Dozens of local voters turned out Sunday for the Floyd County Democratic Party's Souls to the Polls rally, which brought statewide candidates and a U.S. senator to Rome.
"I'm an example of what happens when people get impassioned," said Sen. Doug Jones, who won a special election in December to become Alabama's first Democratic senator in 25 years.
Georgia candidates Sarah Riggs Amico, the nominee for lieutenant governor, and John Barrow, who's running for secretary of state, also were featured speakers.
Jones was the only one to reference the spate of violence that happened last week, noting the explosives mailed to national political figures, the African Americans gunned down in a Kentucky grocery store and the Pittsburg mass shootings in a Jewish synagogue.
"Words have consequences," Jones said, after starting out with a reminder that "elections have consequences."
"We've seen what fanning the flames that divide us does ... (but) we have more in common than the things that divide us."
Then he underscored his message of working together to benefit the community as a whole.
"Not only do we have good healthcare on the ballot, infrastructure on the ballot, education, jobs and wages on the ballot. We've got unity on the ballot, we've got respect and justice on the ballot," Jones said.
Amico highlighted her experience in the private sector. She talked about how she expanded her family's truck-hauling business during the recession — to include providing healthcare, daycare and union wages to her employees.
"Investing in people works," Amico told the crowd. "Investing in people is the way to grow our economy and create jobs."
Barrow said the importance of the secretary of state position — "the person we hire to make sure our elections are fair" — is center stage right now and he pledged to protect voting rights while running the office efficiently.
"There's not a single institution in this state that can't be fixed with new management," Barrow said.
The group gathered next to the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on West Third Street before walking across the Chief John Ross Memorial Pedestrian Bridge for speeches from the steps of the Forum River Center at the Town Green.
"It feels like I was walking across the River Jordan to get to the Promised Land, but the Promised Land is in the ballot box," said Dubose Porter, chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia.
"We know what this means for Georgia but, folks, the whole country is watching," he continued before urging voters to remember candidates in local elections as well.
"Hit on down there to Evan Ross. Go all the way down for the Blue Wave."
Members of the Democratic National Committee — Rome City Commissioner Wendy Davis, treasurer Lorna M. Johnson of Los Angeles, secretary Jason Rae of Milwaukee and vice chair Michael Blake, a New York state assemblyman — also spoke.
"This is going to be one of the closest elections in our lifetime," Rae said.