APN 2014 Endorsements: Miles, Decline/GA-4, Carter, Orrock, Williams


(APN) ATLANTA — The Atlanta Progressive News has approved five endorsements for the 2014 early Primary Election; APN hopes to make endorsements in additional Primary races next week.



The 2014 endorsements are: former State Sen. Steen Miles (D-Decatur) for U.S. Senate; decline to endorse for Georgia’s fourth U.S. Congressional District currently held by U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA); State Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur) for Governor of Georgia; State Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) for reelection; and Kyle Williams for State Sen. Carter’s seat.






We are endorsing Steen Miles because she had the most progressive responses to interview questions posed, although Dr. Rad is also acceptable and is our second choice.



The response that distinguished Miles from Dr. Rad was concerning nuclear power.  Miles was opposed to nuclear power, while Dr. Rad was in support.



Also, Miles has more experience, having served as a State Senator.



The corporate media’s silence on the existence of these two progressive alternatives to Michelle Nunn is appalling.  The epitome of this conspiracy of silence is evidenced by a Channel 11, 11Alive news clip in which the station said that Nunn is the only candidate in the race.  What makes the omission so shocking is that Sen. Miles used to serve as a manager at the station!  



As APN has reported, Nunn has aligned herself with Republican principles.  She supported the U.S. once-proposed Invasion of Syria, she supports the Keystone Pipeline, she opposes de-funding for the MOX nuclear waste reprocessing plant, she opposes same-sex marriage as a matter of policy, and she opposes timely implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  So whether the issue is the environment, health care, social issues, or international affairs, Nunn is not progressive nor even resemblant of a Democrat.



The fact that the Democratic Party’s establishment machinery has gotten behind a Democrat in Name Only like Nunn–as evidenced, for example, by the promotion of Nunn and her ties to the Bush family on the DSCC website–highlights the ongoing problem of the Party’s lack of principle that we believe disserves Georgians by failing to provide a coherent alternative to the current regime.






U.S. Rep Hank Johnson has served Georgia for eight years now and what was he accomplished for the District or for the nation?  Nothing!



Johnson allowed funding for the U.S. occupation of Iraq to continue with one of his first votes in office; he voted to allow NSA spying on U.S. citizens to continue; and he failed to keep a 2010 promise to support medical cannabis.



Johnson declined to participate in an interview with APN.



APN would love to have a progressive alternative to support–someone who maybe could provide a fraction of the leadership that US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) once provided–but that person is not DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown.



First of all, Brown did not seem knowledgeable about many issues in his interview with Atlanta Progressive News; he had no position on the Iraq funding; he had no position on the NSA spying; he said he would not support medical cannabis, only cannabidiol oil.



Beyond that, we are troubled by reports from activists with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta who claim that Brown oversaw a 3 a.m. eviction on a person’s house, and that he broke a promise he made to activists in connection with the eviction.



It’s really hard to know who is worse, and we decline to endorse any candidate.



We wish we could even make a tepid endorsement of Johnson, as he is probably the second-most progressive Congressman from Georgia, after U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) [although that is not saying much when you look at the Georgia delegation], in terms of his voting record.  However, he is not even eligible for a tepid endorsement under duress, as he failed to make himself accessible to our readers for an interview.






State Sen. Jason Carter is the opposite of Michelle Nunn; he’s an actual progressive.  He did vote for the controversial gun bill earlier this year that put Georgia on the cover of the USA Today, but he has the courage of his convictions and he is a supporter of the Second Amendment.



Carter has made himself accessible to a wide constituency during his terms as State Senator and during his candidacy.  While he is obviously entangled with the Democratic Party of Georgia, he seems to be independent enough to be a leader for the whole state.



Meanwhile, Nathan Deal’s leadership of Georgia has been calamitous.  Deal has refused to expand Medicaid and he has signed all kinds of horrible legislation, vetoing only a few bills that were among the worst [this should at least be acknowledged].  



His office has been unresponsive to APN, and rude to constituents.  For example, there was the time Deal’s office refused to issue a proclamation for the International Day against Homophobia [an internationally recognized event], instead calling it Mistreatment Awareness Day.






Meanwhile, he resigned from U.S. Congress while under investigation.  



And now, it has been shown that there was a massive cover-up of possible ethics violations, wherein Stacey Kalbermann was wrongfully terminated from the State ethics commission for trying to investigate the Governor.  Taxpayers will be paying the cost of her whistleblower jury verdict and more lawsuits are pending.



Georgia deserves so much better.  We believe that Carter is sincere and genuine and that unlike, say, former Gov. Roy Barnes, Carter will bring people together instead of being divisive.






Nan Orrock’s answers to our questionnaire were among the best we’ve seen in years.



Orrock was part of the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Speckled Bird newspaper and she’s an excellent example of a young activist who turned their passion for social change into a meaningful career in the State Legislature.  



Angela Stovall is as nice as can be, but she is not ready to serve in the Legislature.  She barely had any substantive responses at all to the questions posed during APN’s interview.



APN’s interviews with Orrock and Stovall presented a stark contrast.  Not only was Orrock knowledgeable, but she had what we believe are the correct answers to every question.  It was quite refreshing.



Orrock is also one of the few Democratic legislators who can be counted to to show up and speak at progressive events, rallies, protests, and press conferences, in addition to State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) and Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas (D-Atlanta) and formerly Stephanie Benfield (D-DeKalb).






We are endorsing Kyle Williams on condition that he learn more about the dangers of nuclear power.  This was an issue about which he was not knowledgeable.  Williams has agreed, and said he already has begun researching the issue since participating in an APN interview.



We are more concerned, however, about three votes that Elena Parent took when she was in the State House: one to cut early voting, one to allow the statewide referendum on whether to create a charter school commission, and a third to cut the HOPE Scholarship.  We believe these votes raise serious issues about her logic and judgment, and reveal that she is not very progressive.



On early voting, Parent told APN that she voted to reduce early voting from 45 days to 21 days because in the 2010 election, negative publicity came out about Nathan Deal late in the campaign after many people already had voted early.  While that is unfortunate, and even conceding for the sake of argument the possibility that Roy Barnes might have won if early voting was shorter, that is not an acceptable reason to cut early voting!  There is no acceptable reason to cut early voting!  The solution is to educate voters earlier on, and to run better candidates than Roy Barnes.



On the charter school commission, Parent told APN she believed that local school boards’ decisions should be overridden sometimes because these boards act “political.”  First of all, to label school boards’ concerns about charter schools political rather than policy-driven or responsive to their local constituents, is offensive.  The reason we have locally elected school boards is to represent the will of the people.  If they don’t, they get replaced; that’s how democratic representation works.



Beyond that, Parent said that she believed the charter school commission was needed as a check on local control.  However, as a matter of fact, the state board already had the power to hear appeals from local board decisions regarding a charter school application.  So, the commission amounts to a second appeal, and Parent’s argument is misleading.



In addition, we recently learned that Parent supported the Republicans’ plan in 2011 to cut the HOPE Scholarship.  This was House Vote 77 on HB 326.



Therefore, we are endorsing Kyle Williams, whose answers on all issues except for energy policy were progressive.  On energy policy Williams was less knowledgeable but has committed to learn more.




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