate.  He was President Barack Obama’s state campaign co-chairman in 2007. He is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is a Blue Dog Democrat and is, arguably, the most conservative African-American in Congress. 

 Lewis is a lifelong Democrat and civic servant who cut her political teeth working for North Carolina’s Senator Sam Ervin.  She is not only a member of the Muscogee County Democratic Party but is a voting member of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s State Committee. She chairs the local party’s Affirmative Action Committee. Her list of community service projects is long and includes the Georgia Department of Transportation Citizen Advisory Committee, the South Columbus Task Force for Keeping Columbus Beautiful and the Superintendent’s Roundtable for the Muscogee County School District.

 Most of the Democratic candidates for state and local offices will participate in the Gala.

An Important Political Story You Didn’t Get in the Mainstream Media

October 28, 2009


In my view, Columbus mainstream media didn’t do its job of informing you about a major political event.  To me, it is irresponsible not to cover such events since  the public depends on the media to get its political information in order to cast an educated vote.

The Muscogee County Democratic Party’s Jefferson – Jackson Gala attracted all five of the Democratic candidates for governor.  There is a very good chance that one of these men,  Georgia Attorney General Thubert Baker, former Georgia Governor  Roy Barnes, Ray City Mayor Carl Camon, House Minority Leader Rep. DuBose Porter, or  Georgia Adjutant General David Poythress will be Georgia’s next governor.   Republicans, who control state government,  have a lot to answer for:  water, transportation, and educational problems that have gotten worse.

All of the Democratic candidates made it clear that Atlanta’s water problems cannot be solved at the expense of those downstream, which would include Columbus.

 They would not furlough teachers and would give education the support it deserves.

They would work to implement a transportation plan that would include rapid rail.  

They did not attack one another and were all on the same page that Republicans have made a mess of governing the state.

The Muscogee Democrats gave the Jack Brinkley Service Awards to former State Rep. Maretta Tayler,  former Mayor Frank Martin, and former City Councilor and State Rep. Milton Hirsch.   Oct 27 2009_JJ DINNER_1415

Oct 27 2009_JJ DINNER_1413

Oct 27 2009_JJ DINNER_1414

Attorney and MidTown Executive Director Teresa Tomlinson gave the keynote address.  She opposes the two-Columbus approach, one that favors the north over the south, and favors affluent schools over lower socio-economic ones.   A couple of  people I talked with at the dinner said they hoped she would decide to run for mayor.

The Democrats honored the memory of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy with a locally made video.

There were almost 300 people who paid $50-a-plate at that fund-raiser.  Some heavy hitters that I have not seen at past Jefferson Jackson Galas were there. It could be that something is in the wind, something like the Democrats regaining control of state government.

This event should have been covered by Columbus media, and I would say if the Republicans had a similar meeting it should be covered, also.  In a free society that elects its representatives, coverage of major political events is the responsible thing to do.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Georgia State Democratic Committee, but, as I said, I would be opposed to ignoring such a story if the event had been Republican sponsored.

Sidelight:  One Republican was praised at the JJ Gala. Muscogee Democratic Party Chair Jeanne Dugas thanked U.D. Roberts, who published the Gala’s program,  for his cooperation in making last-minute changes. She said when she told him that the number of those attending the fundraiser increased to 280, he said, “This is a sad day for Columbus Republicans.”  Smiling, she agreed.

Muscogee Legislators “Tell It Like It IS’

April 8, 2009

The state budget crisis,  the transportation fiasco,  a July session of the Georgia Legislature,  Sen. Harp’s plans to run for statewide office, billboards highlight the town hall meeting at the Columbus Public Library.

Muscogee County legislators made no attempt to sugarcoat what was not a satisfying session of the Georgia Legislature.

Muscogee County democratic Party Town Hall Meeting, Columbus Public Library, Columbus GA

Muscogee County Democratic Party Town Hall Meeting, Columbus Public Library, Columbus GA

Both state senators,  and the dean of the delegation,  all were not happy that the legislature failed to come up with a transportation plan.

Rep. Calvin Smyre, (D), Georgia House

Rep. Calvin Smyre, (D), Georgia House

Rep. Calvin Smyre said,  “It was irresponsible.  It cannot stand. It will not stand.  I am going to make this clear in a news conference Thursday.   It will be addressed this year. ”

He predicted the legislature will be going back into session in three months to deal with the state budget,  and,  he seemed to be saying it will also deal with transportation plan.

“It is wrong for the state to tell the people of Atlanta what they can do with the penny tax they approved at the polls to expand Marta.”

Marta,  the Atlanta area public transit system whose ridership has soared,  cannot access it’s own money to improve and expand the system without the state’s approval.

“That’s wrong.  It has to be changed.”

The audience at the Muscogee County Democratic Party town hall meeting at the Columbus Library applauded enthusiastically.

