Editor’s note: The Courier asked Democrats Lisa Ring and Barbara Seidman to write guest columns on why they are running for their party's nomination to oppose Republican Buddy Carter for Georgia's First Congressional District seat in Congress. Here's what they wrote:
A few weeks ago, I loaded up my van and traveled around the 17 counties of Georgia’s First Congressional District, the most recent trip in my year-long campaign knocking on doors and speaking with business owners and farmers, students and senior citizens, military personnel and teachers. Along with sore feet and a sunburn, I came away from that listening tour with a renewed passion and determination to make sure that your needs, your hopes and your dreams are being fought for in Washington.
Our district is an extraordinary example of what makes America great. Urban, rural, black, brown, white, fifth generations, newly-minted Georgians — we all live together, work together, and play together. I’ve visited warm and welcoming communities and I’ve met some amazing people.
And I’ve shared their frustration and pain when military wives told me they needed to be on food stamps to feed their families, that parents with two jobs, who barely saw their children, still couldn’t make ends meet, that teenagers whose futures should be bright had given up because they couldn’t afford college, that mothers would pray that their kids would be safe as they sent them off to school because they couldn’t pay for health care.
That’s the job of our government and our representatives are letting us down. That’s why I’m running for Congress in Georgia’s First Congressional District.
Things need to change and I can help bring about that change.
As a military spouse and a military mom, I know all too well how fragile our democracy is. I know that if you believe in something, you have to fight for it. What makes America great is that if what you believe in is true and honest and fair, you can make it happen — we can make it happen.
Here’s what I believe:
• I believe that healthcare is a human right and that we should pass Medicare for All to take healthcare out of the hands of the insurance industry and place it into the hands of healthcare professionals.
• I believe that we must support our veterans transitioning to civilian life by providing the benefits they were promised, from helping them find decent paying skilled jobs and providing educational benefits to offering comprehensive medical and mental care.
• I believe workers deserve a living minimum wage of, at the very least, $15 per hour.
• I believe we should protect our extraordinary coast of Georgia from the disastrous economic and environmental effects of off-shore drilling.
• I believe in tuition-free public college and university education and relief from staggering student loan debt.
• I believe in reforming policing policies to eliminate racial profiling, excessive force, unreasonable search and seizure and police corruption.
• I believe in progressive taxes that shift the burden off of working class folks and make the very wealthy pay their fair share.
• I believe that gun violence can be contained through mentoring programs, community-based intervention and sensible gun legislation, such as universal background checks.
• I believe that we need to remove the influence of money from politics and that the voice of the people should be louder than the money of corporations.
Most of all, I believe that these values that I’m running on are also your values – values that will make you, your family and your community healthier and happier. Values that you want your representative to fight for in Congress.
During my tour of the 1st district, I met a very special young man. Jalen is a high school student who is interning with my campaign because he wants to help bring change to his community.
I owe it to Jalen to make it happen and I promise I will, with your vote.
The current political climate is cloudy and unstable at best. The Republican leadership thinks it is more important to protect its Republican majorities in Congress and Donald Trump’s presidency than it is to guard the electoral process against manipulation and hacking by hostile foreign powers and other bad actors.
People are frankly tired of wondering what unethical political propaganda will flash next across their television screens. But the primaries are just around the corner and together, we can help to solve this issue.
My name is Barbara Seidman, and I am running for Congress in Georgia’s 1st Congressional District. I need your vote to advance to the next election, so that I can take the significant concerns of Southeast Georgians to the doorsteps of Washington bureaucrats.
The people are speaking, but they are going unheard. And I fully intend to invest time into putting a stop to hidden agendas that distract members of Congress from the people they serve and the real issues that citizens face.
I am not a professional politician. I am a wife. I am the mother of four children, and I am a Georgia citizen who believes in making a difference in my community. I believe in helping people and I want to provide District 1 with the tools they need to be successful.
With your help, I can go to Washington and help to write bills that positively impact healthcare, veterans, employment, social security, education, and the environment. These issues have taken a backseat during the current term, while politicians are distracted by Twitter feuds — which are the new political squirrels. I plan to remind those in Washington of the duties and responsibilities they have to you.
I will remind Congress that: Americans should have access to affordable health care — the same benefit of free or universal health care that is provided in many nations around the world, including Germany, France, China, Iceland, Iraq, and Jamaica.
I will remind Congress that: Veterans and their families need more support. Though many do not wear wounds that are outwardly visible, they suffer greatly.
I know this firsthand because I have a daughter who suffers with post traumatic stress disorder since serving in the Iraq war. We should fight for them and their families as they fought for us.
I will remind Washington bureaucrats that: Social Security is an earned right and one that needs protection. American’s have worked and contributed to this fund for the entirety of their working lives.
I will tell the elected officials that social security is not an entitlement, but an earned benefit that the American people deserve.
I will tell my fellow Congresswomen and Congressmen:
Education as it is the key to a better future for all Americans because it provides our youth the opportunity for a better life. And because we know this to be true, we must fight hard to ensure that every child receives a fair education, especially those who are on the margins of economic opportunity. As your congresswoman, I will advocate for free tuition for community colleges and ample support for HBCUs and their historical significance in educating African-Americans.
If you vote for me, I will stand before the men and women who were elected to serve the people of Georgia and beyond, I will tell them that Georgians deserve wage increases. This is why I support the Savannah Port and funding to deepen the harbor to facilitate new jobs for our region.
I ask for your vote on May 22 for the Democratic nomination to face Republican incumbent Buddy Carter. As your Congresswoman, I will take your concerns to Washington. Your voices will be heard. I will fight for what is right and just for all Americans.
For information on my foreign policy positions, please visit my campaign website at www.electseidman.com.