Is that you, Kevin Levitas?

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and when Rep. Kevin Levitas (D – Tucker) announced that he was backing out of his re-election effort, Allan Williamson (R/D/I – Tucker) decided to step up and try to prove the old maxim.  Multiple Democratic party sources tell me that Williamson, the Finance Director of the Georgia Young Republicans, first attempt to emulate Levitas was to try and qualify as a Democrat in the special Democratic primary for the seat.  Despite the fact that our party doesn’t have a loyalty oath and that sometimes it seems like we will take just about anyone who wants to associate with us, I’m told that Democratic officials talked some sense into Williamson and that the then Republican decided not to jump in, leaving Democratic favorite Scott Holcomb as the only partisan candidate on the ballot.

Now the word is that Williamson is out collecting signatures for his independent bid.  Collecting signatures is hard sweaty work, but most voters these days want to see your website when you say you’re running for office and expect you to have at least some of your views on the issues fleshed out.  Williamson’s website offers a platform of ideas that while incomplete should at least be familiar to the district’s voters.  While not quite word for word, they are heavily appropriated from – you guessed it – Levitas’s old campaign website.  I won’t bore you with the details, you can check it out yourself or hit read more to see the cut and pasted borrowings for yourself.   Hey, give the guy some credit: Levitas won this swing district two times in a row and came within about 100 votes of beating a quasi-incumbent the first time he tried.  If you have to copy someone, at least copy a winner.

Levitas on education:

We have to take a no-excuses approach to education in Georgia. We need properly funded schools, a return to emphasizing fundamental skills over a constant stream of standardized tests, incentives for outstanding educators to remain in their classrooms, smaller class sizes and assurances that school tax dollars raised locally will not be unfairly redistributed to other regions. We must maintain a strong HOPE Scholarship program.

Williamson on education:

There is simply no excuse for ignoring education needs in Georgia. We must have properly funded schools, incentives to keep the best performing educators in their classrooms, smaller class sizes, and above all a return to emphasizing fundamental skills over a constant stream of standardized tests. Residents should be assured that school tax dollars raised locally will not be unfairly redistributed to other regions. It is also vital that we maintain a strong HOPE Scholarship program to provide educational, as well as economic, opportunity to the next generation.

Levitas on Efficient and Ethical Government:

An efficient and ethical State government starts by trimming waste from government spending (especially spending on wasteful pet projects funded with taxpayer dollars) and cleaning up state purchasing. We need a State “Comptroller” (as 40 other states have) to purchase goods and services for State agencies. Pooling buying power lowers costs. Meaningful ethics reform and enforcement will help protect against special interests and corrupt dealing.  In addition to greater transparency regarding all monetary and in-kind campaign contributions as well as gifts to government officials, stricter enforcement of ethics law is needed to catch and punish violators, especially habitual offenders.

Williamson on Improving Gov’t Efficiency:

An efficient State government starts by trimming waste from government spending programs and thoroughly auditing state purchasing. This is not only necessary for keeping a balanced budget, but also a matter of ethics – we must be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars. We need a State “Comptroller” (as 40 other states have) to purchase goods and services for State agencies. As a businessman, I know that pooling our buying power will result in lower costs. Meaningful ethics reform and enforcement will also be key to protecting taxpayer dollars against special interests and corrupt deal-making. In addition to greater transparency for monetary and in-kind campaign contributions to government officials, we must demand stricter enforcement of ethics laws already on the book.

Levitas on DeKalb Taxes:

No matter where they live in the County, DeKalb taxpayers should be charged a fair, uniform rate based on their homes’ actual values. We must eliminate unfair property tax rates, hiding behind so-called “quality point” rate adjustments and ensure that older residents on fixed incomes aren’t forced from their homes by spiraling tax increases.  I will continue my efforts in the legislature to reform the current unfair system of taxation.  (see video)

Williamson on Taxes:

DeKalb taxpayers should be charged a reasonable, uniform rate based on the actual values of their homes. Unfair property tax rates, which make use of so-called “quality point” rate adjustments must be stopped to ensure that older residents on fixed incomes aren’t forced from their homes by spiraling tax increases.

11 comments

  1. ByteMe says:

    Despite the fact that our party doesn’t have a loyalty oath and that sometimes it seems like we will take just about anyone who wants to associate with us,

    Wait… there’s a Democrat with front page privileges???

  2. Mike Hauncho says:

    It’s my understanding that Mr. Holcomb did not qualify until the 11th hour. If I were Mr. Williamson I would have been ready to qualify as a Democrat as well. That would mean no primary opponent and no need to collect thousands of signatures.

    I think Mr. Williamson needs to focus on gathering signatures first and platform second. Chris said it himself, “Collecting signatures is hard sweaty work.” The website and platform will not matter if he does not collect the required signatures. Cut the man some slack and appreciate the fact that he did not take the easy road. He is out there trying to earn this seat.

    • iamnotasocialist says:

      Let me go through each of your well thought out points:
      1) It’s my understanding that Mr. Holcomb did not qualify until the 11th hour.–I am not sure of the time that he actually qualified, but I am aware of the fact, as a sort of Democratic insider, that his was the first name to be put out there the same day that Levitas resigned.

      2) If I were Mr. Williamson I would have been ready to qualify as a Democrat as well.–I believe the Democratic party would not have allowed that, as the he is an avowed Republican, as evidenced by his affiliation with YR

      3) The website and platform will not matter if he does not collect the required signatures.– however plagarism and lack of political thought as to why he wants to be in the race is something significant. I have worked in campaigns for years now, and if a candidate is unable to articulate why s/he is running and what his/her main stances are, than they have no business running.

      • Mike Hauncho says:

        I have no knowledge as to when his name was put out there but that has nothing to do with my comment. My point was that if Mr. Williamson was thinking about running and no one had even qualified to run as a Democrat as of 11am on Wednesday then why should he let qualifying close without a candidate? He would have been the only one on the ballot, unless someone else ran as an independent, and could have been elected as a Democrat and changed parties the first day of session.

        As for your point #3, I would be careful to accuse someone of plagiarism. I am quite positive that Mr. Williamson can articulate why he is running, in his own words.

        If and when Mr. Williamson gets the necessary signatures to get his name on the ballot I am sure he will let the votes of the 82nd district know why he is running and what he stands for. Until then, I find it in poor taste to judge the man for working to get on the ballot. If the Democratic candidate wins in November, so be it. But don’t discourage a person for running for public office. There is always plenty of talk on the blog about needing good people to run for office. Mr. Williamson is a good man and at least deserves a chance to earn the support of his community. He may or may not win, but at least he is trying.

        • iamnotasocialist says:

          For changing parties, that would be devious, self-serving, and just plain disgusting. I hate turncoats, or people who misrepresent themselves. Mike Jacobs does that quite enough.

          As for me “being careful” of accusing of plagarism, I stand by what I said. Read the quotes! They’re strikingly similar in view, construction, and train of thought. I am not doubting that he “can articulate” his own views, he just has chosen not to, and has instead resorted to something that closely resembles, but may not be, plagarism.

          I never said that Mr. Williamson was a bad man; I have not had the pleasure of meeting him, but I presume if I did, I would think him to be a nice fellow. However, I feel that, if someone wants to run, they should first be able to articulate their views and reasons for running, and then take steps to move forth.

  3. district 82 voter says:

    I agree that he needs to focus on the signatures first and the website second, but that’s not what he did. He “borrowed” Kevin Levitas’s statements almost verbatim, presumably without asking first. My question: Has Mr. Williamson even given any serious thought to these issues that he’s so ready to run on?

  4. Part-Time Atlanta says:

    Whoever was trying to talk him into running as a Dem was giving him bad advice. I just hope he wasn’t seriously considering it.

    • iamnotasocialist says:

      @Thadius

      Please read my screen name. It CLEARLY states that I am NOT a Socialist. Simple reading, my friend.

      As for your second point, Mike Jacobs shames me in so many ways.

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