Opinion: Georgia’s Bishop brings home the bacon

My father taught me many years ago that there are two kinds of lawmakers who get elected to Congress — workhorses and show horses. Voters like them both – for very different reasons.

Some like U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, enjoy making waves on a daily basis — or even hourly if you follow her on Twitter — as political performance art has become almost as important as legislative help for your constituents.

“AR-15 is my favorite hunting rifle,” Greene tweeted earlier this week, unleashing a storm of comments pro and con — insuring yet another injection of social media attention for the Georgia freshman Republican.

But for others in the House and Senate, working in the trenches for the folks back home — and staying below the radar — can also be a recipe for long-term success.

And that’s where we find U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, who was elected to Congress 30 years ago this November.

Now the Dean of the Georgia delegation in Congress, Bishop is by no means a household name — but as the only state lawmaker on the powerful U.S. House Appropriations Committee, he has become a conduit for funneling federal dollars into various state and local programs.

And Bishop makes no apologies about bringing money back to southwest Georgia.

Just in the past week, Bishop helped win committee approval for $2 million to control an invasive water plant known as hydrilla, touting his support for waterways in his district.

“It negatively affects water quality, the economy, and local businesses,” Bishop said of the watery weed.

That was just a start, as Bishop made sure a series of government funding bills for 2023 included a variety of projects for the state.

In recent days, there was money for a new water tank in Bainbridge, funding for Columbus State University, money for Alzheimer’s treatment training in Georgia, a medical clinic in Macon, a 911 equipment upgrade for Miller County, a plan to expand wireless, high-speed internet service in Seminole County, resources to deal with child abuse in southwest Georgia, and more.

You get the picture.

Now 75 years old, Bishop has been quietly rising in seniority on the Appropriations Committee. If he wins another term in November, he would likely be the third-ranking Democrat on that key U.S. House panel.

For Republicans like Greene, refusing to ask Congress for money to fund local projects in her district is a feather in her cap.

But there are plenty of ways to do your job on Capitol Hill. For Sanford Bishop, bringing home the bacon is not something to be ashamed of.

Jamie Dupree has covered national politics and the Congress from Washington, D.C. since the Reagan administration. His column appears weekly in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For more, check out his Capitol Hill newsletter at http://jamiedupree.substack.com