Valdosta Daily Times

January 16, 2014

Legislators, elect to face challenges, not challengers

The Associated Press

VALDOSTA — The Georgia General Assembly returned this week, and one of its first acts serves as a reminder of what is to come in 2014.

On Tuesday, the state Senate passed a bill to move Georgia’s 2014 primary election date to May 20.

According to the state Senate press office, House Bill 310 passed by a 38-15 vote Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. The proposed legislation will now be presented in the state House of Representatives.

“The proposed legislation would require all candidates to file campaign finance reports by March 31, and would make the state and partisan county primaries compatible with the state’s federal primary schedule,” according to AP. “The proposal calls for candidate qualifying to run from March 3 to March 7.”

It is a big election year for Georgia.

Nearly every state office from governor to insurance commissioner to state representatives is up for election.

Often during election years, legislators try doing as little as possible regarding important issues. Legislators face re-election. Even a perceived wrong vote may cause trouble for a legislator back home. One vote could serve as ammunition for a sitting legislator’s challenger.

So, instead of focusing on the important issues such as the state’s economy, jobs, water, transportation, some legislators become champions for hot-button issues.

These issues cause much debate, receive far too much attention, waste time and taxpayer money, and in the end, do little good for the public. The only person usually benefiting from such wasteful legislation is the legislator who introduced it.

Legislators, we do not need grandstanding, bitter partisanship, political dodging of issues, or campaigning for a next term or a next office in either house of the General Assembly.

Georgia needs serious attitudes, vigorous but constructive debate, political courage to face the state’s challenges head on, and leaving the campaigns off the House and Senate floors.

Georgia could use wisdom, not wise guys.