Editorial: The 14th Congressional District must do better

Georgia's 14th Congressional District includes all of 11 counties -- including Whitfield and Murray -- and part of a 12th, Pickens.

Within these counties and the district there are no doubt hundreds of intelligent, successful, patriotic people who would be worthy of serving the district in Congress.

Then why is it that the last two elections for that district seat have included the following major party candidates:

• Republican Tom Graves of Ranger, who decided to turn his back on the people who elected him and quit office early in the middle of a pandemic, leaving the 14th District's Washington, D.C., office and the district offices under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Graves couldn't see fit to fill out the term that the residents of the 14th District granted him, resigning from Congress effective Oct. 4 of this year. Thanks to Graves, if you live in the 14th District you are currently without representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

• Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is an advocate for QAnon, a discredited conspiracy theory that has been labeled a potential domestic terrorism threat by the FBI, and who has "hours of Facebook videos" that Politico said show her expressing "racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views." Greene is expected to be the next member of the House of Representatives from the 14th District. She moved into the 14th District because it would be an easier place for her to run for Congress than the 6th District. She lived in the Metro Atlanta area for most of the past two decades, and originally announced last year her intention to run for the Republican nomination for the 6th District, which consists of Atlanta's northern suburbs and is represented by Democrat Lucy McBath.

• Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal, previously of Catoosa County, who dropped out of the 14th District race in September of this year, saying in a statement that he was leaving the race for "family and personal reasons." "After lengthy discussions with my team, attorneys, party officials and others, the answer was clear, stepping aside would be the best for the voters," Van Ausdal said.

No.

His leaving the race left 14th District voters without a choice to make. It was too late for him to be replaced by the Democratic Party on the ballot.

• Democrat Steve Foster of Dalton, who was sentenced to six months in jail for a DUI from 2017, and who went on a lengthy tirade captured by an arresting police officer's dash cam and microphone, in which Foster said he hated Whitfield County and prayed to God to curse it, and challenged the officers who stopped him to a fight, among other unsavory things.

Is this the best the 14th District can do? We don't think so.

As this year's general election winds down to next Tuesday's Election Day, we encourage the residents of the 14th District, including the leadership of the two major political parties, to examine whether this is how they want the 14th District to be viewed on the national stage.

We challenge patriotic citizens to examine their life and to determine whether they should put themself forward in the next race for the congressional seat in two years. Our form of government works best when talented people with pure hearts and motives step forward to run for public office and there is a competition of ideas and values, of visions for the future to better the lives of their fellow citizens. There's a reason it's called public service.

The more and varied voices, the better.

And we must do better.

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