Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Rome News-Tribune. November 20, 2021.

Editorial: With redistricting does Cobb County become a 14th District powerhouse?

Look for congressional elections to be a bit different under the reapportioned voting district map that will be in effect for the 2022 midterms.

Despite the 14th District remaining solidly Republican even with the addition of cities like Austell and Powder Springs, it certainly will dilute that pool of support.

Up to this point Whitfield and Floyd counties, and in the past Congressional election Paulding County, have been the powerhouses within the 14th District.

The new map dropped solidly red Haralson County as well as the portion of Pickens County. Now that’s countered with what could be described as some deep blue areas of Cobb.

A sampling of the districts in the Cobb area showed a large support for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. The 14th District overall went for former president Donald Trump with 73.4% of the votes, according to Ballotpedia.

That leaves another 25.3% who voted for Biden with the balance going to Libertarian Jo Jorgensen.

Those votes may not all be from dyed in the wool Democrats, but an infusion of Southwest Cobb Democrats could easily shift the balance of power in a staunchly, nay hardcore, Republican district.

We’re estimating that moves the needle in the district from 75% Republican to somewhere around 68-69% Republican. That’s a lot closer to the middle of the road and the division of Cobb County likely helps out the GOP in that portion of the bluer (and rapidly growing) Metro Atlanta area.

It’s also worth pointing out that Paulding County, which is also growing fairly rapidly appears to be increasingly taking on a reddish-purple tinge. In 2020, 63.9% of the population went for Trump versus 34.8% for Biden. Is that a win for Democrats? Well, not really...at least not yet.

Overall, the configuration gives Georgia Republicans a 9-5 advantage for the House of Representatives after losing both U.S. Senate seats in 2020 to Democrats.

We did some math, always a worrisome task for writers, but what we came up with is interesting.

We went through 2020 election records and added up the registered voters from precincts we identified in that district and there are approximately 74,000 registered voters in that portion of Cobb County.

For reference there were 60,650 registered voters in Floyd County and 54,749 registered voters in Whitfield County.

Again that’s an estimate, but it looks like that small portion of Cobb may have a large impact on the 14th District.

The addition of that portion of Cobb and removal and Haralson and Pickens also adds to the diversity of the 14th District by increasing the number of people of color within the district by approximately 5%.

What that means for 14th District Rep. Marjorie Greene is tough to say. She’s got several contenders from her own party interested in the seat. Now Greene won 74.7% of the vote in the 2020 election, but she was also running unopposed after the Democrat in the race dropped out. Even then, the Democrat pulled over 25% of the vote.

Since then, her antics in Congress have remained a staple on the cable news circuit and occasionally in the headlines as well. She has continued to push her way down the path of extremist political dogma, and that’s been to the detriment of her district.

The first litmus test for how much that matters will be in the Republican primary in March. We won’t be surprised if she wins in the primary and then takes the general election as well. She’s still very popular in large swaths of her district.

The question is whether or not the same issues that turned some Republican voters against Trump will do the same for Greene. The answer to that question will, and how much the area has changed, won’t likely be answered until 2024.

Only time will tell.

Please get vaccinated and thank you for reading.

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Dalton Daily Citizen. November 23, 2021.

Editorial: Take these precautions to ensure a safe Thanksgiving

COVID-19 wiped out many Thanksgivings in 2020. With the wide availability of COVID vaccines, public health officials say those Thanksgiving gatherings can safely resume as long as a few precautions are taken.

“The COVID vaccine has helped make celebrating upcoming holidays together with family and friends possible again,” according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. “To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, the Georgia Department of Public Health urges all Georgians to plan ahead and take steps to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 and the flu as they celebrate ... Holiday traditions are important for families and children. By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our family and friends.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend several ways to enjoy holiday traditions while protecting your health and the health of those around you.

• The best protection against COVID and the flu is vaccination, and the vaccines can be administered at the same time. People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose J&J COVID-19 vaccine. Likewise, it takes about two weeks after getting a flu vaccine for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body.

• For young children who aren’t yet eligible for the COVID vaccine, reduce the risk of exposure by making sure the people around them are vaccinated.

• Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.

• Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities.

• Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.

• Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.

• If you are sick or have symptoms of COVID or the flu, don’t host or attend a gathering.

• Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID or have a close contact with someone who has COVID.

• If you are not fully vaccinated for COVID and must travel, follow the CDC’s recommendations.

• Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated for COVID, is required to wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations.

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Valdosta Daily Times. November 21, 2021.

Editorial: Holiday travel can be dangerous

Thanksgiving travel is expected to be up significantly this year.

We hope all our readers will stay safe on the roadways but, sadly, every year we have to report on holiday tragedies.

Major contributing factors to fatal traffic accidents during the holidays are, of course, impaired driving, excessive speed and distracted driving.

Quite simply, don’t drink and drive.

Slow down.

And, of course, never text and drive.

Distracted driving is a major contributing factor in the high number of traffic fatalities despite numerous public-information campaigns. Traffic safety experts explain that distracted driving comes in many forms, the most common being texting and driving, but even hands-free devices contribute to traffic accidents, according to safety experts.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has said devices intended to keep drivers less distracted and more focused simply don’t get the job done. Unsafe mental distractions can persist for almost half a minute after dialing, changing music or sending a text using voice commands, according to the foundation. AAA has said, “hands-free technologies can mentally distract drivers even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel.”

Some in-car systems may be slightly less distracting than others, but all hands-free car systems and cell phone apps have varying degrees of distraction and could compromise a driver’s ability to focus. Hands-free does not mean distraction-free because the mental distraction can be the most dangerous diversion of all when driving.

Studies have indicated unsafe levels of mental distraction can last for as long as 27 seconds after completing a distracting task in the worst-performing systems studied, according to one study. At 25 miles per hour, researchers said drivers traveled the length of nearly three football fields during the same amount of time. When using the least distracting systems, drivers can remain impaired for more than 15 seconds after completing a task, a study indicated.

“Drivers should use caution while using voice-activated systems, even at seemingly safe moments when there is a lull in traffic or the car is stopped at an intersection,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s president and CEO. “The reality is that mental distractions persist and can affect driver attention even after the light turns green.

“The massive increase in voice-activated technologies in cars and phones represents a growing safety problem for drivers,” Doney said. “We are concerned that these new systems may invite driver distraction, even as overwhelming scientific evidence concludes that hands-free is not risk free.”

As you travel, put down the phone, slow down and stay safe.

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