What a week in Washington!

President’s progressive agenda moves full steam ahead in his newly found fearlessness!

By Gary Cox

OBamaIn a recent Los Angeles radio interview, President Obama declared, “I am fearless.” This liberating pronouncement came ahead of a week of sweeping victories in the courts and in Congress. At the beginning of the week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed the President major victories on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Fair Housing. In a 6-3 decision, the High Court gave a “conservative” interpretation of the ACA by looking at what Congress intended in the overall legislation. Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “Congress did not mean for health insurance markets to work in some states and not work in others!”Chief Justice Roberts reaffirmed Congress’s intent and let stand insurance tax credit subsidies for residents whose state, like Georgia, does not have a state operated insurance exchange. This was a major victory which will assure that access to insurance and healthcare remains a basic fundamental right.

The High Court also upheld the Fair Housing Act of 1968, noting in the case of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Community Project, “disparate impact” is an integral part of the Fair Housing Act and can be taken into account whether or not the discrimination was unintended or deliberate. In the 5-4 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “. . . disparate impact under the FHA has played a key role in promoting racial equality in housing and fighting discrimination,” This ruling holds intact the basic premise of the Fair Housing Act which is to end discrimination in the sale, financing or rental of housing based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Lastly, as predicted by Blogging While Blue when the Supreme Court refused to issue a stay to prevent same-sex marriages in Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state constitutional bands on same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges(Ohio). Jim Obergefell married his terminally ill partner in Maryland and wanted to be listed as the surviving spouse on his husband’s death certificate. He won, but the State of Ohio appealed and the lower court decision was overturned – which led to the U.S. Supreme Court challenge. Obergefell stated he never intended to be the face of gay marriage, but Ohio forced his hand. With this victory came Georgia’s first gay couple to be married Emma Foulkes and Petrina Bloodworth of Atlanta. They were married by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Morrison, who is openly gay.

With President Obama at the helm, progressive policies and ideas are in the forefront of social change. Healthcare is a basic human right, fair housing opportunities are a basic civil right and marriage equality, now the law of the land, has come full circle since 2004 when many of the state constitutional bans against same-sex marriage were enacted. Progressive ideas that were once considered “radical thought” are now mainstream law. Yet, the battle is not over. The attainment of civil and human rights is an “evolutionary process” and not a “revolutionary” one.

The Dispossessed Deserve Better

Kalief Browder

Kalief Browder-Ebony photo credit

“The nature of the criminal justice system has changed. It is no longer primarily concerned with the prevention and punishment of crime,but rather with the management and control of the dispossessed.” From Michelle Alexander’s, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Mass incarceration is a system designed to imprison people based on racism and classism and being poor is a common denominator.

After Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri, media attention highlighted a municipal court system that had a history and tradition of excessively ticketing those in the predominately black community. Some might argue that Michael Brown’s death and the municipal profiteering had little in common, that would be a naïve and reckless assumption.

The attention also drew the ire of state politicians in both parties. State Sen. Bob Dixon was a member of a bipartisan Missouri group of lawmakers who tried to address some of the systemic issues that came to light. Among the issues was the rate at which St. Louis County was ticketing poor minority motorists. It typically takes a long time for statewide policy decisions to be made but in this case, the legislature passed a bill limiting the percentage of traffic revenue cities could keep. House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) said at the time, “We ought to have been prioritizing this a long time ago. It’s not right to have a system in our state where we’ve got municipalities that are basically funding the basic operations of government through traffic fines.”

The U. S. Department of Justice’s report that focused on Ferguson also revealed that national statistics were trending on a similar practice as a revenue generator. If a community is preyed on in the streets and in the courts, it is no surprise that the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson was an incident waiting to happen.

Last week, Atlanta’s Creative Loafing featured a story Fines, Fees and Inequality by Tiffany Roberts that reflects a familiar refrain in other cities and states. A former Fulton County public defender and co-founder of Lawyers United for a New Atlanta wrote the story. The exceptionally data driven piece did not fail to highlight the disparity between race and class as a premise for a questionable public policy. Whether you agree with her conclusion, there is no debate about the trend of the indigent and poor who find themselves with limited legal options if faced with criminal allegations.

