Labor Day and Politics in Metro-Atlanta
Labor Day is a federal holiday since 1894 and is observed by millions who spend the day resting or engaging in recreational activities such as boat riding, family barbecue, and local community parades. With the gubernatorial election almost eight weeks away with the growing number of unemployment and home foreclosures; these issues have resulted in growing frustrations by many Georgians. The two top gubernatorial candidates Democrat Roy Barnes and Republican candidate Nathan Deal took advantage of this Labor Day by showing up at local events in the metro- area to campaign and to explain why they should lead Georgia over the next four years as governor.
Roy Barnes addressed the issue of Georgia’s infrastructure as well as unemployment. He explained the need for government to create more jobs by building roads and bridges and mass transit. Interestingly, according to NPR September 6, 2010 edition, President Obama explained his administration long-term job program to rebuild roads railways and runways but the cost would exceed $50 billion dollars. Mr. Barnes promises not to furlough teachers, ensure smaller classes, and raises for teachers.
Nathan Deal took the opportunity to explain his personal finances publicly by disclosing his income tax return after he was challenged to do so by Roy Barnes. He defended his disclosure of submitting summaries of his income tax returns because they were supplements that were disclosure forms he submitted to Congress. Barnes released over hundreds of pages detailing his income tax information.
Both Democrat and Republican candidates’ campaign speeches will be closely scrutinized especially when Georgia unemployment continues to be above the national average and future employment hiring in the metro- Atlanta area appears bleak for the fourth quarter 2010. According to a job survey by Manpower Incorporated, an employment agency that measures employers plan to hire, released September 7, 2010, those who seek jobs for the fourth quarter will be challenged because employers in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs -Marietta area are slowing down plans to hire compared to last quarter. The candidates will have to face voters to address other specific issues such as home foreclosures, and the growing percentage of high school dropout among minorities in Georgia.
The campaign is sure to become heated as the November election nears. Georgians are seeing more TV commercials in an attempt to convince voters why they should not vote for the other candidate. Republican candidate Nathan Deal attempts to align Democrat candidate Roy Barnes with President Barack Obama and Barnes continues to hammer on the fact Deal is attempting to hid something by not disclosing a detailed and specific information of his income tax information versus disclosing a summarized report.
In discussing the state of Atlanta’s economy with my friends and family, I find the paramount concerns are employment and having a sense of security of remaining in their homes without having to undergo foreclosure. Will the negative campaigning play a role in the manner in which voters cast their vote this November? The jury is still out. This November, Georgia will get national attention considering how Georgia voted in the past presidential election.
NPR September 6, 2010 Edition
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