A Different Perspective on Dr. Abraham and DOT

It goes without saying that there has been much in the air about the DOT selection of Dr. Gena Abraham as the new DOT Commissioner.  As the Commissioner, Dr. Abraham runs the day to day business of the department.   

Dr. Abraham brings to this position a reputation of someone who is a problem solver.  This is very much needed in the very bureaucratic DOT.  Not to penalize or speak ill of those who work there, but DOT was way past needing an overhaul and Dr. Abraham brings the right level of experience, determination, and know how to make the necessary changes.

DOT must move beyond the Department of Roads and Bridges and realize that in this modern age, transportation means moving people, not just automobiles.  As oil prices soar, and oil is an ingredient in asphalt, the costs of these much hyped roads will increase to an unsustainable cost.  Ideas such as “Complete Streets”(a policy adopted by both Florida and South Carolina), Context Sensitive Design, and public transit must be part of the new dialogue at DOT.  

Those DOT Board Members who voted for Abraham should be commended for making a change for progress, innovation, and ensuring that DOT is a more results oriented government agency.  For some legislators to threaten retribution for votes for Abraham suggests a short sightedness that is very troubling to me and others who follow happenings such as this.    

Legislators would be wise to abandon these ginned up threats of retaliation against the Board Members who voted for Abraham.  The vote for her embodies the real creed of reform that is the true essence of our Republican Party.  To oppose such an effort would surely open some to accusations of hypocrisy. 

As someone familiar with transportation issues on a local level as a member of a Metropolitan Planning Organization and very well versed in some of the positives and negatives of dealing with our DOT, it goes without saying that the agency is in need of an overhaul and not more of the same. 

On some levels, DOT is the last bastion of the old way of doing business in Georgia, both in terms of the projects and process.  Georgians turned the state over to the GOP to ensure reform and we all know that reform is not easy.  Changing bureaucracies is a fight that takes time and a sustained effort.    

If some of those opposed to Abraham would stop and analyze this further than their own somewhat parochial interests, they would realize that Abraham’s election is consistent with their own beliefs for accountability, efficiency, and reform. 

Efforts to undermine the progress made by the selection of Dr. Abraham will, in my humble opinion, make a mockery of what some of us in the party have labored so long to build. 

Finally, thank you to Governor Perdue and Lt. Governor Cagle for putting forth and supporting Dr. Abraham.   

For more on transportation related issues, please visit www.coastalsense.com

8 comments

  1. RobertC says:

    To repost why I think the House is a bunch of buffoons….

    this is the part I love. The main reason these legislators like the secret ballot is to protect themselves from retribution from the Governor, any Governor, but especially Sonny.

    So Sonny has been pushing since he got elected for open, public ballots so he could have complete domination of the DOT board election process.

    the legislature has of course refused to do this. But here comes Glenn and his fellow morons. They’re so stupid and throwing such a little temper tantrum that they’re going to give Sonny exactly what he’s always wanted – complete control of DOT – just to get Anderson and Evans.

    Those House guys are just idiots! Total idiots! they claim they’re all about protecting the House, when they’re about to give away control of the only agency they can influence.

    How do these idiots even get elected?

  2. Bull Moose says:

    Transparency, Reform, Efficiency — these are all words that should matter and we should push for more!

    We should also push just as hard for sustainable investment and not more of the same through the types of policies implemented by DOT.

    I hope that you will all seriously read about Complete Streets and understand why that is a smart investment.

  3. Capt. says:

    Republicans were elected because they campaigned to reform state government. That was their pledge. That was the promise. That was their purpose. And now we see the supposed reformers bitter due to the fact that they have moved from reform to giving jobs to their buddies. That’s what it is about now.

    The DOT board made a vote for reform. They didn’t care about what made the governor or Speaker happy because that does not matter. So, any vote to remove a DOT member, is just another and ultimate vote for hypocrisy. And continues to make the Republican Majority look like a joke.

    Come on and grow up.

  4. Had Enough says:

    It’s long past time this is written…..

    The upcoming battle over two seats on the GDOT is symptomatic of what is going wrong in the Georgia Republican majority and represents a real turning point for the Republican Party in this state.

    To recap, each Board member of GDOT represents a congressional district and is elected by a majority of the state legislators within that congressional district. The 5 year terms are staggered and the elections are held usually at the beginning of a legislative session.

    By design, this is the one major state board that the Governor does not directly control. This process was established many years ago explicitly to remove the Governor from control of road funding after decades of abuse. As another poster on Peach Pundit pointed out, the vote is a secret ballot specifically to protect legislators from gubernatorial retribution.

    The Board appoints the GDOT Commissioner who runs the Department on a day to day basis.

    The House leadership backed Rep. Vance Smith. The Governor and Lt. Governor backed Dr. Gena Abraham. The Board was in the crossfire. They ultimately picked Gena by a 7-6 vote. The threats of retaliation were immediate.

    Jerry Keen ginned up a letter pressuring one member to resign. The rest of the House leadership has been desperately trying to find candidates to challenge the two members up for re-election – Mike Evans and Raybon Anderson (both voted for Gena).

    Now here’s the really funny part. The only two candidates Glenn Richardson, in all his power, could find are former Rep. Stacey Reece and former Sen. Floyd Griffin. Yeah, this is exactly what we need at GDOT – a Rep who was run out of office because he strong armed lobbyists to give him wedding gifts and a former Democrat Senator.

    Does anyone else see the gross hypocrisy of this? The House “Leadership” is backing a Democrat and an ethically embarrassing former member for GDOT seats, and willing to cede control of future GDOT elections to the Governor, all to spite two guys who picked the most qualified candidate to reform GDOT!

