On Thursday, October 3, former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis introduced an 'eight point plan' to combat poverty in Macon-Bibb.
Macon's WMGT-TV reported that during the announcement, Ellis made clear his program will take time to develop. He says his first priority will be seeking support to build a strategic plan.
"Appointed to that task force would be members of DFCS [Division of Family and Children Services], the school system, the faith community, other organizations committed to the task force," says Ellis.
The percentage of Georgians living in poverty in 2011 is among the highest in the United States, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau figures.
In Georgia, 14.7 percent of families live below the poverty level, putting the Peach State in a tie with Kentucky for sixth-highest poverty rate in the United States.
At the same time, 19.1 percent of individuals in Georgia fell below the poverty line -- sixth-worst in America.
The former Macon mayor presented his '8-Point-Plan' in an effort to reduce the number of households living below the poverty line, saying he wants to increase the number of jobs in the city and boost the economic system.
According to Ellis about 38 percent of Macon-Bibb residents earn less than $25,000.
In Georgia, according to the most recent census figures in 2012, approximately 17 percent of its citizens live below the poverty line. In Macon, approximately 30 percent live below the poverty line. The state average is 14 percent.
So this tells us that the issue of poverty is getting slowly worse.
However, there is higher concentration of poverty in parts of Macon and one example is East Macon in which the poverty rate is at or above fifty percent.
Ellis has a record of being an aggressive advocate in attempting to disperse poverty, but questions Robert Rechert's commitment in addressing this issue.
And this is why all elections matter--including local elections.
President Barack Obama won Bibb County with 60 percent of the vote. However, anti-poverty funding from the federal government has to be applied for and there has to be a progressive vision in place and the right people in office to implement programs that deal with attacking poverty on the local level.
If Reichert receives the majority of his support from North Macon or South Bibb precincts that support Republicans (Howard, Rutland, etc.), would addressing poverty be a priority for him?
Approximately 50,000 registered voters in Macon-Bibb stayed home on September 17 -- and many from East Macon did as well.
C. Jack Ellis won more precincts on September 17 than Robert Reichert, but none of Ellis' individual precincts that he won --including all of the EAST MACON precincts-- reached the 1,000 vote plateau.
In November 2012, each of the six EAST MACON precincts --except one-- easily surpassed the 1,000 vote mark.
For Macon-Bibb to adequately address problems holding back the community, areas such as EAST MACON who has come out strong in presidential elections will have to take this special election and all local elections more seriously --moving forward.