WIN List Executive Director and Founding Chair
During 2022, Georgia will be the “center of the political universe” as voters make choices which have both national and historic implications:
- Will Rev. Senator Raphel Warnock win a full six-year term in a projected November race against the GOP frontrunner, football legend Herschel Walker, who moved to back to Georgia for this political run at the suggestion of twice impeached former President Donald Trump? The United States Senate is evenly split and the future for many national progressive policy proposals could well rest upon whether Warnock is re-elected.
- Will Governor Brian Kemp defeat his former ally, recently defeated Senator David Perdue, in the GOP Gubernatorial Primary following a bitter battle for the right wing of the Georgia GOP? Perdue now has the 2022 Trump endorsement which many saw as critical to Kemp’s 2018 victory.
- Will perseverance pay for Stacey Abrams in her second gubernatorial bid? She would be Georgia’s first woman governor and governor of color. Depending upon the outcome of races in other states, she might well become the nation’s first Black woman governor.
- Will the Trump endorsement become a winning factor for Republicans he endorses in the primary battles for Lt. Governor and Secretary of State?
- Will WIN List endorsed candidates Senator Jen Jordan, Bee Nguyen and Nicole Horn each make history by winning statewide office?
- Will Republicans win most of the legislative seats they so carefully gerrymandered in their desperate attempt to retain power as the state nears majority minority status?
The 2022 election cycle is much larger than any individual contest. Republican voters will be voting for the “soul” of their party while Democrats struggle to return to power after two decades of Republican trifecta prolonged by carefully drawn legislative maps which gave their party a great advantage.
Voters will be sending signals about how they feel on a variety of important issues such as how elections are conducted, the protection of reproductive freedom, the expansion of Medicaid in Georgia, curriculum choices for public schools and even gun safety measures.
In 1992, women responded to Anita Hill’s testimony about allegations of sexual harassment by then Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas by electing four new women to the US Senate and 19 new women to the House. Now, 30 years later, more ultra conservative justices have been appointed to join Justice Thomas, leaving a majority of judges who seem poised to set aside the reproductive freedoms guaranteed in the 1973 Roe v Wade decision. Without Federal protections for a national standard of care, decisions about reproductive freedom will be made separately by each state.
HB 481, Georgia’s most recent abortion ban which is currently under court review, passed by a two vote margin in the Housein 2019. The 2020 election FLIPped three house seats, but reproductive freedom is definitely on the ballot in the 2022 election cycle for both legislative chambers.
Further, Georgia is one of only 12 states which has not fully expanded Medicaid for all qualifying citizens. A Republican work requirement for benefits has just been rejected by the Federal government. Full expansion is part of the Stacey Abrams gubernatorial platform as well as a top issue for many current legislators. The COVID pandemic and lingering “long haul” symptoms for many has heightened the need for full Medicaid coverage.
As you contemplate potential new year’s resolutions for 2022, here are seven steps to move towards greater involvement in the Georgia political scene and the progressive policy goals Democratic candidates propose:
1. BE INFORMED
Make it part of your daily routine to check reliable news sources. Consider purchasing subscriptions to legitimate news organizations, including the many fine community journalism platforms which have recently been established in Georgia. Quality journalism needs paid subscribers to compete with sometimes more “interesting and readable” but entirely fictional “fake news.”
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader once said, “Nothing can stop the power of an informed citizenry when it is empowered, organized, and motivated.” Regrettably, much of the division which seems to be ripping our nation to shreds arises from “ill-informed citizenry.” We should all resolve to be even more responsible for the accuracy of what we post and share on social media and the sourcing of “facts” on which we base our opinions. Be sure to only share factual information from trusted sources.
2. BE AN ADVOCATE
Advocacy is raising your voice to promote the causes you hold dear. Effective advocacy does not necessarily require special training. Put your elected representatives at the national, state and local level on speed dial. Make your opinions known on proposed legislation with phone calls or clearly worded letters and e-mails.
