Monday, August 6, 2012

Breaking: Lori Davis Decides Not to Seek Commission Seat

Monday, August 6, 2012
Augusta, GA
From Reports

Lori Davis has decided not to run for the District 1 Augusta Commission seat currently held by Matt Aitken, according to a press release from the campaign. Davis cited the politics of racial polarization starting to dominate the race and the  results of the recent T-SPLOST vote in Richmond County, particularly in the precincts that comprise District 1, as contributing factors for her decision. Davis says she wants to expand her involvement with the government watchdog group Augusta Today and focus more energy on the ongoing investigations into government waste and corruption.

 Davis was one of several candidates who had expressed interest in challenging current commissioner Matt Aitken. Former coliseum authority board member Bill Fennoy, former Laney-Walker neighborhood president Stanley Hawes, former Richmond County Green Party president Denice Traina, and Thelonius Jones have all expressed interest in running for the seat. Qualifying for Augusta-Richmond County school board and commission races ends this Wednesday at noon.

The full press release from the Lori Davis campaign is printed below:

*******!! For Immediate Release !! ********
August 6, 2012

After much consideration, I have decided  to suspend my candidacy in the Augusta-Richmond County District 1 commission race.  Several factors helped me arrive at this decision. At a recent candidates’ forum, I was appalled to see that certain political factions were intent on making race a central theme of this campaign. I have always framed the issues affecting Augusta-Richmond county, and particularly District 1, as right vs. wrong rather than white vs. black. I believe for this community to begin to experience success, we must move past the politics of racial polarization.  Unfortunately, the politics of racial division have become the default mode for certain candidates and their political allies. I refuse to stoop to that level.

I was also reminded last Tuesday that there is still much work to be done to empower voters with correct information to make informed choices. Despite being defeated in 75% of the state of Georgia, including all counties in metro Atlanta and neighboring Columbia County, over 58% of Richmond County voters approved the T-SPLOST tax.  In District 1, it passed in all 10 precincts, and in some of the poorest precincts, it passed by an overwhelming 80%! This surprised me, because the poorest among us will be the most adversely affected by this new tax. To make matters worse, this new tax creates a new level of government bureaucracy and gives away over $63,000,000 of our sales tax revenues to other counties! This vote proved to me that it will take more than one political campaign to loosen the grip of the same old political machines that heavily promoted this tax with a familiar campaign of deceit and misinformation.

Because of this, I believe I can better serve the community  by focusing my time and energy on expanding our already active investigations with the government watchdog group Augusta Today and by getting the truth out through our blog, as well as our upcoming paper, The Augusta Public Press.  We have a great team and a full agenda for the coming months and I believe that my candidacy would have been a distraction at this time. I also did not want a political campaign to cause people to question our motives. I want to be clear; this effort has never been about me, but rather doing the right things to bring about government reform and to hold our public servants accountable to the people. This decision also will allow me to lend my support to other candidates.  I intend to enthusiastically endorse candidates who share my political philosophy and the principles of government reform and accountability.  These things are  difficult to do, however, when you are a candidate yourself.

I also want to thank all of you who have supported me over the past six months and who continue to support me. I want to assure you  that this is not so much an end to a political campaign as it is the beginning of an expanded citizens movement to bring lasting change and reform to Augusta’s government and put it back on the side of the people instead of the political factions and machines that have controlled the local political apparatus for so long. This fight will not be won by one politician, or one political campaign. That is why I ask you to join me and the other concerned citizens of Augusta Today. Join us today in this movement to bring positive change to Augusta. There is much work to be done but if we work together, we can win!

Thank you,
Lori Davis