Recent changes by the California Judicial Council now allow drivers to appear in court first to challenge a fine before paying it. It was not unusual for a traffic ticket to cost a motorist $500 in a state that reported in 2013 16.6% of its residents lacked enough resources to meet their basic needs.

While traffic fees are just one way to disenfranchise those who can least afford it. The case of New York’s 22 year-old Kalief Browder whose charges were dismissed is another more horrifying example of what happens when defendants can’t pay. In his case the damage was fatal. Kalief committed suicide after spending over three years in Rikers Island. Browder’s family could not afford the $3,000 bail imposed based on an allegation that he stole a backpack. It has been reported and confirmed with video evidence that he was beaten by guards and inmates and he spent two years in solitary confinement. Because he was innocent, Kalief refused plea deals.

And while St. Louis area jurisdictions are paying closer attention to the inequality of traffic fines, a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch story suggests that fines are being written for other offenses but target the same group.

Of course, we are not simplistically suggesting that criminals should not have their day in court to face allegations of wrongdoing. But the burden of a municipality’s budget whether Ferguson or any other city should not rest on the shoulders of those unable to avoid the persistent pursuit of an unjust policy.

 

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights Celebrates its First Year

AndrewThomasLeeIf the question is can we, all of us, play a role in promoting peace, understanding and justice in America and around the world- in Baltimore, Atlanta, Nigeria and Nepal then the answer is yes and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights offers lessons and spaces for dialogue and debate about what we can all do to make this a better world. Tonight, the Center will celebrate the contributions of five human rights advocates – each having taken a stand and made a difference in the lives of hundreds of people. The include:

Estela Barnes de Carlotto, an Argentine human rights activist and leader of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. She is one of the human rights icons whose portrait, painted by Atlanta fine artist Ross Rossin, is featured in The Center’s Defenders exhibit. Senora Carlotto dedicated her life to reuniting more than 100 missing children with their families. After a 34-year search, she found her own grandson in 2014.

Vernon Jordan, the NCCHR Chairman Emeritus, a well-known business executive and civil rights activist.

Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, is a human rights activist, writer and currently the president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

Ada Lee and Pete Correll are well-known Atlanta philanthropists. Pete is chairman of the Grady Hospital Corporation and Atlanta Equity and is chairman emeritus of Georgia Pacific Corporation. Ada Lee Correll , a dedicated community volunteer, has led efforts supporting youth development, youth in the arts and access to health care.

The Center is part history and part current events embracing the lessons learned from the Civil Rights Movement in the American South to the current ticker tape reports on human rights violations and challenges facing millions of people worldwide. In his guest column in the Atlanta Business Chronicle below Doug Shipman captures the significance of the moment.

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Only in June will we know if gay marriage is crossing the Alabama state line into Georgia!

A divide court takes same-sex marriage head on

By Gary S. Cox

While the national media eyes were focused on this past Tuesday’s oral arguments for Obergefell v. Hodges, Monday’s actions by the U.S. Supreme Court slipped under the radar of most of the

Forbes

Forbes

mainstream media. In an early morning announcement, the High Court released a statement declining to issue a stay requested by the Alabama Attorney General to block same-sex marriages until the much anticipated late June 2015 ruling. The vote was 7 to 2 NOT to issue the stay. This action, in effect, legalized same-sex marriages in our neighboring state, bringing same-sex marriage to Georgia’s borders. The court could have easily issued the stay. Some court pundits indicate the Alabama case portends the ultimate June ruling – otherwise, “Why allow same-sex marriages in Alabama to move forward only to have them called in legal limbo at a later date?”

As for Tuesday’s oral arguments, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg proved herself to be the liberal Titan she is. She gutted the “traditional marriage” argument by stating, “Marriage was a relationship of a dominant male to a subordinate female … the court ended that concept in 1982 when Louisiana’s ‘Head and Master Rule’ was struck down …” Ginsberg did the same thing with the rationale that marriage was to promote strong relations and for procreation; she set about systematically attacking any arguments against same-sex marriage. Justice Ginsberg was equally combative in the second hour of arguments over whether or not a state has the right to refuse to recognize a marriage lawfully made in another state. She called it “unprecedented” for another state not to recognize a marriage legally made in another state.

