Our Next Governor’s Guidance On Ballot Measures

Oconee County, you asked and we have answers!

Ballot amendments are always hard to decipher.  Too often they are worded to sound great, but are really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Democratic Candidate Stacy Abrams has published her own guidance on these measures just in time for voting to begin.  She not only explains shares how she plans to vote, but explains the amendments in plain language and lists pros and cons for each one as well.  Please see the document linked below to see how your next Governor plans to vote!

Document is here:  Guidance on Proposed Constitutional Amendments.

Letter To The Editor – Oconee Enterprise

See below for a letter published in the August 2, 2018 Oconee Enterprise, written by Oconee Democrats’ own Alice Zwaagstra!

Great job, Alice, we couldn’t agree more!

Congress Needs Courage On Border

A few thoughts on our border/migrant situation.  Let me begin with a quote from a letter to the Enterprise dated July 19, 2018:  from Matthew 25:40, Jesus said truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.  Now, with regard to cruel and inhumane policies at our border, where to begin?  

First, I would expect our president to work with congress to pass meaningful legislation on immigration, not initiate, on his own, poorly thought out measures intended to punish, not ameliorate conditions requiring flight.  We are so fortunate here that we cannot imagine weeks of travel, mostly on foot, privation and danger to escape even worse.  Neither I, nor anyone I know, wants open borders, but we need lawmakers with the intestinal fortitude to lead and pass intelligent laws to deal with immigration.

Second, I would expect government to have adequate personnel and facilities to handle an influx of refugees, not turn them away saying “Sorry. No room at the inn.”  With no home to go to, no well-stocked refrigerator with food and no bed to sleep in, where would anyone go?  

Third, what is our government doing to ease conditions in the countries from which the migrants are coming?  Are we attacking the opioid crisis full force, since the drug trade is responsible for much of the violence and our own country of addicts requires a constant supply?  Or are we doing everything possible to prevent treatment and medical care by gutting the affordable  care act?  Are we sending well-seasoned diplomats to help El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to help quell the violence?  None of these reasonable measures are happening.

So I ask you, among the many positive things we could be doing, what are we accomplishing?  Keep the above reasonable measures in mind when you vote for members of congress this fall, because very few of them are helping.  Trump is not correct on immigration, but he is aided and abetted by those in congress meant to be a check who don’t have the backbone to speak up.

Alice Zwaagstra

Bishop, Georgia

The Blue Wave

Newsletter Reader Column: The Blue Wave

Eric Gisler


It is not just spring and its associated pollen that is in the air these days.  If you are like me, you are getting excited about the 2018 election. There is no doubt that election of “the twitterer in chief” in 2016 has energized the electorate, and not in his favor!  Democrats across the country are mobilizing, getting out the vote and winning historically “red” districts. Yes, friends, there is a blue wave a-comin!

With all of this energy and momentum it is important to keep our “eyes on the prize” and not get too over-confident or just assume it is going to happen.  There is still a long way to go until November and nothing is a sure thing, especially in politics!

Ever since President Obama was elected 10 years ago, the conservative side of the political landscape has run further and further to the right.  If you ask me, nothing could be better for the Democratic Party. This is our opportunity to be the “big tent”.

I am a case in point.  If the 2016 Presidential election had not gone the way it had, I probably wouldn’t have thought about getting involved.  If the subsequent antics of this dangerous and embarrassing administration hadn’t occurred, I probably never would have walked into a Democratic Party meeting last August.  In short, things got to the point where I felt that I had to choose sides, and there are a lot more people out there just like me.

Here in 2018 we should attract independent and moderate Republican voters by allowing the other side to sink themselves.  I personally know people who used to identify as Republicans that did not and will not vote for Trump or anyone like him. For that matter, I personally know people who did vote for Trump in 2016 and have stated that they will not do so again.  The Fox News / Koch brothers strategy has gone too far if you ask me, and I think they will see that come November.

This is all because the Republican party has gone too ideological.  In doing so, they have ceded the middle ground to us and it is important that we welcome those independents and moderate Republicans into our ranks as much as possible.  This is a numbers game, and the numbers are in our favor!

However, we must be cautious, especially here in Oconee.  We should not run left when they run right. Here in Oconee county, the Blue Wave is going to have a lot of opposition.  While Oconee and Clarke are probably a little more open to the coming change, GA-10 has a lot of deep-red rural counties where it’s going to be an uphill battle.  Even though many of us know in our hearts that comprehensive gun control legislation and universal healthcare are no-brainers, they are also non-starters in districts like ours.  That conservative strategy may have gone too far, but it’s been around for a long time, it is well embedded, and it will be difficult to unseat.

We need to embrace common sense, middle of the road candidates that are running on obviously stable positions.  Let the alt-right shoot themselves in the foot and we can welcome those that abandon them when they do. Let’s use this wonderful opportunity to be more inclusive and make changes that are ethical, non-partisan, and long lasting to build the community, state, and country we all want to be a part of.

