More than 600 friends and supporters of U.S. Congressman Jack Kingston accepted his invitation to attend a free, ‘thank you’ barbecue Saturday at Dunham Farms in Sunbury.
Guests began arriving before the 11 a.m. start, with parking and registration assistance provided by Liberty County Sheriff’s Department deputies and numerous volunteers. In addition to barbecue and sweet tea provided by Boy Scout Troop 500, guests were treated to live entertainment. Kingston’s daughter Betsy was part of that entertainment, singing several country classics.
The event included a guests list of supporters from throughout Georgia’s 1st Congressional District, as well as a number of political opponents, whom Kingston acknowledged as his friends despite their political differences. He specifically pointed out state Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, and Hinesville Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier.
While guests enjoyed their meals and the entertainment, Kingston walked among them, taking time to talk to everyone who wanted to speak to him and posed for pictures with his strongest supporters. He warned everyone he met not to shake hands with him as he was fighting a cough, which was not yet a cold.
“Congress has an approval rating of what, about 1 percent right now,” he joked. “I don’t want to give anybody a cold, but if you’re one of those high-risk behavior folks, I’ll shake your hand.”
People young and old waited in line to speak to their congressman. He listened and talked to college students about their major and to elderly people in wheelchairs. Even guests from as far away a California stood in line to talk with Kingston and thanked him for his support for one issue or another.
“I’ve never seen our country more divided than it is right now,” Kingston said, explaining both political parties need to come together for the good of the country. “If we don’t solve the problems inside our country, things are going to be dictated to us from outside our country.”
He said the answers to the country’s fiscal problems were not easy, but insisted congressional leaders needed to work together. He called for leaders to work in a bipartisan basis and “do what is best for America.”
He was more specific on the current gun control debate led by Vice President Joe Biden.
“You don’t build any kind of consensus that way,” Kingston said, regarding Biden’s suggestion the president may bypass Congress and issue an executive order on gun control. “I think that an executive order over-reaches the Constitution and will probably be unwound through the court system, but it may take many months or years. It would just further divide the country.”
He said the nation needs to build a consensus about how best to deal with violence in the country by ensuring guns don’t get into the hands of the “bad guys,” but not restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. He said the country needed to address the violent culture, particularly violent video games, which he said can desensitize young people.
Kingston thanked his supporters and his staff and especially Laura and Meredith Davendorf, owners of Dunham Farms for their support and for making the day’s event possible. Kingston, who is noted for his strong support for veterans, will be keynote speaker at a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning for the new Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Hinesville.