“We don’t inherit the Earth from our forefathers, we borrow it from our children” says a Kenyan proverb. Arturo is opposed to the inadequate treatment of sewage by our neighbors wishing to discharge into Lake Lanier. There is no reason not to utilize existing technology to ensure the treated discharge into our waters is as clean and sound as possible. Discharge depths should also be closely monitored so that levels of bacteria do not damage our precious resources. Water level management and recreation are vital to our local economy. Arturo opposes efforts by neighboring states to dictate the mission of the Army Corps of Engineers in these respects. We can be good neighbors and share vital water supplies. Still, we can not abdicate our responsibility to advocate for the integrity of Lake Lanier. Our neighbors must seek alternative sources of water from their own efforts. The Lake Lanier Association must have our support to continue to cultivate the grass roots that have made the organization a force to be reckoned with in the political and legal climates which have developed over the last decade.
We must wean ourselves from our addiction to oil and gasoline. The people of this State will stop driving their cars to work only when a suitable alternative exists. That’s why I endorse the construction of a Transportation Triangle – a high-speed commuter rail that links Gainesville, Athens and Atlanta. The rail should be affordable, safe, and reliable. It should run on electricity or natural gas. In the long run, this system will be better for the environment and safer for the community than expanding highways or narrowing travel lanes.
I am generally opposed to the creation of new taxes. I am aware that many political candidates have pledged not to support any new taxes while at the same time, supporting a new sales tax for Georgians. I am not one of those candidates. Still, the Georgia Fair Tax proposal is an interesting one. We must be willing to analyze it and study the merits of implementation. With most new law proposals, the devil is in the details. I support tax reform that taxes all people and all businesses fairly. I believe that no one should get paid under the table from legitimate or illegitimate businesses. I am concerned that the elimination of one bureaucracy to found another one is a dangerous undertaking. We need critical, legal study by critical, legal minds before new tax laws are created and imposed on the people.
Georgia means business. We have an extraordinary wealth of untapped potential in the form of agricultural crops, labor, and technology. Our crops could provide a source of renewable energy that would liberate us from Big Oil interests which are sometimes hostile to our way of life. Large, reliable work forces means we can build what we dream, from commuter rails to freedom trails. Technology exists everywhere we look in Georgia. We could promote new business interests here in Georgia if we would remove the quagmire of political greed from the equation. In Atlanta, the City Council has likely ruined the chance to develop a “beltway expansion” that would have brought greenspace, parks, retail business, and housing to some 40 acres of privately owned land. Why? Because the city tried to play hardball with the landowner. Next, maybe they will try to seize the property by Eminent Domain? We cannot use the power of Eminent Domain to seize private land from one owner and sell it to another. When State Government thinks like a business intent on bringing the future to life, we will all benefit.
I do not believe abortion is a good choice for anyone. I support the efforts of local counseling centers who educate woman about alternatives to ending a pregnancy. Sometimes, however, when a woman has been the victim of a crime, or her life is in danger, or for other private reasons, ending a pregnancy is a difficult choice that should be made available legally. I would not support the imprisonment of a woman who makes that difficult decision. I would not support the imprisonment of a doctor who offered a woman a medically safe environment. But I do support legal limits on abortions for minors and for those women of advanced gestation.
One of the many “wedge issues” concocted by backroom political strategists in the last few years has been about the right of gay and lesbian people to marry. When you think about our national efforts to spread democracy and freedom around the world, it is embarrassing to see that politicians would actually deny freedoms and privacy to Americans. So I will make this absolutely clear: like the business giants Disney, Home Depot and Coca Cola, I support the right of every adult American to enjoy the bliss of marriage and be recognized as an equal human being under the law.
The Georgia legislature raised the specter of voter fraud when attempting to fight the renewal of the Voting Rights Act. There is no evidence of any problems with voter fraud in Georgia. We need to do more to promote the civic duty and privilege of voting in this State, rather than setup new hurdles to voting that penalize the sick, the poor and the old. Until we are willing to visit the home of every eligible voter and make an ID card for them, there is no reason to restrict voting to those who hold a special, new card.
Political partisanship has done more to injure the people’s confidence than any single issue. Name calling and negative campaigning does nothing to promote higher voting counts. No one talks about the issues anymore. We voters have a responsibility, too. We must start taking the time to investigate the issues and the candidates before we cast a vote. Voting for the person who is nominated by your preferred party is a dangerous practice. For those of you who identify as Republicans, think that you might have missed out on the leadership of Sam Nunn or Zell Miller, both Democrats. For those of you who identify as Democrats, you will have missed out of the leadership of Lindsay Graham or John McCain. Everybody in Northeast Georgia was a Democrat ten years ago. Now, most are Republicans. Vote for the candidate that will best serve the people in your community.