Justice Kennedy, who is considered the “decider” (the swing vote), seemed, on occasion to argue both for “traditional marriage” questioning whether the court should be redefining marriage and for same-sex marriage noting that gay people are capable of being loving parents through adoption and procreation is not the sole purpose of marriage.  It was noted by many court watchers that Kennedy didn’t “tip his hand” until the question of whether one state has the right to refuse to recognize the marriage lawfully made in another state. Kennedy remained silent … this is a moot point if the court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, thus Kennedy’s silence.

The most surprising question from the bench came from Chief Justice John Roberts. At the opening of the session, Roberts asked, “I’m not sure it is necessary to get into sexual orientation to resolve this case. I mean, if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can’t. And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn’t that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?” His point of it being a sex discrimination case was not argued by either side, leaving open the possibility of the Chief Justice being a possible 5th vote not based on citizens having a constitutional right to marry but solely on gender bias.

 

Will Georgia issue a “license to discriminate?”

Governor Nathan Deal says he will sign religious liberty legislation

GACareBy Gary S. Cox

Back in July 2014, in Blogging While Blue I “prophesied” that Senator Josh McKoon was going to once again introduce his “license to discriminate” legislation also known as Preservation of Religious Freedom Act based on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Kyle Wingfield published an editorial from an interview with the good Senator in light of the High Court ruling. Unfortunately, in this case we are dismayed our predications of last summer have come to fruition.

This week, Senate Bill 129 took a “hard right turn” in the Georgia House of Representatives, when the House Judiciary Committee rejected amendments that would have clearly prohibited discrimination against minorities and LGBT Georgians. Now, the “wing nuts” of the Republican Party have shown their cards. Speaker Ralston stated in a recent speech to the Atlanta Press Club that he wanted to understand the “motivation” behind the legislation, “Before we move forward, we have to understand what the impact of this legislation will be on the rule of law in this state. We need to know if this legislation opens the door to unintended consequences of any type, that some may try to exploit.” He went further by stating, “Closing the door to anyone is closing the door to all …”

Well, Mr. Speaker, here it is in black and white, the purpose and motivation behind the religious freedom legislation is to grant some the right to discriminate against the LGBT community. Anyone who has been following the struggle of the LGBT community’s freedom to marry court battles knows, when the Supreme Court decided not to interview in Appeals Court rulings in Alabama, Idaho and other states, the inevitability of same-sex marriage was upon us as a society. The High Court allowed same-sex marriages to take place in states where their state constitutional bans were struck down. Among political savvy court watchers, the money is on the High Court overturning all state constitutional bans against same-sex marriage – and that includes Georgia. Some Georgia conservatives want the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples. Some conservatives want the right to refuse service to LGBT couples from wedding cakes to providing medical care to the children of same-sex couples. Simply put, the religious conservative wing of the Republican Party wants to say, “It is against my faith,” and discrimination in Georgia will once again become lawful as an “act of faith.”

Moreover, the unintended consequences that Speaker Ralston fears may be a national boycott against the state of Georgia. Hateful legislation has consequences – take a look at the backlash taking place in Indiana! Within hours of Governor Mike Pence (R) signing the legislation, the NCAA is talking about moving their basketball tournaments. Apple Computers, MailChimp, the mayors of Seattle and San Francisco are all talking about boycotting the state of Indiana. Here in Georgia MailChimp spoke out against Georgia’s RFRA. We could be subject to losing basketball tournaments and even the 2019 Super Bowl. Speaker Ralston and Governor Deal would be wise to look at Indiana before allowing our version of this hateful legislation to become law – it is the Speaker’s worst fears – the law of unintended consequences.

Spring Madness in Charlottesville

mj78432March Madness is the common reference to the NCAA basketball post season. But the madness in Charlottesville, Virginia is another kind of spring madness. Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents arrested third-year University of Virginia student Martese Johnson after being denied entry into a bar near the campus. Johnson was beaten by agents and later required 10 stitches from the attack, which was caught on a cell phone from a witness. In the interest of full disclosure I am the parent of a UVA alum.