    A revolution has been going on at GDOT for some time. Tom Crawford over at Capitol Impact called Mike Evans and David Doss the “revolutionaries” for their efforts to reform GDOT.

    They were the ones who pushed for the performance audits that uncovered the problems Dr. Abraham just announced. They were the ones who stuck their necks out and elected a true “change agent” who they know has the guts and skills to completely overhaul GDOT.

    Not so long ago, Glenn and Earl, along with Mike Evans and many others, served in the Georgia House of Representatives together. In the minority, under a 130 year plus Democrat rule, they endured being shut down, shut out, and steamrolled by a Democrat monopoly.

    Republicans worked together to see this regime overthrown with a goal of restoring a fair, balanced, and honorable process. They promised to each other and to the people of Georgia that when they gained the majority they would be different. I know. I was there.

    Reform is not easy. Changing bureaucracies is a fight that takes time and sustained effort. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine leaders like Mike Evans, David Doss, and Raybon Anderson would be fighting the very same people who claimed they would “do things different” back when we were in the minority. It is political hypocrisy at its worst.

    The House “Leadership’s” recent attacks, threats, and personal slanders make a mockery of what so many have labored so long to build.

    Vance Smith is a very good man and a good leader. But the GDOT Board was not elected to give jobs to their friends. Mike, Raybon and the others were elected to reform GDOT.

    The people of Georgia have entrusted the majority of their state government to Republicans because they want us to live up to our promises of real change. One of the most important changes is eliminating this “good ole boy”, hire your buddy culture that has permeated the Gold Dome and especially GDOT for far too long.

    With the opportunity to appoint a new Commissioner, there was an opportunity for real change and a complete overhaul of the culture at GDOT. The agent of that change is clearly and unquestionably Dr. Abraham.

    I know Earl Ehrhart and those of his ilk will coyly try to spin this.

    Yes, GDOT Board members are elected by the Legislature, but every elected official is ultimately accountable to the people of this State. We need leaders more interested in doing the job the people of this state want done than pandering to a select few whose only concern is giving jobs to their buddies and making excuses for political hypocrisy.

    So let’s stop the spin and start calling this mess exactly what it is.

    In the next few weeks, there may be a fight, but it will not be a fight between the House and the Senate. It will not be a fight between the House and the Governor. Unfortunately, it will be a fight between the real leaders of reform and a select few drunk on their power. It will be a fight between doing what’s right and political hypocrisy.

    Evans and Anderson made a choice between doing what the people of Georgia expected and compromising to a few hypocritical bullies. If the fight comes, the legislative delegations will face the same choice. Hopefully they will see the stakes.

    Let’s be clear! A vote against any member of the Board – who simply did what the people of this state have long demanded – is nothing other than a vote against real reforms and what Republicans were elected to do in this state. IT IS POLITICAL HYPOCRISY AT ITS WORST!

    The people are watching. They know when they are being betrayed.

    If this were just an isolated incident, the stakes would not be this high. Unfortunately, it is not.

    Most of the leaders and legislators from both parties are honorable, decent people. They honor their offices and respect the people who put them there. But increasingly of late, there have been too many stories, some published, others not, of grossly offensive personal behavior by some of our Republican “leaders”.

    The shameless hypocrisy and ridiculously juvenile behavior of these supposed “leaders” defies description. While the people of Georgia may tolerate a little philandering and misbehavior, they will not stand for petty tantrums over government responsibility.

    Wake up, Gentlemen! The Capitol of Georgia is not a frat house. The people’s business is not a schoolyard game. Your titles are not an excuse to work out some pathetic mid life crisis or relive your college days.

    What we are witnessing is a true turning point for the Republican Party.

    If Evans and Anderson are defeated, they will be the first martyrs of a Republican Reform Revolution turned sour and foul by personal and political hypocrisy.

    In short order, our Party will collapse under the weight of our own hypocrisy and foolishness.

    Or…… we can ignore the vain tantrums of small men and do the job we were elected to do.

    The people are watching. Their patience grows thin. All they want is for us to do what is right.

    I hope our Republican legislators have the courage to do so.

  5. Tea Party says:

    This ONE thread is perhaps the best recent post on PPundit.

    Only two parameters will slow Georgia’s growth, new jobs, and continued prosperity:

    Traffic Congestion: Actual or perceived. And the loss of Federal dough due to poor air quality

    Water: Without plans to provide water,we may as well pack ‘er up.

    So once, again, my GOP has left me feeling mighty un-represented, much a Boston Tea Party.

    If the GOP demands its’ pound of flesh from Dr. A’s supporters, it is due to the arrogance of knowing they can.

    Pride cometh….

    This will simply be an unacceptable way to conduct the people’s business –

  6. Still Looking says:

    The People are sick of political bickering and problems going unsolved. They see it in Washington and increasingly at the Gold Dome. There is way too much animosity and hard stances (not wide) that prevent compromise and problem solving.

    One of the factors I blame is the gerrymandering of legislative and Congressional districts into safe seats. We need people who can balance differing views and not create districts that allow someone to become entrenched.

    How many incumbants of the General Assembly and Congress will face opposition? Answer: not enough. Competition is the essence of our economy and government.

  7. ChuckEaton says:

    If you wanted to eliminate gerrymandering the first thing you would have to do is get the pre-clearance portion of the Voting Rights Act, which applies to 9 mostly southern states, ruled unconstitutional. Section 5 basically requires gerrymandering.

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