APN 2010 Endorsements Pt. 1: Poythress for Governor

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(APN) ATLANTA — The Atlanta Progressive News Board of Directors would like to announce its endorsement for Governor as part of its first round of APN Endorsements for 2010: David Poythress.

POYTHRESS

APN conducted full-length interviews with several statewide candidates in Democratic Primaries, including all five candidates running for Secretary of State and two running for School Superintendent, in addition to three candidates for US Congress 4th District, etc.

However, only one of the four major candidates in the Democratic Primary for Governor made themselves available for a sit-down interview: David Poythress.

As the only candidate to care about our readers enough to make his views transparent and to empower our readers to make an educated and informed choice this July and November, Poythress is the only candidate we would have even considered for this position.

Moreover, Poythress has laid out solid plans for the economy, transportation, education, and clean energy. He has demonstrated his understanding of many of the issues and shown that he will draw on his extensive executive-branch experience to turn Georgia around.

Meanwhile, we had major concerns about all three of the other candidates which likely would have made it difficult to support them.

In his interview Poythress laid out plans to increase revenue to the State of Georgia by reorganizing the Department of Revenue to ensure collection of unpaid taxes already due to the State.

Poythress supports a regional transportation plan for systems like MARTA.

Poythress said he would support a voter verifiable paper audit trail for E-voting if it was necessary to ensure voter confidence.

Poythress wants to invest in educational technology and give teachers more flexibility to be creative in how they teach students rather than being overly prescriptive.

Poythress supports funding for trauma care like that at Grady Hospital from the State’s General Fund.

Poythress proposes tax incentives to support the development of green energy, but believes there are too many tax incentives given to corporations without any way of ensuring that jobs are truly being created.

Poythress has made a promise to the citizens that he will not collect a paycheck until he gets unemployment below seven percent.

When asked about risky, polluting forms of energy like nuclear and coal, Poythress said in the interview that he was supportive of nuclear but not coal because of his perception that nuclear energy emits smaller amounts of greenhouse gases.

However, APN’s Board does not support nuclear energy because of the health and environmental harms as well as safety risks posed by it. Poythress agreed, if elected governor, to have a sit-down meeting with advocates opposed to nuclear power to hear more about its negative aspects.

In addition, Poythress has made himself accessible. As we talk to many of our politically-engaged readers throughout the Metro Atlanta area and indeed the State, people are acknowledging that Poythress has been showing up at as many events as possible, whether big or small.

Poythress has not only made himself accessible to Metro Atlanta’s progressive left. He has made himself accessible to all Georgians, including moderate Democrats, independents, Libertarians, and even Republicans.

Poythress also has significant executive experience. He served as Georgia’s Secretary of State, Labor Commissioner, Assistant Attorney General, and Deputy State Revenue Commissioner. In addition, he’s served as Commander of Georgia’s National Guard.

For these reasons, APN is pleased to endorse Gen. David Poythress for Governor.

Now, here are some concerns we had about the other candidates as well.

BARNES

Former Governor Roy Barnes, first of all, has spent most of the campaign concerned with big events, particularly big fundraising events with big checks. Barnes assumed he had this race in the bag and did not feel that he had to be out in the community making the case for anyone. Out of the four candidates, he has been the least visible and the least engaged in grassroots campaigning; there are many smaller debates and venues where only Baker, Porter, and Poythress have shown up.

When APN attempted to get an interview back in early 2010, we were told he was busy and to check back in three weeks. After three weeks, we sent a reminder of the request and received no response.

Barnes also has his baggage. His effort to take away teacher tenure raises questions about his opinion of teachers in our public schools and the value of their hard work and dedication. It also raises questions about whether he supports workers’ rights.

As APN previously reported, Barnes appeared in the documentary, In Debt We Trust, in which he predicted the current economic collapse years before it happened. Barnes spoke intelligently and seemed to exhibit an understanding of how our economy works at a structural level.

In addition, Barnes has been criticizing some of the big bank bailouts. However, while he was criticizing big banks, he had a personal financial stake in some of these same banks. This raises questions about his honesty and integrity.

According to the Savannah Morning News newspaper, “Barnes’ report, filed May 5, lists assets and investments held during calendar year 2009. It included stock in BB&T Corp., JP Morgan Chase & Co., United Community Banks, Synovus Financial Corp. and SunTrust Banks.”

“Based on reported dividends, Barnes would have received almost $23,000 from bailed-out banks had he held the same number of shares since late 2008.”

The other thing is, Barnes will have a difficult time winning in November, putting the State at risk of four more years of radical Republican leadership. We’ve already seen Barnes lose to Republican Sonny Perdue in 2002. The teachers are still upset, and he hasn’t clearly stated that he has changed his mind on eliminating their tenure.

PORTER

As for Dubose Porter, his campaign has been highly disorganized, and this does not bode well in terms of his ability to run an effective Governor’s office.

APN has been attempting to interview Porter also since the Winter of 2010. After his wife, Carol, launched her own campaign for Lt. Governor, Mr. Porter’s campaign hasn’t functioned as smoothly as it did when Ms. Porter was answering the telephone.

After Ms. Porter launched her campaign, APN left several messages which were not returned. Then APN ran into Mr. Porter at the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner, where Porter said he wanted to do the interview and said talk to Ginny Evans. Then APN left several messages for Evans which were not returned. Then APN asked DPG for assistance getting an interview with Porter, and DPG said to call Matt Caseman. Caseman returned APN’s call and said he would check the calendar and get back to APN, but never did. Then APN saw Mr. Porter at a debate in Midtown Atlanta and he said to talk to his assistant, John Buckner. Buckner referred APN back to Caseman. Caseman scheduled an interview for July 05 at 10am, which Caseman cancelled that morning at 8:45am.

In addition, Porter has been describing himself as pro-life, certainly not something we need in the Governor’s office in this state, given that we already have a Republican-led legislature attempting to restrict choice.

Porter told the Athens Banner-Herald newspaper’s blog that he only supports the right of a woman to have an abortion in the case of rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life.

Furthermore, Porter recently has taken an extreme position against illegal immigrants in Georgia, where he said he would not allow them to get an education in Georgia’s public colleges and universities. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, “Six candidates — Roy Barnes, Nathan Deal, Handel, Johnson, John Oxendine and DuBose Porter — said these students should be barred.”

Poythress, on the other hand, believes the students should be required pay out-of-state tuition, which is currently the practice, but he also believes that the US-Mexico border needs to be secured.

BAKER

Finally, Thurbert Baker. APN has already issued a full-length article examining Baker’s history as State Attorney General.

As Attorney General, Baker defended the State’s E-voting policy, the elimination of forms of ID for voting, barriers to third party and independent candidates, and the execution of Troy Davis despite the recantation of 7 of 9 witnesses.

To recap, Baker supporters have said that it was his job as Attorney General to defend the State in all legal cases. However, Baker decided during his campaign for Governor to declare that he had the independence to refuse to sue the federal government over the recent private health insurance mandate passed as part of Obama’s health care overhaul.

So, Baker has neglected to explain when it is that he discovered this independence, and whether this now implies that he therefore personally agreed with Voter ID, ballot access restrictions, E-voting, and executing Troy Davis.

(END/2010)

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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Our syndication policy was updated June 2007. For more information on how to syndicate Atlanta Progressive News content, please visit: http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/extras/syndicate.html

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