On Thursday, January 16, the Macon Examiner asked the campaign of Democratic candidate Lesli Messinger to explain positions on various issues ranging from health care to the Dream Act.
Messinger, a Chatham County (Savannah) Democrat, is making her second run for Congress as a candidate for southeast Georgia's First Congressional District.
An announcement was made in late December about the 2014 run and Messinger is attempting to become the first woman to be elected as part of Georgia's congressional delegation in a decade along with being the first Democrat to be elected in southeast Georgia in more than two decades.
Messinger wants to be a pragmatic voice for Southeast Georgia who is willing to find common ground on issues."We need an independent voice who will fight for us, and that's why I'm running for Congress."
"I love Coastal Georgia. It's where I purposefully chose to live, and I'm building my family, my home, and my business. Right now the voices of everyday Georgia residents are being drowned out by the special interests and party politics causing gridlock in Washington."
There are some positives in Messinger's favor. In 2012, the Savannah Democrat had received more votes (49,937) than Mitt Romney (47,204) in Chatham County which is something to build on.
Georgia's First Congressional District consists of 17 counties stretching from eastern Lowdnes County -- outside of Valdosta near Moody Air Force Base-- along the Georgia/Florida state line to the coastal areas of southeast Georgia.
On a side note, in Chatham County, Barack Obama received 60,246 votes in November 2012.
The pathway for victory in the First Congressional District starts in the progressive stronghold of Chatham County.
Majority-minority cities such as Folkston, Brunswick, Darien, Waycross and other coastal cities such as Kingsland and St. Marys will play an important role in whether a Democrat will be representing southeast Georgia for the first time in decades.
For nearly two decades, Chatham-Savannah was split in half due to redistricting. During most of that time span, Rep. Jack Kingston benefited from this. In 2011, all of Chatham County was included as part of the First Congressional District.
2014 will provide an opportunity for Democrats to pick up a congressional seat, so it will be important for Democrats to take defined positions and engage voters about various issues such as the Affordable Care Act.
Messinger's official position about the Affordable Care is the following:
"The AFA is one of the most important legislative initiatives passed by Congress. Bringing affordable HC to millions of Americans, making sure that persons with pre-existing conditions can be covered, and that young adults can be covered under a parents' policy alone, make the AFA so important."
Despite some issues with the roll out of the Affordable Care Act, Messinger is willing to work with the Congress and President Obama in making the Affordable Care Act better.
Messinger acknowledges that attempts by congressional Republicans in the House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act is counterproductive.
"Ridiculous, harmful gamesmanship and political theater that led to a costly government shutdown. It demonstrates how uncaring the GOP and Tea Party really is."
Another issue which will likely be a topic is immigration reform.
Georgia is becoming a more diverse state by the decade, especially in some parts of South Georgia.
Messenger reiterates her support for legislative initiatives such as the Dream Act along with comprehensive immigration reform.
There are so many millions of hard working people already working in the U.S. that not providing a pathway to citizenship is immoral. Keeping in mind that the greater number of Citizens, the greater number of tax dollars will be collected.
From a moral and social point of view, America is a county built on the backs of immigrants. Some came here on purpose, and other’s came as the result of the immoral slave trade. Either way, immigrants make up the “core” of American greatness and we need to remember that many jobs performed by today’s “illegal immigrants” wouldn’t get done without their back-breaking efforts.