Sen. Seth Harp, (R), Georgia Senate

Sen. Seth Harp, (R), Georgia Senate

And the Republican state senator who was at the Democratic meeting also got a few big hands, himself.  Sen. Seth Harp, said he would have voted for either of the plans, the one favored by the House or the Senate plan, but he didn’t think either would get taxpayer support.

“They waited too late.  They should have passed it last year. Now, with the recession causing pain in the pocketbook,  it is doubtful that people will vote a penny tax regionally or statewide,” Senator Harp said.  The tax is necessary to fund the plan, which advocates say is urgently needed.  All you have to do is drive to Atlanta to know that the situation is critical.

Sen. Harp might not have pleased his Republican following with one remark he made.  He joined Rep. Smyre in thanking President Obama for sending $1.6 billion in stimulus money to Georgia.  He said with the critical budget problem facing Georgia, the federal money does help. 

“I agree with Calvin.  The legislature will be going back into session in July.  The budget just approved by the legislature banks on the economy getting better. I hope it will, but I am not confident about that.  We will be making more cuts.  For instanceteachers will probably have tobe  furloughed.

“And if we have to do that, say for ten days.  I – and I hope my fellow legislators will join me – will not accept my pay as a senator for those ten days.”

That one elicited a big round of applause. 

Sen. Seth Harp, (R), Sen. Ed Harbison, (D) Georgia State Senate

Sen. Seth Harp, (R), Sen. Ed Harbison, (D) Georgia State Senate

Sen. Harp looked over at Sen. Ed Harbison,  a Democrat,  and said the two of them work together probably better than any two lawmakers in the Senate.  He also let everyone know that he recently learned that he and Harbison served in the same unit in the Vietnam War.  More applause.

Rep. Debbie Buckner, (D), Georgia House

Rep. Debbie Buckner, (D), Georgia House

And Rep.  Debbie Buckner, also a Democrat,  drew a round of applause when she said that, though some things she supported weren’t approved,  the effort that she and other lawmakers to kill the bill that would allow billboard companies to cut more trees on public property was successful.  The crowd like that one, too.

Rep. Carolyn Hugley, (D), Georgia House

Rep. Carolyn Hugley, (D), Georgia House

Rep. Carolyn Hugley was the first to point out that the state is in dire straights over the econ0my and that the cuts that will accompany the budget will cause pain for a lot of people.

When Sen. Harp confirmed he is not running for again for the seat he now holds,  but instead will run for either insurance commissioner and attorney general,  and will make an announcement next week on which one,  Rep. Hugley said, “Oh, go ahead and announce it tonight.”  Sen. Harp said he would wait.

All in all, I have to say I was impressed with the candor of the legislators at the town hall meeting.   They didn’t try to spin the truth about the state of the state or the legislative session that just ended.  The one they predict for  July will, no doubt,  will be a stem-winder.

Muscogee Dems Hold Sendoff for National Convention Delegates

August 23, 2008

  Barack Obama’s famous chant, “yes we can…yes we can,” rang out as some Muscogee County Democrats cheered three local delegates that are going to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The local Democrats gathered at campaign headquarters in Midtown Shopping Center for a sendoff for three Columbus area delegates to the National Democratic Convention that opens in Denver Monday. State Rep. Calvin Smyre, U.S. 2nd District Representative Sanford Bishop and Columbus Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop, who is married to Rep. Bishop head for Denver this weekend.

State Rep. Calvin Smyre, Muscogee Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop, GA 2nd Congressional District Rep. Sanford Bishop at Muscogee County Democratic Party / Obama Cmapaign Headquarters in Columbus, GA
State Rep. Calvin Smyre, Muscogee Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop, GA 2nd Congressional District Rep. Sanford Bishop at Muscogee County Democratic Party / Obama Cmapaign Headquarters in Columbus, GA 
                                                  "Yes we can!"

  Bishop, though unpledged because he is an elected official, had said he would vote for Sen. Obama, and Vivian Creighton Bishop is a pledged delegate for Sen. Hillary Clinton. Rep. Calvin Smyre had stated that he was supporting Sen. Clinton, also. The question I asked them was,  “Who will you vote for on the first ballot?” That’s easy for Rep. Bishop because he has already said he will vote for Obama. Vivian Creighton Bishop says she will probably vote for Sen. Clinton on the first ballot, but will switch to Obama after that. She says she probably should do that because she is a pledged delegate, and because Georgia law says pldged delgates have to vote for the candidate to which they are pledged, but Rep. Smyre said he will vote for Senator Obama on the first ballot. He said, “It’s time for us to come together.”

  Guess we’ll have to watch the balloting to see what happens.

  As far as Obama’s picking Sen. Joe Biden as his V.P. running mate, all three agreed it was a good choice.