If you are fortunate enough to have a member of congress and state legislators who consistently vote your values, let them know how much you appreciate them and their support. If your elected representatives take positions contrary to your beliefs, call their offices to make your voice heard. Staffers for all elected officials keep daily report tallies for the number of calls received and the opinions expressed. It takes only a minute to make sure your opinions are represented in those numbers.
When possible, show up at the Capitol for hearings or press conferences on state issues or at meetings of your city, county or school board. Suiting up and showing up is the step beyond just a phone call or letter. Being part of the “concerned citizens” crowd at public hearings is often the first step many currently elected officials took on their path to elected office. Consider becoming a public face for issues you care about by writing a letter to the editor or guest column for the local newspaper.
3. BE A CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER
It takes the proverbial “village” to run a campaign. Our WIN List endorsed women work hard to win elected office. These candidates need a volunteer “village” to help them knock on doors, make phone calls, address/stamp letters or post cards and drive voters to the polls for early voting and on election day. Teams who will engage in door-to-door voter contact are always needed. With the miracles of modern technology, a volunteer can place phone calls for a candidate without ever leaving the comfort of home. It is easy, requires no special equipment and the campaign provides you with a script and instructions.
Many currently elected women in Georgia volunteered in the campaigns of other candidates long before they placed their own names on a ballot. Campaigning for someone else is a great way to “test the waters” for whether you wish to run for office yourself someday.
4. BE A LEADER
Be the person in your circle of friends who knows what is going on and shares that knowledge with others. Start by sharing this blog post and information about Georgia’s WIN List. Organize a house party to discuss important issues – WIN List speakers will be happy to talk to your group and we are currently booking speaking engagements as soon as gathering is medically prudent.
Develop your leadership skills in the WIN Leadership Academy or leadership development programs offered in your community. If you are not yet ready to lead, find a public servant you can help. Most female elected officials have a supportive sisterhood of women who encouraged them to run and helped them WIN office.
5. BE A PUBLIC SERVANT
Not all public service requires running for elected office. If you want to take a step in that direction, consider service on an appointed board or commission at the local, county or regional level.
These boards govern a multitude of operations and provide oversight to local hospitals, libraries and industrial parks. Each county has a local board of elections to supervise the selection of polling places and the certification of election results. Many counties and cities have local zoning boards which conduct hearings and make recommendations about new development.
Names vary from place to place and these board/commission/authority appointments are made by local government officials. Ask for a list of the available positions in your community and then attend a public meeting or two to be sure this is a way you would enjoy serving before asking to be considered for the next vacancy. Service on these boards demonstrates your willingness to serve the community and is a great way to become involved while learning more. These positions can become a stepping stone to future campaigns for elected offices.
6. BE CONNECTED
Follow your local elected officials and like-minded groups on social media and sign up to receive their newsletters. Attend community/neighborhood meetings, WIN List events, political party meetings and gatherings hosted by progressive groups to connect with others who share your values. Joining others who also want to make a difference empowers the group and new recruits always bring hope to progressive causes.
7. BE A DONOR
Georgia’s WIN List, and all progressive groups for that matter, depend upon generous donors to fund their efforts. We can’t train future leaders and recruit candidates without your support. WIN List appreciates gifts in any amount, During 2022, monthly pledges can be made and automatically charged to debit or credit cards. For example, think of donating monthly what you might otherwise spend on one evening out or that “I don’t really NEED another white blouse/pair of black shoes” to WIN List instead!
We are grateful for the donors who have believed in our mission to change the face of power in Georgia for the past 22 years. Electronic payments and monthly pledges are accepted via our website.
“Lead, follow or get out of the way,” is an old quote attributed to many, but particularly applicable today. We must rise up and lead or decide where we are happy to be foot soldiers. There is too much at stake in 2022 to merely “get out of the way” and let others do the difficult work.
2022 is an “all hands on deck” political storm and a rising BLUE tide will lift all progressive boats!
Each of us must do our part.
We all have relationships with children – as mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and friends. This next generation counts on us to make the world they will inherit a better place. Twenty years from now, what will you be able say you did during these critical times for our state and nation?