By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Public servants, private meetings
Placeholder Image
In a recent letter to a local newspaper, Congressman Jim Marshall, (D-Macon) was congratulated for a very successful health care meeting with doctors from the Covington area. With Covington and Newton County being the third largest population center in the 8th Congressional District, we were hoping to see our US Representative explain President Obama's efforts to nationalize the medical system of this country. Unfortunately, none of us were invited and the meeting was not public knowledge until the next day when media outlets informed us that our Congressman had been in town discussing health care.

Not to be outdone, Rockdale Democrats staged their own controlled meeting under the pretext of a regular Democratic Party meeting. At that gathering, Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Decatur), Commission Chairman Richard Oden and other Democratic Party stalwarts all came to quick agreement that the government can and should run our health system. While we can all hope for a more efficient system, the federal track record with Medicare, the Post Office, Social Security, Cash for Clunkers and every other program they touch except the Defense Department leaves the greatest doubt in the minds of reasonable citizens.

Having said that, my purpose is not to debate the merits of larger government, although the massive deficit, looting of the treasury and reckless spending habits of President Obama and Congressional Democrats may well push us into a total depression.

My purpose is to ask why elected U.S. Representatives of this area seem to be avoiding the voters. With an issue as contentious as the health care takeover, with Americans paying attention like seldom before, why would two Congressmen slip unnoticed into Conyers and Covington, talk to the most limited groups and then get out of town before being discovered?

Rep Johnson has said loud and long he will vote to socialize medicine so most know where he stands. It's an unpopular stance and I can understand why he would want to avoid irate voters. No sense in expending the energy necessary to defend your position when you can quickly leave the area.

Rep Marshall says he is voting no on the plan. If that is the case, why be in such a hurry to leave Covington without letting many citizens pat him on the back for his stance. Surely he would appreciate the kind words that would come from any public town hall meeting. But wait, maybe he means "as currently written" when he says he will vote no. Perhaps doting an I or crossing a T would change his mind? What would his House masters have to say in Washington, D.C., if he denounced their hard work here in Covington? Would Speaker Nancy Pelosi get off her taxpayer provided Air Force 757 long enough to chastise him for not being a team player?

Come back to Covington Rep. Marshall and to Conyers Rep. Johnson. Hold public town hall meetings, let your voters hear you in person, let us ask questions and let us form our opinions after listening to all sides. Slipping in and out of town and deliberately avoiding the majority of the people of Newton and Rockdale is not what we expect of our US Congressmen. Be willing to face the voters or be willing to find a different job.

Sen. John Douglas serves as Chairman of the Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee. He represents the 17th Senate District which includes portions of Rockdale, Henry, Newton, Spalding and Walton counties. He may be reached by phone at (404) 656-0503 or by e-mail at