He began tearing off various sized sections of the paper indicated that what he tore off represented the percentage of voters who don’t vote. When he had reduced the paper down to the 35 percent of voters who actually vote, he divided that number in half, showing that only 18 percent of America’s potential voters actually elect those who lead our local, state and federal government. That percentage is criminal.
In 20 days, Georgia voters will be asked to vote in the Georgia primary election. In this primary election Republicans and Democrats will choose those candidates who will face off in the July runoff. The winners of the July run-off election will face off in the November general election, where only 18 percent of Georgians will elect Georgia’s governor, U.S. senator, U.S. representatives and superintendent of education. For most of the races here in Cherokee County the election will be decided in the May 20 primary because there are no Democratic opponents.
But are most Georgians letting May 20 creep up on them unprepared to make intelligent choices? I hope not. More than likely, many voters will enter the voting booth and there learn they will have to choose between three candidates for governor; between five candidates for the U.S. Senate seat (on the Republican ballot); between six candidates for the 11th Congressional seat; between nine candidates (Republican ballot — four candidates on the Democratic ballot) for superintendent of Georgia Education; and here in Cherokee County, three candidates for the 22nd Georgia House seat; and two candidates each for several seats on the Cherokee County Board of Education.
While preparing to vote in the primary election, I looked up each candidate’s website who will be on my ballot, and read as much as I could about them. I now think I am ready to cast my ballot on every office except the state superintendent of education office. Several candidates for this office did not have a website when I looked on line. What I am looking for in the state superintendent is a candidate who has a sound legal mind combined with real political experience.
Georgia’s last three superintendents — all former educators — did little to enhance Georgia’s education reputation, with one ending up in prison. I’m looking for a candidate who can “think outside the box” to solve Georgia’s real educational problems.
I attended candidate meetings and listened to the candidates outline their proposed solutions for lifting Georgia’s educational system to higher levels. Since I don’t know most candidates personally, I found friends who knew some, but not all the candidates, and asked for their input on their qualifications and character.
Then, after narrowing the candidates for this office down to three, I attempted to contact them. When possible I met with them one-on-one. The first candidate I met with was Ashley Bell. Mr. Bell meets all the criteria I think Georgia’s next superintendent should have and he even provided solutions to our state’s educational problems, common sense solutions for the most venerable students, those from single income, fatherless homes, solutions based on hands-on involvement with his local school district to solve real problems.
Now, hopefully, as I meet with other candidates, I will be able to find the best candidate available for this very important office — an office that has lacked real leadership far too long here in Georgia.
This vetting process I used to select those I will vote for is similar to the process I used to hire my staff years ago — list the job criteria and then find that person who best fits my job expectations. It worked then and it is working now. Prior to my visit with Ashley Bell I had met most of the candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, County Commission Chair, County Commission Post 4, and the school board. It has been a lengthy process but I remember the council the Lord gave on elections. Said He; “I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.
Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men (and women) and wise men (and women) should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.”
Sound advice in today’s challenging political world.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.