Thursday, April 28, 2011
“Latina vote will transform American politics including the South”
It can’t happen soon enough. The need for coalition politics at the local and state level in Georgia is more urgent today one week after the conclusion of the General Assembly Session than ever.
The people of Georgia lose when the state cuts funding for education four or five straight years, ducks the hard choices needed to alleviate traffic congestion, avoids investment in drought prevention projects, reduces the number of state funded pre school slots , drastically limits college access for African American and Latina students, limps along in planning for high speed rail and ignores the trauma care needs of most Georgians.
The people of Georgia lose when a cross section of Georgians- businesses, farmers, people of color and others – can’t bring the Governor and legislators to their senses about the harshness and futility of the state passing Arizona style immigration legislation knowing the cost to Georgia taxpayers to fight what is likely a losing battle in federal court and a President who has announced his opposition and the wrongheadedness of 50 different state immigration laws.
We need the coalition that the Pew Hispanic Center talks about to keep Georgia leaders from forgetting how and why Georgia has thrived. We’ve been pro business, pro diversity and pro global.
We have reconciled that difference matters and can be a powerful ingredient in the global economy. We have been all about getting better at what we do, breaking from the crowd, charting a long-term course. We don’t create small plans.
As a former member of the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association, the Georgia Municipal Association, and the Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion Collaborative, I know the men and women mayors who have demonstrated leadership in the face of unpopularity over the years. Leaders in these groups have had the gumption and courage to speak up and to stand together. Their leadership is needed to push back the forces that seek to snatch Georgia from its largely successful course of economic progress since the 1960’s.
The progressive leadership has included numerous governors, mayors and county commissioners. A commonly quoted phrase these days is, as Georgia goes, so goes Atlanta.
Georgia nor Atlanta will not go far, if we abandon the legacy of leadership of Speaker Murphy, Representative Grace Hamilton, and Senator Johnson who understood the value of long range, far reaching investments like Georgia State University, MARTA and the World Congress Center.
Now HOPE offers less hope for those who have a legacy of poverty and discrimination; less hope for a new generation of Georgians to compete in the global economy; and only a glimmer of hope that Pew is right – Coalition politics will change even the South and Georgia.