Endorsement for State House District 141

May 11, 2014 

State House District 141,

Republican Primary

The State Senate District 141 race in the Republican Primary has two candidates, Rep. Allen Peake and newcomer Bradley Moriarty, who earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Mercer University. Moriarty is 32, but he needs to return to school for political science classes. Running for office is more than rehashing Republican or Democratic talking points that just skim the surface rather than exhibit a deep-rooted knowledge of the subjects. Moriarty is running a low voltage campaign while Peake is tapped into Plant Scherer.

Peake was elected to the state Legislature in 2006 and has risen to sit on some of its most powerful committees: Appropriations, Ways and Means, Banks and Banking, and Rules. He’s the majority caucus secretary/treasurer. Beyond that, Peake has shown uncommon leadership.

He was the main sponsor of House Bill 1171 that started the Macon-Bibb County consolidation ball rolling toward voter approval, including non-partisan elections and term limits. The new government was sworn in Dec. 31, 2013.

But Peake’s best -- and most unusual accomplishment -- is not his politics, but something that tugged at his heart.

When Janea Cox contacted him about her 4-year-old daughter, Haleigh, who suffers from a rare disorder that caused as many as 200 life-threatening seizures a day, he became an unlikely champion. He agreed to help push through the Georgia Legislature a bill to legalize a marijuana-derived drug used to treat such seizures. Proposing to legalize even medicinal oil from marijuana was akin to grabbing a high-voltage wire. Chances were the subsequent burns could end his political career.

Instead of making an easy retreat, he went to work. First, he had to educate. The bill, HB 885, did not legalize marijuana, but rather made it legal to produce an oil rich in cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis. In cases such as Haleigh’s, the cannabidiol or CBD, has shown to dramatically improve the condition of patients.

Peake went on an all-out offensive. He secured the backing of state law enforcement and medical associations, and after a fitful start, HB 885 passed the House 171-4. Politics in the Senate eventually killed the bill, but Peake fought until the last minutes before Sine Die. And he did more. He formed a Journey of Hope Fund to help families pay for transportation and living expenses in Colorado where CBD is legal.

We don’t know how much longer Peake will want to serve in the Legislature. We know he has some unfinished work to do. Maybe next year his Senate colleagues will see the wisdom of making CBD legal in the state and not tie their fears and personal interests to the backs of young people who suffer debilitating seizures.

It is for the above reasons and more that we endorse Allen Peake.

Citizen Advisory Board: Betty Toussaint, Bill Curry, Giles O’Neal, Gene Strouss, Charles Bass, Amy Elton, Bob Berlin, Hill Kaplan. Editorial Board: Don Bailey, Sherrie Marshall, Charles E. Richardson.

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