Chris Graham: Disappointed in ya, Emmett

emmett-hangerIt took a minute for me to realize it. The State Senate voted 20-19 in a party-line vote on Monday made possible by the one-day absence of State Sen. Henry Marsh to attend the presidential inauguration to redraw Senate district lines.

Ostensibly the move was done to increase the number of majority African-American districts, but go figure, the plan adopted by the Senate GOP also created more Republican-friendly Senate districts.

This is what it took me a minute to realize: my own state senator, Emmett Hanger, had to have voted for the plan for it to have passed.

To say that I’m disappointed in Hanger is to understate things by quite a bit.

I mean, I get it, he’s a Republican, and he voted Republican. That’s politics. It’s just that Emmett Hanger had seemed to be above the political fray.

He took on critics in leading the bipartisan budget reform effort that led to a bitterly contested 2007 primary against a well-funded ultraconservative challenger. Even Hanger conceded that he was able to beat back that fight in part because he had crossover support from Democrats voting in the open primary.

Hanger has always benefitted from significant crossover Democratic support. Which could explain his principled stands on issues like tax reform and his repeated calls for an increase in the state’s gas tax as a key means for providing transportation funding.

He was free to vote his conscience because he had support from both sides of the aisle.

And now … this. Voting lockstep with the rest of the party to approve an unconstitutional power grab masked as an act of civil rights, on the holiday set aside to mark the life of slain civil-rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., no less.

I used to say that even as a lifelong Democrat I’d support Hanger for as long as he runs for public office.

Now I’d vote for the other guy for dogcatcher just on principle.


Augusta Health Kris McMackin CPA
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