Police violence seems to be more common than any of us really understood or realized. The case in Charlottesville strikes too close to home for every college student of color. Is it possible that an officer of the law can bludgeon a student because “because a determination was made” to arrest him apparently without reason. What words or actions would justify this kind of treatment? It shouldn’t matter that Johnson is majoring in Italian and media studies and holds several leadership positions in campus organizations and has no criminal record.

Did the ABC officers miss or flunk the part of their training that included mediation, negotiation, and deescalating tense situations? These are ABC officers near a college campus, where there is likely to be alcohol, so what kind of alcohol arrest warrants this level of violence? I can’t accept the notion that police and security do a better job of keeping the peace by resorting to violence. Somehow everyone including law enforcement agencies have to come to grips with the unbridled use of violence. As a young college student I listened to the radicals in the civil rights movement as much as I listened to the nonviolent principled leaders. I grew to believe the use of violence would cause even more violence. We have little hope of a civil society if chiefs of police, sheriffs and other law enforcement commanders don’t get their troops properly trained and motivated to keep the peace without uusing or threatening violence. It is time for the leadership of law enforcement to take responsibility for enforcing the law without causing reckless harm to those they pledge to protect and to do so without targeting for violence and abuse African American and Latino men. The balance between enforcing the law, using common sense and protecting the public may be difficult in some circumstance but it is possible. The officers and the public they pledge to protect must be safe. It is not too much for the public to expect for law enforcement leaders in every city, town or village to take responsibility for eliminating police violence and police abuse of power.

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Everyday by Service to Others

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A national protest for change … but what does change look like?

A start is revamping our grand jury system!

For the second time in a month, a prosecutor has announced a grand jury indictment would not be forthcoming in the death of a U.S. citizen at the hands of image001local law enforcement officers. Regardless of the circumstances of the deaths of African American males Eric Garner in New York, Tamir Rice in Ohio, and most notably Michael Brown in Missouri, they were all killed at the hands of their local police. A much needed and overdue national debate is currently underway regarding race, the militarization of our local police departments, community policing and the very definition of “equal justice under the law.” National protests have ranged from Congressional staffers walking off the job with their “hands up” to sadly, violent protests in Ferguson, Berkley, California and Atlanta, Georgia.

President Obama has called for body cameras to be issued to every police officer in America. This is a starting point. But, does it get to the root cause of the current protest – distrust in our judicial system? Attorney General Eric Holder, recently in Atlanta, is grabbing the bull by the horns in his final months in office. The AG is to be commended for calling to an end to racial profiling by police – especially where young African American males are immediately assessed a “threat” by law enforcement. Body cameras, an end to racial profiling, a return to community policing and moving from the post 9-11 bunker mentality by police departments are parts to a whole that need to be addressed. Even here in Georgia, the GBI has indicated they will release police shooting investigative materials as quickly as possible. But, still the answer of how we obtain equal justice for all citizens is not being addressed.

In 1992, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia noted in United States vs. Williams, “… neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.”[1] This means policemen have been traditionally granted a right to defend their actions before a grand jury that you and I, as regular citizens do not have! This is an inherent troubling issue – police officers are allowed to testify in their defense before a grand jury. The officer, like all of us, might naturally portray their actions in the best possible light. Police may cast dispersions on the perceived guilty party in an effort to justify the use of deadly force. To do otherwise could mean possible indictment.

A starting point for public debate to redefine equal justice under the law might include:

1.) Governors empanelling a board of judges, lawyers, law enforcement, district attorneys and lay people to recommend ways to “fix” our grand jury system.

2.) In the interim, when a citizen dies at the hands of a police officer, prosecutors should consider recusing themselves and bringing in an outside special prosecutor, with no ties to local law enforcement or the court system – we already do this with judges. In New York, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has requested Governor Andrew Cuomo to allow the AG’s office play the role of “Special Prosecutor” until their state legislature revamps their grand jury system.

