ZACHARY: Legislating for all of Georgia

DomeLight by Jim Zachary 

Georgia lawmakers are elected to represent both their districts and the state as a whole. 

While a piece of local legislation may be very specific to a city or county, most issues voted on by the House of Representatives and the state Senate impact the lives of all the people of Georgia. 

Everyone of our lawmakers, regardless of the areas they represent, should keep that in mind. 

Pitting one part of the state against another is not productive of any good. 

Georgia is diverse in so many ways. 

Of course, the landscape is diverse ranging for the mountains of north Georgia to the wiregrass of the most southern counties, to the sand and sea of coastal Georgia. 

The people of Georgia are farmers, business professionals and blue collar workers. 

Georgia has its share of poverty, along with middle income wage earners and some who are far more wealthy. 

Our state is now majority female, but just barely. 

The people of Georgia are young and old and everything in between. 

About 24% of residents are under 18 years of age and 14% are over 65 years.

And Georgia is very racially diverse. 

While U.S. Census Bureau estimates from July 1, 2019, indicate the state is 60.2% white and 32.6% Black, that does not paint a full picture. 

When you dig just a little deeper, people of color make up 48 % of the population of Georgia. White people who identify as non Hispanic or Latino make up about 52% of the population. Those who identify as Hispanic or Latino now make up almost 10% and Asian 5% of the state’s overall population. 

Just as lawmakers must work hard not to pit one geographic region of the state against another, they must also be circumspect not to legislate in divisive ways that would pit the people of Georgia against one another. 

Our diversity, as a state, should be celebrated as a dynamic that makes us stronger and wiser. 

Now, on to the elephant in the room. 

Politics. 

Georgia is in play. 

For almost two decades, it seems, Georgia has been solidly red. 

That is no longer true.

The state is not the Republican stronghold that it was even just four years ago. 

At the very least, Georgia is looking purple and in pockets in and around metro Atlanta, it is most clearly blue. 

No one knows if this will be the year Georgia flips, but that’s beside the point. 

Whether Georgia is majority Republican or majority Democrat, our lawmakers must legislate for all of Georgia. 

 

CNHI Deputy National Editor Jim Zachary is the editor of The Valdosta Daily Times and president of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. 

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