For Congressman Hank Johnson, the recent George Zimmerman ruling has served as a call to arms to drive people to the ballot box.
The Democrat, who represents parts of Gwinnett and DeKalb, said “African Americans have taken some serious hits lately,” when referring to the “disappointing” verdict in Zimmerman’s Florida trial related to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, as well as a recent Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act.
“People of good conscience have a right to be angered and disappointed by these recent ocurrences, but we must not allow our anger to overcome our obligation to work towards a country where equal rights, prosperity and justice for all can become the norm,” Johnson said in a statement.
“The justice system, no matter how much one may disagree with the Zimmerman verdict, has worked,” the lawyer said. “I firmly support the legal principles of the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof being on the prosecution, with proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt being required for the jury to convict.”
Instead of blasting the judicial system, Johnson said people should focus on the lawmakers.
“We must now work to educate and register citizens to vote. Laws like stand your ground and voter i.d. are public policies written into law by misguided legislators, who need to be replaced at the voting booth,” he said. “These recent setbacks should stregnthen our resolve to work even harder toward true and just verdicts across America on Election Day 2014. Leave no voter behind!”
GOP statement on corruption
In a similar way, a Republican official says the recent indictment of DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis should also change people’s voting patterns.
Mike Seigle, the chairman of the GOP in the 4th Congressional District, Johnson’s district, said the area needs a “viable two-party system” to combat recent corruption problems.
He described the removal of Ellis from office this week as “a symptom of continuing ethical and political problems in the Atlanta area.”
He pointed to recent allegations of state Rep. Tyrone Brooks and the legal woes of Clayton Sheriff Victor Hill as other examples, along with the accreditation problems for the Clayton and DeKalb school systems.
“The individuals responsible for this are Democrats,” he wrote in a statement. “Clayton, Dekalb, and Fulton are under the absolute control of the Democrat Party. The best way to help the good people in these areas is to have a viable two party system that makes it easier for the voters to remove those who abuse their position.”
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.