3.) Stop calling officers before the grand jury immediately. Their statements should be videotaped (until body cameras are fully implemented), and submit their recorded statements to the grand jury prior to their testimony.

4.) Congress should give immediate and strong consideration for grand jury reform at the national level. Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) has received criticism for his legislation but he has publicly acknowledged the system needs to be reformed.

5.) We need to rethink police polices of “shoot to kill” and the use of deadly force.

It is time to revamp our justice system to reflect that no citizen no citizen is above the law. The taking of a citizen’s life without due process should be held to the highest level of legal scrutiny no matter the perpetrator.

A Meditation on Ferguson, on America

AJackThis speech was given by today’s contributor Anthony (Tony) Jack a PhD. Candidate and an Associate Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University at a Memorial/Die-In protest in Harvard Yard this month.  For more information on Anthony Jack visit scholar.harvard.edu/anthonyjack

I was asked to speak as a sociologist today, to provide context to the situation that brought us all here today. I’m letting you know that I will fail at this task. I know the stats but I also live the reality. Black men are incarcerated at six times the rate of white men even when controlling for offense, Bruce Western and Michelle Alexander tell us that. But statistics didn’t kill Mike Brown. More black men are stopped under Stop and Frisk in New York than there are black men in some communities, but facts and figures did not kill Eric Garner. Broken windows is a broken strategy, Robert Sampson tells us that. But debunked policies did not kill Trayvon Martin. Police target black and brown bodies like we are in season, like animals for slaughter. There is something fundamentally wrong when mothers must stand over sons and fathers over daughters and utter words that Emmett Till’s mother should never have had to say in the first place: “I have not a minute to hate, I’ll pursue justice for the rest of my life.” I fear that I am not that strong. It hurts watching the news in the morning to see character assassination of an innocent teenager gunned down by trigger happy cops, for if smoking weed makes you a bad person, we need the National Guard at Harvard on 4/20. It hurts to hear protesters be called rioters, thugs, hooligans, and other derogatory terms when somewhere I read about the freedom of assembly and the freedom of speech. As Dr. King notes, “the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights.” That is what democracy means to me. Yet it hurts to walk around Harvard’s campus and people look at me and fear what I will do to them physically when they really should worry about what I can do to their inflated GPAs.

Black Lives Matter. For some this is a radical concept, but then again, black love always was. To be honest, I am not surprised. This is the land of liberty that reluctantly settled on the 3/5 Compromise. This is the land of justice that needed the 13th Amendment. This is the land of equality that legislated and subsidized white suburbs and dark ghettos, as Malcolm X said, preaching integration yet practicing segregation. I see Black Lives Matter as something much simpler, much more innocent, and shockingly beautiful: a reminder. A reminder that if indeed all lives matter, when 43 Mexican students go missing we should care; when Black, Latina, and Asian women are victims we should all care; when queer-identified people are targeted we should all care; when black and brown bodies are beaten and bruised by those sworn to protect us, we should all care.

What kind of world do we live in when Southern trees still bear strange fruits? The only difference is that now, instead of removing the figurative fruit from branches, we pick them up off the ground after they have been left to fester in the sun for hours. What a world indeed. Faulkner’s words haunt us for the past is surely not yet dead, it is not even past. When I heard Darren Wilson’s testimony I thought I was rereading testimonies from the Rosewood Massacre of 1923. “He was big! He was black!” Bang, bang has now replaced “Let him hang.” There is an anachronistic feel to the whole thing. And that is because we are living with the repercussions of America never really being forced to learn from its past mistakes. Then the question becomes, how do we force America to catch up with the times? Again, as Dr. King reminded us on his last night, “we don’t need any bricks and bottles or any Molotov cocktails.” We must collectively flex the social and political capital that is invested in each one of us. Our president is too slow to act, our Congress and the Senate are too reluctant to act, and our governors fear acting on such issues. But mayors, those urban mechanics and rural draftsman, are invested in local communities in ways that other elected officials are not. Manny Diaz taught me that. They appoint Chiefs of Police and set local policies. We must reach out to mayors to ask them to invest in accountability measures for police officers, to reject military equipment, to create diversity measures so that police and firefighters look like the communities they serve, and to create community programming that removes the boundaries between the blue, the brown, and the black.

