The state of Georgia has become a flashpoint in the 2020 elections. It is one of several states that were firmly in Republican hands well into election night. As we know now, things would quickly change in the coming days. President Trump’s handsome six figure lead evaporated as counting paused on Election Night and countless ballots continued to flow in after hours. These ballots also put the state’s two Senate seats into such contention that currently a run-off election is to be held in January. However, while there appears to be incredible uncertainty on the Federal level, the Georgia State Elections are currently less controversial, and it would appear that Republicans had a commanding win at the State Senate level, especially. This is good for Veterans.
Maintaining control of a Senate, whether on the State or Federal level, means ultimate control over the legislation which that body enacts into law. The Georgia State Senate currently holds 56 districts, or seats. According to Atlanta’s NPR affiliate, WABE, 20 of these seats were up for grabs on November 3rd, one of which was a runoff election, featuring all Democrats. Of the remaining 19 races, 13 of these seats have been won by Republicans. This maintains the over 30 plus seat advantage for the Republican Party.
The Georgia State Senate has been a body which has decidedly been pro-Second Amendment. Republican Burt Jones who won the 25th District in Georgia, stated the following on his campaign website: “As citizens of the United States, the right to bear arms is a foundational principle that this country was built on, and I will unwaveringly uphold that right on behalf of American citizens at all costs.” Senate Majority Leader and Army Veteran, Mike Dugan shares similar values: “He’s stood with President Trump in stopping illegal immigration, and he opposes any legislation that would take firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.” Within the last year, the Georgia Legislature also enacted pro-Second Amendment reforms which gave active duty personnel additional time if out of state when their license expires. HB-33, which passed in 2019, states:
“to amend Code Section 16-11-129 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to weapons carry license, gun safety information, temporary renewal permit, mandamus, and verification of license, so as to provide for an extension of time for the renewal of a weapons carry license or renewal license for certain service members serving on active duty outside the state; to provide for a definition; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purpose.”
Another major issue affecting Veterans in America is that of health care. Within the last year, the Georgia State Senate also passed resolution SR 104, meant to open new outpatient VA clinics in Gwinnett County. Gwinnett County has two VA clinics within 2 miles of each other but is over 400 sq miles large. The resolution aims to achieve the following:
“13 NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE that the members of this body
14 request that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs establish new Veterans Affairs
15 clinics in Gwinnett County to provide more accessible primary, preventative, and mental
16 health care and services to veterans of Gwinnett County and the surrounding areas..”
Keeping a Republican majority in the state also means keeping proponents of the active military installations in the state. Larry Walker, the incumbent and winner of Georgia’s 20th Senate District, has been a staunch supporter of Robins Air Force Base:
“Senator Walker has supported Robins AFB and helped champion over two dozen pieces of legislation to protect Robins, our veterans, and service men and women. He has also led the way for our bringing quality, well-paying jobs to our service members and their families through the creation of military economic opportunity zones.”
Republican Russ Goodman, winner of District 8, also lists protecting the Air Force Base as one of his top priorities. According to its own fact sheet, “Robins Air Force Base is home to 54 mission partners, covering five major commands and three wings, totaling 22,000 Total Force Airmen all working together to support America’s defense. Robins Air Force base covers 6,935 acres and is Georgia’s largest single-site industrial complex.” It is the headquarters of the Air Force Reserve Command, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, 78th Air Base Wing, 116th and 461st Air Control Wings (Team JSTARS), and others.
Ultimately maintaining the current Republican majority in the Georgia State Senate is a repudiation of the radical divergence from American values and the Constitution offered by the other side. It means continued support for our Military Vets and Active Duty troops, and the many God-given rights enshrined in our founding documents.