Opinion

April 26, 2013

Brian Kemp: What community newspapers mean to me

A wise man once told me, “If it isn’t in the newspaper, it never really happened.” I have found this to be no truer than in politics. Community newspapers are true guardians of the public interest and the absolute best purveyor of accurate local information.

When I first ran for the state Senate a decade ago, I thought that I had a pretty good handle on all of Northeast Georgia. The 46th District was comprised of parts of Clarke, Oconee, Jackson and Barrow counties, and I had lived in Clarke my entire life. I had family and friends across the district.

Well, it didn’t take long for me to learn that I had a lot to learn. Local newspapers were the ultimate “cheat-sheet” for a first time candidate. Farm Bureau meetings, volunteer fire department information, local PTA meetings, church gatherings and local political and government meetings can all be found in the local newspaper. As valuable as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB Channel 2 are, you are not going to hear about the Statham Sunflower Festival from them.

Events like these are where I gained a true understanding of issues in each individual community. While Northeast Georgia has a lot in common, each community has its own character and its own issues.

Community newspapers helped Brian Kemp the candidate, but they helped Brian Kemp the elected official so much more. When you get down to the Gold Dome, it is very easy to fall into the mindset that Georgia begins and ends at I-285. The focus is on “front page” issues that affect education, transportation and health care. Too often, all the communication on these issues comes from the major metro media. That means hearing about how a change in the QBE (Quality Basic Education) formula will affect DeKalb County, what the loss of the Georgia 400 toll means to transportation funding and what the trauma care formula will mean for Grady Memorial Hospital.

The laws passed in Atlanta govern all 159 counties in Georgia and the staffs at the community newspapers are the ones doing the true research in determining the local impact of legislation. Never is any new law an “apples to apples” comparison when it comes to Georgia because we are so diverse from an economic, industrial and physical standpoint.

I have the privilege of representing every single citizen of Georgia as the Secretary of State. Since I took office in 2010, I have visited 153 of 159 counties and will shortly have visited each and every one. Not once have I ever been through a county without contacting the local community newspaper. The reason is simple. “If it isn’t in the newspaper, it never really happened.”

Brian P. Kemp is Georgia’s Secretary of State.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Sacrifices worth honoring

    Members of the Dalton City Council were recently approached by representatives of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart with a request to declare Dalton a Purple Heart City. Council members indicated they will approve the request.

    July 24, 2014

  • We must do better

    The numbers tell a sad tale.
    Registered voters: 36,843.
    Cards cast: 5,307.
    That means the turnout for Tuesday’s runoffs in Whitfield County was a measly 14.4 percent, according to unofficial results from the Whitfield County elections office.

    July 23, 2014

  • Letter: Control immigration

    Thousands are starting to pour into our country, and things are getting personal. Why would we end up the bad guys if we turn away children who aren’t ours? How does it make us better people to let one man steal from our children and stand by and do nothing?

    July 23, 2014

  • Helping with Book Blast betters the community

    The school test results are in, and students in Whitfield and Murray counties mostly improved from a year ago, mirroring or exceeding average scores of their peers.

    July 23, 2014

  • Mark Millican: Guns are already everywhere

    Though it happened over 30 years ago, the image is still vivid.

    July 22, 2014

  • Charles Oliver: Former officer works overtime improperly

    Stephen F. Hall has pleaded guilty to theft by deception and falsifying a government record.

    July 22, 2014

  • Dalton council should seek answers

    Judicial elections in this area are usually pretty staid. In fact, they are generally nonexistent, since most judges run unopposed.

    July 21, 2014

  • Letter: Something to think about

    It has been better than four months now since Malaysia Flight 370 went missing. During that time we have heard all kinds of speculation, conjecture and opinions as to what happened to it. The only certainties to emerge are that the Malaysians fumbled the ball early on and there are some understandably distressed loved ones left to deal with their losses.

    July 21, 2014

  • Don’t forget the runoff

    Most folks are either getting ready for or still recovering from their summer vacations. So it’s easy to forget that Tuesday is an election day. A runoff election day to be precise.

    July 20, 2014

  • Be excited about a new grocery store, but stay loyal to the Green Spot

    The Daily Citizen reported on the front page of the July 15 newspaper that Dalton could get a new grocery store.

    July 19, 2014