Letters to the EditorNews

Our State Representatives Are Waging War on Athens

For two years, a deadly foe has waged war on Athens, threatening our lives and our ability to earn a living, feed our families and keep a roof over our heads. Hundreds have been hospitalized. Thousands sought help to feed their families. Many have died.

Fortunately, the mayor and commissioners, dedicating themselves to our welfare, took steps to help keep us safe and working and our children learning despite the extreme dangers. The mayor and commissioners—young, not so young, Black, white, as diverse as Athens—have earned our eternal gratitude for their extraordinary service.     

We look to the state legislators who represent us to assist our mayor and commissioners in their single-minded focus on our health and well-being. Have our representatives, Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, and our senators, Frank Ginn and Bill Cowsert, shown that indispensable spirit of support for, and collaboration with, our mayor and commissioners?

Recently, Reps. Wiedower and Gaines and Sens. Ginn and Cowsert announced a plan to dramatically alter the commission districts in Athens in a manner that is a direct attack on our right to choose our commissioners and on the commissioners who so faithfully serve us. These four men propose to move two-thirds of the voters among our more than 129,000 residents into other districts. Their plan will prevent three sitting commissioners from running for office in their own districts. The result will reduce the Black vote in 70% of the districts.

Incredibly, it is not only COVID-19 that is waging war on Athens.