I just want to close by sharing that when my godmother was dying, she told us that we better not wear dark colors to her funeral. She said we must wear light colors to celebrate her life. That stuck with. I am wearing white, not to stand apart but to remind us that we are not mourning the death of too many black and brown bodies, we are mourning and protesting the situation that ended their lives. I wear white to celebrate the time they spent with us, although it was cut far too short. So, do me a favor, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the spirit of justice and peace, never forgetting to:

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Langton Hughes, Dreams

 

Why President Obama and Georgia Need the LBGTQ Community in November. Will your vote count?

Shirley FranklinIn a tongue-in-cheek, but pointed article, Newsweek Magazine nicknamed President Obama as “the first gay President.” This was an editorial comment on President Obama’s firm support of same-sex marriage, employment non-discrimination, HIV/AIDS funding and tthe Departments of Justice and Defense efforts to grant LBGTQ citizens, servicemen and servicewoman “full citizenship” in their interactions with the Federal Government. Many are not aware that President Obama is also the first President to invite transgendered children to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. The invitation did not cause a “flap” in the press and was a non-issue because it is a well-known fact the President practices the “politics of inclusion”.

Here in Georgia, the campaign for inclusion has yet to be realized for minority communities. This includes Hispanics, Asians, Africa Americans and the LBGTQ community. Georgia ranks dead last with the highest unemployment rate in the nation with some 380,000 plus Georgians out of work. The majority of Georgia’s unemployed are minorities. In education we rank 35th in per student spending. We have cut teachers’ pay and have 6,500 fewer teachers in Georgia’s classrooms. We have refused to expand Medicaid to grant healthcare to the working poor, which has an adverse impact on Grady Memorial Hospital as well as our rural health system – resulting in hospital closings in some rural communities. And to add insult to injury Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is stonewalling efforts to register more than 600,000 minority voters. He is holding up approximately 51,000 registration applications under the pretense of “voter fraud”. The Republican effort to suppress minority voters and the Democratic vote in Georgia is reminiscent of literacy tests that were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. As Atlantans celebrated Pride this past weekend, LBGTQ residents in Georgia LBGTQ cannot marry, cannot file joint state taxes, are unprotected in the workplace against employment discrimination and generally confess to not feeling “safe” outside major urban areas. Here in Georgia, there is still work to be done before President Obama’s vision of an “Equal America” is realized.

If President Obama is going to continue his efforts to level the playing field of minority participation, Democrats need to maintain control of the U.S. Senate. A vote for Michelle Nunn, who is endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, a national LBGTQ lobby, is a vote to maintain Democratic control of the U.S. Senate. Control of the House and the Senate are important to the President; it is the difference between success and failure. The Democratic-controlled Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in as a bipartisan measure. However, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced immediately after the Senate vote that ENDA was “dead on arrival” in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. It is no secret the Republicans have tried consistently to derail the President’s federal non-discrimination agenda. In November, it is important to send a strong message that Georgia isn’t the presumptive “Red State” that Republicans thought it was … your vote can make a difference in all the state-wide contests from the U.S. Senate, the Governor’s Office and the State School Superintendent’s race.

In Georgia, if we want to improve and reform our educational system, if we want to expand Medicaid and strengthen our healthcare system, if we want to fairly register all voters, if we are tired of being dead last in healthcare, education and employment, if we want to pass State Representative Karla Drenner’s Fair Employment Practices Act in the Georgia General Assembly to protect LBGTQ state employees, and if we want a better quality of life for our husbands, our wives, our friends and our families, we need Jason Carter as Governor. It will take strong leadership to change Georgia’s direction. President Obama needs a Governor who will work with him. The President does not need a Governor who jousts at windmills and accuses the President’s Administration of “manipulating” Georgia’s unemployment rate to change the outcome of an election.

President Obama needs LBGTQ Georgians to register, to vote and to be a part of the statewide coalition to retain control of the U.S. Senate and to right the ship of the state of Georgia. President Obama needs Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter.