It should have come as no surprise to regular readers of Peach Pundit that I, along with most other contributors, will not be voting for Incumbent Republican Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle. We’ve dedicated many posts to our problems with the “Light” Gov, and so as to not lose focus on the topic, I will not repeat them here.
But voting against someone does not equate to voting for someone else. There are options for protest votes, and there’s the too often realization that you’re voting for the lesser of two evils. Carol Porter was kind enough to join me for breakfast two weeks ago, which I requested at the urging of some mutual friends. I wanted to learn more about the person who was most likely going to be the recipient of my vote against Cagle. I left with Porter not only receiving my full support, but a small campaign contribution as well.
At the risk of dooming any future she may have in the Democratic party (and in the hopes that one day, she may have one in the Republican party), I’ll start by saying that my assessment is that Mrs. Porter is more conservative than many people the Republicans currently have on the ballot this year. She has a clear understanding that removing the homeowners’ property tax relief grant is in fact a tax increase on property owners. She’s quick to point out that Cagle agreed with her two years ago when he bragged about saving it, but now claims it’s a local government problem since he helped eliminate it. She also cedes no ground on social issues, and in my opinion, could teach the leadership of certain so-con groups a few lessons on manners, decorum, and dignity.
Porter’s solution to Georgia’s ongoing budget crisis is what she calls “Priority Budgeting”. In short, she believes that constant across the board cuts require neither courage nor great intellectual capacity. Rather, they are a knee jerk solution that merely passes the buck; that don’t address what government should be doing, and more importantly, what it should not. Anyone can cut 5% of everything, and pass the decisions along to staff and bureaucrats, but it takes leadership to decide what programs will get funded and which ones will be gone. Porter promises that leadership.
On this point she was clear: Items that the State needs to prioritize should not be receiving across the board cuts so that ineffective and outdated programs can survive. Rather, Georgia needs to focus its limited tax resources on the programs the state needs to be involved in, and others need to be eliminated entirely.
She believes that education is among the state’s top priorities, and as such, needs a serious refocus on preparing students for their next step beyond K-12. In what she calls “Earn or Learn”, she wants every high school graduate either prepared to excel at college, or prepared to earn a meaningful salary via technical education. This concept ties into her economic development plan, as she believes that Georgia will not attract employers unless there is a readily available, trained work force.
She’s also an outspoken critic of the current ethical environment surrounding state government, and seems to have a good grasp of what is, and what needs to be. Further discussion of that topic will probably just cause me to discuss why I’m voting against the incumbent. This article remains about Mrs. Porter.
At what I thought was the end of a mostly political breakfast, I decided to ask about the family business. Carol, along with her husband (and house minority leader DuBose), run several newspapers in central Georgia. I asked casually if things were going well, and if they’ve noticed signs the economy is bottoming out. My follow up question was “…but have you figured out the business model for newspapers,” as most newspapers, large and small, have faced readership leave for the internet, and advertisers leave for Craigslist, or, just leave. The answer was surprisingly affirmative, and what followed was a discussion about what Mrs. Porter had to do as the mother of 4 (all Eagle Scouts), with a husband in a leadership position in his party mostly in Atlanta, to re-invent a business. With the economy collapsing, stakeholders doubtful, and IT folks saying what she wanted couldn’t be done, she set about re-building their entire business model and within 24 months, has turned the enterprise around. I know there are a lot of folks currently on the ballot, and many more of us who are not, who wish we could claim the same.
The conversation continued for quite a bit longer after that, and each time she responded to any question with a firm, matter of fact, common sense reply. The kind of replies that frankly, you don’t get from many in either party these days in an era ruled by poll driven sound bites and consultant speak.
Frankly, to say that Carol Porter has an uphill battle is an understatement. Her fundraising has not matched that of the incumbent, and her name ID in the Atlanta region remains somewhat low. She’s also running as a Democrat in what may be the biggest Republican wave in history. Regardless, my votes and my public support aren’t given because I’m trying to pick a winner. I’m voting for Carol Porter because she best represents and articulates the conservative principles that my party claims to stand for. I will make no apologies in voting for a Democrat to demonstrate that.