Break out your sustainably sourced, locally crafted surfboards and your free-range organic sunscreen (SPF 30+ and broad-spectrum!), there is a Blue Wave on the horizon and it’s going to be a great ride!

Where to Send Your Donations

At our last meeting, we were asked about the plethora of groups vying for your political donations.  There are many, many options, and it’s hard for anyone to make sense of it all.

The way I look at it, there are basically four kinds of causes asking for your political donations:

  1. Individual candidates, to directly fund their election efforts.
  2. Political party operations, for party operations and special events as well as supporting candidates,
  3. National campaign umbrellas (DNCC, DGA, etc), who distribute donations to candidates,
  4. Issue-advocacy groups and PACs: Everytown, Planned Parenthood, MoveOn, etc., who advertise for or against candidates based on their pet issue.

The top of your list should be the candidate(s) you support.  Give directly to the election result that’s going to affect your life, to candidates you like for their position on the issues.  Everything else is indirect. So support candidates, first and foremost. Giving to the county party should be almost an afterthought.  Think of us, please, yes… but a token afterthought is all. Support your candidates first and foremost, and then support them again!

In the bygone days of uncontested races, the national umbrellas made sense if you didn’t have a candidate to support, nor know which of the other states’ candidates was worth backing.  Today, Democrats in Georgia have been so successful in recruiting that you probably have to decide which local candidates to support!  So leave the umbrellas for people in the Northeast and the West Coast, or in Wyoming and Utah, whose local contests aren’t hot.

Even then, there are too many candidates to ask you to support them all.  Pick a total recurring donation that you’re comfortable with—recurring because it helps the recipients plan over their campaign—and divide it up however you like.  If there’s a contested Democratic primary and you have a strong preference, give to help win the primary. If you care against the incumbent more than for one Democrat, wait until the primary shakes out and support the winner.

Support the local races; they affect you most directly, and can’t get the attention of people far away, whereas a state-wide race draws on millions of Georgians and maybe the national umbrellas also.  Local races are cheaper, but have fewer donors: a small donation to a county race has more impact, proportionally. But state races need support, too, and if everyone only looks local, we can’t win them.   So pick a mix, whatever you feel good about… and then feel good about it.  You’re donating what you can do, thank you.

Issue advocacy groups only steer conversation; it’s candidates who get elected who do things.  So if there is an issue dear to you give to candidates supporting the issue more than to the advocacy PAC.  You’d be asking the PAC to support candidates, so just do it directly. You can give to the PAC also, if you like, to help with media buzz and in other states.  And there are reasons to do so—attack ads, for example, work from a third party, but not well from the candidates.

But mostly, it’s all about the candidates, so support them.  And remember that for the next couple weeks, our incumbent state legislators (Deborah and Jonathan) can’t take donations… but they’ll need them as soon as the session ends!


We Have Candidates! … And They Need YOU

Qualifying week is now over for all candidates in local, state, and federal seats…which means we have campaigns to run! 💙

We have a slew of campaigns that we will be working in the Oconee County local, state, and federal elections. That is amazing news, and a huge success compared to earlier ballots full of uncontested races! But it requires all of us stepping in to support these candidates.

Attached is a link to our new Master Volunteer Form that will let us match skills and legwork to the campaigns needing assistance. Please complete this form and let us know what you can do, what you are willing to do, what you are interested in, so that we can hit the ground running with these courageous community members who have stepped up to be our voice!!

“March for our Lives” Rally: March 24, 2018

“March for Our Lives Rally” will be held at 11 am – 1 pm, Saturday, March 24, at the Pavilion in Oconee Veterans Park, 3500 Hog Mountain Road, in support of thousands of high school students across Georgia and the nation who are insisting that lawmakers everywhere put an end to the mass killings of school children. The event is sponsored by the Oconee County Democratic  Committee.

We invite the public to offer its sympathy for the slain and support for young students everywhere as they seek solutions to school violence.  Jonathan Wallace and Deborah Gonzalez, Georgia House Representatives from Districts 119 and 117, respectively, will offer brief remarks in support of the goals the young students are seeking, as will Chalis Montgomery and Richard  Winfield, candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the Democratic Primary in May.  Several high school students will speak as well, and civic leaders in the county have also been invited to attend and address the audience.

After the remarks, there will be time for the speakers and audience to talk with one another about the difficulties and obstacles faced to make communities safer.  At the conclusion of the program, many may choose to walk the trails in the Park in memory of those who have lost their lives in mass shootings.

In Memory of Heather D. Heyer

Our hearts are saddened by the senseless loss of 32 year old, Heather D. Heyer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this sorrowful time. Heather was killed by a domestic terrorist while counter protesting against Neo-Nazism and white supremacy.  She courageously put her life on the line to stand up for social and racial equality. We must continue to honor her and the many others who have lost their lives in the pursuit to fight against hate and prejudice.