Endorsement for Sentate District 26

May 2, 2014 

Senate District 26

Miriam Paris has beat the odds many times since first running for City Council, eventually becoming its president. She decided to run for the state Senate in 2011 when the late Robert Brown stepped down from the chamber to run for mayor of Macon. State Rep. David Lucas also wanted the Senate seat. The battle was on and Paris eventually claimed her biggest upset, besting Lucas in a runoff by 2,714 votes in the district made up of parts of Bibb, Houston and all of Wilkinson, Twiggs, Hancock and Washington counties. But Paris became the sacrificial lamb. Her Republican colleagues switched many of the precincts in the district to give an edge to Cecil Staton in his race against Spencer Price. Staton needed every one of the votes to maintain his District 18 seat by 203 votes. They also added a third senator to the delegation. On either of these counts, it was in Paris’ power to negotiate at least one, but probably both, of the concessions away. As one of two senators, the consolidation legislation had to be approved by both. She held the trump card and had the power to horse trade to at least save her seat. Either she didn’t know how to horse trade or she was oblivious to the consequences. Since getting re-elected is the prime directive of politicians, it’s impossible to explain how she missed it.

When Paris and Lucas met for the third go around in 2012, it was a much different story. This time Lucas was the winner in the August runoff. Now they meet again. While Paris doesn’t seem to have a grasp of the issues facing the district, Lucas has expanded his repertoire. He has used his three decades of experience to fight for rural health care that is a big deal in the majority of the district. While his Bibb County and Houston County constituents have several health care options, those in the other counties do not. If you have a heart attack in the rural areas of the district, there is a good chance you won’t make it. The nearest hospital is outside of the “Golden Hour,” the optimum time frame for medical care after a health crisis. Lucas’ initiative caught the eye of Gov. Deal and he endorsed Lucas’ plan to keep rural health-care facilities open. While this is far from what Lucas proposed, it’s a start.

This race isn’t about likable personalities. If that were the case, Paris would win hands down. It is about electing someone who has the legislative experience to get things done for the district, and for a Democrat, that’s hard to do. Lucas has shown he knows the Senate’s ropes. He’s reached across the aisle all the way to the governor’s office. Lucas may be somewhat irascible, but he has the reputation of telling people exactly what’s on his mind -- and the unvarnished truth. We vote for legislative acumen over personality. We endorse David Lucas.

Citizens Advisory Board: Gene Strouss, Bill Curry, Betty Toussaint, Giles O’Neal, Amy Elton. Editorial Board: Don Bailey, Sherrie Marshall, Charles E. Richardson.

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