On Thursday, September 29th, Rep. Austin Scott visited Forsyth— a city north of Macon in neighboring Monroe County to talk to his constiuents of the Eighth Congressional District in a town-hall meeting.
Scott had beaten former Macon mayor Jim Marshall last November to claim Central Georgia’s congressional seat. Even though Scott won, the conservative Republican only won 37 percent of Bibb County.
In a recent special session of the General Assembly, Georgia Republicans approved reapportionment plans to make things a little easier for the freshman congressman by subtracting most of Bibb County from his congressional district.
Bibb County is divided in order to help Austin Scott win re-election in 2012. However, should North Bibb County Democrats be silent and just give the first-term congressman a pass by not putting forth a candidate?
The lack of clarity on where some Bibb County Democrats stand on the issues has blurred the political lines and is packaged as unity with Republicans who are working hard to undermine President Barack Obama from serving a second term.
Political demographics show approximately a third of North Macon cast a vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but this fact isn’t a reason to be silent in regard to Austin Scott and other local Republicans who are incumbents or candidates for public office.
North Macon may be more affluent than other parts of the county, but many of the Republican policies ranging from the Bush tax cuts to the unfunded mandate No Child Left Behind and the deliberate obstructionism in the Congress should be a cause of concern and voters who had cast a ballot for John McCain or Nathan Deal may be ready to cast a ballot for a Democrat in the next election cycle.
Even though North Macon isn’t as progressive as other areas, there is an opportunity for the local party to appeal to open-minded moderates who believe in Social Security and Medicare.
Every election cycle is uniquely different, but why haven’t more Bibb County Democrats been vocal about the lack of leadership and deliberate obstructionism of this particular Republican congressman who represents an area which is still currently the largest population center of his Eighth Congressional District–Macon?
Democrats are supposed to be for the blue-collar workers and middle-class, but the silence in regard to where our own local party publicly stands on issues such as health care, education and the Bush tax cuts is problematic.
It is not yet known if first-term Rep. Austin Scott will be able to part ways completely with the mostly progressive precincts in Macon and Bibb County until the Justice Department conducts its review and after a likely federal court challenge.
Scott, who represents the Eighth Congressional District, is president of the 2010 freshman class in Congress. Plus, he has avoided Macon for the most part since his arrival in Washington except for a few meetings with the local Rotary Club.
Scott had an early opportunity to be different and truly represent his district, but he fell in line with the Republicans completely and has been part of the obstructionist movement which would make the Tea Party very proud.
My question to Mr. Scott along with many Central and South Georgians: “Where are the jobs?”
Scott and his fellow House Republicans had a supposed mandate during the mid-term election of 2010, but has failed to put forth a single jobs bill and scoffed at President Barack Obama’s olive branch of working together in order to do something for the country and get Americans back to work.
Where is Scott’s leadership on this issue? Unfortunately, he is nowhere to be found on this issue and a multitude of issues that affect working class and middle class Americans here in Georgia and nationwide.
With Austin Scott’s unabashed support of the Bush tax cuts and efforts to cut Medicare and undermine the current health care law, should Central Georgians elect him to another term? Additionally, Scott has been against infrastructure spending to help spur the economy.
If Scott’s new district is confirmed by the Justice Department and the federal courts, Houston County would become the Eighth Congressional District largest population center, replacing Macon.
In recent years, Houston’s population boom has almost exceeded Bibb County.
The Census shows that Houston County has a population of approximately 140,000 people and an African-American population of nearly 29 percent along with a Latino population of six percent.
Scott may believe that excluding Macon makes his path to another term a ‘walk in the park’, but he shouldn’t underestimate the strong progressive base in cities such as Warner Robins and Perry.
Scott’s position on immigration reform will have an impact on the Latino vote in Houston County and the rest of his newly configured district. Scott’s position on the President’s job bill will have an impact on African-American community and the broader community who are white moderates.
A strong progressive challenger who can expose the do-nothing Republican Congress and unwillingness to work together for the public good is possible and this makes Austin Scott very vulnerable, because he has virtually no record to tout or accomplishments in regard to helping to stimulate the economy.
Barack Obama did lose Houston County in 2008, but 40 percent of the voters cast a ballot for him.
Houston County may have been reliably conservative in recent election cycles, but this isn’t Wyoming or Idaho.
The second largest population center in the newly configured Eight Congressional District is Lowndes County. This area will be critical in Scott’s ability to get elected in 2012. Both Houston and Lowndes have similarities. Lowndes has Moody Air Force Base and Houston has Robins Air Force Base. However, in a last bit of negotiations, Jack Kingston was able to get Moody Air Force base and its surrounding area drawn into his district. So that means Scott will have to campaign for more progressive and moderate votes.
In 2008, Barack Obama won 46 percent of the vote in Lowndes County. The county seat is Valdosta which has a plurality of African-Americans at 48 percent.
Scott may have been able to escape the progressives in Macon, but the progressives in Lowndes County and Valdosta in particular could help to decide this race in 2012.