Editorial

Your chance is coming and you should take it.

People have voiced disdain for the candidates presented in national political races but this is your chance to actually be heard.

There are so many reasons why people say they don’t bother. Nonparticipation, alongside willful ignorance, is apparently bliss.

As we watch politics in our country continue to grow increasingly divisive, it’s time to show up at the poll. Whether or not you SHOULD vote is likely the least confusing thing about this election cycle.

Other than federal and some state races, the posts that will be resolved on the local level will be for County Commission posts 3 and 4, the clerk of court, State House District 12 and State Senate District 52.

In the election section, which will be published in the weekend edition of the Rome News-Tribune on Oct. 17, there will be more information about each candidate as well as Q&A sections for each race.

But here’s a preview of our local contested races, and for many of those positions we’re in a place where we have to choose between two people who really care about the community.

County Commission Post 3:

Shonna Bailey (D) is challenging incumbent Allison Watters (R).

Bailey is a political newcomer who is a real estate agent and business person with over 15 years of experience. She has been involved in youth mentorship programs locally. Watters was elected to Post 3 in 2016 and we’ve been impressed by what we’ve seen from her so far. During her tenure the county has approved pay raises for law enforcement officers, worked to improve mental health services, animal welfare services and worked on programs to clean up litter and blight in the community.

County Commission Post 4:

Charles Smith (D) is challenging incumbent Wright Bagby Jr. (R).

Both men are well known and very involved in this community. Smith is a football coach at Rome Middle School and has brought his experience from playing at UGA back home. He’s well known for his involvement in youth programs locally as well as his role in youth mentoring.

Bagby currently serves as vice chair on the County Commission and previously served as the mayor of Rome. He is a recipient of the Heart of the Community award along with the Community Service award from the Northwest Georgia Council of Boy Scouts.

Clerk of Superior Court:

Moriah Medina (D) is challenging incumbent Barbara Penson (R).

Medina is very active in the community, not-for-profit organizations and the Rome Floyd Chamber. Penson is running for a fourth term for clerk of Superior Court and has headed up the modernization of that office since taking the reins.

State House District 12:

Jonathan Gilreath-Harvey (D) is challenging incumbent Eddie Lumsden (R).

Gilreath-Harvey is a political newcomer and professionally is an interior designer from Armuchee. He earlier told an Atlanta magazine he was interested in protecting the adoption and foster care rights of LGBTQ couples. Several bills have been proposed which would allow state agencies to discriminate against same sex couples in regards to foster care or adoption.

Lumsden has been a leader in Floyd County for quite a while. He’s a retired Georgia State Patrol trooper who served on the Floyd County Commission prior to moving up to represent us on the state level. Since then he has gone on to represent northern Floyd County and Chattooga County with distinction.

State Senate District 52

Charles de Young (D) is challenging incumbent Republican Chuck Hufstetler (R).

De Young is another newcomer to the scene and listed his occupation as a welder and metal artist. Hufstetler has served in the Georgia Senate since 2013 and has served this area with distinction. More recently he has pushed legislation to allow voters to require that taxpayer dollars taken for a specific purpose actually be used for that purpose — which will be on the Nov. 3 ballot, incidentally. This year a bill he sponsored that places restrictions on surprise medical billing was signed into law.

Again, more to come in our election section on Oct. 17.

That said, Election Day is quickly approaching after a pretty fast paced, and often confusing, primary season.

There’s only one candidate for the 14th District Congressional seat. With the Democratic Party candidate dropping out within the 60-day window of the election, that party won’t be able to field a new candidate.

So the winner is Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene. She potentially has a rough road ahead of her in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the Democratic Party currently holds the majority. Add that on top of pervasive national media coverage and it’s going to be ... um, interesting.

Greene is charged with representing the entire district and we encourage her to consider the best interests of all the residents of the 14th District when conducting business in Congress.

We went through something similar with our now former Rep. Tom Graves, after he moved up from the state house to Congress during the heyday of the Tea Party. In his final years, he seemed to have adjusted to more of a Phil Gingrey model and got some things done.

We need our representative to represent us at the table in Washington, D.C., so let’s all raise our glass to hope and see what comes next.

Thanks for reading.

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