Written by Tom Knighton
It’s campaign season. After the July 31st primaries are all but over (Rick Allen and John House will square off tomorrow in a runoff), it’s time for many incumbents to begin kicking off their campaigns. That’s exactly what Rep. Sanford Bishop did earlier today at his headquarters at the Largo Plaza on Dawson Road.
Supporters signed up to volunteer, then munched on fried chicken as they awaited the congressman to speak.
Bishop was introduced by Albany city commissioner Roger Marietta. “People always ask, ‘What have you done for me lately?’” Marietta said. He continued by pointing out, “Half of our city budget is from federal grants.” Some examples he gave were the Albany Transit System, the Airport, and grants that help fund the Albany Police Department.
When it was time for Bishop to speak. The Georgia-Second congressman spoke to his supporters, a passionate bunch who would occasionally shout “Amen!” at things he would say.
Bishop spoke about how he had been in public office for almost 40 years and is now running for this 10th term in congress. He also told supporters that he has been working to improve the lives of people the district. “I believe I have delivered on that promise,” Bishop said.
“Politics is defined, as I learned it in Political Science 301, as who gets what, when and how,” Bishop said. He told the crowd that his efforts have been about trying help.
Bishop then outlaid his various committees, culminating on his place on the House appropriations committee. “All the other committees can submit a wishlist,” Bishop said, but continued by mentioning that the appropriations committee is the one who decides what gets funded.
Agriculture is a key industry in this part of the country, and Rep. Bishop spoke about his work with securing funds for agriculture and agricultural research for the region. In addition, he spoke about his efforts as part of the “Blue Dog” democrats. “We’ve advocated for a balanced federal budget,” he said.
Bishop spoke about federal investments in “education, jobs, and innovation.”
“None of that matters without healthcare,” he said, referring to the Affordable Care Act, referred to as ObamaCare by its detractors. “You no longer have to worry about being turned down for a pre-existing condition.”
“There are those who want to move backwards,” he said, referring to Republicans who have argued for ending multiple departments within the federal government. “There are those who say we need to abolish the Department of Education,” he said.
Bishops comments to his supporters clearly indicated that a “get out the vote” movement was going to be a major component of his strategy, several times repeating, “Elections have consequences.” He went on to urge supports to utilize social media. “You need to tweet, you need to Facebook,” he said. “You need to tell Junebug and Sallie-Mae they need to vote.”
So what is the biggest issue during the campaign? Bishop believes it’s jobs. “We have to get the economy back on track,” Bishop told press after the event. To do that, Bishop says it’s important to foster small business growth. He also said there was a need to reform the tax code so that generate more revenue but in a fair way so that no one group has an undue burden, where “everyone pays their fair share.”
So what did Rep. Bishop think of comments from State Rep. Ed Rynders regarding Bishop’s call for “balance” being code for tax increases?
Bishop denied that was the case. He said that the Simpson-Bowles commission detailed proposals that he is in favor of. He spoke of cutting spending and/or raising revenue somehow.