Progressive ‘Better Georgia’ group launched to fight for jobs; against wedge issues

By Maria Saporta

A new organization — Better Georgia — is launching a statewide campaign beginning today, Dec. 1, to organize voters across the state who are disappointed with the current direction at the capitol.

Better Georgia specifically is focusing on Gov. Nathan Deal and leaders of the General Assembly and urging them to work on schools and jobs instead of political wedge issues, like immigration, which divide the state and make it unattractive to business investment and job growth.

“Gov. Deal’s Georgia looks a lot like Alabama,” said Bryan Long, a former public relations professional who is now executive director of Better Georgia. “We are saying ‘no’ to turning back the clock. Georgia once took pride in rising above issues that held back much of the south. Today, Gov. Deal and many of our lawmakers are chasing every bad idea conservatives have dreamed up — from Alabama’s anti-immigrants law to Mississippi’s personhood amendment.”

Long said Better Georgia will be an active organization that will push for progressive policies to improve the state’s economic vitality.

Specifically, the release announcing the launch of Better Georgia mention the state’s historic unemployment levels with nearly a half million people looking for jobs; the state having the third highest poverty rate in the nation; and students defaulting on college loans faster than the national average.

At the same time, state legislators passed an anti-immigration law that will cost the average family farmer $1.2 million in lost revenue annually for a total up to $1 billion in losses statewide, Better Georgia said.

The organization now is concerned that two legislators are planning to propose separate bills that would bring the “personhood” law to Georgia. A similar referendum was defeated in Mississippi earlier this year.

“With the economy in the condition it’s in today, Georgia can’t afford these expensive laws that are proven to be bad for jobs and bad for our economic recovery,” said Amy Morton, a marriage and family counselor in Macon and chair of Better Georgia. “Our lawmakers need to head to Atlanta in January and focus on the only two issues that matter to most Georgians: schools and jobs.”

Better Georgia is a new and growing non-partisan organization created to make sure Georgia’s leaders focus on real problems for real Georgians. The Athens-based group is funded through individual donations from people around the state.

“Progressive voters have been a sleeping giant in Georgia,” Long said. “Today the giant is awake and it’s angry. The governor’s team recently said Georgia is one of the ‘reddest of red states.’ We’re taking that as a challenge.”

For more information on Better Georgia, go to www.bettergeorgia.com.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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